The Ring, The Rope & The Sword

The Ring, The Rope & The Sword

The law of the Ring, the Rope and the Sword, by which a single woman was given the choice of seeing her violator hanged, beheaded, or married to her, has already enjoyed publicity.

Though first proclaimed at the Tynwald Court of 1577, it was one of a number of highly interesting old customs given for Law, which have never been put in writing, but used and allowed of long time heretofore.

It is said (I have heard it from a Northside lawyer as a fact of local history) that the last occasion on which this option was exercised was after a ship’s cargo of strong liquor had been cast up the North end of the Mooragh shore near Ramsey. The joyous tidings spread swiftly, and the people swooped down to the feast like vultures.

As a sequel, a woman who had been raped while returning home along the Mooragh handed to the culprit, at the end of the trial which found him guilty, the symbolical piece of rope.


(source: A Second Manx Scrapbook by WW Gill, 1932)

Bernadette Weyde

Bernadette Weyde

I'm a web designer, amateur historian and keen gardener and I enjoy bringing Manx history, folklore and poetry to a modern audience.


Tags assigned to this article:
customsmanx life

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