A page from the 1656 Liber Vastarum

The image below is one page of the 1656 Liber Vastarum which details the land transfers made in that year. It is untidier than some, but is otherwise typical of seventeenth century Libri Vastarum. The format and content of the page is described in more detail below.



This image by courtesy of Manx National Heritage.


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This page contains part of the Liber Vastarum entries for two parishes. The area of blank space marks the gap between the parishes. We will concentrate on the entries relating to the second parish (Kirk Michael).


My literal transcription of the header for Kirk Michael is as follows.

            Paroich St Michaell

                       }  Gilbt Quayle  }
            Noia iiii  }  Will Curleod  } Jur
            Jur ibm    }  Jo: Quayle    }
                       }  Jo: Teare     }


This gives the names of the four man jury (the Setting Quest) which oversaw the entries for that Sheading Court.


My literal transcription of the first entry for Kirk Michael is as follows.

                    s     d         s    d     }
                 xii  iiii        vi   ii      }       s
Ballynemade  | Jo: quartaige |  Jo: Caine cu   } xxiiii   vi[]
             -----------------                 }
             eo et ceter ----------------------}

Jo: Caine is entered for vis iid of the
xiis iiiid by bill of Sayle


The word on the left indicates the type of land concerned. Ballynemade is a treen name and tells us that the property is part of a quarterland (ie farmland) within that treen. The roman numerals on the right of the brackets give the rent of the quarterland. We can't read all of the rent in this photograph, but it is clearly 24 shillings and at least 6 pence. A glance at the Liber Assedationis for Kirk Michael shows that there are only four quarterlands in Ballynamade and these have rents 24s 8d, 17s 4d, 15s and 7s respectively. Clearly therefore the complete rent should read xxiiiis viiid. An examination of the 1704 composition book reveals that this quarterland was then named Ballaley.


The name Jo: quartaige is enclosed in a partial box which indicates that he was giving up some or all of his land. His old land holding (12 shillings and 4 pence) appears above his name in roman numerals. The new tenant's name (Jo: Caine) appears outside of any box. His new holding (6 shillings and 2 pence) appears above his name also. In other words half of Jo: quartaige's rent has been transferred to Jo: Caine and they each now pay one quarter of the total rent for the quarterland of Ballaley. The : following the Jo in both names indicates that Jo is an abbreviated name, presumably for John. The cu eo et ceter suffix is abbreviated latin and as far as I can determine translates roughly to "this with the rest" indicating that when these new rents are combined with others we get the bracketted total rent of 24s 8d.


The expanation for the land transfer is given below and (as is typical) appears in straightforward English. Jo: quartaige has sold the relevant land to Jo: Caine who has accordingly been entered into the Setting Book (or Liber Assedationis) as a tenant for 6s 2d rent.


My abbreviated transcription of the Kirk Michael entries on this page is given below.

1656     Ballynamade  00 24  [8?]     
OLD ENTRY Jo quartaige {12s 4d}                        
NEW ENTRY Jo Caine {6s 2d} cu eo et ceter
Jo Caine is entered for 6s 2d of the
12s 4d by bill of Sayle

1656     Camall       00 19  8      
OLD ENTRY Don Curlood {4s 10d}                         
NEW ENTRY Jo Curlood {4s 10d} cum ceteris
John Curlood is entered by way of heire
shipe Donald the father beinge deade

1656     Ballister    00 21  8      
OLD ENTRY Margr Quayle {5s 5d}                        
NEW ENTRY Will Quayle {2d} cu ea et ceter
Will Quayle is entered for 2d of this 5s 5d
by Bill of Sayle

1656     Shalleagh    00 17  6    
OLD ENTRY Paule Crye et Jony Teare {8s 3d}                 
NEW ENTRY Tho Cannell {8s 3d} cu cetr
Tho: Cannell is entered by Bill of