Collection of material relating to the Isle of Man

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of: a photostat copy of Chronica Regum Manniae et Insularum et Episcoporum et quorundam Regum Angliae, Scotiae, Norwegiae; a photostat copy of Sheading court roll, 1428-1430 (Isle of Man Garrison roll); a transcript of an account of the Isle of Man communicated to Lord Fairfax by James Chaloner; a letter of the Duke of Atholl about a commission of arbitration, 1795; and, a letter about the Isle of Man by Marjory, Countess of Atholl, 1823. Chronica Regum Manniae was written at Rushen Abbey circa 1257 with some additions to 1376 including the Bounds of the Manx Abbeylands. The original is in the British Museum.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Isle of Man, one of the British Isles, is located in the Irish Sea equidistant from Cumbria, south-western Scotland, Northern Ireland and north Wales. However, it is not part of the United Kingdom, but is a self-governing crown possession. The island is about 48 km long by 16 km wide, with an area of 572 square km. Its highest point is Snaefell (621 m) and the island landscape is treeless except in sheltered places. There is an islet in the southwest - the Calf of Man.

The Isle of Man has been inhabited since the Mesolithic Period and it became the home of many Irish missionaries from the 5th century AD). Among its earliest inhabitants were Celts, and the Manx language - related to Gaelic - was the everyday speech of islanders until the first half of the 19th century. In 1995, the population of the island was approximately 69,600 but few speak the Manx language which has almost died out.

Viking invasions began in the 9th century, and the island was a Norwegian dependency until 1266 coming under a Scandinavian system of government that continues today. In 1266 the king of Norway sold his suzerainty over the Isle of Man to Scotland, and then in 1341 it came under the control of England. In 1406 the English crown granted the island to Sir John Stanley, and the Stanley family ruled it almost uninterruptedly until 1736 when the lordship of Man passed to the Dukes of Atholl. When the island became a major centre for smuggling - depriving the British government of valuable customs revenues - the British Parliament purchased sovereignty over it in 1765, only completing the acquisition of the remaining Atholl prerogatives in 1828.

The government of the Isle of Man consists of an elected president; a Legislative Council, or upper house; and a popularly elected House of Keys, or lower house. The two houses function as separate legislative bodies but come together to form the Tynwald Court to transact legislative business. The Manx assembly - one of the most ancient legislative assemblies in the world - is called the House of Keys. The Isle of Man levies its own taxes, and offshore financial services are one of the mainstays of the island's economy.

Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Note

The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) The new encyclopaedia Britannica. Micropaedia. Ready Reference. 15th edition. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1991.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Accruals

Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show references to Isle of Man related material in the Laing Collection (check the Indexes for more details): letter to G. J. Thorkelin with extracts from a journal about antiquities on the Isle of Man, 1789, at La.III.379/824; and, letters about charters relating to Man with a printed prospectus for the Manx Society for publication of national documents of the Isle of Man, La.IV.17.

Geographical Names