Allowance Books

Books of Allowance summarise the Lord's expenditure on adminstering the Isle of Man for one year. (The early sixteenth century books indicate that the financial year started and ended with the feast of St Michael the Archangel - namely the 29th of September.) They correspond closely to the Books of Charge which record the Lord's income. Separate Books of Allowance were initially produced for the North and South Sides. I have only closely examined those for the North Side and only for the period 1591-1659. From 1660 onwards there was a single book for the whole island.


The Manx National Heritage Library holds a nearly complete collection of the Books of Allowance from the late sixteenth century. Many of these are bundles labelled with a single year and held under acquistion number MS10192. Certain of these bundles are bound together with the Charge and/or Pension books for the same year. Additionally there are two bound volumes of these Charge, Allowance and Pensions books which are held instead under acquisition number 10057 (Manorial Records). These volumes are titled respectively "Peel Charge Book 1591-1659" and [Rushen] "Book of Charges 1587-1690". They volumes are chronologically ordered but incomplete for the given period. The gaps closely correspond to the years for which individual bundles survive. (The Peel Charge Book also incorporates the 1606 North Side Liber Assed.) A small number of Books are also held within the Derby Papers (MD401) under reference MD401/1728.




Fees and Wages


The first part of the Allowance Book records the salaries paid to various employees. It is typically broken up into several sections. Within a section, each line gives the name and office of each employee, together with their annual pay in Roman numerals in the right column. If they were in office for only part of the year then this is indicated and their pay is adjusted accordingly.


The order, groupings and pay of the employees tends to remain the same from year to year, although significant changes do occur in certain years (for example 1610). After this first section for Peel typically contains entries for the Governor (which office might be titled Lieutenant, Captain and Deputy), the Receiver, the Comptroller (which office was typically combined with Clerk of the Rolls and Attorney), the Deemster, the Constable and the Waterbaliff. There was also an extra line giving a payment to the Comptroller for the cost of paper and ink. Usual annual salaries in the first half of the seventeenth century were 50 pounds (for the Governor), 10 pounds (receiver), 13 pounds 6 shillings 8 pence plus 30 shillings for paper and ink (Comptroller), 12 pounds (constable), 10 pounds (waterbaliff) and 7 pounds 10 shillings (deemster).


In addition to the above officials, various other employees are listed by name. These typically include around 20 soldiers as well as the occupants of roles such as the Chaplain, porter, smith, armourer, wright, steward and boatman. Prior to 1610 some of these people are identified only by job type and their name is not given.


Allowances for customs


This section lists the rebates and exceptions from the expected income listed in the pension book (payments from farmers in lieu of their customary obligation to provision the castles). The entries in the North Side Book examined, related to the Deemster, three Coronors, eight Moars, the Forester and those properties in the Lord's hands (ie without tenants). The totals given here for Moars and Coronors should exactly match the sums of the corresponding entries in the Pension Book and do indeed do so for the cases which I have checked.


Allowances for rents of the Lord's closes


This section appears to summarise the values of the lost rents of those properties which are either untenanted or for which the tenant has an exemption from payment (the steward of the Abbey Lands being the only example of the latter in the Book I examined).


Provision of necessaries


This section describes the various purchases made by the castle. Each entry describes the quantity and type of each provision, a brief statement of why it was purchased and the sum paid. An example from the 1614 Peel Allowance Book is "Pd for three letter bags to put mony in - 8 pence".


Repairs and Works


This section describes payments to workmen for tasks performed. The occupation (eg smith, mason, carpenter etc.) and sometimes the name(s) of the workmen involved is given as well as an indication of the time taken and the total payment given.




Other sections may follow the above including "Rewards" and "Expenses abroad".




The book ends with the sum of the total allowance (expenses) paid.