Books of Charge

Books of Charge summarise the Lord's income for a year. Separate booklets were initially produced for the North and South Sides. I have only closely examined the collected charge book for the North Side (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 Charge 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 Allowance 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 Charge Books are also held within the Derby Papers (MD401) under reference MD401/1728.


Liber Assedationis income


The first section of the Charge Book declares the income described in the Liber Assedationis for that year. (This predominately consists of land rents.) It is organised by parish, with each parish typically taking up one page (prior to 1602) or half a page (afterwards). There are eight sub-headings, which correspond to the eight sub-sections of the Libri Assedationis. The sub-headings are: Lande Ferma, Cottages Rent, Vast Rent, Mill Rent, Brass and Lead Rent, The Moar's customary payment, the Coronor's customary payment (if applicable) and Fines and Amercements. Sometimes a ninth category is included (pticles). Against the name of the sub-heading is recorded a sum of money in Roman numerals. These sums appear to have been extracted directly from the corresponding Liber Assedationis and to retain the same order. The total income from these subheadings is recorded at the end of this first section.


Receipts in Money


The second section consists of a line reading "Whereof paid to the Rec[eiver] as appeareth by the More his Taly" followed by a sum of money. This would appear to be the amount of the collected Rent which was paid by the Moar to the Receiver.


Receipts in Vittels (prior to 1602)


The third section summarises the amount of livestock received from the tenants as payment in kind. Each line records the type of livestock (Beeves, ?, hoggs, muttons, lambes, kidds, geese, greene geeese, hennes, chickens, piggs, capons) followed by the number receieved and the total value of these. The value was computed using a fixed pricing system which went many years without being adjusted for inflation. At the end of the section the combined value (the sum of vittels) is given. This section only appears up until 1602 when payments in kind (both for money rents, and for the tenant's separate customary duty of provisioning the castles) ceased.


Receipts in Corn (prior to 1602)


The fourth section summarises the amount of crops received as payments in kind. As above, each line records the type of crop (wheat, barley, oats) followed by the number received and the total value. The volume of crops is measured in bushels. At the end of the section the combined value of the corn received is given. As for the above section, this one only appears up until 1602.


Balancing the Parish Accounts


The fifth section comprises three lines which give the total value of the income in kind (the sum of sections 3 and 4), the total income receipted (the sum of sections 2,3 and 4) and the deficit (the total given in section 1 minus the sum of sections 2,3 and 4) with which the Receiver is to be charged. After 1602 simply the deficit is recorded (which is section 1 minus section 2).


Aggregate Liber Assedationis Income


At the end of all of the parish sections a breviat of all of the income is given. This is in the same format as the parish accounts save that each number corresponds to the combined parishes, rather than one in particular.


Income in lieu of Customary Payments (1602 onwards)


In addition to the payment of their annual money rents, the tenants of each quarterland were also required to provide certain payments in kind (of food and livestock) for the provisioning of the castle garrisons. These obligations were changed to payments in money (typically resulting in a doubling of the money rent for farmers) in 1602. They are recorded in a new accounts series (Pension books). This section of the charge books simply records the gross income of this sort. Moars and Coronors and certain other officials were given an allowance against these customary payments. In the Peel Books of 1602 and 1616 inclusive the aggregate of these allowances is recorded along with the net income (gross income minus allowances) due. The same allowance is also debitted in the Allowance Books however. This would seem to have resulted in an underpayment to the Lord.


Receipts for Casualties


The Lord could receive occasional income from various other sources too and the categories for these are presented here. The sub-sections are as described below. In the earliest books (pre 1593) merely a sum of money (often nil) is recorded against each category. After this date, there is a brief note explaining the source of any specific income. Note that only the Lord's share is recorded. In many instances the officers involved were also entitled to a proportion of money obtained from within these categories. My analysis of the frequency of entries is based on Peel Charge Books prior to 1625.


Pardoning of life


This sub-category is consistently the first within the section. No receipts are recorded against it in any of the 30 or so charge books which I have examinined. I presume that it relates to the right of a convicted criminal to buy themselves out of a sentence of death. [Dickinson cites a single example of a "pardoninge of life" appearing in the 1602 Rushen Charge Book. The payment was 60 shillings for the "Arraignment of Donald Costain".]


Felons goods


When felons were condemned the Lord officers seized their goods and the Lord took a share. In some years he received no income from this source. One example of an entry is given in the Peel Charge Book for 1623 when Robt Kelly and Willm Kelly were both condemned for felony and their goods were sold for 20 shillings and 13 shillings respectively. No additional information is provided.


Aliens goods


Entries under this category are infrequent. They indicate that the goods of an alien (unnaturalised immigrant) would go the Lord at his death. The 1602 Peel Charge Book contains the following example: "the goods of one marmaduke gowen xred and sould for 10 shillings 4 pence". Another instance (1616 Peel Charge Book) reads "Received of the goods of hugh huy Scottishman who dyed being not naturalized and sworne to the laws and customes of the Isle - 68 shillings 11 pence".


Freedom of aliens


This appears to be a payment made to the Lord for the naturalisation of immigrants to the Isle of Man. Entries in the Peel Charge Books which I have consulted are rare. One example (1618 Peel Charge Book) is a payment of 12 pence by Kathrin yue gowen "for her freedom being naturalized by othe". Another instance (1616 Peel Charge Book) records "Received for the freedome of John Compten and Elizabeth [Mrlin?] Scottishmen who by othe have naturalized and submitted themselves to the lawes and customes of the Isle and for their acceptance have payd viz Jo: Compton 3 shillings 4 pence and Eliz Mrlin 5 shillings".


Waifs and strays


This section appears to relate to stray livestock which came into the possession of the Lord officers and were subsequently sold. In most years the Lord earned a few shillings this way. Sometimes the name of the purchaser is given.




Entries within this category appear to relate to seizures of illegally handled goods, and are rare. The following instance is taken from the 1622 Rushen Charge Book: "the half of iii barrelles of wheate forfeited at Castle Rushen by Richard Stradlinge for wante of a Lycence taken to transporte the same, prized and sold to him againe as the rate of wheate was at that tyme for 6 shillings".


Wrecks of the Sea


Entries under this section are relatively common and occur most years. One example (for the 1618 Peel Charge Book) is "a piece of a sayle yard found cast up at dalby sold after the [finders?] were satisfyed for 8 pence".


Entering into ground


This category only appears up until 1612 (only confirmed for the Peel Charge Book), and in all of the books which I have examined it has no income recorded against it.


Miscellanous Income


The Casualties section described above is typically titled "Receipts for Casualties and other things as followeth". It is headed by the Casualties itemised above (in the sense of being consequences of chance events). Following this are various miscellaneous sources of income. For clarity these are summarised here under appropriate sub-headings.




Certain rents were not recorded in the Liber Assedationis, and were specifically itemised in the miscellaneous income. For Peel examples of this are: "for the rent of the Rectories of KK Marown and KK Christ of the Ayre - 14l 16s 6d"; "received for 6 hoggs wch have beene payable quartlie out of the certen mylnes before the houses were dissolved to pension - 20s"; "received of the forrester the pte of a bundle of otes in consideration of the customes of half a qter of ground called the Ledge - 12d"; "in consideration of the use of the Lords for the rent of the Lords watercorne mylne - 10s". There are typically around half a dozen such rents for the whole of Peel throughout the period I examined. The particular properties concerned change infrequently.




These cover income from the sale of the Lord's goods of all kinds. Items recorded include crops, livestock, land, silver, timber, lime, powder, salt, muskets, swords and daggers. There is an individual entry for each item type, and this typically records the name and quantity of the item, the selling price and (where the entire sale was made to one person) often identifies the purchaser. The total income is bracketted against the entry as before. Early (pre 1615) Charge Books often have a specific section for venditions (following casualties) which is further subdivided by item type. This may reflect the fact that much income was received in kind prior to 1602.


Lord's lands


The profits from the Lord's own lands are included here, both his demenses and the rectories he owned. These could be significant.


Herring Mazes


The net profits from the Castle Mazes of Herring are included in this section within the Rushen Charge Book. The instance which I examined (1628 Rushen Charge Book) also recorded the deductions which had been made for the soldiers and Comptroller who collected the tax. The gross and net incomes were around 63 pounds and 53 pounds respectively.




Other income recorded include specific instances of voluntary benevolences and fines for misdemeanors (example of both appear in the 1611 Peel Charge Book) which were apparently not included with their proper records for these income types.


Summary of Accounts


The Casualties and venditions section(s) are concluded with a total of all income received from this source. Subsequently the total charge (or income) recorded in the Charge Book is stated, followed by the total allowance (as given in the corresponding Allowance book) and finally the net income due to the Lord. Typical figures for the North Side for the first half of the 17th century, have gross income of around 750 pounds (made up of 430 pounds from rents, 270 pounds in lieu of customary payments from farms and perhaps 50 pounds from casualties and venditions), allowances of 300 pounds and a net income therefore of around 470 pounds. (The South Side figures are fairly similar.) The gross income was relatively stable, however the allowances vary and (unsurprising) can be seen to sharply increase in runup to the English Civil War.


The only source of the Lord's income from the Island which is not included here would appear to be the Ingates and Outgates which are summarised in the next section.


Ingates and Outgates


This short section appears at the end of the Charge Book for Rushen [caveat: this has only been verified for the 1622 Charge Book]. It provides "an extract of all the moneys due for customes of Ingates and Outgates for the whole yeare", in other words the customs duties collected on goods entering and leaving the Island.


For each major location it records the Ingates, Outgates and sum of the two. The four locations are Douglas, Ramsey, Peele and (taken as one) Castle burne, Derby haven and Porte June. Additionally it records the "wyne drawen by retayle". The total of all of these source is then given as the "whole charge" - in other words the gross income.


The above is followed by a record of disbursements to the people responsible for collecting the money. Three individuals are named (which between them cover all locations save Ramsey). Logically (if confusingly) they are referred to as customers. In 1622 the pay was 13 shillings 4 pence (for Douglas), 10 shillings (for Castle burne, Derby haven and Port June) and 10 shillings (for Peele). The sum of all of the disbursements is then given, followed by the net amount due to the Lord. In 1622 this was around 60 pounds.