Ellesmere Papers


Following the death of Ferdinando Stanley in 1594 there was a dispute over the ownership of his substantial estate which included the Lordship of the Isle of Man. Presumably it was during this period that his widow Alice the Dowager Countess of Derby obtained many of his papers - including some relating to the Island. She subsequently remarried to Thomas Egerton and these documents form part of a Egerton family collection sold by Lord Ellesmere in the earlier twentieth century.


The original manuscripts in this collection are now held by the Huntington Library in Califorina, USA. In the 1920s the Manx National Heritage Museum purchased copies of those documents relating the Isle of Man. These are high quality photostats and have been archived under references MS241C, MS242C, MS243C, MS244C, MS245C and MS246C.




Under the reference system used by Huntington Library, the records of interest are contained within the Derby Papers section of the Ellesmere Papers (EL768-EL993). Only a portion of these relate to the Isle of Man and these are sketched out below. Most manuscripts date from the period 1594-1606.


EL982 records the Ingates and Outgates over the period 1599-1606. The other documents in the range EL977-EL984 are the accounts (books of charge and allowance) for Castle Rushen covering the years 1599-1605 inclusive. EL985-EL901 contain the corresponding books for the Castle Peel. All of these manuscripts appear to have been part of a set of accounts for 1600-1606 which was made by Sir Thomas Gerrard Governor of the Isle of Man. EL7479 is an associated cover note.


EL958-EL976 inclusive contain various documents providing context to the accounts. Of particular note are EL992 which is the South Side Liber Assedationis for the year 1513 and EL964 which is a book of fees and wages for the year 1575. Also EL959-EL960 are seventeenth centuries copies relating to the original grant of the Island to Sir John Stanley and EL962 and EL963 relate to the appointment and oath of the Governors in 1595 and 1596. EL958 is a copy of a pardon granted by the Lord in 1589/90 (for which he would have received a payment from the felon).


The remaining manuscripts of relevance include EL774, EL777, EL782, EL912 and EL913 which all relate in various ways to the dispute over the ownership of the Isle of Man.