Land Organisation

Major land divisions


The only types of land which are consistently given unique names in the records are sheadings, baronies, parishes and treens. The Isle was divided up into sheadings each of which comprised two or three parishes. Sheadings were ancient administration districts and each held its own Court for the Lord's tenants. Whilst most land was rented from the Lord, some was held instead from one of the several Baronies on the Island. These Baronies (which also each held its own Court) might contain land from multiple parishes. Treens were ancient groupings of farmland and a typical parish contained around a dozen treens.


The Sheadings of the Isle of Man are named:


  • Ayre (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Andreas, Bride and Lezayre)
  • Glenfaba (traditionally consisting of the parishes of German and Patrick)
  • Michael (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Michael, Jurby and Ballaugh)
  • Rushen (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Rushen, Arbory and Malew)
  • Middle (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Braddan, Marown and Santan)
  • Garff (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Lonan, Maughold and Conchan)


The former three sheadings were referred to as the North Side and the latter three the South Side. Each half had its own Deemster (effectively a judge) and Vicar General and (presumably as a consequence) there were several minor differences between the law and record keeping of the North and South. Each half also had its own castle, Castle Peel for the North and Castle Rushen for the South. (One of the traditional duties of the Lords tenants was provisioning his castles and I speculate that it is their association with these castles which sustained the North/South distinction.) An adminstrative change in 1796 caused certain parishes to change designation between North and South.


Land Types


The major property records (specifically the Libri Assedationis and Libri Vastarum as well as the corresponding Baronial Court records) are organised by parish and within that identify property only by its type and rent. Although the Libri Assedationis list all property in a consistent order, the Libri Vastarum are unordered. The different land types are:




A quarterland is a unit of farm land of around 40 to 150 acres in size. The vast proportion of the best arable land falls into this category and the Isle of Man contains about 770 quarterlands in total. The boundaries of the quarterlands are ancient and predate the earliest records considered here. The name presumably reflects the fact that a typical treen compromised of four quarterlands (and a quarter originally being a measure of land size). In the Libri Assedationis and Libri Vastarum quarterlands appear under the heading of the treen of which they are part.




Cottages relates to specific plots (almost entirely) in towns and villages which was designated as Cottage Land in ancient times (pre 1500)




A number of tenant corn mills appear in the oldest records and are designated as Firma Molend (Farm Mills in Latin). Over time new mills were built. If licenced as mills these were added to records under this heading. Otherwise they would be labelled as Intacks.




All licenced lands not falling into one of the above categories was labelled intack. New intacks were created by applying to the Lord or Man or his representative for a licence to enclose a parcel of waste land. After receiving this, it would need to be viewed by the Great Enquest of the Sheading (which would verify the quantity of the land and ensure that roads, water-courses and the like were not restricted) and then considered at a Sheading Court (which would set an annual rent upon it). Once all of this was done it would be added to the Rents Roll for the parish. The occupant was now a tenant of the Lord and had tenure.


Certain intacks adjoined to quarterlands were easements (eg access routes to those quarterlands) and were known as Intacks of Ease. These were at times treated as quarterlands rather than Intacks for the purposes of inheritance.


Waste Land


Wasteland was generally designated Firm Vast and is mentioned frequently in early Libri Vastarum. It could be utilised, however the occupant was expected to pay a fee to the Lord for the use of his land. The occupant was not considered a tenant of the Lord and such land does not appear in the Setting Book (Liber Assedationis) after 1644. Over time such land was gradually enclosed and converted to Intacks.


Land Ownership


The feudal lord was the Lord of Man, and most of the land was rented directly from him. A proportion (around 15%) was however held by the Lord's Barons, each of which had their own tenants and administrations. These Barons were originally the heads of certain Church institutions (such as the Abbot of Rushen Abbey), but following the Dissolution of the religious houses in the mid 16th century the Baronies passed into other hands. According to Manx Society Pub XXXI the number of quarterlands of the different types are as follows:

Lord's Land                                              639 1/2
Abbey Lands (Barony of Rushen Abbey and the Nunnery)      99 1/2
Bishop's Barony                                           19 1/4
Barony of Bangor and Saball                                7
Barony of St Trinians                                      5

A breakdown of rents of the Barony and Lord's land is given below. With the exception of the doubling of quarterland rents in 1704, the stated rents paid by Lord's tenants were unchanged from (at least as far back as) the early sixteenth century onwards. This does not necessarily apply to Baronies however and the figures below should only be taken as correct for the stated period. There were also differences between customary obligations (rents in kind) Lord's and Barony tenants. These customary obligations are not included below.


The Lord and Barons also had demenses (their own untenanted land). This included uncultivated Wast land, some of which was later enclosed and rented out by the Lord.


Abbey Land


This is the land originally held by the Abbot of Rushen Abbey and the Prioress of the Nunnery. It is by far the largest Barony. The rents below are taken from from Abbey Rents bundles which shows them to be consistent between 1644 and 1674.

Kirk Malew               Total land rent   53l 18s 11d
Kirk German              Total land rent   13l  6s
Sulby in Kirk Lezayre    Total land rent   11l  8s
Skinsco in Kirk Lonan    Total land rent    2l 19s  2d
Kirk Braddan             Total land rent    8l  9s  2d
Trinity Rushen           Total land rent    1l 10s  


Bishop's Barony: Farms


This is the land held by the Bishop. The quarterland rents below are taken from a published source (Talbot) and were extracted by him from from circa 1580 records which I have yet to examine. I have omitted the cottage rents.

KK Jurby

Bretney             17s 4.5d
Loughan y Voadey     5s
Ballagarraghyn      10s
Ballagaye            8s
Kerroo Creii         7s
Cooil Doo            4s
Rendoo              10s
Ballalig            11s
Ballachristy         7s

KK Braddan

Ballaoates           7s
Ballacregga          4s
Ballaquirk          10s
Ballaughton         11s
Ballafletcher       21s 8d

KK Marown

Ballakilley         24s
Cooilingel          10s

KK Patrick

Ballabrooii         10s
Ballaspict          11s 4d

KK German

Ballakilmoiry       10s


Barony of Bangor and Saball


This contains the land originally held by the Abbeys of Bangor and Saball. The associated Baronial Court of 8th May 1603 (Liber Bangor and Sabal) helpfully gives a full list of the tenants, their rents and customs and this is set down below. The columns are rent followed by the customary obligations counted in number of hens, boon days and carriages of turf respectively. It would appear that on average each unit of quarterland was required to deliver 3 hens and 9 boon days (in addition to 1 carriage of turf per shilling of rent).

KK Patrick

 7s  6d       1     3    7.5  
11s  6d       1     3   11.5   
    12d       1     3      1
10s           1     3     10
 9s         1.5   4.5      9
10s           2     6     10
10s           2     6     10
 5s  3d       1     3      5
 5s  3d       1     3      5
10s  3d       2     6      5
 3s           2     6     []
20s           2     6     20
 5s 3d        1     3      5
10s           1     3     10
 9s         1.5    4.5     9


Barony of St Trinians


The above mentioned Baronial Court (1603 Liber Bangor and Sabal) gives a full list of the tenants of this Barony also. Here the customary rent would appear to be 2 hens, 3 boon days and 20 carriages of turf per unit quarterland. The names and parishes of the lands are not given in this record. The rents remained unchanged however and I have used the later records of the Baronial Court (Barony of St Trinians 1785-1916) to assign names and subsequently parishes to the rents. The quarterlands are contiguous.

KK German

Ballachurry    9s           1   1.5     10
Ballachurry    7s           1   1.5     10

KK Marown

Botchen       13s  4d       2     3     20  
Rock          13s           2     3     20
Ballavitchel  10s           2     3     20   
Ballaglanney   9s  6d       2     3     20


Lord's Land: North Side Farms


The treens of the North Side Parishes together with the rents of their constituent quarterlands are given below. This list uses the spellings and order given in the 1606 Liber Assedationis and is based on my transcription (which may contain errors). Many different spellings for the treen names appear in the records. The order in which treens and quarterlands and their associated rents occasionally changed also. Many of the treen names have simple derivations in Manx and some occur multiple times.

Kirk Patrick

Dalby             21s       19s 4d    19s 7d    17s 7.5d
Alia Julby        20s       16s 2d    19s 6d    19s 6d    3s 9d
Raby              24s       19s       18s 6d    21s 4d    14d       8d
Gurdon            27s 5d    17s       27s 8d    24s 8d
Knockaloe         23s       28s 6d
Ballymore         24s       24s       26s 8d    21s 4d
Foxedaill         14s       14s 8d    8s 9d     8s 2d     8s 6d     12s       7s 6d     12s 4d
Ballahorke        12s       11s 2d    2s 8d
Glenrushen        9s        3s 4d

Kirk German

Ballykebaye       15s 4d    9s 6d     8s 6d     15s
Ballytersin       25s 4d    2d        16d       11s
Sandall           15s 4d    19s 4d    16s       20s 4d
Sandall           14s       8s        14s 8d    15s 6d    13s
Knabe             10s       13s 6d    17s 8d    9s 8d     4s
Lambsall          22s       25s 8d    8s 2d     5s 6d
Alia knooke       16s       13s 6d    10s 8d    13s
Acrody            5s        16s 4d
Ballydonnaghan    11s       11s 4d    14s       18s
Ballydoyne        13s 4d    34s 10d   2s 4d     17s

Kirk Michael

Ballycrnane       26s 8d    26s 8d    14s
Balyster          20s       16s       7s 6d     21s 8d    3s 4d
Shalghagh         17s 6d    14s 10d   31s 6d
Balycane          24s 8d    17s 4d    15s       7s
Camall            27s       19s 8d    24s 6d
Barrickmore       33s 2d    22s 4d    18s
Dromrewaiye       18s 4d    16s       17s       8s        10s
Ballyfaden        18s 6d    18s 6d    18s 6d    14s       4s
Nerlogher         27s 8d    16s 4d    24s 8d    12d
Oristell          14s 9d    15s       8s 9d     15s 8d
Leyrey            37s       17s 6d
Rencullen         18s
Ariarkell         7s 8d

Kirk Ballaugh

Brogard           25s       14s 6d    27s 4d
Ballyskebaye      28s 8d    21s       14s 4d    12d
Ballymore         17s       21s    
Ardurke           6s 8d
Ballymony         20s 10d   21s       22s       7s 6d     12s       2s 6d     15s 4d  (continued next line)
                  4s 4d     2s 8d     2s 8d     18d       2s
Ballycane         20s 8d    18s       18s 6d    21s       2s        8d
Ballytensin       17s       13s 6d    20s 4d    13s 8d
Ballykally        21s 8d    20s 6d    17s       20s       12d       16d
Carnedall         17s       17s       20s 10d   16s 4d
Cannedall         15s 11d   21s 3d    21s       22s

Kirk Jurby

Sertfell          17s       42s 8d
Knordevaill       10s 4d    10s 4d    15s 4d    20s       17s
Loz Solby         17s       18s       8d
Sclarkby          8d        12s 6d    15s 4d    12s 8d    17s 2d    27s
Dalyott           9s 2d     9s        4s 4d     10s       9s 3d

Kirk Andreas      

Kaby              18s 2d    20s       18s       18s
Oraby             27s 8d    24s 2d
Mullentowne       16s 8d    11s       11s 10d   13s 6d
Ballyhostine      41s       18s       18s
Gilcanght         25s       26s 1d    17s 1d
Leodest           17s 6d    17s       20s       17s
Alia Leodest      15s 4d    13s 6d    17s 6d    17s
Ballymarre        16s 8d    19s       12s 8d    14s 8d
Ballydaughy       8s 3d     11s 6d    24s 7d    16s
Smeall            21s       19s       21s       15s 6d
Ballytann         13s 4d    13s 4d
Sueolekegge       24s 6d    24s 6d    19s       5s 6d
Branstall         26s 6d
Ballilingge       32s 9d    11s 4d    22d
Ballaquarres      17s 7d    37s 3d    9s 9d     9s        14d
Ballyneage        23s       21s 6d    23s 4d    22s 4d    2s

Kirk Bride

Sandall           26s 2d    18s 6d    9s 2d     18s
Ballymon          21s 4d    21s 7d    21s 8d    20s
Broricke          23s 8d    34s       37s 4d
Cranstall         33s 3d    17s 6d    16s 10d
Cranstall         16s 4d    16s 4d    16s 4d    17s 4d
Cranstall         16s 4d    16s 4d    10s 7d    8s
Ballykennaige     9s 10d    9s 10d    26s 8d    25s       10s 2d
Rausey            14s 4d    8s 6d
Crostymore        13s 4d    10s 6d    22s       14s       14s        2s 4d    9s 6d    9s 6d
Crostikegg        15s 6d    8s 8d     8s 8d     20s       19s 6d     
Gueate            14s 6d    11s 2d    25s 6d    13d

Kirk Lezayre

Solby             14s       13s 2d    16s 10d   26s 4d    14s 4d     19s      14s
Brericke          24s 8d    24s 8d    27s
Alia Solby        28s 8d    26s       22s       24s
Alia Solby        31s 6d    28s       21s 6d
Alkost            23s 4d    22s 4d    17s 8d    17s 8d    5s 8d      16s      3s 4d
Orrest            19s 4d    17s 8d    23s       10s 6d    28s 4d     
Corrackes         22s       27s 6d    5s 2d     7d        14d      
Awste             20s       18s 4d    22s       17s 6d


Lord's Land: South Side Farms


The treens of the South Side Parishes together with the rents of their constituent quarterlands are given below. This list uses the spellings and order given in the 1686 and 1687 Libri Assedationis and is based on my transcription (which may contain errors). As before many different spellings for the treen names appear in the records, and the order in which treens and quarterlands and their associated rents occasionally changed also. Many of the treen names have simple derivations in Manx and some occur multiple times.

Trinity Rushen

Fishgarth         31s       24s       23s 4d    2s        13s 4d
Glendowne         11s 4d    10s 10d   17s       5s 8d
Lignes            12s 3d    22s 8d    6s
Dromney           17s       51s 4d
Shendoile         7s        14s 8d    24s 8d    21s 8d    20s 10d (?)
Bradda            16s       16s       16s       16s
Saurebii          13s 10d   12s       11s 4d    25s 8d    12s 4d    13s       13s
Kentragh          3l 5s
Kk Sansan         11s       9s        22s 6d    34s 10d
Scaldaby          22s       22s       12s 4d    12s 2d    13s 4d    9s 6d
Ballakilpatr      22s 6d    19s 4d    21s 10d   22s 6d    12d
Renwill           2s 4d
Scard             29s 2d
Legan             5s 8d
Le Calf           26s 8d

Kirk Arbory

Balladoole        56s 8d    16s 8d    3l
Bemaccan          20s       34s
Garymore          2s        12d
Ardarry           12s 8d    14s 10d   16s 4d    14s 8d    10d
Ballafaddan       11s 8d    14s 2d    19s 10d   5s 4d     5s 4d     11s       14s 4d    10s 8d
Sestraw           21s       7s
Arissinock        6s        6s 1d     12s 6d    9s 8d     18d       9s 9d     6d
Aristine          19s       17s       13s 8d    16s 6d    3s 4d
Colby             24s       21s 4d    9s 4d     7s 6d     11s       11s 4d
Ballacarmich      18s 8d    31s 2d    18s 8d

Kirk Malew

Arrennaccii       18s
Greneby           8s 6d     13s 4d    19s 10d   22s 2d
Totnamby          26s 8d    8s 8d
Comissarry        13s       23s       3l
Lough             13s 4d
KK Michell        15s       29s 6d    18s       18d       15s
Warfoild          7s 4d     14s 2d    9s 4d     19s 6d    12s
Scarlett          24s 6d    7s        7s 6d     3l 6s 8d  2s        ---       28s       18s     
                  2s 6d     46s 8d    22s       8s        2d        ---       4s 8d             

Kirk Santon

Haw               3s 4d     3s 10d    16s       21s 8d
Mearii            13s       26s
Grenickle         7s 8d     16s 2d    7s 8d     12s 10d   11s 2d
Knockshemigg      16s 4d    13s 8d    13s 2d    6s        6s        16d       2s 3d
Bendoile          9s 2d     25s       11s
Saudrabrick       13s 8d    8s 2d     6s 8d
Corbrick          10s 10d   11s 8d    7s        9s 6d
Arsrogaine        23s       21s       13s 7d    14s 6d    11s 6d
Knockaloughan     18s 4d    9s 8d     10s

Kirk Marown

Ballaknickle      13s       13s       7s
Sandbrick         11s 4d    20s       4s 8d     10s 2d    11s
Candall           13s 10d   10s
Glenlough         6s 4d     19s 8d    12s 8d    5s 8d
Glenigils         9s
Trolby            15s 10d   13s 4d    10s 10d   6s 2d
Ballatenson       10s 4d    10s 6d    3s 4d     13s 1d    9s 6d
Ballaydaman       13s 10d   11s 4d    6s 8d     12s 10d

Kirk Braddan

Baldallbrene      13s       13s       13s       10s 6d    9s 6d    12s 4d    2s 6d
Ballakristrie     12s 6d    9s        16s       9s 8d     15s 2d
Baldalregnilt     9s        8s 8d     19s       15s 4d    13s
Castleward        42s       14s 8d    9s 8d
Camlorge          13s 4d    27s       7s 8d     5s 4d     17s
Testraw           12s
Vlist             9s        10s 6d    13s       12s 8d    15d      12s 8d
Middle            30s       6s 9d     16s 6d    7s 4d
Gresby            13s 6d    8s 8d     12s       11s 6d    10s 6d   11s 6d    
All Gresby        20s 6d

Kirk Conchan

Douglas           7s 8d     29s       28s
Tromode           15s 4d    16s 4d    13s 4d    13s 4d     
Tremessary        12s 6d    12s       5s 6d     14s
Begoade           5s 8d     12s       11s 4d    16s
All Begoade       15s       17s
Byballoe          14s 10d   8d 2d     13s
Slekiby           13s       9s        17s       22s       19s
Horalell          20s 8d    8s
Hawstraike        53s 4d

Kirk Lonan

Grettest          15s       14s 4d    2s        13s       17s
Hegnes            25s 6d    8s        11s 6d
Colby             5s 10d    10s       8s 8d     17s 6d    20d
All Colby         11s       16s 6d    13s 4d    9s        15s 4d
Amogary           22s       13s       18d
Swanthave         12s       14s       10s 8d    9s
Grauffe           11s 6d    13s 8d    10s       2s        9s 6d
Rauffe            17s       14s 6d    13s       12s 4d
Morrest           13s       15s       11s       15s
Shonest           8s
Brandall          17s 4d    8s        8s
Rabii             14s       4s        17s 6d    13s
All Rabii         19s 4d    19s 4d    6s        6s
Rigge             36s 10d

Kirk Maughold

Ballure           26s 7d    26s       27s       27s 4d
Lewaige           22s       15s       13s
Ballagill         14s 6d    17s 6d    16s       16s
Ballfayle         22s 7d    25s 8d
Ballashebagg      15s       16s       16s 4d    14s
Ramsey            8s        8d        6d        12d       12d        12d       12d     (continued next line)
                  8d        8d        8d        12d       12d
Connamore         19s 8d    15s       10s 6d
Connabegg         25s       14s 6d    19s 6d    7s 5d     3s         13s 6d
Cardall           23s       20s       19s 2d    14s 6d
Rencullen         8s
Balltenson        24s       16s 6d    16s 6d    18s