Act of Settlement


A statute which redefined the conditions under which land was held from the Lord within the Isle of Man. Essentially it secured the right of his tenants and their heirs to possess their lands in perpetuity (subject to an annual rent and a small additional payment whenever the land was transfered). As a consequence they can subsequently be considered landowners. The Act was enacted in 1704 as is sometimes called the Manx Magna Carta.



Alienation Fine


This was essentially a land transfer tax which was introduced with the Act of Settlement in 1704. It consisted of a payment made to the Lord whenever the land changed ownership. The sum involved was fixed and was in most cases based on (was one third of) an original fine paid in 1643.



Allowance Book


The name used for the itemised accounts of the Isle's expenditure which must be set against Lord's income from the Isle. It is described in more detail within the Records section of this website.





An arbitary fine imposed by the court. In origin the word reflects the fact that the offender was deemed by his offence to have placed himself 'at the lord's mercy', from which the payment of the amercement freed him.



Attorney General


A member of the Lord's Council. He also acted on behalf of the Lord in civil and criminal cases.





A minority of the lands of Man were not held directly by the Lord of Man, but instead by Barons under him. The lands of each of these Barons was styled Baronies and most had their own administrations and Courts. The Lord of Man was the ultimate authorithy on the Island however and appeals could be made from the Baron's Courts to him. Originally the Baronies all belonged to the Church (with the Bishop, Abbot of Rushen, Prioress of Douglas and others being Barons) but following the Reformation most fell into other hands.





A Benevolence (also called a Gratuity) was a payment made by his tenants to a new Lord of Man. It was equal to one year's rent of their holding and was additional to their regular rents and customary obligations.[See for example MS681 p14 at the Manx National Heritage Library which is a 17th century description of tenure in the Isle].





A Manx measure of crops. A boule of Wheat or Rye contained 19 and a half gallons and a boule of Barley or Oats 29 and a quarter gallons of Manx measure. [Reference: MD401 1715/5 "1608 Returns of Parishes to the Earl of Derby" held in the Manx National Heritage Library]. The weights and measures used on the Island changed over time. Dickinson [Lordship of Man under the Stanleys] includes a section on these.



Brass Rent


Brass Rent is commonly taken to refer to the rent by the Lord of his brass brewing pans. A.W. Moore in his 1900 History of the Isle of Man (page 315) comments that "Beer was usually brewed in private houses, there being about ten brewing-pans licensed in each parish, for which a rent was paid, and which was sent round house to house." and also that "Gossip according to an old Manx proverb, was said to go about like a brewing pan."


Some more detail of the Brass Rent is given in the 1608 Returns of Parishes to the Earl of Derby [Reference MD401 1715/5 held in the Manx National Heritage Library]. This explains that the Lord's income from "Brass and Lead Rent does increase and diminish upon occasion" and "Brass and Lead when they decay are brought into the Castells, the rent ceaseth & the brass & lead taken & bought for the Lords use, and when a new one is found, a rent is imposed upon it: viz for every pound of lead to receive 3d and of lead 3/4 d". A specific example of this happening is given in the 1669 Liber Vastarum for Kirk Michael which explains "[Th]is pan fallinge to decay & brought into Castle peele at ye Lords rate, therefore ye rent ceaseth for ye prsent till another can be found to impose ye rent thereupon".



Captain of Man


See Governor





Income from chance events (such as the proceeds of goods washed up on the Island from shipwrecks). Such income forms a section within the Lords Accounts (Charge Books).



Charge Book


The name used for the itemised accounts of the Lord's gross and net yearly income from the Isle. It is described in more detail within the Records section of this website.



Clerk of the Rolls


The officer who would ensure that records were kept of the decisions of the Courts. It was typically combined with the office of Comptroller.





A member of the Lords Council whose responsibilities included auditing the Lord of Man's Accounts. The role was typically combined with that of Clerk of the Rolls and Clerk of the Markets.





An official who was responsible for such maintaining the peace and impanelling juries within the sheading. There was one coronor for each Sheading and they would normally change each year.





A small farmer or crofter.





Curragh is the Manx name for the willow carr or scrub which grows in the wetlands. The use of the term expanded to refer to wetland generally, in particular the large stretches in Ballaugh, Lezayre and German which were reclaimed in the 16th century.



Customs dues and Services


Shorthand for the various obligations which a tenant (particularly a tenant farmer) of the Lord must take on. They changed over time. More detail is given within the Records section of this site where related documents are discussed.





The name used for the collector of duties on goods entering and leaving the island.





A Manx unit of land area. It was equal to the amount which can be ploughed by a team of oxen in one day. In one instance this was 60 yards each way which equates to approximately three quarters of an acre. [Reference CR2017/TP17/1/5 page 1: a letter from the Vicar of Kirk Michael to Thomas Pennant dated 25 March 1775 held at Warwickshire CRO.]





The Deemster appears to be an ancient Manx office. He sat as judge in various Courts and ruled on the laws and customs of the country, some of which were unwritten. There were two Deemsters, one for each of the North and South Sides.





The land retained by the Lord or Baron for his own use (as opposed to being let to tenants). Such land was initially worked by feudal serfs or paid labourers. Eventually demenses came be leased out to tenants.





A payment to the lord, often related to a tenancy. Unlike the modern usage, a fine was typically not a punishment or penalty.





The Lord of Man's representative on the Island who had delegated authority from him. The Governor is often referred to as the Lieutenant or Captain of Man in early documents. There was also a deputy Governor.





See Benevolence



Great Enquest


A jury of 12 men which served at the Sheading Court. (This court considered various matters relating to the Sheading including those relating to common law and property.) It called in "4 honest men of every parish" who were required to serve on pain of fining. A new jury was sworn in every six months.





Typically this term is taken to include all parcels of land which had been licensed (by the Lord or his officials) to be enclosed, and which does not fall in the category of Quarterlands, Mills or Cottages. In practice almost all enclosures since 1505 were Intacks.



Intack of Ease


This is a special category of intack which adjoined a quarterland and were used as Easements for them. After the Act of Settlement they were treated as Quarterlands for the purpose of Inheritance. [Sherwood's Manx Law Tenure discusses the legal situation in detail.]



King of Man


An unused title from the sixteenth century onwards. The Lords of Man were entitled to style themselves Kings of Man but chose not to do so. One Lord of Man (James Stanley 7th Earl of Derby) explained this decision in a letter to his son (reprinted on p436 of Peck's Desiderata Curiosa). Part of this (clearly referring to the Stanley's relationship with the English Monarchy) reads: "Nor does it please a king that, any of his subjects should too much love that name ... There never was a wise subject who would willing offend his king."



Lieutenant of Man


See Governor





An assistant to the Coronor, appointed by him.



Lord of Man


The title taken by the Stanleys and their successors as feudal lords and owners (by grant from the Crown) of the Island.



Lord's Council


A group of four officials which assisted the Governor in administering the Isle of Man.





A parish official who (amongst other duties) assisted the receiver by collecting the Lord's rents. There was one moar for each parish and the occupant would typically change each year.





A half share of property.





From context (in the spiritual customary laws) this term appears to refer to the ordinary vicars general official - the judge of the church court.





These were a small number of pieces of land which were granted as alms for the support of scholars. Moore's History discusses them in more detail (p345-346). He references the confirmation such a grant from the English Crown made in 1408 (Manx Soc Pub vii p225-226).





In the earliest records a quarter or quarterland was a specific unit of farmland and a farm estate was sometimes referred to as a fraction or multiple of quarters. In the later records (post 1700) the term quarterland is used as descriptive of all ancient farmland.





A member of the Lord's Council whose primary role was to collect all of the income due to the Lord (with the support of the Moars, Coronors and Waterbaliff) and also disbursing wages (etc.). The Books of Charge and Allowance itemise this income and expenditure respectively.



Setting Quest


The setting quest was a jury of four men in each parish which would oversee the annual allocation of tenants to the Lord's lands. Existing tenants had a customary right to continue (provided that they were paying the rent) but in the case of land transfers the setting quest appeared to be responsible for ensuring both that the new tenant had the right to hold the land and also that they could afford to pay the rent on it. The names of the Setting Quest typically appear at the top of both the Liber Vastarum and (the following year's) Liber Assedationis entries for that parish and the Quests identified in these documents reveal that (prior to the 1704 Act of Settlement) the members of the quest would usually change each year. A description of part of their duty appears in 1608 Returns of Parishes to the Earl of Derby [Reference MD401 1715/5 held in the Manx National Heritage Library] as follows: "[The Setting Quest] are sworne to finde out and place Tennants upon the lords land, sufficientlie able to paie the Rents yearlie (excepting only the Rent of Brasse and lead ferme wch doth encrease and deminish uppon occasion)".


Sitting upon a Setting Quest would appear to have been a requirement. For example the 1668 Liber Assedationis for Kirk Michael records in its Fines and Amercements section fines of 12d for each of three local men by reason of their "not appearinge to serve uppon ye Rentall Jury called ye settings quest".





A sheading is a large division of land which is believe to be of Scandanavian Origin. The Isle of Man is divided up into six sheadings named Ayre (traditionally comprising the parishes of Andreas, Bride and Lezayre), Glenfaba (traditionally consisting of the parishes of German and Patrick), Michael (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Michael, Jurby and Ballaugh), Rushen (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Rushen, Arbory and Malew), Middle (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Braddan, Marown and Santan)and Garff (traditionally consisting of the parishes of Lonan, Maughold and Conchan).





The income used to support church establishments or individuals coming from tithes and other forms of tax traditionally paid to the Church (such as mortuaries, offering money). The opposite is temporalities.





The income used to support church establishments or individuals coming from land rents and other secular sources. The opposite is spiritualities.



Tenant Julayne


An early Manx legal term for a small farmer or crofter.



Tenure of the Straw


The traditional Manx method of agreeing a bargain was for the seller to give the buyer a piece of straw or hay (see Customary Laws paragraph 11). In addition to livestock and the like, contracts were often made to buy and sell tenancies of the Lord's land by "the delivery of a straw in [the Sheading] Court". This led to the idea that the tenants had ownership over their lands (subject only to the payment of a fixed rent), whereas legally all such contracts required the timely approval of the Lord or his officers (although in 17th century practice this was virtually always granted). The former concept is sometimes referred to as the "Tenure of the Straw" and was subject of much contention in the 17th century, before being finally resolved with the Act of Settlement.





The people of Man were required to pay tithes to the Church. These tithes were divided into three parts (called thirds) with one third each going to the Bishop, the parish clergy and the religious house which owned the parish. Following the dissolution of the monasteries circa 1540, many of these thirds fell into private ownership (called impropriate thirds) for a period.





Treens were ancient groupings of farmland and are the largest units of property to be uniquely named throughout the early land records. The size of treens varied significantly, but it was most typical for them be of several hundred acres and to comprise four quarterlands.





Turbary is technically a right to cut turf or peat in the land of another person 'as of right'. The Manx landholders had turbary rights in the Manx hills. Sometimes the term is used loosely of an area of land and a number of such properties are identified in the Knowsley Lease Book. When the hill lands were divided under the Disafforesting Act of 1860 certain parcels were defined as turbary.



Walk Milne (or Walk Mill)


Another name for a fulling mill, which was used in woolen clothmaking. The cloth would be pounded with hammers in the process of cleansing and thickening it. A number of walk mills are identified in the Knowsley Lease Book.



Water Baliff


A member of the Lord's Council. He also had responsibilities for (seemingly) all aspects of the Lord's business affecting the sea.