The Isle of Man is an island that sits in the Irish Sea, lying between Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales and for which most of its history being a target for each one of them in turn.

Dark Age Isle of Man

Between the fifth and eighth centuries AD the Isle of Man variously fell under the influence and control of the kingdoms of Rheged, Ulster, Dal Riada, Northumbria, Strathclyde and Gwynedd, although the exact timing and nature of these 'conquests' is uncertain and clouded by the semi-legendary nature of the accounts that survive.

Viking Isle of Man

What is certain is that the island was conquered by the Vikings sometime in the early ninth century, to whom the island was a useful base of operations for raids into the rest of the British Isles. Control passed between the Viking kingdoms of Dublin and Jorvik and the Viking Earldom of Orkney at different times, sometimes the names of the various client kings are recorded, sometimes they are not.

From the eleventh century onwards there rose an 'independent' dynasty of kings in the Isle of Man. Their names are recorded in the Chronicon Regum Manniae the Chronicle of the Kings of Man which records the dynasty of one Godred Crovan, whose descendants ruled the island, with a couple of brief interruptions, for the next 180 years. These Kings of Man were subservient to the Kings of Norway and Magnus Bareleg the king of Norway arrived in the Irish Sea with a fleet in 1098 just to make sure that everyone understood that.

Scottish Isle of Man

However by the middle of the thirteenth century the power of Norway was waning and after the battle of Largs Magnus the king of Man was persuaded to transfer his allegiance to Alexander III of Scotland. When Magnus died in 1265, Scotland took over the island and Norway formally ceded the sovereignty of the island to Scotland in the Treaty of Perth in 1266.

English Isle of Man

Over the next 68 years control passed to and fro between Scotland and England as a by product of the First and Second Scottish Wars of Independence until 1333 when Edward III got his hands on it. Having taken control of the island, Edward III bestowed it upon William de Montacute the earl of Salisbury who was granted the title 'King of Man'; his son of the same name sold it to William le Scrope who was beheaded for treason, the title then passed to the Earl of Northumberland for a few years.

In 1405 Henry IV bestowed the island on Sir John Stanley, "with all the regalities, franchises and rights belonging thereto, with the patronage of the bishopric, under the title of King of Man". The title subject to a couple of interruptions, remained in the Stanley family for the next three centuries, although from 1504 onwards they dropped the regal pretensions and styled themselves as mere 'Lord of Man'. The last Stanley was James Stanley the 10th Earl of Derby, who failed to produce a male heir so the Lordship of Man went to James Murray, the 2nd Duke of Athol one of whose ancestors had married a daughter of James Stanley the 7th Earl of Derby.

By the eighteenth century the British government had become rather unhappy with the idea of an independent Lordship of Man, mainly because of its role in the thriving smuggling business between Britain and Ireland. John Murray was therefore 'persuaded' to accept the sum of for £70,000 and an annuity of £2,000 to surrender his title to the crown in 1765.

There ended the line of the hereditary rulers of an independent Isle of Man and the island became a Crown dependency with its own Lieutenant Governor under the direct control of the United Kingdom. The title 'Lord of Man' now being just another one of the collection of titles given to the reigning British monarch. The island however retained, and still does retain, a considerable degree of independence from the United Kingdom, maintaining its own legislature and fiscal system.

The Viking or Norse Kings of Man

The Chronicon Regum Manniae names two kings of Man that ruled before Godred Crovan; another ruler named Godred and his son Fingal who was deposed by Godred Crovan in 1079.

Under the direct control of Norway between 1098 and 1103

Following the death of Magnus control of the island was as follows;

Scotland 1265 - 1290
England 1290 - 1313
Scotland 1313 - 1317
England 1317 - 1328
Scotland 1328 - 1333

English Kings of Man

Lords of Man

Confiscated by the Crown between 1594 and 1610

Under the control of the Commonwealth and Protectorate; Thomas Fairfax appointed as Governor in 1652.


The History of Mann at

Manxman's Homepage - Kings and Lords of Mann at

Kings and Lords Of Man at

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