We arrive as the princess leads the procession from the small church at St Johns
to the grassy mound of Tynwald. The year’s new laws are read out and the Viking tradition
was that you could stand at the foot of the mound and shout objections of there was
a law you didn’t agree with. But, today, who’s going to object to the low, low income
tax they enjoy on the island?
The Manx parliament has been meeting here continuously for over a thousand years.
It’s said to be the oldest continuously held parliament in the world.
Yorkshire also has Viking roots and similar gatherings were held at Tingley, West
Yorkshire. Tingley and Tynwald have the same meaning; the field where the ‘Thing’
(gathering of people) was held.
Today’s gathering and the accompanying fair gives me an impression of the Viking
gatherings that might have been held on my home patch. They were often, as here on
the Isle, associated with a mound and I suspect that Lawefield on the slopes of Lowe
Hill in Wakefield’s Thornes Park might have been a local meeting place.