Lordship and Sovereignty in the Isle of Man: subkingship and its implications, 1300-1600
Prof. Tim Thornton, University of Huddersfield
Drawing on the example of the kingship / lordship of Man, this paper considers the manifestations of sub-kingship from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries as a way of understanding the complexity of manifestations of sovereignty across the islands ultimately controlled by the English crown. It assesses the use of royal titles, and associated ceremonial and issues such as forms of dating. Also considered are some of the practical manifestations of ‘sovereign’ power, seen in rights associated with justice, taxation, and relations between princes; and the capacity to exclude the intervention of others in these spheres. The reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII have usually been seen as the final point at which centralisation through the power and authority of the English monarch obliterated any remaining echoes of sub-kingship in these islands, ending once and for all the possibility of a shared space between kingship and lordship. The historiography of this moment is considered, and evidence for continuity through Henry VIII’s reign presented. The paper therefore raises questions about subkingship, and about lordship, and their political and cultural boundaries in the late medieval and early modern periods.