Home Manx Life Godred Crovan’s Victory over the Manx

Godred Crovan’s Victory over the Manx

by Bernadette Weyde
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“In the yeere 1066, Godredus Crovan gathered a fleete of ships, and sailed unto Man, and giving battell unto the people of the countrey, was vanquished and put to flight.

The second time also having gathered his armie and ships together, hee came unto Man, fought with the inhabitants, lost the victorie, and was chaced away.

Yea, the third time he assembled a great multitude, and comming by night unto the port which is called Ramsa (in 1077), hid 300 of his men in a wood standing upon the side of the hill called Scacafel. The Sunne was no sooner up, but the Mannians arranged themselves and with great furie set upon Godred. And in the midst of the skirmish, the foresaid 300 men rising out of their ambush, and comming upon the backes of the Mannians, molested them so sore, that they were enforced to flie. But when they saw yet they were overcome and had no place of refuge to retire unto (for the tide of the sea had filled the chanel of the river of Ramsa) and seeing the enemie so fiercely pursuing them on the other side, they which remained, with lamentable outcries beseeched Godred to spare their lines. Then hee being mooved with compassion, and pitying their extreme calamitie, because hee had bene of late sustained and nourished among them, sounded a retreat and forbad his souldiers to make any longer pursuit.

The day following, Godred put his souldiers to their choice, whether they would divide Man among themselves and inhabite it, or whether they would take the wealth of the countrey, and so returne unto their owne home. Howbeit, it pleased them better to waste the whole Island and to enrich themselves with the commodities thereof, and so to returne from whence they came.

Nowe Godred himselfe with a fewe Islanders which had remained with him, tooke possession of the South part of the Island, and unto the remnant of the Mannians he granted the North part thereof, upon condition, that none of them should at any time afterwards dare once to chalenge any parcell of the said ground by title of inheritance. Whereupon it commeth to passe, that unto this day the whole Island is the kings own Fee-simple, and that all the revenues thereof partaine unto him.”


Note: Fee-simple = a permanent and absolute tenure in land with freedom to dispose of it at will, especially in full fee simple absolute in possession a freehold tenure, which is the main type of land ownership.

(source: Manx Notebook Vol. II (1886), from a Chronicle of the Kings of Man, taken out of M. Camden’s Chorographie; photo from A Book of Manx Poetry (1913) by William Cubbon)

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