Pension Books

The Pension Books serve only to record the payments made by tenants in lieu of provisioning the Castles. One booklet contains the records for a year, and separate booklets were produced for the North Side (Castle Peel) and the South Side (Castle Rushen). Loose booklets for the North Side are held under reference MS10192 at Manx National Heritage Library cover the years 1602*, 1603*, 1604*, 1605*, 1606*, 1607*, 1608*, 1609*, (1610), 1613, 1614, 1615, 1616, 1617*, 1619, 1620, 1622 and 1625. There are also booklets for the South Side for the years (1602), (1603), (1604), (1605), (1606), (1608), (1610) and (1626). [I have not examined the booklets enclosed in brackets and can only confirm the following for the others.] In addition however some pension bundles are bound together with the Allowance and/or Pension books for the same year under the same reference. Between 1610 and 1660 various of the Peel Pension Books are held instead under acquisition number 10057 (Manorial Records) within a chronologically ordered bound volume titled "Peel Charge Book 1591-1659" which also incorporates the 1606 North Side Liber Assed" and various Charge and Allowance Books. The South Side Pension books are similarly held either as loose booklets in MS10192 or in a bound volume within MS10057 titled "Book of Charges 1587-1690". A smaller number of Books are also held within the Derby Papers (MD401) under reference MD401/1728.


These booklets are organised by parish. Within each parish the total payment collected is given. This is followed by the name of the moar and the allowance he was granted. If the Coronor was from the parish then a similar entry is made for him. Finally the net income is recorded (the total payment minus the allowances). In some years (specifically the years marked with an asterisk) the full list of tenants is given together with their individual payments.


Where the tenant's individual payment is recorded, it can be seen that this is now equal to their annual rent of quarterland (as opposed to the flat rate per quarterland seen in 1593). The order and names of the tenants are the same from year to year, but this does not match the order in which they appear within the Liber Assed. Also the list of names isn't been updated to reflect tenancy changes recorded in the Liber Vast and Liber Assed. It appears likely that a calculation of the individual and collective parish dues was made circa 1601 and that this was simply copied without amendment in subsequent years. The dues themselves would presumably have been collected in a like manner to the rents, but merely recorded separately. One useful aspect of the list of tenants is to permit us to determine when multiple entries of the same name within the Liber Assed are all lands held by the same tenant.


A number of later pension records exist (either in isolation or contained within books of charge and allowance) but I haven't attempted to categorise these. In those I have examined, the information they provide is simply that recorded for the later years above (the total income for each parish together with the allowances provided for parish officers).


Background Information


The 1608 Returns of Parishes to the Earl of Derby [Reference MD401 1715/5 held in the Manx National Heritage Library] contains a explanation of the customary duties. This is given below and also records the ancient values for provisions. An updated set of these prices (with most of them quadrupling) is given later in the same document. The first explanation is transcribed below.


"And for the customs wee answere thus: we finde by the othes of Anciente men that this Island in former tymes lay open to the Invasion of bordering and forreyne enemyes informuth that many tymes it was [?] and over Runne by them whereuppon the L[ord] of this Isle (finding the power of th[e] inhabitants smale, and in practis of war unskillfull) did send forth of England certen soldiers, both for the defence of the two Castles, and safe keeping of the said people & Isle, allowing them fees and wages out of his Annuall Rents for provision of victuells and fire for those soldiers. The Lord and the Tennants came to Composicon, viz The tennants to bring into the Castles both victuell and fire, And to have allowance for the same from the Lord according to their worthes and vallues in those days, wch was a Beofe pre 4s, a [head?] 3s 4d, a mutton 6d, a swyne 4d, a lambe 1d, a kidde 1/2d, a goose 1d, a greene goose 1/2d, three henns 1d, [fower?] chickens 1d, the boule of wheat 12d, the boule of Barley 8d, the boule of Rye 8d, the boule of Otes 2d, and the [Cma?] Carrts of Turfe 15d. The certen number and quantitie of wch wee can not certenlie speake unto, for that they wear but only brought to the Castell as necessitie did inforce and the presente state of the Island require."


In this same document there is also an explanatory note in the summary of accounts as follows: "And for a double Rent in respecte of the saide Lande ferme, for the freeing of the Inhabitants of their Custome of paying their provisions in kinde." This explanation is set against an additional item of income which approximately matches the (separately recorded) annual rent of quarterlands.


There are several statutes which refer to the customary dues. One statute of 18th February 1593 contains the instructions relating to the Lord's desire to "erect again my two garrisons of the Castles of Rushen and Peele" and refers to Setting Corn (Kirk Patrick Corn to be sent to Rushen rather than Peel), Custom Turf (to be allowed as according to law and custom; "that is 52 Turves of one Cubit long and three Inches square in the middest, and those to be allowed for one able Carr within the Houses of Castle Peel") and Beef (the lord permitted either the poorest 100 of the roughly 600 quarterlands to be excused their requirement of a Beef a year for the Castle, or else to pay as they have been accustomed formerly).