[From Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 3 pp 92/5]




i. This name has been given to a rent roll of the Isle of Man from its being for the Island comparable to what the great Norman Roll is for England. It consists of two parts, viz., the roll of the three sheadings of Rushen, Middle, and Garff, and that of the sheadings Glanfaba, Michael, and Ayre —the first drawn up in 1510, the second in 1514. This work is kept in the Rolls Office, and is the basis of the present Lords rent books ; but, no doubt, it was compiled, with corrections up to date, from older rolls that have perished.

ii. The King, or Lord, of Man in whose time the roll was made was Thomas, Second Earl of Derby, and fifth king of the Stanley line in Man. He was surnamed " the King of the Golden Crupper." He visited the Island in 1507, and made a famous descent on Kirkcudbright, burning the castle of the McClellans, and devastating the Stewartry. This prince relinquished the title of King, and adopted that of Lord of Man, saying that it was better to be a great lord than a petty king. He was in attendance on Henry VII. of England in high State employments, and possibly his abandoning the title of King was in deference to the arbitrary Tudor monarch, whose policy with regard to the old feudal aristocracy was strongly repressive.

iii. Each part of the Manx Doomsday Book has an introductory heading, both in much the same terms. The Manx Note Book (No. I., January, 1885) gives the title of part i, with approximate exactness :— Setting of lands and tenements of Thomas Earl of Derby Lord Stanley of Man and the Isles of in lez Shedyngs in his land of Man aforesaid viz of Rushen MedaIl and Garf and William Parre Comptroller there with other officers of the Lord month of June Anno Domini 1510 with their terms of payment. Will begin at the feast of St. Michael Archangel AD. 1511. Robert Calcote Receiver there in charge.

The heading of part 2 is as follows

Setting of lands and tenements of Thomas Earl Derby Lord Stanley of Man and the Isles of in lez Shedyngs viz Glenfaba Kirke Mighell and le Ayre before the Lord’s officers there month of June Anno Dornini 1514 with their terms of payment. Will begin at the feast of St. Michael Archangel Anno Domini 1515 Robert Ap Ithell Lord’s receiver there in charge.

iv. The roll is in Latin. The Norman-French le and lez are sometimes used, and the origin of the name Lezayre is seen to be le Ayre, or Lezayre for euphony. The name of Middle Sheading is Medall. The parishes of Rushen and Lezayre take their names from their sheadings, i.e., being respectively Holy Trinity of Rushen and Holy Trinity of le Ayre they become Rushen and Lezayre. Similarly the origin of other names of places are discoverable throughout the book.

v. The handwriting is remarkable for its uniformity. Part I. seems the work of one writer, and Part II. of another, and is of rather fairer penmanship. Robert Calcote and Robert Ap Ithell were probably the writers.

vi. In the left hand broad margin of each page is the name of the Treen written large ; in the body of the page the various holdings of the Treen ; and opposite each holding, in the right hand margin, the amount of rent. But the separate holdings, generally quarter-land, have no quarterland names. The Treen names are either ( a) pure Norse names, or (b) have the prefix Baly (i.e., Balla), indicating that the Treen was the original Balla, Villa, or Manor in the lesser sense. The term Balla subsequently became prefixed to the separate holdings of the Treen, or more precisely to the quarterland. The quarterland is called uniformly " quartron," e.g. :— Scaleby—

From Henry McQuarkis and Patrick McQuarkis for one tenement and one quartron of land granted to them and their assigns as above XXIJ VIIJ [ie 22s 8d]

The rent of a quarterland varies from about ten shillings to a pound, and consequently the quarterlands were not of any uniform size.

vii. The rents of mills were about the same amounts as the rents of the best quarterlands. The holders of mills generally held land also ; and the John McCristen who held Cornay Mill in Maughold is probably the same man who held half a quarterland at Altadale (or Milltown, in Lezayre), and the two mills of Altadale and of Breryk. There is only one mill (viz. the Lhen) in Andreas and in Bride there is no mill at all.

viii. The amount paid for licence to brew (or possibly distil) ranges from twopence to one shilling ; but the normal licences were fourpence and eightpence. The persons who had these licences in the country parts usually held a farm as well. John McCorkell, Vicar of Michael, is among the brewers.

ix. The rent of freshwater fisheries (salmon), e.g., of Laxey river, Douglas river, and Sulby river, were 2/-, 4/2, and 3/4 respectively. The Prioress of Douglas and Robert Calcote (Receiver-General) being joint tenants of Douglas river, and John McCristen (almost certainly the great miller of Altadale) being the tenant of Sulby fishery.

x. As this rent roll dates from a time prior to the suppression of Rushen Abbey, and the Priory (or Nunnery) of Douglas, the extensive estates of the religious houses are not included ; but the Abbot of Rushen appears as tenant of certain lands held by him from the Lord at Totnamby, near St. Mark’s, in Malew, seemingly adjoining the Abbey lands in that quarter ; and the Abbot also pays annual rent of 3/4 for a mill-race through the Lord’s land in Kirk German, probably to the Abbey Mill, between St. John’s and Peel.

xi. There seems to have been some friction between Abbey tenants and Lord’s tenants, one Murdagh McCasmund, an Abbey tenant is fined for three separate attacks upon three tenants of the Lord, and the said tenants are also fined for wounding the said Murdagh.

xii. The names of the tenants are by no means all Manx names.

The noble name of Howard (Hog-ward), appears in the case of Edward Hugward, who pays a licence of sixpence for brewing in Kirk German. Huan Worthyngton is joint tenant of the mill of Huburton, in Kirk Patrick. The inhabitants of Castletown were mainly of English origin. Douglas was more Manx.

xiii. The Friars of Bymacan Friary, in Kirk Arbory, rented a quarterland for which they paid twenty shillings ; and John Norres (possibly the Deemster) had a holding (Balla-Norris), adjacent, for which he paid thirty-four shillings. Thomas Stephenson, of Balladoole, was a great man in that parish ; he paid fifty-six shillings and four pence. The rent of land about Castletown was about one shilling an acre ; the rent of land in Malew paid to the Abbey about sixpence an acre ; in some other parts of the Island probably threepence or fourpence an acre. It must be borne in mind that much land then unreclaimed has since been brought under cultivation, viz., the land classed as intack.

xiv. Margaret and Marion, Agnes and Calyhony, are the commonest Christian names of women. Almost all surnames of Manx origin had the prefix Mc. ; in the case of women the feminine equivalent (Ine—daughter) takes the place of Mc. e.g. Katryn Joe Quartagh and Gilcriste McQuartagh.

xv. At the head of each parish is a list of the four members of the Setting-Quest of the parish, who also are generally found in their places as tenants of holdings. But with reference to names, complete information will be found in " Moore’s Surnames and Place-names of the Isle of Man."

xvi. It is interesting in conclusion to note that there are still in the Island famiilies who hold the same lands that their ancestors held, whose names are found in the Rent-Roll. The identification of the holdings can be made by reason of the fact that at the time of the Act of Settlement (1702) the Lord’s rents were doubled ; and in the Rent Roll no two quarterlands in the same Treen have, as a rule, the same rent. A comprehensive view of the Island as it was at the beginning of the XVI. Century, can best be obtained by the construction of a large map of it showing the farms as then existing. The final reflection will almost certainly be that there has been, except in the towns, astonishingly little change.


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001