« السابقةمتابعة »
hand singly to an order fining the Bishop 501. and his two Vicars General 201. each, for having failed to obey the order of February 9! For the nonpayment of this fine the Bishop was arrested on June 29 and committed to Castle Rushen. The Bishop now presented his appeal to the King in Council, which was referred to the Crown lawyers, who reported in favour of his release on bail, that is, on payment of the fine, such payment not to prejudice the appeal. The Report having been approved in Council on August 7, the Bishop was set at liberty on August 31.
A delay of five weeks now ensued before the governor and his officers put in their answers to the appeal, and the cause did not come on till July 18th, 1723. It then took an unexpected turn; for an objection being taken on behalf of Lord Derby (who had been made a party to the appeal) that it ought to have been made to him and not to the Crown, in the first instance, that objection was sustained, and the petition of appeal dismissed. Further delay now ensued in laying the appeal before Lord Derby, who at last refused to entertain it, on the ground that it was too late, and the Bishop thereupon throwing this fact into the form of a fresh petition, renewed his appeal to the Privy Council, who undertook to go into the whole question, and Lord Derby was now ordered to answer' it. He pleaded that the Appeal ought, according to the laws of the Island, to have been tendered to him within a month of the original sentence, and that the petitioner had waived his right of appeal by submitting to the sentence.
The plea however was overruled on both points, the Crown officers holding that neither of those circumstances was fatal to the Appeal. The case at length came on for a final decision on July 1st, 1724, when the court (although giving no decision on the important and more interesting questions of the metropolitical jurisdiction of York and the exemption of the lord's garrison from church censures) reversed all the proceedings of the governor as arbitrary, oppressive, and unjust, on the ground that the pretended Tynwald was not a duly constituted court, and the order of June 25th no order at all. The costs of the Appeal, however, were not given to the Bishop, who was for long after much pinched by them, notwithstanding the liberal subscriptions of his friends. Thus this case went off, as so many similar ones have since gone off, on a side-wind technicality, without the
court committing itself to any statement of doctrine or discipline, It was a great triumph to Wilson-if he had been disposed to triumph—though it ill repaid him for the anxiety and indignity he had suffered ; and it shows what he had con
tinually tinually to endure from the ill-bred officials with whom he was thrown.
Whatever may have been the effect upon the Island of the Bishop's Church policy-about which opinions may vary—there can be no doubt whatever about the beneficial character of many measures by which he assisted in promoting its temporal interests. Such was the part he took in that Act, which, after the great exemplar which about this time was founding a constitution for England, the Manxmen loved to call their Act of Settlement.' Man was essentially a fief, and the king or lord the feudal lord. In the carliest times this subjection had been shewn by each occupier bringing a bundle of meadow grass at Midsummer. Under the Crovan dynasty the whole became a royal demesne, part of which was granted out in baronies, the rest was occupied by tenants, who had to do homage annually as a sort of free tenantry of a manor, the ultimate right of the lord to the soil of the whole Island being undisputed. In process of time these tenants took upon themselves to create a sort of tenure under them, assuming to dispose of their lands by the delivery of a straw, thence called the Tenure of the Straw, without any reference to the lord. Thus the lord was prejudiced by alienations without his licence, and the tenants were impoverished by losing their own seignorial rights by the successive subinfeudations. The Act of Settlement reverted to the principle previously laid down in 1643, that Tenants by the Straw might receive leases given them for three lives or twenty-one years, on paying certain fines; and established, that the fines taken by the Earl on the alienations or successions of the tenants should be certain and moderate. Thus the occupiers were strengthened in their possessions and encouragement was given to agriculture, whilst the lord was at the same time no longer defrauded of his seignorial rights.
Successfully, too, did Bishop Wilson labour in the Impropriate Tithe question. Earl Charles the owner of the impropriate tithes of ten out of the seventeen parishes in the Island, had, in 1666, granted them on long leases to trustees for the benefit of the Manx clergy and schools, and, as a collateral security, had granted a charge on his own estates in Lancashire in the event of the trustees being disturbed in their possession. The trustees were disturbed by the Duke of Atholl, who, coming in under a Parliamentary title, disregarded the deed of Earl Charles as being beyond his power to make. There is great reason to suppose that, if it had not been for the stand made on this occasion by the Bishop by bringing the matter into the English Chancery, and establishing by a decree of Lord Hard
wicke the validity of the collateral security, the clergy and schools would have lost for ever the benefit of Earl Charles's provision.
Wilson played a noble part in arresting the famine of 1741, when he gave his own corn, and bought up a supply at high" prices to retail it at low ones to the people. This was only a part of that magnificent principle which had from the first made him dedicate a tenth (afterwards increased to one-fifth) of his yearly income to the poor. A gracious act, which could nowhere be more appreciated than amongst the people whose favourite religious proverb was, “When one poor man gives to another, God Himself laughs out loud for joy.” The proverb might with truth be applied to the Bishop, who must indeed have been 'passing poor' on a See, the income of which with all demands upon it was only 3001 per annum.
The topography of the island is of course redolent of him. “The stones cry out' his praises. He wrote its history; and could traverse the entire diocese, even in those times, in a day; and doubtless often did. A sketch, therefore, of that topography would not appear unsuited to our subject, at all events of that ecclesiastical portion of it which was most identified with his daily life-his cathedral, his parish church, and his home.
But first, a few words as to the Bishop's name, As the words denote, the Bishopric of Sodor and Man---the full title of which is the “ Bishopric of Man, of Sodor, of Sodor and Man, and of Sodor of Man'—is an united See. That union, now nominal only, was for many generations a reality; Man was the elder title. Indeed, it is said to have been a See 150 years before the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons. The ancient armorial bearings of the See were a figure of St. Columba in a boat at sea, pointing to a blazing star; at present they are the Virgin Mary on three ascents, standing distended between two pillars; on the dexter, a church, with the arms of the island in the base. Its early history is meagre and full of myth. In 838 Pope Gregory instituted the See of Sodor, which however still continued distinct from Man, until Magnus of Norway united them in 1050, and they remained united until the battle of Largs restored Man to Scotland, when Alexander III. again added the See of Sodor to the national Church of Scotland. This ecclesiastical union synchronized however with a civil separation, for it was about the time that Man lost to Somerled, the great Argyllshire chief, a large portion of the Isles, that the Sodor' was superadded to the See. The name of Sodor was given to the younger See, according to some from Sodore, a small village in Iona, or from the cathedral church there, which
was dedicated to our Saviour (Ewrp); but is derived, surely, from the Norwegian Sudreyjar, Southern islands,' that language having impressed itself in so many instances on the local nomenclature of these isles.
Thus much for the name; but it is not very clear what was the territorial jurisdiction of the original See of Sodor. The term Sudreyjar appears to have had different meanings at different periods. In the earliest times it included all the isles on the west coast of Scotland, from Lewis to Man inclusive, all which were south in relation to the Orkneys and Shetlands (the Nordreyjar). In this sense alone it was that Sutherland, the most northern British mainland, could rightly obtain its name. Sometimes, however, a different division was adopted, and only the islands south of Mull were comprehended in the word Sudreyjar (Man itself not being included in it), and all north of Mull were called Nordreyjar: and an imaginary line was drawn through the natural fastness of Cairnburg, one of the fantastically-shaped group of the Treshnick Islands, which the Staffa passengers on the red-funneled Hutchinson line of steamers will notice (if not too sea-sick) as their vessel first begins to feel the swell of the veritable Atlantic, on emerging from the sound of Mull. According to this, the Sudreyjar included not only Staffa and Iona, and
Ulva dark, and Colonsay,
That guard famed Staffa round;'
“Scarba’s isle, whose tortured shore
Still rings to Corrievrecken's roar," but also Bute and the two Cumbraes, and that most picturesque and romantic of all the Scotch group, Arran, with its serrated volcanic peaks and deep Andes-like corries.
Upon a rugged islet of slaty schist, five acres in extent, the Holm of Peel, the Isle of St. Patrick, to which the name of Sodor was given after the separation of the two sees, and perhaps in memory of their former union,-in fact, in the most inaccessible part, if we except the Calf of Man, of the whole island,stands the cathedral, a ruin now, and not even a ruin of the first structure, of which not a trace remains. The building
now see is a cruciform one, begun by Bishop Simon about 1226 A.D. To him we owe the chancel, which is Early English, with some Norman, similar to that at Drontheim, in Norway, then the metropolitical see. Though sinaller and less ornamented than many village churches in
England, its commanding situation and the adaptation of its style to the castellated buildings which surround it (indeed, the eastern wall of it ranges with, and forms part of, the fortresswall) invest it with a grandeur not exceeded by edifices 'of far higher architectural pretensions : for although in its origin the structure was not improbably devoted to ecclesiastical purposes alone, its position as a military station was too tempting to admit of its remaining long unoccupied. Accordingly it soon united the purposes of a castle and of a church, and on more than one occasion was used as a state prison. A more fitting place for such a purpose, and to make life miserable, it would be hard to imagine, or one which it is easier for a superstitious people to invest with præternatural horrors. The scene is singularly grand as the spectator, standing on the narrow table-land, looks over the waste of waters of the Irish Sea, which lies beneath him, hardly whitened by a single sail, with the faint outline, if it be a fine day, of the Down mountains rising in the extreme west, at the distance of fifty miles, and the Scotch coast at the distance of twenty-five, on the north.
This venerable building has of course not escaped the vigilant eyes of church restorers in England. But it has been pronounced by a competent judge in these subjects that its inconvenience of access renders it the least suitable position on which to build or restore the church for the use of the neighbouring population, and this difficulty of access, there can be little doubt, was the cause of its original desertion and ruin.
But it was not a ruin in the earlier part of the long life of Wilson; and it must have been a solemn sight to have seen the young Bishop of thirty-four enthronized in such a spot among scenes so sublime, with that mighty surge around,
that ebbs and swells,
That mocks the organ's melody.' One of those singular round towers so common in Ireland, nearly fifty feet high, of rude masonry, and formed of the old red sandstone which crops out along the coast for a few miles to the north of Peel, stands in tolerable preservation, also within the area of the castle, and forms a conspicuous beacon both for land and sea, whilst contiguous to it are the scanty crumbling ruins of the Church of St. Patrick, probably once the parish church of the town. Till of late years the passage from the