Miscellanary Records of Customary Obligations

In addition to paying their annual rents, tenants had several other customary duties which are described below.


Customary Services (Provisioning the Castles)


In addition to their annual rent, the Lord's tenants for each quarterland were required to supply food and fuel (in the way of turf) to the Castles (with the North Side parishes supplying Castle Peel and the South Side parishes Castle Rushen). This was in recognition of the fact that the soldiery in these Castles served to defend the Island and to keep the peace. A.W. Moore explains that they were to deliver a certain quantity of goods gratuitously, but that they would be paid for any excess beyond that [History of the Isle of Man page 319]. This arrangement was sometimes relaxed by allowing the tenants to make a payment in money in lieu of this obligation. From 1602 the requirement was converted to a double rent in money under an 1601 agreement between the Lord and tenants [Derby Papers 1716/4]. (In other words the tenants would pay twice the rent recorded in the Liber Assed and to be freed from this obligation.) The accounts relating to these payments are recorded not in the Liber Assed, but in a separate series of annual bundles called Pension books (starting in 1602). They are described in the Accounts section. Some records survive of the individual tenants' obligations for payments of the original (pre 1602) customary dues . These are described below together with some other documents which provide background information.


The ancient requirement to convey turf to the castle (which is sometimes referred to as carriage) appears to have been considered a service (as an expenditure of the tenant's time) rather than a payment (in providing goods). Although most of the associated records appear here, it will also be discussed under Services.


1593 Customs by quarterland


One of the Composition Books (in Accession MS10057 and named Compositions for abbey lands and intacks in the Manx National Heritage Library) gives details of the provisions provided by each liable tenant. The first set of these records appear between folios 1 and 25 and are ordered by parish in the sequence Arbory, Malew, Santan, Marown, Braddan, Onchan, Lonan, Maughold, Patrick, German, Michael, Ballaugh, Jurby, Lezayre, Andreas, Bride. (There is no introductory page and my initial inspection didn't find a set of entries for Rushen. Most probably the first few pages of the document have been lost.) For each parish we have an entry for each quarterland tenant. This gives his name, the number of quarters he holds, his customs (a breakdown of the provisions that he is obligated to provide) and his annual rent. My initial examination of the customs suggests that exactly 1 beef, 1 mutton, 1 lamb, 1 goose and 3 hens were required per quarterland. Additionally a variable amount of crops and turf was needed. The crops named are wheat, barley and/or oats and a typical quarterland might provide around four boules in total (boule was a manx unit of volume). The turf is counted in carrs (a word which also appears in the corresponding statute of 1593 and which is presumably an abbreviation for carriages) with north-side and south-side parishes typically providing 20 and 24 carrs respectively per quarterland. In a couple of parishes (Arbory and Santon) the number of carrs required varies signicantly from quarterland to quarterland however.


Immediately following the above records follows an listing of the 1593 monetary payments which replaced the required provisions described above. The records are ordered by parish as above, but with north-side parishes coming first (between folios 26 and 40) and followed by the south-side parishes (between folios 41 and 54). Within a parish the quarterland tenants are ordered as before, but each entry contains only his name, number of quarters held and monetary payment. This monetary payment is always 19 shillings 2 pence per quarterland. At the end of each parish we have a summary of the accounts. This commonly makes an allowance of 3 shillings 4 pence per quarterland for custom turf (presumably the tenants provided this in kind) and occasionally a few victuals which some tenants had also paid in kind. Each Moar and Coronor also received an allowance of one quarter's customs (ie 19 shillings 2 pence) by virtue of their office. A handful of other allowances for named individuals with an exempting grant from the Lord are also given.


1593 Customs for Castle Rushen


Within MS10192 there is another booklet which contains broadly the same details, but which only covers the South Side parishes. The introductory page of this booklet describes it thus: "A booke of all the ptes of ground within the three sheadings belonginge to the Castle Rushen with the custom due for the same and the whole [thereof?] according to the order sett down under my lords hand. [?] by Francs Holt gent Comptroller of the Isle of Man in Anno Dmi 1593." The booklet has several sections. The first section corresponds to the second record above. It is ordered by parish and within a parish lists the names of the quarterland tenants, the number of quarterlands they hold and the money due (19 shillings 2 pence per quarterland). For the first parish only (Rushen) the customs for each tenant (minus the crops) are also recorded. Against each type of food a sum of money in recorded. This appears to be the value of that item if paid in kind. The values for a given quarterland are as follows: 13s 4d (beef), 18d (mutton), 6d (lamb), 3d (goose), 3d (hens), 3s 4d (turf) regardless of individual quantities. The total of those amounts is the total money due of 19 shillings 2 pence.


The second section of the MS10192 booklet appears to contain receipts by quarter. The tenants are ordered as before with each entry recording the tenant's name(s), rent, number of quarters held, receipts by quarter-year and the "setting corne". The column corresponding to the first quarter year is complete and the second partially complete. The remainder are empty. The receipts are all for (a total of) 5 shillings per quarterland per quarter-year. The setting corn entry records the number of boules of barley, wheat and/or oats.


The remaining sections of the booklet appear to all relate to charges and allowances. As such they refer to the Lord's Council, the Castle garrison and various workmen etc. maintaining the Castle but without further mention of the Lord's tenants.


Customary Services (Benevolences)


When a new Lord took over the Lordship of Man, a payment was customarily made to them by the tenants called a benevolence or gratuity. This payment was equal to an annual year's rent and was in addition to the tenant's regular obligations. Several records exist relating to such payments.


Benevolences paid in 1610


Folio 19 of the third composition book (titled 1612 &tc vol2 and within acquisition MS10057) contains a brief summary of the 1610 benevolence income by parish. The introduction comments that this is merely a breviat of a book of benevolence. This latter book does not appear within the Composition Books.


Benevolences paid in 1660


1660 saw the restoration of the Stanley's to the Lordship of Man following the end of the English Civil War. It appears that gratuities were required of all tenants at this time. There are (at least) two sets of records itemising them. These records are described in the Composition Book section, but for completeness I will mention them here too. Much of the information given is closely tied to records associated with the granting of leases.


Within the fourth composition book of acquisition MS10057 (titled 1613-1691), folios 153 to 212 list the benevolences for the tenants of a number of parishes. There are obvious headings for nine namely Malew, Rushen, Arbory, Santan, Michel, Andreas, Jurby, Bride and Lezayre. The information given (in an abbreviated form) is the name of the original composer (for the lease of the land) and current tenant, the original fine paid, the annual rent and whether or not there are lives in being. (Occasionally information about a dead life is given.) The left hand margin notes the year of the original composition (1643 is often shortened to just 43) and typically an added comment to the effect that they have paid. The right column records the amount received (which should be equal to the stated rent). Some of these payments are marked with an X and these appear to exact correspond to late payers (typically made in 1672).


The acquisition MS10192 (Accounts of the Commissioners of the Revenue) contains a matching set of records. The headings given here are for the other eight parishes namely German, Patrick, Ballaugh, Conchan, Bradan, Marown, Lonan, Maughold.


A corresponding set of records appears in the Derby Papers (reference MS06253 1715/07-13). These are also arranged by parish, and (at least for Kirk Michael) use the same ordering within a parish as appears for the corresponding (1660) entries in the composition book. They give the name of the original composer and (where different) the current tenant in the left hand column. The middle column records the fine, rent and (presumably) the gratuity in that order. (The second and third values should always match.) The right hand column records the surviving lives. Sometimes their relationship to the original composer is also recorded. Such relationships seem to be given exclusively in Latin, for example by appending fil, fila or uxor to a name to indicate a son, daughter or wife respectively. All but three parishes (Ballaugh, Patrick and Maughold) are included. These are presumably contained in MS06253 1715/6 which is missing.


Customary Services (Boons and Carriages)


In addition to the tenant's customary duties in provisioning the castles and payments in the form of benevolences they also had an obligation to provide certain services to the Lord. One of these was to convey fuel to the Lord's Castles. The very first set of entries in the Statute book (apparently from 1422) states that "Alsoe touching the Carriage of your Turves, all your Tennants of your six Sheadings ought by our Laws, to carry your Turves to your Places, as pleaseth you to have them with all other Carriages, Suite and Services that are needful for you within your Land of Man, for it is Use and Custome of a longe Time." and in practice this meant "That it be done in person with Horses, Teames or Carts according as it is necessary & accustomed by the Tennants to do" [Reference MS487C(d) MHLib dated 1753 and quoting an unidentified record relating to a 1608 Commission.]


A statute of 24 June 1645 set out a new law relating to customary services as follows: "Whereas by the antient Laws of this Island the Tennants and Inhabitants thereof are accustomed, and have been accustomed to do their Duties and Services to his Lordship and his noble Ancestors, at the building or repairing of any his Honour's Foarts or Houses in the Island, by the Service of themselves in Perrson, or by the Service of some sufficient and able Labourer in his or their Behalfe fitt for the Work in Hand; contrary to which Course many and diverse of the Farmers and Tennants usually sends Boys and Children to such Works; by Means whereof the Burden lies upon the poor People, who are constrained to serve in their own Persons, and such Works are neglected, or not well performed, notwithstanding that they are for the Honour and Safety of the Countrey; it is now therefore ordered and enacted, That every Farmer, Tennant, and Inhabitant of this Island, soe neglecting to do such Duty or Dutys in his or their own proper Person or Persons, or in Default thereof , shall not faile to send some able and sufficient Labourer in his stead, he or they so offending shall for every Time forfeit and loose 6d fine to the Lord, upon the Presentment of the Officer or Officers that are, or shall be put in Charge with such Works." [Reference: Mills Ancient Ordinances and Statute Laws p108].


Records detailing Customary Services


The records of tenants' carriages of Turf are incorporated with those of the provisions which they supplied to the Castles (their customary dues) and are discussed there. I have not found any records detailing those performing other services, however one might expect evidence of the 6d fines referred to in the above statute. There are many instances of fines for such an amount within the Liber Assed Fines and Amercements section. More information might be contained in the Court Rolls.


Some further discussion regarding the existing Boons and Services around the time of the Revestment (circa 1760) appears within Reference MS487 in the Manx National Heritage Library