Derby Papers

The Lords of Man between 1405 and 1736 (with the exception of a brief hiatus during the Civil War) came from the same Stanley family which (from 1459 onwards) also held the title of Earl of Derby. The family's archive of records relating to their estates is collectively known as the Derby Papers. It was deposited with the Lancashire record office under reference DDK. In 1967 those documents relating to the Isle of Man were transferred to the Manx National Heritage Library at Douglas where they are held under reference MS06523. Most of the Manx records have also been microfilmed.


Although the Derby Papers contain various interesting documents, they are far more limited and less complete than the records surviving on island. This is likely to be a consequence of the destruction of the Stanley's seat at Lathom House during the Civil War. Below I attempt to summarise those surviving records relating to the Isle of Man. Separately it should be noted that a detailed online catalogue of the Derby Papers is given on the National Archive website.




Bundles 1713 and 1623 contain various documents and copies of documents relating to C17 and C18 disputes associated with the 1666 transfer of the impropriate tithes from the Lord of Man back to the Church.


Bundle 1714 contains five copies of the Act of Parliment which settled the Isle of Man on the Earls of Derby in 1609.


Bundle 1715 contains a miscellaneous collection of documents, some of which are of significant interest.

  • 1715/1 is a list of Bishops of Man to 1376 (presumably originating from the Chronicle of Man).
  • 1715/2 is an incomplete summary of abbey lands for 1506 in the format of the Libri Assedationis.
  • 1715/3 is an original Court Roll for the Isle of Man for 1576.
  • 1715/4 is a 1607 summary of Abbey Tenants together with their rents and customs.
  • 1715/5 is gives an overview of the rents and customs due from each parish. It is similar in format to the Charge Books but with additional explanatory comments.
  • 1715/7-1715/13 form a survey of Manx leases in 1660. They form an abbreviated summary of the 1643-5 composition books (MS10057) and serve to plug the gaps in that record. The Derby Papers do not cover all parishes and the residue were presumably recorded in 1715/6 which is missing.
  • 1715/14 and 1715/15 record the fines payable from the North and South side tenants following the 1704 Act of Settlement. These documents would appear to duplicate information also recorded in the Composition Books.
  • The remaining documents in this bundle (1715/16 - 1715/28) consist of assorted records from circa 1700. They include a copy of spiritual customary laws from 1667 (1715/21) and late C17 lists of the rates paid on imports and exports (1715/18 - 1715/20).


Bundle 1716 contains miscellaneous documents, mostly from circa 1600. These cover such subjects as constitutionary matters, the commutation of the tenants' customary requirement to provision the castles, the Stanleys' title to Man, the appointment of officers, the value of the lands and goods of the Isle of Man and an extracted list of clergy (as well as officers etc.) from 1658.


Bundles 1717 - 1724 inclusive contain many items of correspondence between 1661 and 1781.


Bundles 1725 and 1726 contains individual counterparts of leases to be agreed between the Lord and his tenants. They comprise 23 contract documents dated between 1569 and 1648 as well as a handful of later contracts (1664-1724). A number of the leases were not completed. This collection appears to contain the only surviving original pre 1700 lease contracts.


Bundles 1727 - 1734 inclusive contain Receiver's Accounts between 1673 and 1735. The also two much earlier sets of accounts, specifically from 1521-1523 (1727/1 - 1727/2) and 1622-1623 (1728/1 - 1728/2). The former period far precedes any surviving accounts which I'm aware of (namely the sequence of Charge and Allowance books beginning circa 1580). The 1622-1623 accounts are Charge and Allowance books consistent with those in MS10192, and also corresponding to a gap in that series. The later documents often include Abbey accounts.


Bundle 1735 contains waterbaliff accounts between 1703 and 1735.


Bundle 1735 contains miscellaneous accounts between 1704 and 1735.


Additionally (according to the catalogue) Bundle DDK/10 and DDK/12 contain several grants and appointments related to the Iale of Man and Bundle DDK/1400/3 contains the 1379 grant of the Manor of Appyn in Glenfaban, Isle of Man. It is not clear to me whether these have been transferred to Douglas.