from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A judge; one who pronounces sentence or doom.
- n. A judge on the Isle of Man.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A judge in the Isle of Man who decides controversies without process.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A judge; one who pronounces sentence or doom; specifically, the title of two judges in the Isle of Man who act as the chief justices of the island, the one presiding over the northern, the other over the southern, division. Compare doomster.
Ransom with life the deemster who would doom me dead.
And this I can say with the less hesitation as I rely on the power of a deemster.
But these laws down to the time of the second Stanley existed only in the breasts of the deemsters themselves, being therefore called Breast Laws, and thus they were supposed to be handed down orally from deemster to deemster.
If anything is needful to complete the picture of wretchedness in which the poor Manx people must have existed then, it is the knowledge of what manner of man a deemster was in those days, what his powers were, and how he exercised them.
Once more, no inquest of a deemster, no judge or jury, was necessary to the death-sentence of a man who rose against the king or his governor on his seat on Tynwald.
On such occasions, the deemster invariably acted on the sound old legal maxim, once recognised by an Act of Parliament, that suits not likely to bear good costs should always be settled out of court.
Or at midnight, in his own home, a deemster might be broken in upon by a clamorous gang of disputants and their witnesses, who came from the pot-house for the settlement of their differences.
He played with his clergy as long as they had anything to lose, and then he played with a deemster and lost five hundred pounds himself.
On entering into office, the deemster took an oath, which is sworn by all deemsters to this day, declaring by the wonderful works which God hath miraculously wrought in six days and seven nights, that he would execute the laws of the island justly "betwixt party and party, as indifferently as the herring's backbone doth lie in the midst of the fish."
A deemster riding from Ramsey to Peel might find his way stopped by a noisy claimant, who held his defendant by the lug, having dragged him bodily from the field to the highway, to receive instant judgment from the judge riding past.