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Accounting History – English & Scottish Accountants

Section III















English Exchequer

In Great Britain the earliest systems of accounting of which we have any record are those of the Exchequersl of England and Scotland, and the oldest account which has been preserved is the English Pipe Roll of the year 1130-1131. Some authorities maintain that the English royal revenue was audited as far back as the reigns of the first two Norman kings, but the establishment of the English Exchequer (or Scaccarium) is usually assigned to the reign of Henry I (11001135). The basis of the accounting was the Domesday Book, which contained the unalterable record of the demesnes from which most of the royal revenue was derived. Supplementary to this were records of the liabilities of the military tenants of the crown, and statements of the royal farms payable by the sheriffs in every county. From these records the Treasurer’s great roll (known as the Pipe Roll) was prepared annually, showing all the debts to the crown answerable at the Exchequer, and in which was entered the accounting with each sheriff. Receipt and Issue Rolls were kept by two Remembrancers, recording the amounts paid into the Receipt and issued thence day by day. The great roll was compiled from the dictation of the Treasurer, a second roll was written out by the Chancellor’s clerk, and in the early days of the Exchequer a third roll was kept by a special representative of the king.

1 Authorities : English Kxchkquer—Dialogus de Scaccario, edited by Hughes, Crump, and Johnson ; Hall’s “Antiquities of the Exchequer.” Scottish Exchequer —Itotuli Scaccarii Kegum Scotorum, edited by Stuart and Burnett; Compota Thesaurariorum Regum Scotorum, edited by Dickfton.

From the official records a summons was issued halfyearly, at Easter and Michaelmas, to each sheriff requiring him to attend at the Exchequer on a specified day to account for the revenue from his farm or county. At Easter the sheriff made a payment to account in cash to a required amount, and received a tally therefor. The tally, as is well known, was a narrow shaft of wood on which notches were cut representing pounds, shillings, and pence, and a superscription setting forth the object and nature of the tally. The tally was then split in two, so that each portion showed the amount recorded on the original stick, the two pieces being fitted together again at the final accounting. At Michaelmas the sheriff had again to attend, and on this occasion he had to account for the whole year’s charge. This he settled partly by production of his tally, partly by production of vouchers for authorised expenditure, and the balance in specie or cash. The accounting was settled on the famous Exchequer-table. The table was covered with a russet cloth which was marked in squares by intersecting lines, probably with chalk, the columns of which represented money columns, the column farthest to the right of the calculator being for pence, the next for shillings, the next for pounds, then scores, hundreds, and thousands of pounds.

The sheriff having duly appeared, the various sums for which he had to account were read out from the great roll. As each item was announced the calculator arranged specie or counters representing the amount thereof in the appropriate columns on the side of the table farthest from him. Below these he then similarly arranged the sheriff’s various credits, subtracted the one set from the other and brought out the balance, if any. The tallies produced by the sheriff were carefully compared with the foils in the Exchequer — the discovery of any flaw being immediately followed by the consignment to prison of the fraudulent sheriff.

English Pipe Rolls

The earliest existing Pipe Roll belongs to the reign of Henry I., of the year 1130-1131, and an almost unbroken series extends from the twelfth to the nineteenth century. In form the old Pipe Roll can best be described as a narrative of receipts and expenditure, rather than an account in the modern sense. The following translation (in which Arabic numerals have been substituted for the original Roman) of a Pipe Roll of the first year of Richard I., given in the Growth of English Industry and Commerce, shows the form.1

Nicholas the son of Robert renders account of the ferm of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.

In the treasury =£241.5.3 blank.

And for customary charity for the Knights Templars, 2 marks. And for the canons of Huntingdon 40/-.

And for customary payments in Cambridgeshire: to Radolf of Muntfort 30/5. And to Gervase the clerk 60/10 of the charity which was William’s the son of Walter’s by the King’s letter.

And in Huntingdonshire to Alan Cornieins 30/5. And to the steward of the vineyard 60/10. And for the cost of the vineyard 20/- for this year.

And for lands granted in Cambridgeshire to Roger of Sanford 40/- by tale in Bercheia. And to Peter PicotlOO/- in Wilbraham. And

1 Facsimiles of the Pipe Roll and of the Receipt Roll can be seen in the works of Mr. Hubert Hall, F.S.A., of H.M. Public Record Office.

to Richard of Clare and Henry of Kemeseke £20 blank in Fordham. And to Esweillard of Seissuns £10 by tale in Cumberton. And in the Burgh of Cambridge £60 blank for which account is to be made separately. And to Hugh of Malalnet £15 by tale in Wilbraham by Letter of Ranulf de Glanville by the King’s command: and to the same £7.10 from the same income by a Letter of the same.

And for the cost of carrying the treasure of Galfrid bishop of Ely from Cambridge to London 25/6. And for the cost of bringing the same bishop’s wine from Cambridge to Selveston 10/5. And for the payment of John . . . and his horses and his birds 3/11. And he is quit.

The burghers of Cambridge owe £60 blank of the ferm of the town of Cambridge for this year: and £180 blank for the four years past, and £30 blank for the half of the ferm of the year before that.

Total £270 blank which is £276 . 15/- by tale, according to the combustion of vi denarii because they had paid in the treasury.

The same burghers render account of the said debt. In the treasury

£196 . 7/10. by tale.

Remitted by Royal Letter to these burghers £80 . 7/2 by tale, which they had paid in the treasury for holding their own town in capite from the king: about which town the king has now done his pleasure. And they are quit.

The same burghers render account of 4/2 for some trifling matters found in the new additions to the township of the same Burgh. They have paid into the Treasury,

And are quit.

… of Huntingdon render account for 40/- for their Gild.

They have paid into the Treasury,

And are quit.

Scottish Accountants

In Scotland, the Camera, or Royal Treasure-chamber, afterwards commonly known as the Chekker, presided over by the Camcrarius or Great Chamberlain, dates from the reign of David I. (1124-1153). The table covered with chequered cloth was in use in Scotland as in England, and in all probability the system of reckoning employed was similar, but the fiscal systems of the two countries were by no means identical. The use of tallies does not appear to have been adopted in Scotland; for after the Union of the Kingdoms, when, among other English innovations, a cargo of birch fagots arrived in Edinburgh for use as tallies in the Exchequer it excited ridicule among the citizens.1

The Chamberlain of Scotland was both the receiver and disburser of the Crown revenue. The Crown rents, feudal casualties, &c., were collected by the sheriffs and ballivi ad extra,” and the burghal fermes and great customs by the magistrates and custumars of the royal burghs. These various officials made disbursements in their respective localities in virtue of royal precepts, the net revenue only being paid to the Chamberlain. All these officials, including the Chamberlain, had their accounts audited in Exchequer, usually every year, by Lords Auditors appointed by the Crown to hear the accounts and grant acquittance thereon. These audited accounts were engrossed on parchment rolls, generally in an abbreviated form. The existing series of these rolls goes back to 1326. The basis of territorial imposts was the old extent, or survey, which was a valuation of the temporal lands of the country.

The time and place of the sitting of the auditors having been arranged, intimation was made to the various officials entrusted with the collection of revenue requiring them to attend in Exchequer on an appointed day to render their accounts.

The accounts of the sheriffs contain the receipts from the crown lands, casualties, fines, &c., and the expenses of the king and royal family when resident within the sheriffdom, expenditure on royal castles and manors, for the defence of the country, &c., &c., and the amounts paid to the chamberlain and officers of the household for the king’s use.

An approximately complete series of the burgh accounts

1 Hill Burton’s ” History of Scotland/’ VIII. 209.

2 As distinguished from ballivi burgorum, and describing all the King’s administrative officers outside the burghs.

audited in Exchequer begins in 1327. These accounts are of two different classes—the one rendered by the provosts, bailies, or farmers of the burghs, the other by the custumars. Originally officers appointed by the King collected the rent payable by each burgher as a Crown vassal, the fines imposed in the courts of the royal burghs, and the burghal toll or parva custuma. From about the beginning of the fourteenth century the burgesses got short leases from the Chamberlain, under which they acquired a right to the rents, &c., paying a specific sum to the King.

These old Exchequer Rolls are of great interest to the student of history, recording as they do payments connected with such events as the building of Tarbert Castle by Robert Bruce, the illness and death of Bruce, and the capture of Edinburgh Castle in 1342.

We give in an illustration facsimiles of the engrossments of the accounts (1) of the magistrates and (2) of the custumars of the burgh of Stirling audited in Exchequer at Dumbarton on 25th January 1327-1328, and the following are transcripts and translations, the former taken from the ” Exchequer Rolls of Scotland,” edited by Stuart and Burnett, and the latter from ” Charters and Other Documents relating to The Royal Burgh of Stirling, A.d. 1124-1705,” printed for the Provost, Magistrates, and Council of the Burgh, 15 and 16.

(1) Account of the Magistrates

striuelyu. ” Compotum Mauricii Hunter et Fynlai sutoris, preposi

torum burgi de Striuelyn, redditum apud Dunbretan xxv° die Januarii, anno gracie supradicto, de firmis dicti burgi de duobus terminis huius compoti. lidem onerant se de xxxvj ti., receptis per firmas dicti burgi de anno huius compoti. De quibus, pro superexpensis suis factis in compoto suo precedenti, xl s. j d”. et ot>. Et in feodis abbatum de Cambuskyneth et Dunfermelyn, hospitalis de Striuelyn

et hospitalis de Torphichin, per tempus compoti, xxiij ti. v s. iiij d. Et Fratribus Predicatoribus de Striuelyn, ex elemosina regis annua, x H. Et pro constructione cuiusdam domus pro coquina ad opus regis, Iiij s*. iiij d. Et in diuersis cariagiis per tempus compoti, xxvj s. et viij d. Summa huius expense, xxxix ii. vs. v d. et ot>. Et sic superexpendunt Ixv s. v d. et ot>. lidem petunt allocacionem de xl s. pro multura de Cragorth subtracta de molendino de Striuelyn, que est in manu Reginald! More, super quo consulatur rex, qui sibi postmodum allocantur. Et Cousuiator sic superexpendunt cv s. v d. et ot). De quibus, sibi solu-r untur per allocacionem sibi factam in compoto custumariorum de Striuelin, de alia parte rotuli, Is. et v d. Et sic super- Superexpendunt de Claro Iv S. et Ot.” expendunt.

” Account of Maurice Hunter and Fynlay Sutor, bailies of the burgh of Strivelyn, given up at Dunbretan on the twenty-fifth day of January, in the year of grace above mentioned, of the fermes of the said burgh for the two terms of this account. They charge themselves with £36 received on account of the fermes of the said burgh for the year of their account. Whereof, for their superexpenses made in their preceding account 40s. Id. halfpenny. And in duties to the abbot of Cambuskyneth and Dunfermelyn, the hospital of Strivelyn and the hospital of Torphichen, during the time of the account, £23, 5s. 4d. And to the Friars Preachers of Strivelyn of the yearly alms of the king, £10. And for the building of a certain house for a kitchen for the use of the king, 53s. 4d. And in sundry carriages during the time of the account, 26s. 8d. Sum of this outlay, £39, 5s. 5d. and a halfpenny. And thus they superexpended 65s. 5d. and a halfpenny. They ask also allowance of 40s. for the multures of Cragorth abstracted from the mill of Stirling, which is in the hand of Reginald More, on which let the king be consulted, which is afterwards allowed to them. And thus they superexpended 105s. 5d. and a halfpenny. Whereof, paid to them by allowance made to them in the account of the custumars of Strivelin on the other side of the roll 50s. and 5d. And thus obviously they superexpended 55s. and a halfpenny.”

(2) Account of the Custumars

Striuelyn. ” Compotum custumariorum burgi de Striuelyn, redditum

apud Dunbretan xxv° die Januarii, anno gracie supradicto, de receptis et expensis dicte custume, ab vltimo die Februarii anno gracie xxvi, vsque in diem presentis compoti. lidem onerant se de Ij §. et viij d. receptis per custumam sex saccorum et quinque petrarum lane, et nouem dacrarum coriorum, per tempus compoti. De quibus, in seruicio collectorum, xv d. Et debent 1 s. et v d. qui assignantur prepositis burgi de Striuelyn et alia parte rotuli, in partem superexpensarum suarum. Et sic eque hie.”

” Account of the custumars of the burgh of Strivelyn, given up at Dunbretan on the twenty-fifth day of January, in the year of grace above mentioned, of the receipts and outlays of the said custom, from the last day of February, in the year of grace [1326] till the day of the present account. They charge themselves with 51s. 8d. received for the custom of six sacks and five stones of wool and nine dacres of hides during the time of the account. Whereof, for service of the collectors, 15d. And they owe 50s. and 5d., which are assigned to the bailies of the burgh of Strivelyn on the other side of the roll in part of their superexpenses. And thus this is equal.”

The beneficial influence exerted on the advancement of accounting in Great Britain by the elaborate systems of accounts for the royal finances employed at the Exchequers must have been great and far-reaching. ” Agriculture,” says Dr. Cunningham, ” was much the most important industry in England, but so far as we know landowners did not attempt to keep accurate accounts in the eleventh century, and it is not

till the thirteenth century that the practice became general. The organisation of the Exchequer was not only a reform in the management of royal finance, for it also gave an example of a mode of keeping accounts which was gradually copied by corporations and individuals for their own private affairs.”l In these circumstances it is not surprising that we have no specimens of private accounts in Great Britain of earlier date than the thirteenth century.

The Household Roll of Eleanor, Countess of Leicester, of the year 1265 (Rotulus Hospitii Domince Alianorce Comitissce Leicestricc, Anno Regni Henrid Regis Anglice Tertii Quadragesimo-nono)? is said to be the earliest existing account of an English subject. This account, which is, of course, in Latin, with Roman numerals, is in form similar to the Exchequer accounts, each entry following the preceding entry without any intervening space, and thus forming paragraphs, at the end of each of which the total amount of the entries in the paragraph is stated. On the back of the skin, however, where are entered certain personal or miscellaneous expenses incurred during, or about, the period comprised in the entries on the face of the skin, the individual amounts are carried to the margin in a sort of elementary money column, but the narrative is not kept clear of the marginal space occupied by the money column. Neither are the pounds arranged perpendicularly under the pounds, the shillings under the shillings, nor the pence under the pence, the amount being in every case carried to the extreme edge of the skin. Notwithstanding these deficiencies, the accounts endorsed on the back of this roll give clear indications of the conception of a money column.

Of this period also we have three rolls containing the accounts of the executors of the will of Eleanor, Consort of Edward I., who died in 1290 (Liberationes facto; per Exe

1 ” Growth of English Industry and Commerce,” Cunningham, I. 217. - ” Manners and Household Expenses of England in the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” Roxburghe Club.


cutores Domince Alianorce Consortis Edwardi Regis Anglice Primi.)1 In form this account is similar to those endorsed on the back of the Household Roll of the Countess of Leicester. The expenditure is divided into periods of time, the total amount for each period being given, thus —

Summa totalis hujus termini, M.DCCCC. iiii1′- xviii5- vd- ob.s and the sum total at the end of the roll — Summa summarum totiusi

hujus rotuli, ‘ ” ” DCCC”

But the best thirteenth-century account which we have seen is the account of the Royal Wardrobe (Liber Quotidianus Contrarotulatoris Garderobce) 4 of 1299-1300, a specimen page of which we reproduce.

The department of the Wardrobe was one of the royal treasuries for the receipt of the revenues of the Crown, out of which naval and military, as well as civil and domestic expenses were met. The author of Fleta, who is supposed to have written his work on the laws of England early in the fourteenth century, gives the following minute description of the office of treasurer of the King’s Wardrobe, presenting an interesting picture of the elaborate accounting in use in the royal household, which was also practised on a smaller scale in the households of great families : —

” To him is committed the care of the expenses of the King and his family, who, together with a clerk, associated with him as a comptroller, shall keep a record of what belongs to their office. He shall keep the King’s money, jewels, gifts, and private receipts, and shall make a separate roll thereof, which shall be returned annually into the Exchequer. And, in another roll, which shall be examined by the steward, treasurer, and comptroller, he shall enter the daily expenses (expensa qiiotidiana) ; also necessary expenses, in which the buying of horses, carriages, and many other articles, shall be comprised ; also gifts, alms, and oblations ;

1 • ‘ Manners and Household Expenses of England in the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” Roxburghe Club.

1 Ob. or OB. = obolus, or halfpenny. 3 Q*. = quadrans, or farthing.

4 Printed by the Society of Antiquaries, London, 1787.

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Portion Of The Account Op Thb Uovaf, Wardrobe, 1299-1300 (reduced).

wages of knights and archers; messengers, foreign fees, presents or accommodations ; also the expenses of the wardrobe, in which the buying of cloth, furs, wax, spices, linen, and such like, shall be comprised; also of jewels, foreign expenses, ambassadors, falconers. The treasurer ought also to convene every night the steward of the household, the chamberlain, comptroller, and his clerk; the marshall of the hall and the usher, and knights serjeants of the marshall; the ushers of the hall and of the chamber; the purveyors of the table; the butler, pantryman, baker, and the clerks of those offices, who were accountable for the expenses of diet, viz. of bread, wine, and ale; fish, cups, salt, fruits, cheese, and such like; also the master cooks, the larderer, poultryman, scullery, or saucery-man, salter, and clerk of the kitchen, who were necessary to give an account of what passed in their respective offices; also the almoner, the doorkeeper, the serjeant for the care of the sumpters and carriages; the clerk of the marshalsea, who should answer for the expenses of hay and corn, litter, shoeing of horses, harness or trappings for horses and carriages, and the wages of serjeants, esquires, clerks, and boys; and it was his duty to know those who were newly admitted to the wages of the King, and those who went out of duty; and to withhold the wages of such as were absent without the King’s special licence, or were not in the King’s service, &C.1″

In the account under notice, of the year 1299-1300, the various receipts of the treasurer are given, those from the Exchequer, and from the various branches of the revenue of the Crown receivable at the department of the Wardrobe. Then follow the payments under headings,—charitable donations of the King and his family, necessaries bought for the household, victuals and stores, wages of archers, sergeants-atarms, &c. As will be seen from the specimen given, the total amount of a series of entries is not stated in the middle of the page, as in most accounts of even later date, but is carried to the margin of the page, and the narrative is not run into the marginal column. The total amount of the receipts is entered at the foot of the money column, as is also the total of each class of payments, and the amount of the whole expenditure is stated at the close. The balance, however, is not shown. Every page of the account is corrected and approved by the controller.

Of the same period, but in marked distinction to the last account in the matter of form, is an account of the expenses of John of Brabant and Thomas and Henry of Lancaster of the year 1292-1293.1 Its form is of the most elementary description, in paragraphs, without a money column, having the amount of each paragraph stated at the foot of the paragraph.

Accounting in Thirteenth Century England

The thirteenth century shows a wonderfully complete system of accounting in England in connection with manors. From the ” Growth of English Industry and Commerce,” we learn that the Extcnta or survey of the manor contained an account of the whole condition of the estate, the buildings belonging to it, the fields and stock on the domain, the pasturage, the amount of wood and the profits of the waste, the mills, fisheries, and so forth. It also enumerated the free tenants and stated the terms of their tenure; the villans and cottagers, and their services, as well as the patronage and other incidental rights belonging to the manor. It enabled the landowner to see at once what his revenue in each year ought to be or what item had fallen short. The Inventory enumerated the pigs and the poultry, as well as the kitchen and dairy utensils, and the furniture of the hall. These two documents together recorded both the estimated annual value, and the actual condition of the whole live and dead stock on the estate, together with all the pecuniary rights which the lord enjoyed—that is to say, his whole assets. The annual revenue from the estate was recorded in the accounts (compotus). There are two interesting forms of bailiffs accounts in the Cambridge University Library, with brief remarks on the way hi which they should be kept. ” One, which dates from the time of Edward I., has special reference to the audit; it is intended to help the lord to understand the accounts presented, and tells him to insist on seeing all the tallies and letters of quittance produced. The other is meant to assist the bailiff in writing the accounts, and tells him in what order the various items should be entered ; it gives him a choice of

1 Camden Society Publications.

two alternative modes of entering the horses; and the copyist confesses that by a stupid blunder he has entered the heifers in the wrong place. It also points out that certain headings should be inscribed in the margin; and of course concludes with the form of quittance by which the accounts were passed.”l A treatise of the thirteenth century on estatemanagement lays down, inter alia, the method to be pursued in drawing up the account. At the beginning comes a statement of the bailiffs arrears from past years ; then the receipts are to be entered, rents of assize and other things which yield money, and the total is to be given; next comes the outlay in money on materials and all necessaries not found on the estate, and the payment of all work which could be neither begged nor commanded.2

It will have been noted from the accounts which have been described that it was not until nearly the end of the thirteenth century that any signs appear of attention being given to the art of stating accounts. Up to that time accounts had been written out in primitive form of narrative. But towards the close of the century it had apparently been found that advantage was to be derived from grouping transactions of like nature and showing the summation of each group, and also that it greatly assisted the ready apprehension of the account if the sums of money were invariably entered on the right hand margin of the page. This was further improved upon by reserving this space for figures only, but the benefit of separate money columns for the different monetary values had not yet been realised, so far as we have evidence to show.

When we come to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries we find more numerous specimens of accounts and evidence of greater skill in accounting. The earliest existing account of the City of London is of the year 1334 ; and interesting series of accounts of the Livery Companies of London and of the

1 ” Growth of English Industry and Commerce,” Cunningham, I. 220. ” Ibid. 224.

Account Of Thk Chamberlain Of The City Of London, 1334 (size of original 13^ inches by yj inches)

Scottish burghs also begin in the fourteenth century. Of this period, also, we have a series of account rolls of the Priory of Finchale in the County of Durham,1 beginning in 1354, which are in the primitive form of most early accounts in Latin, the entries being in paragraphs without any money column. They convey full information, however, stating the amount of the balance at the beginning, the arrears brought forward, the total receipts, the total payments, and the arrears and the balance in hand at the close, if any.

The accompanying illustration is a facsimile of a portion of the earliest existing account of the City of London, the following translation of which is given in the ” Calendar of Letter-Books of the City of London,” Sharpe, Vol. F. 8.

The Account of Thomas de Maryns, the Chamberlain, of the receipt of 1100 marks granted to King Edward III. for a fifteenth at his Parliament held at Westminster the morrow of the Exaltation of H. Cross [14 Sept.], the eighth year of his reign [a.d. 1334], which fifteenth was collected in the ninth year, viz.:—

Of William Box and his fellows, collectors of Tower Ward, £56.

Of Adam Pykeman, &c., of the Ward of Billyngesgate, . £30.

Of John Lovekyn, &c., of the Ward of Bridge, . . ,£51 18s. 8d.

viz., of £53 assessed in the said Ward.

Of Maurice Turgis, &c., of the Ward of Alegate, . . £1.

Of Peter de Westone, &c., of the Ward of Portsokne, . £8.

Of William de Sabrichesworth, &c., of the Ward of

Lymestrete, 27s. 8d.

Of Laurence Sely, &c., of the Ward of Walebroke, . ,£48 13s. 4d.

viz., of £50 assessed in the said Ward.

Of Henry de Norhamptone, &c., of the Ward of Bisshopesgate, £2%.

Of Robert atte Conduyt, &c., of the Ward of Cornhull, . ,£15.

Of John de Sothereye, &c., of the Ward of Langebourne, ,£19 9s. 4d.

viz., of £%1 assessed.

Of Thomas de Wynton, &c., of the Ward of Candelwykestrete, .£16.

Of Henry de Prestone, &c., of the Ward of Douegate, . £35.

Of Nicholas atte Mersshe, &c., of the Ward of Bradestrete, . £26.

Of Thomas de Waledene, &c., of the Ward of Chepe, ,£72 9s. 4d.

1 Surtees Society Publications.

Of Peter atte Corner, &c., of the Ward of Aldresgate, £4 14s. 8d.

Of John de Dallynge, &c., of the Ward of Bassieshawe, . £6 18s.

viz., of £7 assessed.

Of Alan de Tychewell, &c., of the Ward of Queenhithe, £%% 3s. 4d.

viz., of £%3 assessed.

Of Simon de Turnham/&c., of the Ward of Castle Baynard, £9 16s. 4d.

Of John Kyng, &c. of the Ward of Colmanstrete, . . £19.

Of John de Gloucestre, &c., of the Ward of Bredstrete, . £37.

Of John de Bredstrete, &c., of the Ward of Cordewanerstrete, <£72 16s.

Of Henry le Palmere, &c., of Vintry £43 3s. 4d.

Of Geoffrey atte Gate, &c., of the Ward of Farndone Within, £50 6s. 8d.

viz., of £54< assessed.

Of Reginald de Thorpe, &c., of the Ward of Farndone Without, £30.

viz., of £3% assessed.

Of William de Pertenhale, &c., of the Ward of Crepelgate

Within, and of John Marchaunt, &c., of the Ward of

Crepelgate Without, £50.

Sum total of assessment, £T!5 12s.

The City accounts of this period were kept, some in Latin and some in Norman-French, with Roman numerals; and an elementary money column was used.

Livery Companies of London

The Livery Companies of London trace their origin from the early associations termed gilds, which were either ecclesiastical or secular. The steel-yard merchants of London were a branch of, or rather gave existence to, the Hanseatic League, which was a commercial confederacy first formed on the east shores of the Baltic in the eighth century to protect their trade from the piratical incursions of the Normans, and who thence derived their name of Easterlings. They are known to have settled in England before the year 967.1

These Livery Companies in the height of their power exercised great influence on public affairs, and gave life to trade and commerce. Their wealth and enterprise contributed greatly to the prosperity of the nation. All the old court books of the Companies are in Norman-French, sometimes intermixed with abbreviated Latin, or the old English

1 ” History of the Twelve Great Companies of London,” Herbert

of Chaucer’s day. In the reign of Henry V. these languages gave place to English.1

The Worshipful Company of Grocers of the City of London claims to be the oldest of the Twelve Great Companies. In its early accounts, if the printed copies are reliable, the sums of money are carried out clear of the narrative as in a modern money column. The columns are not added up on each page, but the total is stated at the foot of the account, thus—

Smto de les achates & de les costages

xxij Ib. iv s. iii d.

An account of 1401 is headed—

En le nom de Dieu & sa douce mere, lundy le xxix. jor de mars, Tan du Grace m, cccc, j, & Tan du Roy Henry Quarte, puisse la conqueste tierce.

An account of 1435 is rather more elaborate, and is in English. The payment side is headed: ” The Paiement and Discharge of Thomas Catworthe and John Godyn” (the Wardens). It is in the form of an account of receipts and payments. In the case of most of the payments it is stated by which Warden they were made — “be the handy s of Thomas Catworthe,” or ” be the handys of John Godyn.” In many cases the item in the money column was partly paid by each, the amount for which each was responsible being stated in the entry. The total amount disbursed by each is shown at the close, thus—

Smto pd. be Thomas Catworthe 1 ,, ,

V .. ., j Ib. s. d.

Ixxvii Ib. xix s. 111 d.

J J } Smto

Smto pd. be John Godyn iiii c. xxix ii x

iii° li Ib. iii s. vi d. J

The early accounts of the other companies are very similar, being simple statements of receipts and payments, some in English and some in Norman-French with Roman numerals. The series of accounts of The Worshipful Company of Carpenters begins in 1438, that of The Worshipful Company of Pewterers, called “Audit Books,” begins in 1451, “yoven and deliuered up ” by the Master and Wardens to the Master and Wardens of the succeeding year, the former being described as the “seyd Accomptants.”

1 ” History of the Twelve Great Companies of London,” Herbert.

Scottish Account of Charge and Discharge

A form of account still held in much favour in Scotland is the ” Account of Charge and Discharge.” In this account the accountant ” charges” himself with the estate entrusted to him, including the whole revenues thereof during the period of his accounting, and ” discharges” himself of the monies lawfully expended or paid over by him as well as of the estate and uncollected revenues at the close of the period. The earliest examples of this form of account which we find, apart from the accounts of the Priory of Finchale already referred to, which, though recording the information found in an account of charge and discharge, can scarcely be said to be stated in that form, are those of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland.

In Scotland in 1424 James I., with the view probably of reducing the influence of the Great Chamberlain, appointed two new officials, the Comptroller and the Treasurer, to whom was assigned the chief portion of the functions in regard to the Exchequer formerly exercised by the Chamberlain. The accounts of the Treasurer appear to have been audited at irregular intervals, generally of two years or more. Preparatory to the audit, the accounts for the period were framed from the various books containing the current accounts. A considerable series of these audited accounts is still preserved, beginning fifty years after the institution of the office of Lord Treasurer. These accounts are of much interest, showing a very great advance in form as compared with the accounts we have hitherto been considering. The Account of John, Bishop of Glasgow, for the period from 4th August 1473 to 1st December 1474, is the earliest of the accounts of the Lord Treasurer now extant. It is headed— ‘

Compt of a reuerennd fader in God Johnne bischope of Glasgow, Thesaurare to cure Souerane Lorde, of the office of Thesaurary, maide at Edinburgh the first day of the moneth of Decembre in the 3ere of God Jm iiijc Ixxiiij 3eris, of all his ressatis and expensis made in the saide office, fra the ferd day of the moneth of August, the 3ere of God etc. Ixxiij 3eris inclusiue, to the saide first day of Decembre alsa inclusiue, befor richt reuerendis, mychti and noble lordis of oure sade Souerane Lordis counsale, be his hienes specialie deput and ordanit thairto, for the hering and resaving of the saide compt in his name, that is to say, Andro lorde Avandaile Chauncellare, Colin erle of Ergill lorde Lome and Cambell Master of houshald, reuerendis faderis in God Thomas and Williame, of Abirdene and Orknaa bischoppis, a venerable fader in God Archibald abbot of Halirudehous, a noble and mychti lorde Dauid erle of Craufurde lorde Lindesay, Master Williame Scheues archdene of Sanctandros the Secretare, Master Alexander of Murray, Schir Richarde Robysone and Schir Dauid Luthirdale channounis of Murray, Abirdene and Dunblane, and Master Alexander Inglis subdene of Dunkeld.

The account is, as we have said, in charge and discharge form, beginning with ” Composicionis sen the Comptaris last Compt,” which are all detailed, thus—

Imprimis the comptare chargis him with a composicione

made with George of Moncrefe for the mariage of

the are of Trestrame Makgorty : composicio, . . xl ti.

Item componit with Patrik of Maxvale for the resignacione

of a hundreth schilling worth of land callyt the Stanly,

lyand within the schirefdome of Renfrew . vj ti. xiij S. iiij

The next heading is ” Composiciones facte in Drumfres in vltimo Itinere Justiciarii tento ibidem, viz. xxiiij° die mensis Octobris, anno Domini etc. Ixxiij”" — each county being under a separate heading; and then are stated ” The Chargis of the last Jakkere ” (Exchequer). The summation of each page is entered at the foot of the page, but the amount is not carried forward. The ” Sum totale of all the charge befor writtin” is, however, duly recorded at the end of the charge. The discharge side opens with what the Treasurer takes credit for in respect of ” his superexpensis of his last compt as schewit in the fute of it.” Then follow branches or headings for—” Expensis for the Kingis Persoune ” ; ” Thingis tane be the Thesaurar at the Kingis command, vj” Septembris, fra Dauid Quhitehed and Johnne of Fawsidis wife, chamlotis for his persone and deliuerit ay to Andro Balfour as he askit, as his buke of ressat beris, for the quhilk he sal ansuer to the compt” ; ” Thingis tane be Andrew Balfoure fra Thorn of sare at the Kingis commande, for the quhilkis the said Andro sal ansuer at the compt”; “Thingis tane for the Quenis Persone”; and so on. In the discharge, in addition to the summation of each page, the total of each class of expenses is given, as ” Summa totalis harum expensarum Regine.” The account closes with the ” Sum totale of all the expensis befor wirtin, with the superexpensis of his last compt,” and the balance is shown thereafter, thus : ” And sua is the Comptare superexpendit.”

We have already mentioned that from about the beginning of the fourteenth century the practice was adopted of granting short leases to the Scottish burghs of the rents, issues of court, and petty customs in consideration of a specific sum paid to the Crown. In the records of the burghs beginning at the close of the fourteenth century we find many interesting references to the burgh accounts of these revenues and to the audit conducted by the burgesses themselves. If we reflect that this period, following the growth in the prosperity of the Scottish burghs which had distinguished the thirteenth century, was one of arrested industrial development, it is surprising to find how much care and thoroughness was bestowed on municipal accounting and auditing. The form of the earlier accounts is indeed very elementary, but so far as their knowledge went the burgesses took care that accounts should be regularly prepared and duly audited.

Accounts Of The Cities Of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin

The accounts of the city of Aberdeen begin in 1398. The first account is in Latin, the form is elementary, and the figures are not carried to the margin of the page. When we come to 1453, Latin is giving place to the vernacular—the entry, ” Item, domino abbati de Arbrothat in vino, iis. viiid.,” being immediately succeeded by ” Item, for mendyng of the bryg at the grene ende in all costis, 1 lib. iis. vid.”

The earliest existing account of the City of Edinburgh is for the year from Michaelmas 1552 to Michaelmas 1553. This ” Compt” of the City Treasurer, which is in the vernacular, is an excellently prepared account in charge and discharge form. The ” compter chargis him ” with the various customs, rents, &c., receivable, and states the ” summa of the hale charge.” Then follows the discharge, divided into “the counter’s discharge ordinar ” ; ” the counter’s discharge be preceptis ” (or acts of the town council), which is subdivided into months; ” the counter’s discharge extraordinar “; the total under each heading being stated, thus ” Summa of the haill extraordinar,” &c.; then follow ” The expensis maid on the New Well at the townis command,” and ” The expensis maid be Alexander Park, thesaurer, on the schoir of Leyth, on the stane-work of the bulwark, maid at command of the provest, baillies and counsale,” the summa of each oulk—i.e. week—being stated under the latter headings as well as the total of the headings. The discharge concludes with certain items which the Treasurer has been unable to recover, such as—

Item, the counter is to be dischargit of vj1′ for sex flesche

stoks1 of the personis following, quhairof thre stands

waist, ane uthir occupiit be Andersoun, ane puir man,

and the occupiars of the uthir twa past to France to the

weris and left thair stokkis waist; summa. . . vj1′

The ” Summa of the hale discharge ” is then given, and the difference between the charge and the discharge. ” And sua restis, twa hundreth thre scoir ten punds v” ijd.”

The accounts both of the Town Treasurer and of the Dean

, ‘^Wooden blocks on which the.butcbers prepared the flesh.

of Guild are preserved in almost unbroken series from 1552 down to the present time. The form in which they are prepared, as we have endeavoured to show in regard to the earliest one, is excellent. They are beautifully written, and contain very few erasures or alterations. The figures are carried out to the margin of the page from the earliest period. Roman numerals are used until 1673, and in that year, in addition to the adoption of Arabic figures, a further improvement is introduced in the form of a regular money column. Up to the year 1720 the summation of each page was not carried forward either to the succeeding page or to the end of the account, but from 1720 the summation of each page is ” transported ” to the following page, and an abstract is given at the end of the account.

Many of the entries in these sixteenth-century accounts are very quaint, and throw light on the conditions then prevailing in Edinburgh. A few of those recording the expenses incurred in the administration of the rough justice of the time, which are arranged under the ” discharge extraordinar,” may be quoted—

Item, the day of 1554, for takin of ane greit gebet forth of the nether tolbuith and beiring of it to the hecht of the Dow Crag, to haif hangit hommill Jok on, and down bringing of it agane to Sanct Paullis Wark. . xijd

Item, for cords to bynd and hang him with, . . . viijd

Item, the feird day of Fabruar 1554, for cordis to bind

Nicoll Ramsay quhill he wes hedit, …. vjd

Item, thesamyn day, for cords to hang the man that brint

Lord James1 cornis, ……. viijd

Item, the xxviij of Junij 1555, for cords to bynd Katharen

Martine quhen scho wes brint on the cheke, … vd

Item, the vj day of July 1555, for cords to bynd and hang

the foure Inglismen at Leyth and Newhevin, . . iijs

Item, the xiij day of Julij 1555, for towis to bind the fallow

that wes skurgit and his lug nallit to the trone, . . iiijd

Item, for cords to hang and bind uthir vj Inglismen peratts

on the gallows of the Borrow Mure, …. iiijs 1 Published under the direction of the Lord Clerk Register of Scotland, 1867.

Item, the viij day of October, cords to hang and bynd ane

theif and skurge ane uther theif, …. xd

Item, the xvj day of October 1555, for cords to bynd and

mak ane lang ledder to James Wod quha wes hedit, . xijd

Item, for ane cart to cary the fallow that brak his leg furth

of the tolbuyth throw the town, quhen he wes scurgit, . iiijs

Item, for towis to him, xiiijd

It will have been observed that all the accounts we have hitherto been considering are stated in Roman numerals; and it is not until we reach the close of the fifteenth century that we find evidence of the use in accounts in this country of the so-called Arabic notation. The earliest instance which is preserved of the use of Arabic cipher is, we believe, to be found in a twelfth century MS. in the Biblioteca Palatina, Vienna, placed by Theodor Sickel as of the year 1143, which contains that cipher on every page. According to a correspondent in Venice ” the introduction of Arabic cipher into Italy was a slow process, opposed even by law. The whole sentiment of humanism was against it, and for long that cipher was limited to journals of expenditure, and to the accounts of small merchants; finding its way only late into the ledger, and later still into public accounts. Even in the fifteenth century Roman numeration was considered the proper form for anything of the nature of official or public accounts. Arabic cipher was actually known as the ‘ vulgar cipher.1″ In this country the use of/Roman) numerals in accounts does not appear to have been common until the seventeenth century. Andrew Halyburton, whose ” Ledger,”l preserved in Edinburgh, embraces the period from 1492 to 1503, uses Arabic numerals for the most part, though with occasional reversions to Roman, but, no doubt from his residence in the Netherlands, he was in advance of his countrymen in this respect. The transition from the one notation to the other was still in progress in the seventeenth century, as is shown in the ” Compt Bulk of David Wedderburne, Merchant of Dundee,”1 extending from 1587-1630. Wedderburne uses both notations in the most impartial manner. Sometimes the figures in the narrative of an entry are in Roman notation, while those carried to the margin of the page are in Arabic, or vice versa; or both sets of figures are in the same notation ; or a sum of money is stated partly in the one notation and partly in the other. The city of Aberdeen began to adopt the improved notation in 1605, the Pewterers Company in 1615, the City of Edinburgh in 1673, and the City of London in 1685.

The account of the Treasurer of Glasgow for 1573-1574 is also in charge and discharge form.” The charge consists of the total amounts of revenue receivable from the various sources, while the discharge is a detailed statement of payments in chronological order, without any attempt at arrangement under separate headings, followed by the items for which the treasurer was entitled to be discharged as outstanding at the close of the account, such as duties in arrear. In the first half of the seventeenth century Arabic figures were used occasionally by the Treasurer of Glasgow in the same account in which Roman figures were chiefly employed, and sometimes a sum of money was expressed partly in the one notation and partly in the other, thus: xviij li. 3s. 4d. The transition is shown in the account of 1649-1650, but after 1652-1653 the use of Roman figures ceases.

The Corporation of Dublin were evidently desirous that the City Accounts should be properly kept. In 1576 they awarded a certain George Russell £3 Irish “for and in consideration of his pains taken and to be taken in closing the Accounts of this City.”3 And in 1607 they passed the following resolution with regard to arrears ” for the most parte desperate,” and the ” surveying of the accoumptes “:—

1 Scottish History Society Publications, 1898.

1 Scottish Burgh Records Society Publications.

3 “Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin,” Gilbert, II. 114.

1607-1608. Third Friday after 25th December 1607.

Laws, orders, and constitutions:—(1) Whereas the commons made humble petycion unto this assemblye, shewing that wheras the booke of this cittie accoumptes is muche pestered with arrearadges of old and newe debtes, and that for the most parte desperate, and therefore required that a course might be laid downe that all such desperate debtes mighte be quite dashte out, and the sperat arrearadges givin in chardge to some sufficient person, whoe shall have allowance for gettinge in the same, and be accoumptable for them to this cittie; it is therfore agreed by the aucthority of this assemblye, that Mr. Maior, Mr. John Forster, Mr. Fraunces Tailor, Mr. John Shelton, Mr. Roberte Ball, and Mr. John Cusake, alderman, and Mr. Nicholas Stephins, or any fower of them, shalbe commissioners to surveye the accoumptes, and to take such order therin as they shall thincke best for the good of this cittie, and the same to be executed before Easter nexte.1

Of the sixteenth century, we have an interesting account recording the household expenses of the Princess Elizabeth during her residence at Hatfield in 1551-1552.2 In form it shows a considerable improvement on earlier accounts, particularly as regards the discharge side. It is in English, Roman numerals being used, and is headed—

The House of the Right Excellent Prynces

The Ladie Elizabeth Her Grace.

Thaccumpte of Thomas Parry, Esquyer,

Coaferor to the righte excellent Princesse the Ladie Elizabeth her grace, the Kinges Majesties moste honorable sister, aswell of all and singler somes of Redie money to him deliuered by her graces owne handes, and all other her graces Officers, with all somes of money by him receaved of Forren Receiptes. As also the payment and disbursing of the same, unto her graces handes or otherwise, for the provision of her graces Householde and expences of the same. From the first daie of October. . . .

” The said Mr. Parrye is charged with certen somes of money by him receaved and to him payd,” which are arranged under the following heads: ” The remayne with the prest of the laste yere ” ; ” By thandes of my Ladies grace ” ; and ” By

1 “Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin,” Gilbert, II. 488.

2 Camden Society Publications.


thandes of diuerse persons for forren receptes.” No money column is used in the charge side, the entries forming a continuous narrative. The summation of each branch is stated at the foot of the branch, and the ‘• Some Totall of all the Receptes ” is given, with an abstract recapitulating the total of each branch. On the discharge side are arranged the payments made for the various departments of the household, thus—

There is to be deducted suche somes of mony as the said Master Parrye hathe disburced for the provic’on and expences of the Householde within Thoffices of

The Bakehouse and Pantrye.

The Buttrye and Sellor.

The Stable.

&c. &c.

On this side of the account a money column is employed, the sums of money being carried out to the margin, and each branch is summed separately—not merely a statement of what the total of each amounts to as in the charge side. The totals of the branches are not, however, added together on the face of the account, but the total amount of the payments is stated at the close. After the payments is the following:—

There remayneth in sondrie provicons the furst day of October, Anno Sexto Regis predict!, as by a boke of parcelles therof made at large appereth; As well with certen money delyvered to diverse persons in prest for the provicion of the Housholde, who have not yet accompted for the same; As also for redie money delyvered to the coafFers, M1. viijc. lij. ti. ij. s. viij. d”. dl <^a iijtia pars c^V the particulars whereof are detailed below: ” In provicon,” with the amounts in the ” Bakehouse,” ” Buttrie and Cellar,” &c.; ” In prest,” with the names of the debtors and the amount due by each; and ” In redie mony “—the last of which amounting to “one thousande five hundred seven poundes one halfe pennye halfe farthing and the third parte of a farthing, the said Mr. Parrie hathe delyvered to her graces owne handes upon the determination of this his accompte.

The account is completed by the following summary :—

And so thexpences of the House doe amounte unto for this yere to the some of iij M. ix C. xxxviij ti. xviij s. vij d.

There is to be deducted for the hides, felles, and intrales of the cattail provided, with certen vendicons, as before in the charge appereth, CC vij. ti. iij s. viij d”. ob.

And so there is clerely expended iij M. vij C. xxvj. ti. xiiij s. xdl. ob., videllt, In

The House—M1. M1. viij C. 1. ti. xvj s. ix d.

The Chamber—viij C. Ixxv. ti. xviij §. j. d. ob.

The account is adorned with an illuminated commencement, and five pen-and-ink drawings, forming capital initial letters. It is signed on every folio by Elizabeth and by Sir Walter Bucler, the chamberlain to the princess.

Of this period also we have the accounts of the Churchwardens of the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, extending from 1540 to the close of the reign of Queen Elizabeth.1 The account of the year 1540 begins with the payments, headed thus—

Reparations done by Richard Longforde and Willyam Lacon, wardens of the pareshe churche off Ludlowe, anno Henrici octavi xxvij’°, anno Domini 1540.

The payments are detailed item by item, without dates or arrangement into classes, the amounts being carried to the margin clear of the narrative, thus—

Item, payd unto Thomas Smyth for a barre of yryn weynge

vj. H. and for the workemanshype of the same . . ix d

The use of the money column, however, does not seem to have been fully understood, as the column is not summed, but the total is recorded in the centre of the page, thus—

Summa totalis, iij li. x s. j d.

1 Camden Society Publications.

Then follow the ” Reseyttes of the churche the same yeare,” the total of which is stated as iij li. iiij s. ix d.

And so the churche rest in ther dette . . . .vs. iiij d.

Wherof the be deductide for wresshinge of the churche

clothes. iij s. iiij d.

And so the parishe ys indettede to them . . . . ij s.

The municipal authorities appear to have exercised supervision over ecclesiastical affairs; and the following certificate is appended to the account, which shows the settlement of the balance so far as the one warden was concerned, leaving him to settle with his fellow warden :—

Die Lunce, videlicet xvj° die mensis Februarii anno regni regis Henrici octavi xxxj°, coram Johanne Taylor et Johanne Lokyer ballivis domini regis villce de Ludlow.

At whiche day it ys orderede and agreede be the seid baylifes that the forseid Richarde Langforde ffrom hensfourth shalle pesably have, occupie, and enjoye the pewe or sette in the churche late in the tenure of Alice Lane decessede, ffor whiche pewe the seide baylifes have awardede that the seide Richarde Langforde shalle content and paye to the churche wardeyns, over the ij s. wherin the churche upon hys account restith in hys debtt, the some of vj s. viij d. stervinge, whiche ys payde the seide day and yere, &c. quinte. Ilinis.

The record of the Western journey of the Laird of Cawdor, made in 1591, furnishes us with a specimen of a Scottish private account of the same century.1 The account, which is headed “Alexander Campbell the Lard of Calder his Pursmaisteris Compt,” contains details of the personal and travelling expenses of the Laird; the last item, completing the journey on returning to Edinburgh, being—

6 day of November being Satterday in Edinburgh. Item giffen to Michell Libertoun for poling your heid . . vj s. viij d.

1 ” Sketches of Early Scotch History,” Inneg.

A summary of the whole is shown thus—

This compt was maid in Edinburgh the vij day of November 1591


Summa of Alexander Campbellis resait . . xiij** xij lib. ij s.

Summa debursit of the foirsaid sowme of resait xijxx xvij lib. iij s.

Sua restis on Alexander . … xij lib. vi s. x d.1

The account is signed by “Jane Lauder,” the widow of the murdered Laird.

The series of accounts of King’s College, Aberdeen, of this period are in charge and discharge form. The accounts of the Endowments, &c., begin in 1641. The general accounts of the College, beginning in 1658, are well framed. There is ” The first part of the Silver Compt containing the Charge,” divided into ” Sectio 1%” ” Sectio 2m,” &c., the ” Summa of the Charge” being shown. Then ” Charge Extraordinar”—” Summa of the Bill of Rights at Michaelmas.” Then follows “The second part of the Silver Compt containing the Discharge,” ” Sectio 1*. Discharge Ordinar,” ” Sectio 2m,” &c., with the ” Suma sumarum of the haill Discharge Ordinar.” Then ” Sectio 4* of the Discharge containing the Extraordinar Debursements and Incident Charges fra Michaelmas 1658 to Michaelmas 1659.”

The accounts of the Merchants’ House of Glasgow beginning in 1660-1661 are well-framed accounts in charge and discharge form. An earlier account, of 1624, has been preserved, but it is almost illegible. The account of 16601661 is titled: ” Charg and Intromissioune and Discharg and Exoneratioune by Ordinar and Extraordinar depursements off John Louk, with the Comoun goods belonging to the Merchants hospitall in Glasgow, from November, 1660 to November, 1661.” It shows in the charge the amounts due to the House in bonds, &c., the balance due by the previous collector, and the revenue; and in the discharge the amounts in bonds, &c., at the close of the period, the interest, &c., in arrear, the expenditure, and the balance in the collector’s hands at the close. In 1715 it was ordered ” that ye method of keeping of ye books be altered, and the books be kept for ye future in ye regular way of debite and credite.” A regular set of account books was accordingly begun in sterling money, the first entry in the journal recording the assets beginning ” In the name of God, Amen.”l

1 This appears to be an example of the vigesimal system, or counting by scores,[(see ante, page 7), but in any case the arithmetic seems to be at fault.

A volume of ” Instructions for the Collectors and other Officers Employ’d in Her Majesties Customs, &c., in the North-Part of Great-Britain,” published in 1707, shows careful and accurate accounting in the collection of customs. A monthly abstract in columnar form is prescribed, and elaborate instructions are given for its preparation.

Burgh of Stirling

In 1720 improvements in the system of accounting were introduced in the Burgh of Stirling. In that year—

The magistrals and toune councill of the said burgh being conveined, and considering that by the annual accompts of the toune and hospitalls the condition and state thereof is not so plainly obvious, and being resolved the same be sett in clear light that it may appeare yearly what the debit and credit of the toune and hospitalls may be, they recommend to the extrordinare auditores to cause forme ane book by way of abstract for doing thereof after such method, and to imploy such persone as they shall thinke fitte for that end; and the said book to be ballanced at each Michaelmasse that the circumstances of both may yearly appeare.

Again in 1741 it is recorded—

The councill considering that the method wherein the publick accompts of the town and Cowans Hospitall have been framed for some time past, by the accomptants not charging themselves with any principall sumes or annualrents except as to these bonds whereof they have paid annualrent for that year, renders it quitt impracticable to discover the

1 “View of the Merchants House of Glasgow.”

real state of the town or hospitall from the accounts themselves or such abstracts as can be made from them, and which may be of dangerous consequence unless suitably and timeously remeded, the councill therefore enjoin, order, and appoint the severall accomptants in all time coming, either for the town, Cowans Hospitall, Nether Hospitall, and Allan’s mortification, that in making up their severall accompts for the future they do charge themselves with the haill principall sumes and annualrents due thereon to the term of the bonds proceeding the making of the accompts, and that they discharge themselves likeways with the principall sumes and annualrents that may be then unpaid of every particular principall sume, so that the haill principall sumes, with what annualrent is due on each of them, may distinctly appear from the face of the accompts; and the councill do appoint the town clerk for the future to make up regular abstracts of the severall accompts within fourteen days of their being fitted, so that they may be ready for booking so soon as the time is elapsed which these accompts are obliged to lye in his hands to be inspected by every burges that has a mind; and furder the councill declare that the foresaid accompts shall not be approver! of in councill till once the foresaid abstract be booked.

It is thus apparent that the Town Council of Stirling appreciated the value of the charge and discharge form of account.

In the eighteenth century also we find a further advance has been made in the form of accounts. The troublous times in Scotland of ” The Fifteen ” and ” The Forty-five,” and the subsequent proceedings against the Jacobite landowners, have left us numerous accounts, which are preserved in the General Register House, Edinburgh, many of which would serve as excellent models for the use of present-day accountants. There are both the accounts of the Receiver - General on the Forfeited Estates, and the accounts of the numerous factors on the estates. The Receiver - General’s account, beginning in 1718, contains the receipts and payments connected with the estates, arranged under the names of the estates. No distinction is made between the rents and the prices for which the estates were sold, both being recorded under the names of the estates to which they

apply. It is interesting to come on the entries under the heading ” Rob Roy,” as —

Cash Received from Mr- John Graham of Kilearn as the Ballance of an Accot- setled with him of his Intromissions w’- the rents of the Estate of Robert Campbell alias McGrigor commonly calld- Rob Roy Attainted for the crop and year 1717 as pr- precept of the C’ommre of Enquiry the 5th of July 1718, & Receipt 29th Novemr 1718 ….. £9St 6s. lid.

The Exchequer does not appear to have made anything out of Rob Roy’s estate after meeting the debts thereover. Rob Roy’s estate was not unusual in that respect, however, for while the charge of the Receiver-General’s first account amounts to £295,926 14s. 9Td., only £27,735 3s. was paid into the Exchequer at Westminster— a balance of £1210 7s. 9£d. being handed over to the succeeding Receiver-General.

The accounts of the factors on the estates — especially those forfeited in 1745 — are excellent examples of well-framed accounts of charge and discharge. The factor charges himself with the arrears outstanding at the close of the preceding account, the rents of the period covered by the account, ” as they are contained in the Judicial Survey of the Estate,” feuduties, and other receipts, and discharges himself with the payments, arranged under appropriate headings, and with the arrears outstanding at the close, the free rents being paid to the Receiver-General. The accounting in connection with the forfeited estates gave employment to some of the early professional accountants of Edinburgh, to whom remits were made by the Court.

Having now traced the development of the form of accounts from the earliest primitive narrative through its various stages — the grouping of items, the introduction of the money column, and the discarding of antiquated notation and language — to the shapes with which we are familiar in the present day, and having reached the period when the professional accountant appears upon the scene, we may safely leave the subject, knowing that from that time there was no lack of skill and ingenuity applied to the drawing up of accounts best adapted to the particular circumstances of each case, and calculated to show in the clearest and simplest manner the nature and effect of the transactions which had taken place.

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