Early Sources


16th Century


The vast majority of the record series began (in the form described in the section) circa 1580. Before this date the main sources are as described below


Prior to 1579 the secular court records (which cover civil and criminal cases as well as disputes affecting the Lord's interest) are recorded only in the Libri Placitorum (which begin in 1496). After this year certain matters are covered instead (and in greater detail) by additional new series: Libri Scaccarii, Libri Cancellarii and Libri Monasteriorum


Ecclesiastical court records have survived from as early as the 1560s, however the 16th century series is far from complete. The majority of the records are testamentary although other matters are included too. Images of virtually all of the surviving 16th century ecclesiastical court records are contained on this site.


Books of the Libri Assedationis (documenting the annual setting of the Lord's tenants) have survived from circa 1500, although the series is confused and incomplete until the mid 1570s. The companion series of the Libri Vastarum (describing tenant changes) have also survived for much of this period, although the information provided is minimal.


Certain early sets of accounts have survived (primarily in the Castle Rushen Papers).


A record of the Statutes agreed in (and prior) to this century is also extant.



15th Century and earlier


Prior to the mid 1490s very little documentary evidence has survived. A small number of Statutes were written down in the 15th century, and these are still extant.The Garrison Roll of Peel Castle (from 1428) is an exceptional survival.


A smattering of early manuscripts such as charters affecting the ownership of the Island and the Chronicle of Man are also in existence.



Statues referring to the early Records


Court records were required to be kept in the Isle of Man at least as far back as the early fifteenth century. This is illustrated by the following extracts from the statutes (as taken from Mills's Ancient Ordinances 1821).


An ordinance of 1422 reads Also that every Plea that is between Party and Party pleaded, be written out of the Court Rolls, that it may be of Record agaist such Time as the like Chance falleth what Judgement was given in that Matter.


Another similar ordinance of 1422 reads Alsoe that the Clearke of the Rowles write all Things Plaine with full letters, and the Judgment thereof in Parchment, that if any like Cause come another Time, it may be found of Record in the Treasury of all Manner of Questions asked and given in by the Deemsters and 24 Keyes, and it may be of Remembrance in the Treasury, upon Paine of Forfeiture of the Clearkes Fee.


A third ordinance of 1422 relates to the statutes: And as to the Writeing of Laws, there was never any written since King Orryes Days, but in the Time of Michaell Blundell that we have Knowledge of.


A 1561 order by the Lord's Commissions is suggestive of the beginning of the preparation of proper annual accounts. The appropriate extract is The Records to be enrolled in Parchment every Year once, and the same so enrolled, to be sent over to the Lord his Auditt, and the Auditor's Hand to be putt to the same, and then conveyed over again and laid amongst other of the records. An earlier set of Receivers Accounts (for 1521-1523) has survived however (ref MS06523 1727/1-2).