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Pre-1911 Deeds

On these webpages the index information for almost 70,000 deeds registered prior to 1911 are being made available for inspection. 

The documents are searchable and in Excel format, which will automatically download when visiting the links.

What do the index books to the pre-1911 Deeds series show?

The index books shown on these web pages are the unofficial transcription of Requisition books maintained by the Registrar of Deeds between 1847-1911.

Every deed presented for registration in the period (69,218 deeds in all) was successively numbered on the day of receipt and an entry made in the Requisition Books recording the date and time of presentation. Subsequent to this the deed records were transferred to Parish specific ledgers divided into alphabetic sections drawn from the names of the Grantors or the Grantees respectively and these were recorded into the Grantor and Grantee indices. This was done to facilitate searches of the Deed Registry in the pre-electronic era. Now, these index records for these 69,218 deeds may be searched with a few clicks of the keyboard without the need to refer to the antiquated Grantor and Grantee ledgers that may still be found in the Registries building.

Why are the index books to pre-1911 deeds being made available?

These indices are now made available to aid individuals and professionals looking to locate deeds held in the Manx Museum without the need of visiting either the Manx Museum or the Deed Registry. These deeds are still regularly referred to in applications of registration of land in the Land Registry pursuant to the Land Registration Act 1982. The Land Registry is committed to the Open Data aspirations of the Isle of Man Government.

Where can the deeds referred to in these index books be found?

All the pre-1911 deeds are held in the Manx Museum and can be accessed there. Each index contains a deed series number in the format yyyy/mm/nnn showing the year and month of registration and the number of that deed. This is the reference necessary for identifying the deed for the purposes of Land Registration.

The search methodology used by the Museum differs and may be accessed at and clicking on Advanced in order to select Registered Deeds.

Possessed of the date of the deed and information relating to the parties originals of these deeds may be inspected at the Manx Museum.

An introduction to the history of the registration of deeds in the Island of Man

By a clause in the Act of Settlement 1704 all deeds of Mortgage were required to be entered into the records within six months after their execution.

Other than this clause there were prior to 14 December 1847 (the date of the promulgation of the Registration of Deeds Act 1847) no statutory regulations requiring the recording or registration of deeds affecting real estate in the Island. However, the custom of recording deeds in the Court Roll following transfer or assignment of land held under customary tenure pre-dates this. This registration was effected at the Common Law and Chancery Courts and at the Courts Baron. The names of the grantor and grantee were openly published by the Court and the deed recorded. Non-registration of a deed, it appears, created a presumption against it and it was even held that unregistered deeds, especially voluntary instruments operating in future, were void against bona fide purchasers.*

In 1847 the clause in the Act of Settlement requiring registration of Mortgages was repealed by the Registration of Deeds Acts 1847 and 1848. By the first of these Acts a general registry office was created for the whole Island, in which deeds, memorials of wills and judgement affecting real estates were and continue to be registered. Consolidating and updating legislation has been passed at various times and the Register of Deeds is now operated in accordance with the Registration of Deeds Act 1961.

Records relating to deeds registered prior to 1847 may be obtained by reference to the Manorial Rolls which are available for inspection at the Public Record Office. Deeds recorded from 1847 to 1911 were transferred by the Clerk of the Rolls in 1982 to the Manx Museum where they remain available for inspection. They are now Public Records. Deeds from 1911-to date are held in the Deeds Registry and many are now available for remote viewing across the Isle of Man Government’s online service. As system of registering title as opposed to deeds was introduced in the Land Registration Act 1982 to facilitate the process of deducing title and provide a state backed guarantee of the certainty of legal tenure.

The indices published here are the Requisition Books maintained in the Deeds Registry from 1847-1911 and are now published to facilitate searching of these deeds. This series is both a source of fascination for family historians and a working record of interests affecting land created prior to 1911.

*Sherwood, Manx Tenures. 1899. P138 citing Cannell v Quark, Lib can 1796.

Why do interests created prior to 1911 remain relevant in a modern system of Registered Land?

A core principle to Registered Land 'the mirror principle' is that entries in the title register should reflect accurately and incontrovertibly the totality of estates and interests which at any time affect the land. However, under section 35 of the Land Registration Act 1982 certain interests burden registered land without registration on the title register. One class of such interests are described in paragraph 4 of Schedule 5 to the Land Registration Act 1982:

'Easements and profits à prendre unless they are:

  • (a) created by express grant or reservation after 31 December 1911 or
  • (b) are referred to in any document of title recorded after that date in the office for the time being responsible for the recording of such document (the Rolls Office, the Deeds Registry, the General Registry or the Central Registry as appropriate)

The significance of the date 31 December 1911 appears to be no more than this is the dividing date between pre 1912 deeds which are held on a bailment in the Manx Museum and post-1911 deeds which are held in the Deeds Registry. The effect of the paragraph is that the following rights exist as burdens affecting registered land without registration:-

  • i) easements and profits created before 31 December 1911 unless they are referred to in any document of title after 31 December 1911 and
  • ii) easements and profits arising otherwise than by grant or reservation (irrespective of whether arising before or after 31 December 1911) unless they are referred to in any document of title after 31 December 1911.

In order to be able to provide a report of title to the Land Registry it is therefore expected that prudent advocates should be aware that pre-root documents may need to be used to register rights created before 1912 if these are subsequently referred to in other muniments of title(which may themselves be pre-root documents). The consequence of failing to register such rights is that these rights will not continue to affect the property on a subsequent registered dealing.

By way of illustration:

Registered land may be subject to a right of way not referred to on the register if:

  • that right of way has been granted prior to 1912 but is not referred to in any document of title after that date.

If however, the right of way created in the pre-1912 grant is subsequently referred to in, say, a 1914 deed or a 1967 deed but the title is registered in reliance of on a certificate of title showing a devolution from a 1973 root of title (for example) the burden of this right of way will not be protected without registration and loss may result to any party enjoying the benefit of the right which has been lost by registration and no longer takes effect as an interest overriding registration of subsequent transfers of the land registered without the burden of this right.

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