Early Leases

This section attempts to analyse when the process of granting leases to tenants began, what proportion of tenants took them out any why.


Many leases were taken out in 1610 (typically for 19 years), in 1629/30, in 1643-5 (all tenants and for either 3 lives or 21 years) and 1666 (replacing the 1645 leases which had expired). We are focussing here on the earlier leases.


It appears that some late 16th century leases were held for the former Baronies (the Abbey Lands or Spiritualities) which may have fallen to the Lord - rather than for the Lord's lands themselves. An example of such a lease (for 3 lives) is the grant by the crown of the Rectories of Maughold and Michael (formerly belonging to the Abbey of Furness) to Thomas Preston in 1585 for 31 years subject to a rent of 6l 13s 4d per year. Another such lease (this time for 3 lives) was granted by the Lord of Man to Robert Salsbury. (Copies of both published in Manx Society Vol IX.)


Talbot's transcription and translation (from Latin) of the 1511 South Side Liber Assedationis implies that most land was then held for a period of 7 years. (The first entry for example reads ".. for 2 tenements and 1 quarter of land demised to them and assigns for a term of 7 years, this year being the 6th". I'm not aware of any documentation (with the possible exception of the Libri Placitorum or secondary sources such as the Nantleys manuscript) which provides any additional detail about these leases.


The ancient customary laws begin "At the first when the noble & worthy Sie John Stanley did possess the Island of Man" (ie the start of the fifteenth century) the tenants had their farms "somtymes for three or five years & sometymes for more years)". Again it is unclear what further documentary evidence survives relating to these apparent leases.