While most of the Captains’ duties have varied over the centuries, one has remained constant – their attendance at the Hill on Tynwald Day.
Some of the temporary variations have been recorded by historians. Speaker A W Moore, while noting the disappearance of military obligations, wrote that in the current year (1900), the Captains were still concerned with the preservation of the peace, and that, a little earlier, they had been appointed as Returning Officers in School Board elections. In 1955, Captain David Craine, in his book Manannan’s Isle, reported that they were then required to attend an annual Selection Board to elect members of the District Licensing Court, for which they themselves might be chosen.
More recently, there have been two noteworthy developments. Since the 1960s, the dignity of the Captains has been enhanced by the adoption of a badge of office presented to each on appointment.
In 1990, the first lady Captain was appointed in the person of Mrs Marion Taggart of Malew, who, it is hoped, will be the first of many female holders of this ancient and honourable office.
The last word on the subject must rest with Captain David Craine. Referring to three honours held by himself, he demonstrated his appreciation of his Manx distinction, when he remarked: “There are countless MAs and MBEs, but only seventeen CPs!”