[From unpublished documents etc, Journal Manx Museum iv ]

The Barony of Bangor and Sabal in Kirk Patrick

Remarkable Survival of the Middle Ages

AMONG the mass of unpublished manuscripts in the Library of the Manx Museum there are few of deeper interest than those which relate to the tenure of the Lord’s lands, the lands of the Abbot of Rushen, and those of the Baronies of the Bishop, of St. Trinian’s, and of Bangor and Sabal.

In the Quayle Bridge House Collection, generously given by the late Miss Quayle and her sister, Mrs. Latham Tomlin, there are a good number of volumes of MSS. which relate to all the above lands.

So very little is known of the three Baronies named, particularly that of Bangor and Sabal in the parish of Kirk Patrick, that it is intended here to give some account of this most interesting Barony.

A plan of the area is shown opposite page 137. The land consists of six quarterlands, each the size of the average Manx farm of about 120 acres. The baronial land is situated on the west coast, south of Peel, comprising all the land between Glenmeay and Dalby. Each farm runs in a strip from east to west. Their names are well-known, and here is a list in order from north to south : Ballachrink, Cronkmoar, Balnalargy, Ballaquane, Bellelby, and Ballahutchin.

The Abbots of Bangor and Sabal had the same manorial rights as the Lord, though they held from him as superior by homage and fealty. They were entitled to sit by the King on Tynwald Hill during the promulgation ceremonies.

We learn from the Statute Book, under the date 1417, that when the Deemsters informed Sir John Stanley that if any of his ‘ Barrons be out of the Land, they shall have the space of fourty days. After that they are called in to come and show whereby they hould and clayme Lands and Tenements within (his) Land of Man ; & to make Faith and Fealtie, if Wind and Weather served them. or, to cease their temporalities into (his) hands.’

In Lex Scripta under the date 1422 we find that the Bishop of Man did his faith and fealtie, also the Abbot of Rushen and Prior of Douglas; whilst the Prior of Withorne in Galloway, the Abbot of Furnace [Furness], the Abbot of Bangor, the Abbot of Saball, & the Prior of St. Beade in Copeland, were called in, and came not ; therefore they were deemed by the Deemsters that if they did not come within forty days they were to loose all their Temporalities.’ It would seem, however, that they did come within that period, as their temporalities were not confiscated at that time, although they may have been soon after.1

There is a quaint but most interesting account of our Barony in one of the Quayle Bridge House MS. books.

Quayle Bridge House Collection.

Document No. 225.



‘ The Barony of Bangor and Sabal formerly belonged to the Monasteries in Galway (sic) in Ireland. They used to send two or three monks to a seminary or cell they had in that Barony. It is handed down by tradition that Edward Earl of Derby and Lord of Mann was no favourer of the Reformation during the reign of Henry VIII, or Edward VI, so that the Popish religion met with no interruption, nor the Monasticks any disturbance till after the death of the said Earl Edward, which happened in the 14 Eliz. 1572.

‘ Henry Earl of Derby, his son, succeeding his father when under age, Queen Eliz. his cousin committed the guardianship to Salisbury & Lord Norfolk, who ordered the several Monasteries &c. in the Isle to be dissolved, Demolished, & their Possessions seized to the Queens use, & made grants of this little Barony to the Sherburns of Stonyhurst in Lancashire ; but the late Dutchess Dowager of Norfolk, the last of the family, not thinking it worth her while to renew the Patent, neglected it.

Whereupon Mr. Carrington the messenger & one Mr. Chew, caught with the pompous Title of a Barony & Flattering themselves that the soil & freehold were granted, took up the Patent for 31 years. And coming to the Isle found it an Empty name, & that the King could only be entitled to the Rent & Boons paid to the Monks, which, after deducting £2 : 6 : 8 Britt., being the rent reserved by the Patent & Payable to the Exchequer, the Fees payable to the Judges of the Court the Steward and the Serjiant, there did not remain £1 : 12 : 2½ Mx. clear to the Patentees.

‘ Whereupon they assigned there term over to John Nicholson Esq" of Kennington Lane in Surrey, who commenced a suit of Exchequer for the freehold and Inheritance of the Lands in the sd Barony. But after 12 years Litigation he was glad to take the ancient reserved Rent, Boons, &c., with which the poor Tenants compli’d, as they were unable to Bring the suit to a hearing ; so that their Tenure of the Straw was never altered.

‘ Mr. Nicholson finding himself deceived, made frequent offers to assign his term, which has only seven years to run.’

No dates are given in the book for Mr. Nicholson’s holding of the Patent, but it would be round about 1670.

In another of the Quayle Bridge House MS. books, giving an account of the Monastery Records &c., there are many references to the Barony of Bangor and Sabal, and the differences between Mr. Sherburne & his tenants in the 17th century. It is interesting to note that the grant was first made to Sherburne in the 17th century by Charles II.

In the year 1671 Richard Sherburne petitioned the Earl of Derby to insist upon the Tenants of the Barony paying to him certain fines which he claimed to have arranged with them to pay. It is assumed that the ‘ fines ‘ were only demanded on occasions when the properties chantred hands. as from father to son, etc. Here is Sherburne’s petition

From the Book of Bangor & Sabal in the Registry Office, Douglas.


Document No. 226. 


To the Rt. Hon. Charles Earl of Derby, &c.

The humble petn of Rich Sherborne Esq. one of yr Honble Barrons within the sd Isle.


That yr petr & his ancestors past ye memory of Man hath been tenants to ye sevll Kings & Queens of England for ye Barrony of Bangor & Sable within yr Hon's Island of Man, & hath from time to time renewed their respective leases from ye Crowne accordingly.

And in particular yr petr. (to his great Charge paying double his ancestors accustomed fine) hath renewed ye same under ye broad seale of England from his Majestie yt now is, relation to ye sd. Letters Patons may more at large appear.

After which your petr. went himself in person into ye sd Isle, when upon landing he immediately repaired to yr Lordship’s Govr. & other Magisstrates there, acquainting them with his Letters Patons aforesaid, who in pursuance of the same tendered to your petitioner ye oath of a Barron there, which he in obedience to ye custom of ye Island received, & likewise at ye same time swore fealty to yr Hon".

After which yr petr. tooke possession of the sd Barrony of Bangor & Sable, & the tenants therein did most readily & willingly atorne, whereupon the petr agreed with them for their fynes at soe reasonable rates that all there fines in grose did not amount to ye fine in particular your pet". gave his Majestie.

Besides yr petr. allowed them several yrs for there payment & yt. is to be in ye same agreed Comodities of their country : all which fines & agreements were judged so reasonable that y". Lordships Govt. with the 24 Keys of the Island did both much aplaud & aprove yr petr usidge to his said Tennents.

Now so it may please your Honr. that since yr petr. returned into England his tenants within the sd Barrony of Bangor & Sable have not only slighted there severall agreements as aforesd. to your petrs. very great damage But also contemned his Majestic Letters Patons in keeping possession.

Wherefore your petr. pray that he may have ye libertie of the lawes of the island for recovering his damage agnst ye sd Tennents, &c.


Earl Charles referred Sherburne’s petition to the Twenty Four Keys & the officers ‘ to take a full legal examination . . . according to the lawes & Customs of the Isle.’

According to another MS. book in the Quayle Bridge House Collection* the tenants sent a petition to Earl Charles claiming that ‘ their ancestors had happily & comfortably held their land, & had never been burdened with any other imposition more than the payment of their ancient rents, boons, dutys, customes & services, until now. . . .‘

Mr. Sherburne’s Attorney came to the Island and one Daniel Colvin was upon the request of the Tenants allowed to be their attorney. on the 18th and 19th June, 1672, there was a great debate at Peel. It was ultimately agreed that there was ‘ no law or custome to oblige the customary tenants to pay more than their antient rents, suites and services.’

It would appear that after the date of John Nicholson, at the end of the 18th century, the Barony ceased to be leased from the Crown, at any rate for a long period, and the tenants would seem to have been free from any payment.

No courts for the Barony were held for a long while and for centuries the Lord’s Books made no references to the changes of the tenants and their holdings.



In the Liber Bangor et Sabal in the Registry of Deeds, under date 1603, there is the first recorded list of the holders of land in the Barony. Their names are : McLowny [Looney] , Hutchin, Curmin [Kermeen]. Knickall [ Cringle] , McKey, Quirk, Quygin [Quiggin], Quane, Radcliffe, Norres and Gell.

The farms which comprise this ancient Barony are the following. The acreage is given approximately as in Wood’s Atlas, 1860. The names of the chief owners as shown in the Lord’s Rent Book of 1916, with the ancient rent, are also given :—

Ballahutchin, 102 acres, John Quilliam and others, rent

£1 6 1

Ballelby, 118 acres, Radcliffe Gell, rent

£ 1 4 4

Ballaquane, 107 acres, Radcliffe Gell, rent

£1 4 4

Balnelargy, 111 acres, Margaret Watterson and others, rent

£1 3 2

Knockmoar, 162 acres, John Kennaugh and others, rent

£19 10~

Ballachrink, 165 acres, Wm. Quirk, Chas. J. Quane, Henry Quayle and others, rent

£1 19 9

Total annual rent

£8 7 6k

In the Quayle Bridge House Book quoted the ancient rent was set at £6 7s. 0d., about a guinea each farm. But in addition to the ancient rent the tenants had collectively to give the following ‘ customs ‘ annually : 21 hens @ 6d., 63 boon days @ 4d., & 118 loads of turf @ 1d. These came to £2 is. 4d. The total was thus £8 8s. 4d.

From the fact that the Barons lived far away from the farms it would, of course, be impossible that the hens, the turf, and the boon days (manual services) could be used by them ; they were there-fore commuted into a small sum of money and added to the rent.

About 1765 the Barony was purchased by Mr. John Quayle, Clerk of the Rolls. In 1770 he memorialised the Crown, claiming the privileges belonging to the land. The then Attorney-General, Charles Searle, and Deemster Peter John Heywood, reported on the memorial, and declared that he could not with any propriety tender his fealty at Tynwald to the King of England, because the grant was not from His Majesty but to the Duke of Athol at his Baron Court.

It will be seen that the ancient rent of £6 7s. 0d. plus the value of the customs, totals £8 8s. 4d., which approximates to the sum charged in 1916, viz. £8 7s. 4d. The continuance of the same rent from the earliest record in the 16th to the 20th century (without any change) is very remarkable.


The rents and customs of the Barony were redeemed by the holders under the Lord’s Rents Purchase Act, 1913, and the last Baron Court was held in October, 1915. The names of the Setting Quest on the occasion were Radcliffe Gell, Henry Quayle, Charles J. Quane, and John Crellin.

In the next issue of the Journal it is proposed to give some account of the origin of the Barony, of the Baron Courts and those who presided, and some of the very interesting cases brought before the courts.

 [part 2]

THE account in the September issue of the Journal of the remarkable survival of the Middle Ages in the Barony of Bangor and Sabal (or Saul) in Kirk Patrick has created much interest. It was proposed in this number to enquire into what is known about the origin of the Barony, but it is realised that scant information is available. There are no very early records, either in Ireland or in Man, but we have certain evidence from our own sources of the existence of the Barony as early as the beginning of the fifteenth century. Definite records extend from the sixteenth century to the year 1915.

The Abbot of Bangor and Sabal had the same manorial rights — claimed in freehold under ancient grants made by former kings — as the other Barons in Man who did their faith and fealtie to the King. The others were the Abbot of Rushen, the Lord Bishop, the Prior of Douglas, the Prior of Whithorn in Galloway, the Abbot of Furness and the Prior of St. Bees in Copeland.

It has already been explained that the Barony was situated in the parish of Kirk Patrick, on the west coast south of Peel, comprising all the land between Glenmaye and Dalby. This consisted of six farms of about 120 acres each, and now known to us as Ballachrink, Cronkmoar, Balnalargy, Ballaquane, Ballelby and Ballahutchin.

The creation of the original Early Christian church of Sabhal is told in Whitley Stokes’ Tripartite Life of St. Patrick (p. 451) : Touching first at a point on the Leinster Coast in Ireland, Patrick landed finally to begin his mission in Strangford Lough in the County Down. His first convert was a local chieftain named Díchu.

And there came against him Díchu and he set against him an exceedingly eager hound which he had. Nevertheless Patrick made the sign of the cross of the Lord against it . . . and the hound was unable to stir. Then Dichu bared his brand and went to kill Patrick. Patrick made the sign of Christ’s cross against him, so that he could not stir either foot or hand. Thereafter Dichu repented and knelt before Patrick and gave him his full will, and Dichu believed in one God and he and great hosts along with him were baptised, and he gave that land [whereon he was converted] to God and Patrick. In that place Patrick built a church which is called Saball Pátraic* to-day.

And he foretold to Díchu that it would be there he should go to heaven.

Saul, about two miles from Downpatrick, was the site of St. Patrick’s first church in Ireland, and it was his place of burial. Bangor Abbey, also in Co. Down, was founded in the middle of the 6th century by St. Comgall, and rebuilt on a scale of magnificence by St. Malachy, who died in 1148.

In the minds of many students of Manx history there has been a hazy idea that the Barony of Bangor and Sabal was in some way associated with Grey Abbey. Both are in County Down not far away from each other, and both are intimately connected with the Isle of Man.

Grey Abbey was founded in AD. 1193 by Aifreca, daughter of Godred II, King of Man (1153-1187), and sister of Reginald, King of Man (1187-1226). Her husband was the celebrated Norman warrior John de Courcy, the conqueror of Ulster. The traditional story goes that Aifreca, caught in a storm at sea when journeying from Man to the North of Ireland, vowed to erect such a foundation if she came safely to shore. She was buried in Grey Abbey, and her recumbent statue is still preserved in the Church, together with a fragment which may have represented her husband..

Dr. D. A. Chart, Deputy-keeper of Public Records (N. Ireland), has searched for references to the Barony in Irish documents, but has found little. He made the interesting discovery, how-ever, in Archdall’s Monasticon Hibernicum (p. 109), that ‘ the Abbot [of Bangor] also "enjoyed a townland in the Isle of Man called Glenanoy on the condition that he should attend on the King of that island at certain times.' Glenanoy ‘ is, of course, a mis-spelling of the village of Glenmaye, whose stream is the northern boundary of the Barony.


The authority for this statement is given in a footnote as ‘ King, p. 238.’ The reference to King, Dr. Chart says, is to King’s Collectanea, a collection of manuscripts for the ecclesiastical history of Ireland amassed by Archbishop W. King and now part of the Harris MSS. in the National Library, Dublin. Dr. Chart has exhausted the King papers for further information as to the Barony, but has found nothing.

On the same page of Archdall it is said that in 1273 the Prior of Bangor was elected to govern the Abbey of Saul, but the license not having been obtained he was set aside.’ There was eventually, we know, an intimate connection between Bangor and Sabal which gave the title to the Barony. It is quite possible that it was from one or both of these monasteries of Bangor and Sabal that the first Irish mission reached our Island and obtained a settlement in the parish of Kirk Patrick. It is suggested that Aifrecas grant was only a confirmation of a previous gift made in early Christian times.

Dr. Chart is of the opinion that either Aifreca or her husband might have been responsible for the grant of lands in Man which became one of the properties of the Barony. John de Courcy we know founded a Cistercian Abbey at Inch in the county Down, not far from Saul, and it was colonised from Furness Abbey in Lancashire.

Further evidence of the de Courcy connection with Bangor is the witnessing of a charter of his by Maurice, the Abbot of Bangor, in 1179. This is followed in Archdall by a note that about the close of the 12th century, Christian, Bishop of Man, was interred at Bangor. The authority for this statement, Dr. Chart says, is given as 4 King, p. 67.’

Professor Munch*, the Norwegian historian, states that Bishop Reginald, the first of all Sudreyan bishops, was nominated by Nidaros the Norwegian metropolitan, soon after 1152, when the See was founded. Christian, who succeeded him (says Munch), must be supposed to have come from Ireland since he was buried at Benchor (Bangor) Abbey in Ulster, of which he probably was a monk.’ * A. Munch, Chronicle of Man, Manx Society, vol. xxii, p. 239.


The Stanleys, after the royal grant made to them in 1406, were constituted feudatory kings and became entitled to the fealty and feudal services of the Barony.

Soon after the dissolution of the monastery in 1540 the Barony was granted to the Sherburnes of Stoneyhurst in Lancashire. But it might be noted that at a date earlier than the dissolution the Sherburnes were connected with Man. Richard was deputy-governor in 1532, and his son, Sir Richard, was Governor from 1580 to 1592. Henry Earl of Derby addressed him as my well-beloved nephew, captain of my isle of Man.’

Richard Sherburne’s wife, Catherine, daughter of Charles Lord Stourton, died in the parish of Kirk Malew in giving birth to twins. She was buried there, but her husband had her re-interred in the Sherburne chapel. Their effigies and that of the elder Richard are in the chapel.* The Sherburnes and those who followed them up to the beginning of the nineteenth century all held their patents under the king or the Derby lords.

The Duchess Dowager of Norfolk, the last of the Sherburnes, not thinking it worth while to renew the patent, neglected it. Two Englishmen named Carrington and Chew caught with the pompous title of a Barony took the patent for 31 years, but according to a MS. record in the Bridge House Collection quoted in last issue, they could only manage to get a revenue from the six farms of £1 12s. 2½d. clear after all court expenses were paid. As has been stated, the whole of the rents amounted to only £6 7s. 0d., plus the customes of 21 hens @ 6d., 63 boon days @ 4d., and 118 loads of turf @ ld.’**

James Nicholson of Surrey became the next holder of the patent, and he had the same difficulty as the others to secure his rents. It would appear that he attempted to raise the customary rents upon the tenants, his action being successfully resisted.

In 1791 the Barony was in the possession of the Duke of Athol by grant from the Crown + It is interesting to note that in a letter dated May 5th, 1825, to the Home Secretary, Robert Peel, ex-Deemster Thomas Gawne said that the Duke of Atholl was still receiving rents from lands near Dalby (the Barony of Bangor and Sabal) although the lease held by Atholl from the Crown had expired in 1811.

There were no alienation fines in the Baronies of Bangor and Sabal or St. Trinians, as there were in the cases of the Lords and the Monastery lands.

1 A. W. Moore, Manx Place-Names, p. 307.

2 Monastery Records Book D, p. 189.

3 This means in Irish Patrick’s Barn,’ and is now called Saul in the County Down

*R Ainsworth, Accrington Observer and Times April, 1933.

**See September issue of the Journal, p. 138.

+ Commissioners’ Report, 1792, p. 413.

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