On two occasions during the long history of the office, the Captains forcibly (though not unanimously) displayed discontent with their rulers. The first was during the GREAT REBELLION of 1651, following the execution of the Lord of Man, the seventh Earl of Derby, by the English Parliamentary authorities, victors in the Civil War. Fearing the intention of the Countess of Derby to make terms more favourable to the interests of her own family than to those of the Manx people, and nursing a long-standing grievance about changes in the system of land-tenure, William Christian (Illiam Dhone), Commander of the Militia, summoned the Southside Captains to Ronaldsway, where 800 men assembled. Captains Stevenson of Arbory, Colcott of Braddan and Huddlestone of Malew did not respond to the call. The Northside men took the forts at Ramsey and Kerroogarroo (Andreas), and with the Patrick and German bands, captured Peel Castle, which they were able to hold. Within ten days, the Parliamentary forces had landed and taken over the castles and remaining forts, the Manx representatives stipulating that their fellow-countrymen should be permitted to retain their ancient rights and laws. Few changes were made in the Island during the Commonwealth and Protectorate, but at the Restoration in 1660, severe punishment was meted out to those guilty in the eighth Earl’s eyes, most notably in the execution of Illiam Dhone. Seven Keysmen and six Parish Captains and Lieutenants (who, like James Banks of Onchan, had been more active in the Rising than the Captains themselves) were dismissed, and replaced with others deemed more loyal to the Derbys. The office of Lieutenant survived in Andreas until late in the nineteenth century.
The second occasion was in 1825, when dissatisfaction with the POTATO TITHE, newly imposed by Bishop Murray, led to outbreaks of violence. Parish meetings of protest were called in Jurby by Captain William Farrant of Ballamooar, and soon afterwards in Ballaugh and Michael by Captain John Hughes of Ballamona Mooar and Captain John Cain of Ballaskyr, a staunch Methodist. Bonds were signed by those present that they would outlaw the proposed tithe, resulting in a formal reprimand of the three Captains by Lieutenant-Governor Smelt. An attempt to collect the tithes in Rushen and Arbory led to a march on Castletown by a crowd said to number a thousand men, a dangerous threat to the capital averted largely by the efforts as mediator in the Castle of the Coroner of Rushen, Archibald Cregeen (the lexicographer). As a result, the Bishop abandoned his intention to impose the tithe.
Bonds had also been signed in German and Patrick, but the agitation there, not being led by the Captains, deteriorated into mindless vandalism, later severely punished. The situation, however, was sufficiently grave to cause the Bishop to vacate Bishop’s Court, which he feared might be attacked from East and West. Within a year, he had been translated to Rochester, and in 1839, the Act for the Commutation of Tithes was passed.