Lord of the Isles

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Dominus insularum, Seigneur des iles

Jersey must have been an affluent community even in the Middle Ages, because it was capable of raising income from taxation quite disproportionate to its size. The Dukes of Normandy and Kings of England expected an income from the Channel Islands which was known as the farm. Records show that in 1180 Jersey's farm was a total of 460 livres angevins, more than twice the sum expected from Guernsey and nearly ten times the farm of the vicomté of Coutances.

King Richard I and later monarchs would sometimes appoint a family member or favoured courtier as Lord of the Isles, a position of considerable status, besides giving them a significant income. Prince John, afterwards King, and Prince Edward, later Edward I, held this post. Otto de Grandison was Lord for nearly fifty years, but only once visited the islands. Sometimes the Lord appointed his own lieutenant to represent him in the islands; sometimes the King made a further appointment. After a gap of nearly a century the sinecure was revived in 1415 for the brother of Henry V. The last of these Lords was Warwick the King Maker.

Sometimes the early Lords are referred to by historians as Wardens. Usually this is an error, but in some circumstances the Lord of the Isles actually undertook some of the work which might have been expected to be the responsibility of a Warden, which can lead to confusion. On the whole the Lord was a Royal prince or a good friend of the King, and the Warden was a military man given responsibility for the islands' security.

There was one Lady of the Isles, Anne de Beauchamp, who inherited the title, held it briefly, and then passed it to her husband.

Lord of the Isles

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