[From Manx Soc vol 21]


The Island is divided into various districts under the denomination of sheadings, parishes, treens, quarter-lands, and ballas or estates, as follows :— Sheading or Sheadin is the name given to the six districts into which the Island has been from time immemorial divided. The term is evidently derived from the words shey (six) and rheynn (division or distribution). Each sheading forms a coroner’s district, and contains, with one exception, three parishes. They are designated as follows

Glanfaba sheading, which takes precedence, as does its coroner, who has the peculiar right to execute his office in any part of the Island, and to make summonses upon and enforce judgments against the other coroners in case of need. It contains the parishes of Patrick, German, and Marown.

Michael sheading, contains the parishes of Michael, Ballaugh, and Jurby.

Ayre sheading, the parishes of Lezayre, Andreas, and Bride.

Garff sheading, the parishes of Maughold and Lonan.

Middle sheading, the parishes of Onchan, Braddan, and Santon.

Rushen sheading, the parishes of Malew, Arbory, and Rushen.

In Chaloner’s Description of the Isle of Man, Manx Society, vol. x., at pages 30-32, an account is given of the sheadings; the distribution of the parishes is not, however, quite correct.

Skeeyll—a parish. Cregeen considers the word is derived from Scarrey, a separation or division. Dr. Kelly (see his Manx and English Dictionary), on the other hand, says it is a contraction of the words skerrey (the parish), and leeeyll (of the church). Be this as it may, the word is the prefix to fifteen out of the seventeen parishes in the island, thus :—

Skeeyll-y-Pharic Parish of Patrick.

Skeeyll-y-Charmane ,, German.

Skeeyll-y-Mayl ,, Michael,

Skeeyll Andreays ,, Andreas.

Skeeyll-y-llridey ,, Bride.

Skeeyll-y-Chreest-ne-Heyrey ,, Christ Lezayse.

Skeeyll-y-Maghal ,, Maughold.

Skeeyll Lonnan ,, Lonan.

Skeeyll-y-Chonnaghan ,, Onchan.

Skeeyll-y-Vraddan ,, Braddan.

Skeeyll Marooney ,, Marown.

Skeeyll-y-Stondane ,, Santon.

Skeeyll Malew ,, Malew.

Skeeyll-y-Chairbre ,, Arbory.

Skeeyll-y-Chreest Rushen ,, Rushen.

The two parishes to which the word is not annexed are—

Yourby . Jurby.

Trall-ny-Laaghey . Ballaugh.

Treen is another familiar term signifying a division or apportionment of lands into thirds. Each parish contains a number of treens, which, in their turn, are subdivided into quarterlands.

For further particulars respecting treens and treen chapels, the reader is referred to vol. xv. of the Manx Society’s publications, pages 76, et seq.

Quarterlands.- For the facility of reference in the Lords’ Books, the Isle of Man has been divided into various quantities, under the denomination of Quarterlands, Cottages, and Intacks, with the abbey and other barony lands, with the mountains or "forest lands."

According to a survey made by Mr. Hooper in 1608 in the Rolls Office, the number of quarterlands of Lord’s Land was as follows :—

Kirk-Patrick 35

German 39 and 4th part.

Michael 45

Ballaugh 34

Jurby 18 and 4th part.

Andreas 58

Bride 42

Lezayre 33 and 4th part.

Maughold 38

Lonnan 52

Conchan 40

Braddan 38

Marown 30~

Santan 35

Malew 26 and 4th part.

Arbory 32

Rushen 40

Total . 639~- quarterlands.

Besides these there are above 2700 cottages and intacks, all which are Lords’ land, with 79 mill rents. Also quarterlands formerly belonging to the dissolved monastery of Rushen, called Abbey Lands, of which there are in—

Malew . 52

German . . 13

Sulby in Lezayre . 10

Skinsco in Lonnan 5

Braddan 18

Rushen 1~


Besides 6 mills and 77 abbey cottages.

Barony of Bangor and Sabal, in Kirk-Patrick, consists of 7 quarterlands, but computed to only 6.

Bishop’s Barony, belonging to the Lord Bishop, 19* quarterlands.

Barony of St. Trinions, in the parishes of German and Marown, consists of 5 quarterlands.

Portion of land in Kirk-Maughold, said to be a barony called Ball Ellen, computed to half a quarterland, with a parcel of heathy land and hough or strand, is rated in the parish accounts to one quarterland.

A small portion in Kirk Maughold, called Staff Land— The "Forest," commonly known by the name of the Commons, were disafforested in 1864, and the Commissioners made their award on the 13th March 1865 as follows :— Total acreage of the Forest . 25,113 0 27

Allotment to the Crown . 8,055 1 29

Do. to the Commoners . 7,908 3 4

The remainder was sold for making new roads, expenses, etc. etc.

Uagliagh—A boundary.—When a mere ditch or boundary hedge had to be made up between the lands of the Lord and the lands of any Baron, such as the Bishop or Abbot, the Lord was exempt from giving any portion of the soil in making up such fence, the whole of which had to be made up by the adjoining party. But a portion of the land of the Lord was liable to be taken to make up the boundary fence such portion was described to be as follows :—The Barons’ tenants should have as much earth or soil at the Lord’s side of the fence as a man "can cutt, joining his heele to the said hedge, and reach with his spade, holding his foot thereon." —Deemster Parr’s M.S. Abstract.

This would extend to the space of, on an average, about a yard and a half.

Preban.—A waste piece of land is so called ; hence, in right of superiority in such land or common, comes the term Preban-y-Chiarn, the Lord’s waste, as he had also the first choice in waifs and strays.

Keirroo-balley.—A quarterland; ploughed land, amounting to about 100 acres.

The estate of Gordon, in the parish of Kirk-Patrick, consisting of 222 acres, is said to be the largest quarterland in the Island.

Balley or Balla means a town, estate, place, or farm. The greater proportion of the estates in the Island is called Balla.


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