Libri Episcopalis

This record series is the books of the manorial court of the Bishop's Barony. This was a small Barony consising of about 19 quarterlands in Jurby, Bradan and Marown together with a few more scattered cottages. The Bishop's Baronial Court appears to correspond closely to the Lord's Sheading Courts (as well as the other Barons's Courts) and the format of the records is very similar. The main difference is that the Lord's Sheading Court records are spread over two series namely Libri Placitorum (for the common law proceedings) and Libri Vastarum (for land transfers).


Organisation of the Records


There a number of chronologically ordered bundles of Court records, of which the first (earliest) is titled Liber Episcopalis 1580-1599. In addition to the regular records of the court (common law business and tenancy changes) they occasionally include other information such as lists of tenants.


Format of the Records


An individual Liber Episcopalis is simply a bundle of the baronial court records for a small collection of consecutive years. The courts were normally held in May and October each year (as were the Lord's Sheading Courts). They often appear to be presided over by the Bishop or Senschal however (rather than the Governor). The records of each court can be broken down as follows.


Firstly we have the court heading which begins on a fresh page. This is in latin and typically gives the name of the court, where it was held (for example Bishop's Court or Holmetown, the date and the officers present.


The next paragraph gives the names of a sworn jury of 12 lawful men. This clearly corresponds to the Great Enquest of the Sheading. Sometimes these names are written out in a paragraph. More commonly they are formatted in three parallel lists of four names.


The next section consists of a number of paragraphs describing presentments for criminal offences, civil disputes between the people of the barony and details of tenancy changes. Unlike the in the Lord's Courts these three categories are not strictly separated. Otherwise the format of these various entries is much the same as appears in the Libri Placitorum (common law business) and Libri Vastarum (land transfers). There is however more use of English for the former category and Latin for the latter. An extract (from October 1591) of an offence is:

             yt is pr[e]sented by Nicholas more srgeant of
             Glenfaba and kk marown and Bradan that
             Ote Cretney and geagge quill disobeyed to do the[ir]
xiid         carriage therfore in fyne eyther of them vid


A short record of a change of tenant (of land of rent 5 shillings from John mc ilvroy to katherin Christen) is

| John mc ilvroy |  katherin Christen
pro half qrter ground vs