3. Additional Hardships
Derby’s presence on the Island and the circumstance surrounding it – the English civil war – brought their own pressures to bear on the people of Man. This chapter will consider some of the difficulties, other than food shortages, faced by the residents of the Island in the period under consideration. The presence of Royalists and additional military will be further discussed, as will the contributions that Derby required for the maintenance of the garrisons on the Island. Evidence in government records of instability will also be considered.
Royalist and Military Presence
An unknown number of Royalists fled to the Island to escape the wars in England. Dickinson states ‘Like the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man offered sanctuary to Royalists escaping their enemies or retreating from the unpleasant effects of war.’  Additionally, military men of various ranks, all of whom presumably supported the Royalist cause, were present on the Island throughout the period. Some may have come seeking shelter, but others came with Derby and served as officers and soldiers in the garrisons on the Island.
The presence of these military men affected daily life on the Island, especially in Castletown, apparently increasing the level of violence. David Craine suggests:
. . . the circumstances of the Civil War had lowered the normal standards of behaviour. The island had become a place of refuge for adherents of the King’s party, and some of them were as unscrupulous as the sea-captain. The fire-eating Cavaliers who swaggered and quarrelled at the Earl’s Court in Castletown added to the disorders of the time, when a blow was the almost inevitable climax of a warm argument; and when brawling in the garrisons had become so frequent and dangerous that in 1645 Earl James decreed the punishment of cutting off the right hand for anyone striking and drawing blood within the Castles. 
Dickinson studied violent crime, concentrating on the last two decades of both the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the years 1640 to 1660. He states
Crimes of violence, . . . occupied the least amount of the court’s time. During the sample years, an overall total of fifteen indictments for murder, wilful murder, felonious homicide and ‘suspicion of death’ were dealt with by the court and about half of these cases were heard during the 1640s, . . . several of the seven cases of murder brought to trial in that decade involved military personnel or seamen who were only present in that Island due to the peculiar circumstances of the political situation at the time. 
Not only were the Manx dealing with additional violence, they also had to watch as the perpetrators went unpunished. ‘Despite the fact that the accused was found guilty in all three of the cases which certainly involved military men, only Dicconson faced the gallows. The other two convicted men were pardoned by Earl James.’ 
It was not just violent crime that was affected. A study of court cases heard in Chancery Court shows that the presence of the military was becoming more of an issue throughout the five-year period studied here. While the number of cases heard each year varies, the percentage of cases involving military men increases each year. (For this purpose, anyone identified in the court documents with a military title such as Captain or Lieutenant has been included.) In 1647, only 2.4 percent of the cases involved a party with a military title. This increases each year and by 1651 the percentage is up to 24.3 percent.  Chancery Court cases seem mostly to involve money matters, either repayments of debts and loans or payment for goods or services. This is also true for the cases that involve military personnel, many involving payment for diet and lodging. There are odd exceptions, however, such as a case dated the 3rd of February 1651. Mrs. Barberie Pule, widow complained against Captain George Bradshaw, Lieutenant Whitby, and three other men ‘for the great abuse she sustayned to the hazard of her life’ when the three men, on directions from Bradshaw and Whitby, threw her into the sea without any cause.  Unfortunately, there is nothing else recorded on this case so any outcome remains unknown. The case does suggest that the additional military presence on the Island could be an unsettling one.
Funding the Garrisons and Derby
Keeping soldiers and officers in the garrisons on the Island was costly. Derby’s estates in England were confiscated by Parliament  so he had to rely on income from the Island to pay the men and purchase provisions for them. Dickinson details the challenge Derby faced.
To finance his activities Derby needed money. Although he could legitimately call on his tenants to perform their customary labour services for some of the necessary building work, he still had to pay his officers and soldiers, furnish them with arms and ammunition, and purchase supplies from merchants visiting the island. Even though the Stanleys enjoyed rights of purveyance which enabled them to buy goods at a special Lord’s price, there was constant drain on Derby’s resources. 
Derby’s income from the Island was barely sufficient to cover his expenses.
The income from his tenants’ lands, the rents due in lieu of customary payments in kind, and the customs revenue amounted to about £1,600 per annum in the late 1640s, but almost all of this total was accounted for by fees paid to the officers and soldiers, extraordinary and customary payments for services rendered, and sums paid to craftsmen and workmen for their materials and labour. 
From time to time additional funds were required for various expenses, as were additional provisions for the garrisons. As early as 1639 extra sums were being assessed on the Island residents.
In 1639, . . . Derby [sent] a Mr Lee to the Island ‘ffor the exercysinge and dissplyninge of our men in the use of their Armes’. Lee had been awarded a salary of £13 6s. 8d., to be levied from the tenants and farmers, but, by October in that year, he had received nothing and an order had to be given by the governor and officers for the collection of an assessment to pay him. 
Another opportunity to gain funds came in 1644, with the death of the Bishop. By leaving the see vacant, Derby was able to use the revenues for his own purposes, though the parish was poor by English standards. 
The following year, additional assessments were ordered for military purposes. ‘In November 1645 . . . Greenhalgh, the officers, and Keys ordered that ‘one thousand kirkes or skeynes’ be provided by levying from the parishioners 2s. 6d. for each weapon allocated to their parish.’  And then, ‘In the following March the sum of £75 was set to be collected from the country to pay for a similar number of ‘halfe pykes’, which were to be made with ‘all convenient speede.’ 
In addition to assessments for sums of money, varying amounts of grain were demanded from the residents for the garrisons. While the people were paid for the amounts that were used, and unused amounts were returned before the next harvest, this added pressure when food supplies were limited. In December 1646 an order by the officers and Keys was made ‘. . . for ye saftie & pr[e]servac[i]on of ye Isle . . .’  that out of every quarter of land a firlot and a half of meal was to be brought for the garrisons in March 1647. This was not an assessment of only the large landholders, the clergy and intack farmers were also assessed.  The following year, a further firlot was ordered, again to be supplied in the following March. 
In August 1648 a monetary assessment was made as Derby was planning a trip in the King’s service. Based on the last assessment of corn, the people were to pay 6s 8d for each firlot they had been required to provide. Two men in every town were assigned to request donations from the residents of the towns. Any man who did not give voluntarily was to be assessed by the men for what they felt he could afford.  The sums that were collected were returned, however, when the journey was abandoned 
Later Derby requested a loan of £500. The Keys, in consideration of the great care that Derby had taken of the Island in ‘. . . these dangerous and distracted tymes. . .’  assessed a mark on every quarter of land which was to be collected with an assessment of the cotters and intack holders. A record was to be kept of all the money lent.  The response was not what Derby had hoped, and he wrote of his disappointment, claiming the people were ‘. . .denying those Supplies so reasonably desired of them; . . .’  Derby argues that a well supplied garrison will discourage the enemy from invading, reminding everyone of the great care he is taking of the Island. ‘. . . my greate paines & charge, . . . & care for their peace & welfare . . .’  He further maintains that he wants only a loan which he will quickly repay when circumstances permit. His conclusion suggests that refusal might cause suspicion of treason, but not by him, and he is sure no one will refuse.
If anie refuse upon thoise Termes to contribute in some competent proportion, I shall have too much reason to suspect their disafffections to our peace & quiet: But I hope you will meete w[i]th none such who will be so much wanting to their owne happinesse: the safetie of their persons, their wives Children & Estates. . . 
Later documents list the donors and amounts lent to him.  However, the response was poor. ‘Out of almost the entire population of the island only two dozen answered the Lord’s request, and most of these were the larger landholders or, . . . members of Derby’s administration, who would be expected to comply with his wishes.’  It could be speculated that the food shortages played a role in limiting the amounts given to Derby at this time.
An order dated 27th July 1649 stated that when the barley or oats were ready for shearing, half a firlot of every quarter of land was to be supplied to the garrisons. The people were, as usual, to be paid for what was used.  This is half of the assessment from the previous year, whether or not that is because of the food shortages or a growing dissatisfaction with Derby’s demands is unknown.
Derby’s request in 1649 for obtaining light muskets was discussed in Chapter Two. The Keys were unwilling to order any further assessments at that time.  In April 1650 they were called to
. . . consider of some course for the buyinge of c[er]taine powder & Amunicion w[hi]ch is now brought into the Countrey from Holland as sent hither by some hono[u]r[a]bl[e] ffreinds of his Lor[dshi]ps, Out of their tender respect and care of the good of his Lor[dshi]pp and the deffence of this Island in these dangerous tymes, . . . 
This “generosity” on the part of Derby’s friends would cost the Island £415. To raise the sum, an assessment of 10s on every quarter of land was ordered, with an assessment of intack holders, tradesmen and townspeople if needed. The clergy were to give what they could as assessed by themselves. 
Later orders require each parish to provide soldiers and pay maintenance for them , the amount required dropping after Derby and the soldiers departed for England. After this, a smaller amount is collected to pay for soldiers stationed on the Calf of Man.  The extraordinary demands did not stop with Derby’s execution and the Parliamentary take over of the Island. On the 22nd of October 1656 an order was made that all farmers were to bring a firlot of good oat meal to the garrisons ‘as hath been accustomed’ under the same conditions as before.  As Moore put it, ‘The practice of imposing extra levies for the support of the garrisons did not cease with the earl’s departure, but continued till 1660, being found equally convenient by his immediate successor.’ 
The English Experience of War
All of these demands would have made life difficult for the Island’s residents in the period, especially when faced with food shortages as well. It must be pointed out, however, that Man seems to have suffered little when compared to parts of England at the time. Parliament put into place different schemes for raising money.
The first priority for an effective war strategy was money. Already parliament had departed from traditional channels of public finance in
the so-called Act of £400,000 of March, 1642. But more radical measures were needed and resulted in a remarkable series of financial Ordinances in 1643 instituting weekly assessments (February), sequestrations (March), compulsory loans (May), and the excise (July). . . . Compulsory loans introduced by Ordinance in May 1643 were equally distasteful, . . . All those worth £10 p.a. in land or £100 p.a. in goods were to lend a maximum of one-fifth of the annual revenue of their estates or half the value of their goods, repayable ‘upon the public faith’. Already the worthlessness of that promise had become apparent . . . 
Royalist areas also faced increased taxation. ‘The ‘contribution’ agreements (the royalist equivalent of weekly assessments) made with royalist-controlled areas represented a massive increase on earlier taxation levels. The £61,000 annual ‘contribution’ levied on royalist Oxfordshire was ten times bigger than the county’s assessment for the parliamentary subsidy of 1641.’ 
Aside from additional taxation, there were other high costs that many of the English had to meet due to the effects of fighting in their areas.
Great as was the impact of direct taxation it is highly likely that it was surpassed . . . by the cost of providing armies with free quarter and supplies, and by making good the damage to property done by ill-disciplined, ill-paid, plundering soldiers. Both sides freely billeted soldiers on civilians and requisitioned food, fuel, and horses in areas under their control. Constables of each village were supposed to record the cost of providing lodging and meals to soldiers according to scales of compensation. . . . it is clear that the sums involved were very large and that . . . they were seldom repaid. 
Different parts of England were affected differently, of course, but it appears that everyone would have faced additional demands. In Cheshire, research ‘. . . would indicate that as well as £100,000 raised in direct taxation and on the Propositions in the county by the summer of 1646 . . . over £120,000 would have been expended on quarter and about £90,000 seized or destroyed in goods.’  Ann Hughes suggests that in Warwickshire, ‘The fullest accounts suggest that, . . . almost all the population, apart from paupers and the landless, were being forced to contribute, in quarter and plunder if not in formal taxation.’  Her research suggests exacting demands, ‘One should be cautious about attempting statistical assessments of the impact on poorer people. . . . The fragmentary evidence that does exist, however, suggests almost unimaginable burdens.’ 
Underdown maintains that ‘Much of the distress cannot be quantified – the emotional scars of bereaved widows and parents, the psychological scars of families divided by the war, the physical scars of the maimed, the financial scars of the ruined.’  He lists some of what the people had to face. ‘War taxation; the quartering of soldiers; plundering; the physical devastation of town and countryside: these were universal realities for the population of all regions, royalist and parliamentarian alike.’  While the residents of Man faced increased taxation and some quartering of soldiers, they were fortunate to escape from the other types of suffering that the wars brought to England (and also Wales, Scotland and Ireland).
Other Evidence for Instability
While no battles were fought on Man there is evidence of instability in the period. Customs records provide information about customs revenues and the commodities that were being imported and exported. Dickinson counsels caution when using these records as sources, stating that
Some probably minor inaccuracies may have resulted from errors made by the clerk in writing up the accounts, but more significant was the deliberate omission by the officers from their returns of part or all of a cargo in order to supplement their meagre wages by retaining the duty which they received from the merchant. 
With that caution in mind, the records do provide valuable information. There is a tremendous variation in the annual totals for the accounts even during as short a period as 1647 to 1651. As mentioned earlier, the year for these records began at midsummer, so that 1647 runs from 25 June 1646 to 24 June 1647. The totals for all ingates (imports), outgates (exports), and anchorages for each of the five years considered are listed in Table 4 below.
The totals drop off rather dramatically during the five-year period, with most of the fall being in exports from Douglas. This is not the only change, but it accounts for most of the decline. In 1651 every port suffered a decline in both imports and exports. The general instability of the times might account for some of this. Also possibly a factor in 1651 was the change in Waterbailiff that took place in the middle of that year due to the (presumably) sudden death of the previous one. A more detailed study of these records over a longer period might help to determine whether or not this fall reflects effects of the civil wars and parliamentary rule on the economy of the Isle of Man.
These records also provide some hint about the severity of the food shortages in the period. Dickinson relates that in deficient harvest years grain export was restrained, though special licences were sometimes granted.  That seems to be what happened as early as 1646; an entry for Ramsey in July 1646 states that ‘Nic[holas] Xpin [Christian] [transported] 20 boz [bolls] barley & 40 boz of mault’  for the amount of customs due however, it states ‘Nil for ye customer sayes yt there came direc[i]ons for ye restraint of corne, & therefore this was not transported’  (By this time the boll and the barrel were probably identical measures. ) There is a similar note on another later entry , however some wheat and a larger amount of malt were exported from Peel in July and August of that year without any explanation.  In October a merchant who had brought in a large quantity of malt previously exported some, but no explanation is given in the accounts for this.  After October 1646, however, only three exports of grain are recorded for the remainder of the year, (ending in June 1647) and all of them have an added note that the exporter received special licence from the Lord. 
The following year, from June 1647 to June 1648, only two exports of grain are recorded, neither of which has any special explanation attached. Both are for fairly small amounts. In June, six barrels of Irish wheat were exported by a merchant who had imported 16 barrels of wheat in April.  The export presumably represents supplies he could not sell or that he was permitted to re-export. In November one and a half barrels of wheat were exported by a merchant who had imported 40 barrels of malt in September.  Notes of special licence to export in spite of the restraint are usually contained in the books of licences and entries, which is missing for 1648.
The restraint seems to have remained in place the following year; more was exported, but in fairly small quantities. In this year, however, the majority of those exporting grain are given permission for a different reason. An entry for Ramsey in April 1649 gives Thomas Lowy permission to transport himself, his wife and their three children to Ireland with a cow and a bullock and one boll of meal of his own provision.  On the same day, John Gawne, an Irishman, was permitted to transport two bolls of meal when he left the Island with his father and three children.  Patrick Clarke was also allowed two bolls when he and his wife and four children left for Ireland.  Similar examples are scattered throughout the other ports, one as early as February and the last in May. There are two exceptions in the year, in January, Thomas Findoe transported a boll of wheat and ten bolls each of barley and oats.  There is no explanation of this, and no record of his importing any grain earlier could be found. In April another man was licensed to transport three barrels of barley, but this time it is noted that he had the Lord’s special direction. 
Exports of grain did not increase in 1650 (the recorded year actually began in June 1649). In November of 1649 Thomas Christian was licensed to transport two barrels of malt, but it is noted that he needs to use this supply to attempt to get his boat back from Ireland.  Thomas Clarke was licensed to transport one cow, a calf, one boll of meal and some bedding, paying stranger’s custom.  Presumably he was returning home after some time on the Island. The only other export of meal that year was that of Robert Barres, a merchant stranger. He was permitted to transport four bolls of meal, part of what he had imported and paid import duty on. 
Though there is reason to believe that the situation on the Island improved after the harvest in 1649, very little was recorded as exported in 1651. Only one firlot and two bolls of wheat are recorded as going out in that year.  Imports and exports for the entire Island for all commodities are down significantly in this year, however, as shown above.
Imports of grain in the period also provide interesting information. In 1647 a great deal seems to be coming into the Island, with 19 entries for import of some quantity of grain. Seventeen of these brought in some quantity of grain along with other commodities. For example, William Miller brought in 50 barrels of wheat, 18 gallons of hot waters, and 9 score weight of tobacco, paying custom only for what he sold.  Only two men imported grain alone, one was a merchant who later exported part of what he had brought in.  Eight imports were for fifteen or more bolls or barrels, and the remainder were for five or fewer. The earliest of these imports is September 1646 and they are scattered after that until a concentration in June 1647 which contains the last seven entries. 
In 1648 there are 13 entries for the import of grain, three of which are noted as being with custom due only for what is sold on the Island, and a further seven of which are quantities brought in with other goods. Four are for amounts of 20 or more bolls or barrels. Ten of the entries occur in July and August 1647.  In 1649, presumably as the food situation on Man was getting worse, there are only two imports of grain, both small amounts coming in with many other goods. 
The situation seems to have changed in 1650. There are 24 entries for imports of grain, 23 of them dated for July and August 1649.  Seven of these are imports of grain only, with the remaining sixteen tending to be fairly small quantities, perhaps imported for personal use. Three of the 23 are entered by more than one man, which is somewhat unusual and a fourth lists imports of grain for himself and another man.  It seems possible that men were working together to import grain that was needed by their families. The only entry for grain imports after August 1649 is an entry of five barrels of malt in October of that year.  In the 1651 accounts no grain is recorded as imported. 
While no definite conclusions can be drawn based on this small sample, it appears that the Island was feeling some effects of the wars and instability in England and elsewhere. The fall in customs revenue throughout the period might reflect an increasingly difficult trading situation as the King was defeated and Parliament took control in England. It might be the result of under recording as Waterbailiffs changed and Derby concentrated on troops and other areas. Most likely, a combination of factors was involved. The records do provide more evidence for food shortages in the period, with orders recorded for prohibiting the export of grains. Study of a longer period is needed to confirm or refute the findings here.
Other records from the period also hint at instability at the time. The drop in the recorded number of burials and baptisms in 1651 and 1652 has been discussed in Chapter Two. Cases in common law courts also fell over the five-year period. The court met twice a year, in May and October, and cases were heard for each of the sheadings and parishes in turn. The number of cases brought in each session is summarised in Table 5
In some instances there may be a page or two missing, but that would not account for the large fall in cases as shown above. The October 1651 court can be suspected of having been complicated by the plots and planning that began once Derby left the Island , but that does not explain the earlier decline. Again, analysis of a longer period might help to determine how much of the decline was due to the effects of events in England and/or instability on Man.
Chancery Court cases do not show a similar decline. Table 6 shows the numbers of cases recorded in Lib. Canc. over the five-year period.
Cases are highest in 1649 and 1651, and while cases involving money (repayment of debt or payment for goods and services) always make up the highest percentage of cases, they make up an even higher percentage in those two years. The increase in the number of cases involving the military has been discussed previously. Again, a more detailed study over a longer period might reveal more about the causes of these changes or show that they are just normal fluctuations.
A number of factors were influencing life on Man in the period. The Royalist refugees and additional military personnel put added demands on food supplies and contributed to a less stable atmosphere. Violence appears to have increased in the period, but the presence of the military was felt in other courts as well. Supporting the military put an abnormal strain on the residents of the Island. They had to provide grain in years when the supplies are known to have been limited, and were also assessed for various sums of money over the period. The effects on Man might be considered minimal when compared to what was suffered in England, however the resources of the Island were limited and appear to have been stretched enormously.
A study of some of the records of the period seems to show instability in at least some areas. Imports and especially exports fell dramatically during the five-year period. Cases brought before Common Law courts also dropped throughout the period. Chancery Court cases increased at the end of the period under discussion, but a large percentage of that increase was made up of cases being brought by or against military personnel. A detailed study of all of the records over a longer period could help to confirm or refute the findings here. While some of the above evidence seems striking, similar fluctuations might be evident elsewhere where external influences might have been less of an issue. Overall, however, the residents of Man seem to have had to endure a great deal in the five years examined here. This chapter has discussed how the food shortages were made worse by additional drains on supplies and by increased taxation by Derby’s administration. The next chapter will consider the steps taken by that administration to alleviate the worse of the suffering.
Page last updated
22 February 2008
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