• November 15, 2015


There will be no fresh move on the Chronicles the Chief Minister has said. I had written to him following the news that the Scottish Government had managed to negotiate the return of several of its artefacts on long term loan, including the Wallace letter and some of the Lewis Chess men. The query can be found at this link:


The reply from the Isle of Man Chief Minister is set out below;

“13th November 2015

Dear Bernard

Thank you for your letter of 31 October 2015 regarding the Chronicles of the Kings of Man and the Isles.

As you identify in your letter, the Chronicles continue to reside at the British Library. The legal position of the British Library remains, as previously stated, that the institution is bound by statute to retain artefact ownership. Consequently it is not in a position to transfer the documents to the Isle of Man on a permanent basis.

The recent agreement between the Scottish Government and UK National Archive concerning the long term loan of the Wallace Letter is noted. However it is important to understand that this position is not the same as that in respect of the Chronicles. The National Archives (UK) and its Scottish counterpart are not restricted by the British Library’s comparable statutory obligations regarding both retention of ownership and loan provision. Consequently the situation in respect of the Wallace Letter has no impact on the position of the Chronicles which has been looked into extensively on a number of occasions.

Due to this unchanged position it is my view that there is nothing to be gained by reopening discussions at this time. I understand that you will be disappointed with my reply but I would add that, as you are aware, the British Library has indicated it is happy to consider short term loans to the Island at any time in the future.

Yours sincerely”

Obviously and as indicated the reply is disappointing but not surprising. Given the current ‘in tray’ of the Manx Government I would imagine the fate of the Chronicles is low on the agenda (if still on it at all).

I do not pretend to understand the constitutional nuances but I cannot accept that if British Institutions will countenance long term loans to Scotland the same could not be sought for Mann.

If seems perverse that what would be a major exhibit here is simply a non exhibit of little relevance to the overall ‘treasures’ in the British Library. It makes one wonder if the custodians of the British Library have as a priority ‘culture or property’.

Despite what the CM says long term loan would not have impacted the ‘retained ownership’ question.

Finally, I doubt many people in Mann, with all the other domestic privations they face, will be too exercised over the issue. Sadly the compelling demands of every day life are more urgent. In a sense it sums up what we are becoming a place little interested in the past and facing an uncertain future!

My thanks for the CM and his staff for replying promptly
Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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