Libri Bangor and Sabal

This record series is the books of the [manorial court of the] Barony of Bangor and Sabal. This small Barony consisted of seven quarterlands in Kirk Patrick. Originally the Barons were the Abbots of Bangor and Sabal, but the Barony was seized by the crown in the mid sixteenth century (following the Dissolution) and was subsequently given into private hands.


The Bangor and Saball baronial court appears to correspond closely to the Lord's Sheading Courts and the format of the records is very similar. The main difference is that the Lord's Sheading Court records are spread over two series namely Libri Placitorum (for the common law proceedings) and Libri Vastarum (for land transfers).


Organisation of the Records


There are three bound volumes under this reference at the Manx National Heritage library, although only one of them contains pre 1700 documents. This is a bound set of bundles of Libri Bangor and Sabal dated 1585-1775 and is described in more detail below. The other two volumes describe the admissions and entries of tenants for the years 1780-1892 and 1900 onwards respectively. They correspond to a combination of the Libri Vastarum and Libri Assedationis which perform the similar functions for the Lord's tenants.


Occasionally the Libri Bangor and Sabal also contain other documents (such as petitions from the tenants) relating to the Barony.


Format of the Records


An individual Liber Bangor and Sabal is simply a bundle of the baronial court records for one year (or small collection of years). The courts were held in May and October each year, presumably in sequence with the Lord's Sheading Courts. They were also presided over by the Governor and Lord's officers as they were. The records of each court can be broken down as follows.


Firstly we have the court heading (which does not necessarily begin on a fresh page). It is in latin and typically gives the name of the court (eg Cur Bangor et Saball), where it was held, the date and the officers present.


The next paragraph gives the names of a sworn jury of 12 lawful men. This clearly corresponds to the Great Enquest of the Sheading. It is interesting that such a small Barony could support a jury of this size. I compared the juries for two consecutive years (1593 and 1594) and observed that 8 of the 12 names matched.


The next section consists of a number of paragraphs describing presentments for criminal offences and civil disputes between the people of the barony. Unlike the in the Libri Placitorum these two categories are not strictly separated. Also they are often recorded in English rather than latin. An extract (from October 1592) is:


Patr          Presented by Thoms qua[in] S[er]geant there that Thomas
              quayle hath drawen blood upon Annus Curgart
              [12d is written above Thomas quayle's name - presumably as the fine imposed]

Patr          John kylly compl against John mc lowy and the rest of 
              the executors of gylbt mc lowy for the wtholding from him
              viiid whereupon he hath lost to the value of xs wch
              have appeared xr wch [?] xr the pl full verdict
              the sayd debte

Patr          Robert mc knyckell compl against Thoms mc lowy for the
              breach of covenant converning iiii butte of barley
              whereupon he hath kept to the value of xl
              wch hath appered xr the pl full recover ii butt
              of barly [?] the tyme of four years in respect of
              the iiii butte before mentioned.


The above entries correspond closely to the Libri Placitorum. After these we have a record of any land transfers in a similar format to the Libri Vastarum. Clearly because of the small size of the Barony such changes of tenant are relatively infrequent. Below is an example from 1589 (also referred to in 1586).


      5s                  5s
| John Curwyn |    Thomas Curwyn Junr films [xrd?] John [frati?] Th[o]
|-------------|    Curwyn senr pro qt pte qtr [terr?] [annal?] [?]
note that the sayd fourth pte of the said qter was recorded by John fath[er]
to the said Thoms which is now entered against Thomas brother of the
said John at a Court holden the 17th daye of may in the year of
our lorde 1586 ao by the said word appeareth in a book conteyning
the years of our lorde 1585/86/87/& 88