Tynwald Day
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Tynwald Day ( gv, Laa Tinvaal) is the National Day of the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in Europe ...
, usually observed on 5 July (if this is a Saturday or Sunday, then on the following Monday). On this day, the Island's legislature,
Tynwald Tynwald ( gv, Tinvaal), or more formally, the High Court of Tynwald ( gv, Ard-whaiyl Tinvaal) or Tynwald Court, is the legislature of the Isle of Man. It consists of two chambers, known as the branches of Tynwald: the directly elected House of ...
, meets at St John's, instead of its usual meeting place in Douglas. The session is held partly in the Royal Chapel of St John the Baptist and partly in the open air on the adjacent Tynwald Hill (a small artificial mound). The meeting, which dates back to the 10th century, is known as ''Midsummer Court''. It is attended by members of the two branches of Tynwald: the House of Keys and the Legislative Council. The
Lieutenant Governor A lieutenant governor, lieutenant-governor, or vice governor is a high officer of state, whose precise role and rank vary by jurisdiction. Often a lieutenant governor is the deputy, or lieutenant, to or ranked under a governor — a "second-in-comm ...
, the representative of the
Lord of Mann The lord of Mann ( gv, Çhiarn Vannin) is the lord proprietor and head of state of the Isle of Man. The current lord proprietor and head of state is Charles III Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) i ...
, presides except on the occasions when the Lord of Mann or another member of the British Royal Family is present. All bills that have received
Royal Assent Royal assent is the method by which a monarch formally approves an act of the legislature, either directly or through an official acting on the monarch's behalf. In some jurisdictions, royal assent is equivalent to promulgation, while in other ...
are promulgated on Tynwald Day; any Act of Tynwald which is not so promulgated within 18 months of passage ceases to have effect. Other proceedings include the presentation of petitions and the swearing in of certain public officials.


Date

Tynwald Day had traditionally been held on 24 June, which is the feast day of St
John the Baptist John the Baptist or , , or , ;Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history''. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1994. syc, ܝܘܿܚܲܢܵܢ ܡܲܥܡܕ݂ܵܢܵܐ, Yoḥanān Maʿmḏānā; he, יוחנן המטביל, Yohanān HaMatbil; la, Ioannes Bapti ...
and also Midsummer's Day. In 1753, the Isle of Man legislated to replace the
Julian Calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Roman consul Julius Caesar in 46 BC, was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on , by edict. It was designed with the aid of Greek mathematics, Greek mathematicians and Ancient Greek astronomy, as ...
with the
Gregorian Calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most parts of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a modification of, and replacement for, the Julian calendar. The principal change was to space leap years diffe ...
after Great Britain had done so in the previous year; making a difference of 11 days. But the legislation retained the Julian Calendar for the purpose of determining Tynwald Day: it provided that "Midsummer Tynwald Court shall be holden and kept ... upon or according to the same natural Days upon or according to which the same should have been so kept or holden ... in case this Act had never been made." Hence Tynwald Day occurred on 24 June in the Julian Calendar, but on 5 July according to the Gregorian Calendar. It was not subsequently moved back to 7 July, even though the Gregorian Calendar is now 13 days ahead of the Julian Calendar as the Gregorian Calendar had no
leap day February 29, also known as leap day or leap year day, is a date added to leap years. A leap day is added in various solar calendars (calendars based on the Earth's revolution around the Sun), including the Gregorian calendar standard in mos ...
in 1800 or 1900. If 5 July falls on a Saturday or Sunday, Tynwald Day is normally celebrated on the next Monday, as happened in 2008, 2009 and 2020. In 1979, Tynwald celebrated its millennium with a year-long festival of events showcasing Tynwald as the world's "oldest continuous parliament". This included building a replica Viking longship called Odin's Raven which recreated the early Norse voyages from Norway to the Isle of Man; the ship landed at Peel Beach on Tynwald Day 1979. In 2020, due to Covid-19, the fair and market were cancelled, and only the legal proceedings took place.


Participants

Midsummer Courts were sometimes presided over personally by the Lords of Mann, but more often by his representatives, as the Lords of Mann were often British aristocrats or monarchs who were not resident in the island. After the
Duke of Atholl Duke of Atholl, named for Atholl in Scotland, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland held by the head of Clan Murray. It was created by Queen Anne in 1703 for John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl, John Murray, 2nd Marquess of Atholl, with a special ...
presided in 1736, over two centuries passed before a Lord of Mann participated in Tynwald Day ceremonies.
George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a poli ...
presided in 1946; his successor
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until Death and state funeral of Elizabeth II, her death in 2022. She was queen ...
presided in 1979 (the millennial anniversary of Tynwald's establishment) and again in 2003. Occasionally another member of the Royal Family may preside, as the Prince Edward did in 1986, and the Prince of Wales did in 2000. The Lieutenant Governor is preceded by the Sword-Bearer, who wears a scarlet uniform and bears the Sword of State. The Sword of State probably dates from the 15th century, and may have been made for Sir John Stanley. The Sword, which is blunt for the sake of safety, displays the Manx
triskelion A triskelion or triskeles is an ancient Ancient history is a time period from the History of writing, beginning of writing and recorded human history to as far as late antiquity. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beg ...
(the traditional "three legs" symbol which also appears on the Manx flag). Members of the House of Keys and of the Legislative Council are also in attendance. The Speaker of the House of Keys wears a wig and black robes with gold decorations. The
President of Tynwald The President of Tynwald (''Eaghtyrane Tinvaal'') is the presiding officer at the sittings of Tynwald Court in Douglas, Isle of Man, Douglas and is elected by the members of Tynwald from amongst their number. The first elected President, Charl ...
wears a wig and blue robes with silver decorations. The President's robes also display the triskelion. The Isle of Man's highest judicial officers, the
Deemster A Deemster ( gv, briw) is a judge in the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man High Court, High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man is presided over by a deemster or, in the case of the appeal division of that court, a deemster and the Judge of Appeal. T ...
s, participate in the ceremony, wearing scarlet robes and long wigs. There are currently three Deemsters, including the First and Second Deemster. Their office is of great antiquity, as is reflected by the curious phraseology of their ancient oath, during which they promise to "execute the laws of this isle justly … betwixt party and party, as indifferently as the herring's backbone doth lie in the midst of the fish." Some individuals are invited to attend as ''Guests of Honour''. Guests of Honour include representatives of the United Kingdom and of other nations, usually including the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 Counties of Ireland, counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern ...
and some Scandinavian countries. In recent years,
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
have sent separate representatives, in addition to those for the United Kingdom. Notable guests in recent years have included: David Waddington, Baron Waddington (1998), Gareth Wyn Williams (1999), Rory O'Hanlon (1999/2005), Liam T. Cosgrave (2002),
Harald V of Norway Harald V ( no, Harald den femte, ; born 21 February 1937) is King of Norway The Norwegian monarch is the head of state of Norway, which is a constitutional monarchy, constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system. The N ...
(2002), David Steel (2002),
Jack McConnell Jack Wilson McConnell, Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale, (born 30 June 1960) is a Scottish politician who served as First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland from 2001 to 2007 Scottish Parliament election, 2007. M ...
and the British
Lord Chancellor The lord chancellor, formally the lord high chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking traditional minister among the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in Scotland and England in the United Kingdom, no ...
Charles Falconer, Baron Falconer of Thoroton (2003). Other participants include clergymen, leaders of local governments and several other officials, including all the State Officials of the Isle of Man. All participants wear , otherwise known as
mugwort Mugwort is a common name for several species of aromatic flowering plants in the genus ''Artemisia (genus), Artemisia.'' In Europe, mugwort most often refers to the species ''Artemisia vulgaris'', or common mugwort. In East Asia the species ''Ar ...
. Detachments and bands from the Constabulary and the military also take part in the ceremony, which is also attended by members of the general public. The ceremony is coordinated by the Tynwald Ceremony Arrangements Committee. The President of Tynwald is the ''ex officio'' chairman; the Committee's other members include the Speaker of the House of Keys and the
Chief Minister A chief minister is an Election, elected or appointed head of government of – in most instances – a sub-national entity, for instance an administrative subdivision or federal constituent entity. Examples include a Federated state, state (an ...
. Recently, a Tynwald Settings Enhancements Sub-Committee was constituted to improve Tynwald Day celebrations; the President and Speaker both serve on it, with the former serving as chairman.


Procession

Before Tynwald sits, the individual presiding inspects the
Guard of honour A guard of honour (British English, GB), also honor guard (American English, US), also ceremonial guard, is a group of people, usually military in nature, appointed to receive or guard a head of state or other dignitaries, the fallen in war, o ...
and lays a wreath at the National War Memorial, which was inaugurated in 1923. A foreign head of state attending the ceremony may accompany the Lieutenant Governor, as the King of Norway did in 2002. At eleven o'clock, Tynwald convenes in the Chapel of St John the Baptist for a religious service. Thereafter, they proceed to the adjacent Tynwald Hill. The path is strewn with rushes; the tradition is traceable to the Celtic custom of propitiating the sea god Manannan by offering bundles of rushes on Midsummer's Eve. The path is lined with numerous flagpoles, which fly both the red national flag and the blue parliamentary flag. The first procession includes clergymen and certain government officials. The second procession, known as the Tynwald Court Procession, follows; in order, it comprises the officers of the House of Keys, the members of the House of Keys, the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man, the Speaker of the House of Keys, a messenger of the House of Keys, officers of the Legislative Council, members of the Legislative Council, the
Attorney General In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general (sometimes abbreviated AG or Atty.-Gen) is the main legal advisor to the government. The plural is attorneys general. In some jurisdictions, attorneys general also have exec ...
, the Deemsters, the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the President of Tynwald and a messenger of the Legislative Council. Thereafter, two guards, the Sword-bearer, the Presiding Officer and the Lieutenant Governor (if not presiding). Dr John Clague described the procession as such in his 1911 book (Manx Reminiscences) Glenfaba is the sheading in which St John's is situated.


Tynwald Hill

The main ceremonies of the day take place on Tynwald Hill, known in the Manx language as ''Cronk-y-Keeillown'', or the Hill of the Church of John, in the village of St John's. This mound is said to include soil from all 17 of the Island's parishes. The mound, approximately 12 feet (3.7 metres) in height, includes four circular platforms, which are of successively decreasing size, thereby giving Tynwald Hill a somewhat conical shape. The ceremony of proclaiming laws on Tynwald Hill is traceable to the Norse practice of making public proclamations from mounds:
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic countries, Nordic island country in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and in the Arctic Ocean. Iceland is the most list of countries and dependencies by population density, sparsely populated coun ...
, for example, once used the Lögberg (Law-Rock or Law-Hill) for the same purpose. The origins of the man-made Tynwald Hill are unclear, but it existed by the end of the 14th century. It was used in 1393 for the inauguration of Sir William le Scrope, and again in 1408 for the inauguration of Sir John Stanley, as Lords of Mann. Its first recorded use for the promulgation of laws dates to 24 June 1417, when Sir John Stanley presided. The Lieutenant Governor, together with the Sword-Bearer and the officers and members of the Legislative Council, occupy the highest level of the Hill; officers and members of the House of Keys occupy the next level. Other officials are accommodated on the lower levels and at the foot of the mound. A tent covers the top platform. The flag of the Isle of Man flies from the flagpole except when the British Sovereign presides, when the
Royal Standard In heraldry and vexillology, a heraldic flag is a flag containing coat of arms, coats of arms, heraldic badges, or other devices used for personal identification. Heraldic flags include banners, standards, pennons and their variants, gonfalons, ...
flies. After the
royal anthem The anthem for a person, office or rank is music played on formal or ceremonial occasions in the presence of the person, office-holder, or rank-holder, especially by a military band. The head of state in many countries is honored with a prescribe ...
is sung, the First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls, upon the instruction of the Lieutenant Governor, directs the Coroner of Glenfaba to "fence the Court". The coroner accomplishes the task by declaring, "I fence this Court of Tynwald in the name of our most gracious Sovereign Lord The King. I charge that no person do quarrel, brawl or make any disturbance and that all persons do answer to their names when called. I charge this audience to witness this Court is fenced. I charge this audience to witness this Court is fenced. I charge this whole audience to bear witness this Court is now fenced." (the Reader) then repeats the same words in Manx. After the Court is fenced, the coroners appointed for the coming year take the oath. The Coroners of the six sheadings ascend the Hill in order of precedence (there are now four such Coroners) commencing with the Coroner of Glenfaba and Michael, followed (in a clockwise direction around the Island) by the Coroner of Ayre and Garff, the Coroner of Middle and the Coroner of Rushen. The First Deemster administers the oath to the kneeling coroners: "By that book and by the holy contents thereof and by the wonderful works that God hath miraculously wrought in
heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common Religious cosmology, religious cosmological or transcendence (religion), transcendent supernatural place where beings such as deity, deities, angels, souls, saints, or Veneration of the dead, venerated ancest ...
above and in the earth beneath in six days and seven nights, you shall, without respect of favour or friendship, love or gain, consanguinity or affinity, envy or malice, well and truly execute the office of coroner for each sheading to which you have been appointed for the ensuing year. So help you God." The phrase "wonderful works that God hath miraculously wrought ... in six days and seven nights" alludes to the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis (from Greek ; Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית ''Bəreʾšīt'', "In hebeginning") is the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its Hebrew name is the same as its first word, ( "In the beginning") ...
. The Coroners then receive ceremonial staves from the Lieutenant Governor. After the Coroners take the oath, the Lieutenant Governor states, "Learned deemsters, I exhort you to proclaim to the people in ancient form such laws as have been enacted during the past year and which have received the Royal Assent." Each law is promulgated by the First Deemster in English and by the Second Deemster in Manx. The deemsters state the title, and a brief description of the effects, of each act. For example, on Tynwald Day in 2003, one Act was promulgated with the words " Transfer of Deemsters' Functions Act 2003, which transfers certain functions of the deemsters to the Treasury." If an Act of Tynwald is not promulgated within 18 months of receiving the Royal Assent, it ceases to remain valid. Once the deemsters have promulgated the laws, individuals may present petitions for the redress of grievances. Petitions are presented at the foot of Tynwald Hill to the Clerk of Tynwald, who conveys them to the Lieutenant Governor. The petitions are then referred to a committee of Tynwald. Thereafter, after the singing of the first verse of the
National Anthem A national anthem is a patriotic musical composition symbolizing and evoking eulogies of the history and traditions of a country A country is a distinct part of the world, such as a state (polity), state, nation, or other polity, pol ...
, the Deputy Chief Constable of the Isle of Man Constabulary calls the participants individually off the Hill and they proceed to the Chapel.


Captioning ceremony

Tynwald then reconvenes in the Chapel. While Tynwald conducts substantive business in Douglas, it only participates in the ''captioning ceremony'' at St John's. During the ceremony, the Lieutenant Governor, the President of Tynwald and the Speaker of the House of Keys use
quill A quill is a writing tool made from a moulted flight feather (preferably a primary wing-feather) of a large bird. Quills were used for writing with ink before the invention of the dip pen, the metal-Nib (pen), nibbed pen, the fountain pen, and, ...
s to sign certificates documenting the promulgation of the laws. Once the captioning of the acts has concluded, the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Council withdraw, leaving members of the House of Keys for a session of their house. If there are any bills that have not completed all of their stages in the House of Keys, a member moves "That all Bills and other business before the House remaining unfinished at this date be suspended and continued at the same stage at the first sitting of the House in the next legislative year." This ''pro forma'' motion is approved by a voice vote; the House of Keys then adjourns. Even if there remains no unfinished business before it, the House of Keys still meets, but no motion is made, and adjournment is immediate. After Tynwald Day, Tynwald Court returns to Douglas for three further sittings, normally held on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday following Tynwald Day. If, however, Tynwald Day falls on a Monday, the sittings are not held until the following week. Following these sittings, Tynwald adjourns for the summer, not reconvening until October.


Other celebrations

Traditionally, Tynwald Day was also marked by a fair and market; these customs still continue. In recent years, the Tynwald Settings Enhancements Sub-Committee has introduced several other forms of celebration. Since 2000, the week of Tynwald Day has been commemorated as ''Manx National Week''. Concerts are held in the evening; at the conclusion, the Manx national anthem is played, and a
fireworks Fireworks are a class of Explosive, low explosive Pyrotechnics, pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. They are most commonly used in fireworks displays (also called a fireworks show or pyrotechnics), combining a l ...
display is staged.


See also

*
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in Europe ...
*
History of the Isle of Man The Isle of Man had become separated from Great Britain and Ireland by 6500 BC. It appears that colonisation took place by sea sometime during the Mesolithic era (about 6500 BC).Richard Bradley ''The prehistory of Britain and Ireland,'' Cambridge ...
* Government of the Isle of Man


References


Harrison, W. (1871). ''Records of the Tynwald & St John's Chapel in the Isle of Man.'' Douglas.

High Court of Tynwald. (2003). ''Report of the Proceedings of Tynwald Court,'' St John’s, Monday, 7 July 2003 at 10.35 a.m. Douglas: Office of the Clerk of Tynwald.

High Court of Tynwald (2004). "Tynwald Day — Order of Proceedings."

High Court of Tynwald. (2004). "Tynwald in History."

Isle of Man Government. (2004). "Tynwald Day 2003."


* ttp://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/fulltext/ls1819/index.htm ''The Lex Scripta of the Isle of Man.'' (1819). Douglas: G. Jefferson.* "Man, Isle of." (1911). ''Encyclopædia Britannica,'' 11th ed. London: Cambridge University Press.
"Tynwald Court, in the Isle of Man." (1857). ''Illustrated London News,'' 18 July.


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Further reading

* Broderick, George (2003): "Tynwald: A Manx cult-site and institution of pre-Scandinavian origin". Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 46 (Winter 2003): 55–94 and in Studeyrys Manninagh (e-journal of the Centre for Manx Studies) No. 4 (2003).


External links


Information about Tynwald Hill
Manx culture National days July observances Festivals in the Isle of Man Summer events in the Isle of Man