Knowsley Lease Book



This book contains summaries of the leases agreed by the Lord and his tenants. There are several such summaries covering different time periods, with the latest being from 1630. Typically they contain information about the leasor, a description of the land, the annual rent paid and the fine associated with the lease. Additional details (including genealogical information) is occasionally included. There is some overlap with the Composition Books, but much of the information contained is unique.


There have been several mentions of this Lease Book in important Manx histories. It was loaned by the then Earl of Derby (Edward Geoffrey Stanley the 14th Earl) to the Manx Society in 1861 and was expected then to be transcribed and published in a future publication (see Manx Soc Pub XXIV). For some reason this never occured however.


The book is currently held in the library at Knowsley Hall under reference C24 (formerly H45). The manuscript itself is a bound volume of about 60 vellum pages. A complete transcription is included on this website by kind permission of the Rt Hon. The Earl of Derby 2014.


Contents of the Lease Book


The manuscript contains several different records, some of them with completely different formatting and handwriting. A rough index (giving a folio number assigned by me) is given below.

00 A survey of old and existing leases (1609)
19 Leases for land agreed in 1610
31 Leases for clerkships agreed in 1610
32 Benevolences collected in 1610
33 A Summary of income (from leases and benevolences) in 1610
33 Leases agreed 1611-1619
37 Leases for land agreed in 1630
59 Leases for clerkships agreed in 1630
61 A handwritten poem

Most of these sections are described in more detail elsewhere (under Leases before 1643).




The poem mentioned above is a short piece titled William the first and is written on an otherwise blank page at the end of the book. It is speculated to have been composed by William George Richard Stanley, 9th Earl of Derby (1655-1702), who succeeded his father to the title in 1672.