Individual Leases



Many leases were taken out between the Lord and his tenants during the seventeenth century and the important details of these were typically recorded in the Composition Books. Comments in the Libri Assedationis and elsewhere also suggest that such leases were taken out throughout the sixteenth century also, and perhaps even earlier. It appears that the tenants were each given a written contract (at least for the 1000+ leases arranged circa 1643) given frequent references in composition book entries from the 1650s to tenants who had "produceth a lease". I am not aware of any such tenant's copy which has survived. (Almost all of the early Manx records we now have come from the official records of the Lord's officers or the Church.)


Unfortunately very few official copies of the leases themselves seem to have survived either. It may be that the officials did not retain a copy of the contract for the Lord (beyond the record in the composition book), or perhaps they did but these contracts were later destroyed subsequent to their expiration. The wording of the 1643 leases was controversial (since they arguably undermined the customary tenant's right of tenure) and the people of Man might themselves have been motivated to expunge them during the Interregnum (1651-1660), but this cannot explain the many lease contracts taken out in 1666.


Surviving leases


The Derby Papers (at reference MS06523/1725 in MNHlib) contain 23 original lease contracts dated between 1569 and 1648. Most of these documents are from 1630 and share the same template. They contain the controversial wording referred to above. At least some were not enacted, perhaps because the tenant disagreed with the terms. (An examination of the composition book shows that most tenants did not take out formal leases in or before 1630.) Some later leases have also survived and are held in reference MS06523/1726.


All tenants were compelled to take out leases in 1643-5 and a minority of these (principally just those which were for a term of 21 years and had thus expired) were renewed in 1666. The only record which I have been able to find of these contracts are two copies which appear in the Atholl Papers (held within Accession 9707/34A at MNHlib).


Certain ecclesiastical lands and rights were sub-leased by the Barons. Certain records relating to such leases appear within Ecclesiatical records in amongst the wills. I have not examined these closely and it is possible that they include some contracts.




Below I give my transcription of two leases (from 1630 and 1643 respectively). They contain a great deal of verbiage. Almost of the specific information which they do include (the tenant's name, his property, its rent and fine, the duration of the lease and details of any lives which it is dependent upon) is separately recorded in the Composition Books. Sometimes leases give the specific names of property which is not generally recorded elsewhere however, and executed leases should also include the signature or mark of the tenant.


Transcription of a 1630 lease

Source: Derby Papers (MD401) 1725/9

[Note on the outside:]
Not Executed
The Isle of Mann
KK Patricke
Henry Ratcliffe deemster


This Indenture made the five and twentith day of March in the fifth yeare of the Reign of or Soverayne Lord Charles by the grace of god of England Scotland france and Ireland kinge defender of the faith etc. Between the right horble Sr James Stanley knight of the horble Order of the Bathe, Lord Strange, Lord of Mann abd the Isles there one of the Lords Lieutenants of the Counties palatine of Lancaster and Chester of the City of Chester and County of the saaid Cittie Chamberleine of the County pallatine of Chester aforesaid and sonne and heire apparant of the right horble William Earle of Derby on the one part. And henry Ratcliffe of the parrish of KK Patricke in his Lo[rdshi]ps said Isle of Mann Deemster on the other parte. Witnesseth that the said Lord Strange for and in consideracon of the sume of three pounds of lawful money of England to him in hand paid by the said henry Ratcliffe before the ensealinge and delivery of theis parts the Receipte whereof the saide Lord Strange doth acknowledge by theis parts hath demised granted leased and so fearme letten and sett and by theis parts doth demise grant lease and so fearme lett and sett unto the said henry Ratcliffe his executors Administrators and assigns all that hios fearme hould or Quarter Land contagninge by estimacon one quarter of ground called and knowne by the name of Gowerden situate ltinge and being in the said parish of KK Patrick wthin the said Isle of Mann, nowe or late in the tennure or ocupacon of him the said henry Ratcliffe or of his assignee or asignees of the usuall yearely rent of three and twentie shillings and four pence and all waies waters watercorses libties easements proffits comodityes and advantages whatsoever to the same belonging or in ant wise appertayninge or therewithall usually occupied or enjoyed or accepted reputed taken or knowne to bee as parte parcell or member thereof To have and to hould all and singular the said fearme hould or Quarter Land contayninge by estimate one quarter of ground called Gowrden and all other the premisses hereby demised or menconed to bee demised wth their and every of their appertennces unto the said Henry Ratcliffe his executors Administrators and assignes from the makinge hereof for and duringe all the wholl terme tyme and Space of one and twenty yeares from henceforth next ensueinge fully to be compleath ended and determined to and soe all tenantely uses proffits comodityes and advantages whatsoever. Yeilding and payinge therefore yearely and every yeare duringe the said terme unto the said Lord Strange his heyres and Assignes by the hands of his and theire Receiver generall for the tyme beinge (wthin the said Isle of Mann) the said yearly rent of three and twenty shillings and four pence. Att such and the same usuall feasts of payment as the same hath benne accustomably paid, by such parts and porcons thereof as harg benne accustomed, if it bee lawfully demainded. And alsoe yield [?} pay [?] and doeing for the same duringe the said terme, All other such suits services duties and customes as heretofore have beene accustomably used yielden paid and done for the same Provided allwaies and upon condicon that if the said henry Ratcliffe his executors administrators or assignes or any of them occupiers of the premises or any part thereof shall or doe assigne demise grannte or exchange the said premisesses or any part therefof for any greater or longer tyme of the terne hereby grannyted then only for twenty yeares at the most wthout the lycence and consent of the said Lord Strange hisb heyres or assignes first thereunto had and obtayned under his or their handwritinge That then it shall and may bee lawfull so and for the said Lord Strange his heyres and assignes into the premisses hereby grannted or into any part thereof in the name of the whole reenter and the same so have againe repossesse and enioye as in his or their former estate This Indenture or any thinge herein contayned to the contrary notwithstanding. In Witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale the day and yeare first abovewritten: Anno [?] dm 1630.


[note in the bottom left margin]

fine 3l
rent 23s 4d
terme []


Transcription of a c1760 copy of a 1643 Lease

Source: Athol Paper 34A/7

Bundle of Leases

This Indenture made the two and twentieth day of
January in the nineteenth year of the Reigne of our Soveraigne Lord
Charles by the Grace of God King of Great Brittain France and Ireland
Defendr of the Faith etc. Between the Right Honoble James
Earl of Derby Viscount Kinton Lo. Stanley and Strange of Nnockenge
Laiye Moughune Bafsett Lo. of Mann and the isles upon the one part
and Robert Calcott of the Nunnery in the pish of KK Braddan within
the said Isle Gent upon the other part Witnesseth that the said
Earl for and in Consideracon of a Surrender of a certain term and
Interest which he said Robt Calcott now hath and houldeth of & in
certain of the lands and hereditaments hereinafter mentioned by late
composicon thereof made with his Honr Commissioners in Ann one
thousand siz hundred and thirtie And in Consideracon of the sum of
five shillings of lawfull English money to him in hand paid by the
said Robt Calcott at or before the ensealing and delivery of these
presents as also for divers good causes and considercons him the
said earle espectially moving hath demised granted sett and to farm
sett And by these presents doth demise Grant sett and to Farm lett
unto the said Robt Calcott and his assignes all the messuage and
Tenement with th' appurtenances now in the Tenure holding and
occupation of the said Robt Calcott comonly called and known by the
name of the Nunnery Farme in the parish of KK Braddan aforesaid
being of the annual rent of forty shillings with all and every the
customs of the tenants of the abbey lands in the said Parish
therewith all usually occupied and enjoyed And also all that and
those parcels of Land with the appurtenances thereunto belonging situate
lying and being in the parish aforesaid comonly called Reaot more
being of the yearly rent of two shillings and sixpence and also
all and everie that and those the Tythes of KK Braddan belonging to 
the late devolved Monastery of Rushen being of the yearly Rent of five
pounds and also all that one Sellar in Douglas in the Occupation 
of the said Robt Calcott being of the yearly rent of seven pence. And
also all those two parcells of Land parcell of the treene of Douglas
now in the Occupation of the said Robt Calcott being of the yearly rent
of two shillings and six pence together with all and every the
Houses Edifices Buildings Barns Stables Orchards Gardens Lands
Tenements Easements Liberties proffits and commondities whatsoever
to and with the said premesses or any parte thereof usually occupied
or enjoyed To have and to hold to the said Robt Calcott and 
his assignes for and during the tearme of the natural lyfe and lives
of Margaret now wife of the said Robt Calcott and Robt and Richd
Calcott sons of him the said Robt Calcott parties to these presents and
of the lyfe and lives of the longer liver of them Yielding and
paying therefore yearly during the said tearme unto the said
Earl his heyres and assigns all and every the several and Particular
Rents aforesaid at the times of payment or Rent Days in the sayd
Island usual and accustomed And also yielding paying and doeing
therefore yearly during the said tearme all other such custome moneys
or other duties suits and services as heretofore have been accustomed
to be yealded paid and done for the same or for all or any part thereof
provided always and upon condition that if he the sayd Robt
Calcott partie to these presents or his assigns occupying the premes
or any parte thereof shall wilfully and obstinately refuse and faile
to yeild and pay any of the tents suits services duties and customes
aforesaid when he or they shall be lawfully commanded to yield pay
and do the same Or shall or cause to be made any wilfull [waste?]
in or upon the premes or any part thereof Or shall demise sett
over or assign the premes or any part thereof to any pson of psons
whatsover (other than to his wife and children) without the
special licence and consent of the said Earle or his Heirs or of
his or their Lieut or Govr of the said Ireland and one other or more
of his or their officers or officers for the time being that then it shall
bee lawful to and for the said Earle his heyres and assignes into 
all and singular the prmises with th' appurtenances to reenter
and the same to reposseess and have again as in his or their former
estate Any thing herein before contained to the contrary notwithstanding
In Witness whereof the parties above said to these presents
Interchangeably have put their hands and seals the day and year
first above written anno dmi one thousand six hundred forty
three. 1643

Sealed Signed and delivered  }          [signed] Robt Calcott
in presence of               }
[signed] John Sharples
[signed] Richd Tildsey

                                [?]  John Quayle
                              Comptr & Clerk Rotul.