Many early Manx documents make extensive use of abbreviations etc. The typical formatting associated with these is described below.


Sometimes the end of the word is left off. When this is done, the abbreviated word is often (but not always) terminated with a colon. For example the names John, Robert and Charles are often written Jo: Ro: and Cha:.


Sometimes for common words only the first few and final letters are given. In such cases the final letter is often given as a superscript. For example the word Executor might be shortened to Exr.


Sometimes for common words some intermediate letters are contracted. A double letter might be replaced by an intermediate letter or ition at the end of a word replaced by icon. Such contractions are often indicated by a sqiggle above the contraction.


The doublet th is often replaced by y in common short words such as the, them, that and this which are often shortened to ye, ym, yt and ys. The letter y actually looks very similar to the contraction of t and h when written in secretary hand (old script).


Words are often broken at the end of a line. In such cases the break is often indicated by an equals sign either at the end of the first half of the word, or at the beginning of the second half, or both. For example the word respect might be written re= at the end of one line and spect at the start of the next.


There are a few single letter abbreviations which occur in some documents for words which the writer doubtless considered obvious from the context. The main examples are d for (the latin word for) one half and f for firlot (a unit of volume used for crops).




The following examples are taken from a late 17th century document which is otherwise fairly easy to read.



A transcription of the above is

occupyeth the lands of the Lo: either in harbage or ma

=nure and if he have no goods in time of setting the


The word Lord has been abbreviated to Lo:

The word manure has been broken at the end of a line as ma and =nure.



A transcription of the above is

holders is also mentioned where it is only said yt

the 24 Keyes (Antiently called Taxiaxi) were such


The word that has been abbreviated to yt



A transcription of the above is

severall lawes were also made upon diffrent sub=

jects with respect to those Tenem[en]ts or farms w[hi]ch


The word subject has been broken at the end of the line to sub= and jects

The words Tenements and which have been abbreviated to Tenem:ts and wch respectively.



A transcription of the above is

things continued thus till the yeare 1593 w[he]n som of

the Ten[an]ts peticoning Henry Earle of Derby to accept

of a Composicon for part of the victualls payable out


The word when has been abbreviated to wn

The word Tenants has been abbreviated to Tents

The word petitioning has been contracted to peticoning as indicated by the associated squiggle.

The word Composition has been similarly contracted to Composicon.