This section attempts to analyse how the tithes traditionally payable to the church were divided out.


Each parish church was owned either by the bishop or an associated religous house (such as Rushen Abbey), and they would appoint a vicar to it. In the mid fourteenth century the tithes were commonly divided into thirds, typically with one third going the bishop, and the remaining two thirds paid to the vicar and/or the associated religious house. The receipent of thirds could chose to lease out the right to this payment for a fixed period (commonly 21 or 30 years) in exchange for a fixed annual rent.


Over time more of the thirds were allocated (presumably by themselves) to the owners of the parishes. After the dissolution of the monasteries (circa 1540) the religious house's share was seized by the crown and subsequently fell into private hands. With this (I understand) also went the right to select the clergy of the parish - meaning that the clergy's share could also be appropriated. A vicarage was referred to as a vicarage of pension, a vicarage of third or a rectory according to whether the clergyman's share of the total tithes was 0 thirds, 1 third or 2 thirds. A third in private hands was described as impropriate.


Situation at the Dissolution


Immediately prior to the Dissolution (circa 1538) the parishes appear to have been allocated as follows:


Rushen Abbey had the parishes of Rushen (7l 6s 8d), Arbory (4l 12s), Malew (16l 14s), Santon (2l 13s 4d) and Lonan (3l 6s 8d). The evidence for this is the Augmentation Commissioner's records of 1541 (as transcribed by Davey and Roscow in IOMNHAS Monograph 1 p24 etc.) The figures in brackets are the tithe income recorded for the year.


Douglas Priory had the parishes of Onchan (2l 10s) and Braddan (1l). These are also listed in the above source.


Whitethorn Priory had the parishes of Marown and Lezayre (according to Moore's History p351 quoting Talbot's examination of source records).


Furness Abbey acquired the parishes of Michael and Maughold in 1299 (according to Moore's History p204.


I speculate that the Bishop held most or all of the remaining parishes.


Acquisition by the Lord of Man


In 1610 King James granted the seized possessions of certain religous houses (notably Rushen Abbey and Douglas Priory) to the then Lord of the Man and his heirs. A separate grant of 1609 gave him patronage of the Bishopric of Man. The Bishop's holdings would have been unaffected.


Manx Society Volume 12 cites several entries in the Libri Cancellarii (1627 onwards) and Libri Scaccarii (1627 onwards) relating to a dispute between the vicar Edward Moore (who claimed a third of the tithes) and the Bishop (who claimed them all). The vicar won his case.


During the Civil War no Bishop was appointed by the Lord and he leased out the thirds personally (raising a considerable sum of money). This was done initially by the Royalist Earl James Stanley circa 1647 and later by Lord Fairfax circa 1552.(Details of these leases appear in the Composition Books.)


In 1661 a Bishop was reappointed and in 1666 the Lord granted a ten thousand year lease of ten parishes to the Bishop and Archdeacon (the most senior Manx Church officials). These parishes are named in the contract and (save for the omission of Braddan) are exactly those listed above as originally having belonged to religous houses. The intention of this lease was to provide a reasonable income for the clergy which was poorly served at the time.


Situation at the Revestment


Over time many of the thirds fell into private hands once more. The Revestment also led to litigation in the 1760s involving the Duke of Atholl, the Manx Church and the Earl of Derby relating to the 1666 lease. Details appear in the Derby Papers/1713.


A letter from James Wilks Vicar of Kirk Michael dated 1775 sets out the tithes as then they stood. (The original manuscript is held at reference CR2017/TP17 at Warickshire Record Office.) The table is given below together with the size and provider of pensions where relevent.


Parish Type Bishop Impropriators Clergy
German Vicarage of Pension (2 pounds from Bp) 3 0 0
Michael Vicarage of third 1 1 1
Ballaugh Rectory 1 0 2
Jurby Vicarage of Pension (2 pounds from Bp) 3 0 0
Andreas Rectory wholly belonging to Archdeacon 0 0 3
Bride Rectory 1 0 2
Lezayre Vicarage of Pension (3-6-8 from Imp) 1 2 0
Maughold Vicarage of third 1 1 1
Lonan Vicarage of third 1 1 1
Onchan Vicarage of third 1 1 1
Braddan Vicarage of Pension (2 pounds from Bp) 3 0 0
Marown Vicarage of third 1 1 1
Santan Vicarage of third 1 1 1
Malew Vicarage of Pension (20 pounds from Imp) 0 3 0
Arbory Vicarage of third 1 1 1
Rushen Vicarage of Pension (thirds[?] from Imp) 0 0 3
Patrick Vicarage of third 2 0 1