Medieval accounts and their arrangement


Centre for Metropolitan History



Betty R. Masters (editor)

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'Introduction: Medieval accounts and their arrangement', Chamber accounts of the sixteenth century: London Record Society, 20 (1984), pp. IX-XXXII. URL: Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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The City of London's archives are rich in administrative and legal records earlier than the seventeenth century but, with the notable exception of the accounts of the wardens of London Bridge, very few financial records have survived. The main series of city's cash accounts, the annual accounts of the chamberlain which formed the principal record of municipal income and expenditure, begins only with the account for 1632–33. This series is made up of a long succession of engrossed accounts, written on parchment and signed by the auditors. They are bound, usually three accounts at a time, with their accompanying annual rentals. The earlier volumes in this series and other subsidiary financial records were probably lost in the Great Fire of 1666 and in a later fire in 1786. (fn. 1) The only earlier chamberlain's accounts to survive are a small number of sixteenth-century paper accounts, most of them drafts and some in fragmentary form, which were drawn as a preliminary to the final engrossed account. These paper accounts are now to be found gathered into two volumes in the Corporation of London Records Office and are hereafter referred to as Chamber Accounts 1 and Chamber Accounts 2.

A calendar of two of these accounts, both nearly complete, for the years Michaelmas 1584–Michaelmas 1585 and Michaelmas 1585– Michaelmas 1586, forms the main part of this present work. These were the third and fourth accounts of Robert Brandon, chamberlain 1583–91, and together with a contemporary but incomplete rental of the city lands they constitute almost the whole of Chamber Accounts 2. The account for 1584–85 is a draft, that for 1585–86 contains particulars of the audit and represents the last stage before the writing of the engrossed account. They serve to show the considerable variations which could occur in certain sections of the account. Extracts from earlier, more fragmentary, accounts of George Heton, chamberlain 1563–77, as well as a subsidiary account kept for the year 1535–36 by Richard Maunsell, clerk to the then chamberlain, George Medley, all of which are now to be found in Chamber Accounts 1, are given as Appendices.

The surviving sixteenth-century accounts are of significance and interest from a number of points of view. First, the form of the account, the headings and sequence of its several sections as we find them in the seventeenth century, is already largely established by the reign of Elizabeth, and, after a brief glance at such slight evidence as remains as to the chamberlain's accounts in the medieval period, much of this introduction is devoted to a description of the arrangement of the late sixteenth-century account, which may be of interest also to anyone wishing to use the later material. (fn. 2) Secondly, the accounts are a quarry of detailed information on particular topics relating to the years which they cover and in this respect are perhaps even more valuable than their successors since the amount of detail recorded in the chamberlain's account diminishes with time. At a period when city's cash constituted virtually the whole of municipal income and expenditure, (fn. 3) the range and diversity of the entries in the accounts is great. It is hoped that the citation in the calendar of originating orders for payment and other references to the repertories of the court of aldermen and journals of the common council may serve to link the accounts with related information to be found elsewhere in the city's archives. Thirdly, it can be discerned that some of the causes of the financial problems which were to beset the city in the seventeenth century were present, in embryo at least, in the preceding century and the introduction includes by way of background an account of the chamber and chamberlains of the sixteenth century.

Medieval Accounts

A little information about the medieval accounts of the period 1321–49 is to be found in the Letter Books which record the audit of almost all the accounts between those dates. The first reference in the city's books to the appointment of auditors of the chamberlain's account seems to be that of 10 December 1298 when the mayor and aldermen nominated two aldermen and six commoners to audit the accounts of William de Bettoyne during the time that he had been chamberlain; on the same day the mayor, aldermen and commonalty ordered that all those who ought to render accounts to the city, including the chamberlains and bridgemasters, should do so in the future twice a year, namely in the first week in Lent and at the beginning of autumn. (fn. 4) In September 1300 the mayor and aldermen ordered that the chamberlain should henceforth render an account between Michaelmas and the feast of SS Simon and Jude (28 October). (fn. 5) Despite these provisions none of the accounts presented for audit between 1321 and 1349 is an annual account. It is only towards the end of this period that a regular accounting term, in this instance of three years, seems to be emerging.

Andrew Horn was chamberlain 1320–28 and there are entries respecting the audit of three of his accounts, namely for 29 September 1321–13 October 1323, 13 October 1323–11 November 1324 and 2 February 1326–18 October 1328, this last account for '2 years and 27 weeks less one day' running up to Horn's death and being presented by his executors. (fn. 6) Three consecutive accounts of Henry de Seccheford, chamberlain 1328–36, covering 18 October 1328–29 June 1330, 29 June 1330–24 June 1332 ('2 years less 5 days') and 24 June 1332–1 August 1335 ('3 years 5 weeks and 2 days') were presented. (fn. 7) No reference has been found to the account covering de Seccheford's last few months in office. He was succeeded by Thomas de Maryns, chamberlain 1336–49, for whom there is a record of the audit of six consecutive accounts. (fn. 8) The first three are again quite irregular in term, 29 January 1336–29 May 1337, 29 May 1337–7 September 1339 and 7 September 1339–29 September 1340. The fourth account, however, is for 28 September 1340–28 September 1343 ('to wit, for three whole years'), the fifth for the succeeding three years Michaelmas 1343–Michaelmas 1346 and the sixth account beginning at Michaelmas 1346 was closed within the third year at Easter 1349 by de Maryns' death and was presented by his executors. The practice of annual accounting must have developed within the next quarter of a century. Acquittances to the chamberlain in respect of accounts for one year and the annual appointment of auditors are to be found recorded from 1375 and 1378 respectively (fn. 9) and it may be observed that the bridgewardens' accounts which survive from 1381 are annual accounts by that date.

No proper analysis of the accounts between 1321 and 1349 is possible, not only because of the irregular term of the account but also because the amount of information recorded in the Letter Books at the time of audit is so variable, but certain points may be noted. For the first two of Horn's accounts and the last three of Thomas de Maryns we have little more than the total receipts and total expenses with some note of the allowances due to de Maryns upon his fourth and fifth accounts, but in the intervening seven accounts between 1326 and 1340 sub-totals for certain categories of income and expenditure or certain special items are recorded, (fn. 10) mention often being made of the roll of particulars or roll of expenses where fuller details were originally entered. On the receipts side, if we set aside such special items as the £77.3s.4d. recorded in the account of 1326–28 as the produce of an aid for making a gift to Edward III's new queen, Philippa of Hainault, and the several sums received for engines of war and other military needs in the account of 1337–39, three regular sources of income are found in every account. Much the most important is the money received in respect of freedom and apprenticeship fees which averaged about £80 a year over this period of fourteen years. (fn. 11) By contrast at this date the rental of the chamber lands produced an average of only about £13 p.a. (fn. 12) and payments for recognizances of debts, calculated at 2d. per pound of the debt acknowledged, contributed perhaps £4 more. An even smaller sum for the enrolment of documents is found in some but not all of the accounts. Special items also occur among the payments, such as the expenditure upon putting the city in a state of defence which is found in the account of 1337–39 and the presents, whether of money, wine or robes, which figure prominently in some years. Every account, however, contains a separate sub-total for the fees paid to officers and others which averaged about £50 a year and every account contains in one form or another a reference to 'necessary expenses'. In the audit of certain accounts expenditure upon building, reparations or pavements is distinguished either as a sub-total or as particular items. (fn. 13)

The variation in financial terms of the total account which could occur at this time is illustrated by contrasting Andrew Horn's second account when both receipts and expenses for a period of some thirteen months were just over £87 with Thomas de Maryns' fifth account for the three years 1343–46 when, swollen by the inclusion of a gift of 1,000 marks and a loan of 2,000 marks raised and paid to the king, receipts were nearly £2,747 and expenditure approximately £2,963.

The arrangement of the sixteenth-century Accounts

The General Account: the Charge

After 1349 no more accounts are entered even in summary form in the city's books although the balance due from an outgoing chamberlain is very occasionally recorded. (fn. 14) The surviving accounts for Elizabeth's reign show that by then the arrangement is already established in very much the same form or pattern as is to be found in the engrossed accounts of the 1630s. The nature of the account, however, remained essentially that of a medieval compotus designed to show the indebtedness or otherwise of the accountant at the end of the year. First the Charge was totalled, which included all receipts during the year plus the arrears, if any, due from the chamberlain upon the previous year's account, then the Discharge including all the disbursements plus an allowance, if necessary, for any arrears due to the chamberlain from the city upon the last account, and finally, by subtracting one from the other, the amount owed by the chamberlain to the city or by the city to the chamberlain, was established. The city's cash accounts were long to retain this archaic form. (fn. 15)

The following description of the arrangement of the account is based upon the accounts of 1584–85 and 1585–86 with some observations as to similarities or variations in the accounts in Chamber Accounts 1, especially those of 1563–67, and in the accounts of the 1630s. (fn. 16) The account of 1584–85 begins under the heading of 'The Charge' with four entries for which the totals only of receipts are shown. The first is the sum of the arrears due from the chamberlain upon the foot of the last account (2). The second is the proceeds of the rental of the city's general lands and also of the Blanchappleton lands, which had been acquired by the city in 1478, (fn. 17) after allowance had been made for unoccupied properties and irrecoverable rents (3). The city also held upon charitable trusts certain estates bequeathed by Sir John Philipot, mayor 1378–79, John Carpenter, town clerk 1417–38, and John Reynwell, mayor 1426–27, but receipts and payments in respect of these estates and also of the manor of Finsbury, were still in the sixteenth century being accounted for separately from the general account and are referred to again below. In 1632–33 the total of the general rents is followed immediately as part of the general account by separate totals for the rents of the Philipot, Carpenter and Reynwell estates, of certain other estates acquired in the intervening period, and of Finsbury.

Each of the engrossed accounts of the seventeenth century and later is almost invariably preceded by a detailed rental of city properties, including the estates held by the city upon charitable trusts. A similar rental, compiled for 1584–85 and amended in 1586–87, forms part of Chamber Accounts 2. Although this rental is incomplete, it is evident that the original sequence and the grouping of properties under particular topographical titles or heads were of very much the same pattern as those of the rental of 1632–33 (allowing for the increase in the estate by the later date). Like the accounts the rental must be presumed to have been engrossed on parchment, if not yet annually then every few years.

The third and fourth totals are the receipts of fees for the enrolment of apprentices and for admission to the freedom respectively (4, 5). The former entry refers to the existence of a series of apprenticeship registers, written on paper and distinguished, like so many classes of records in the city archives, by letter references, which by this date had reached the letter P. The latter refers to a series of parchment registers of freemen which had arrived at the letter Q. These registers and many other records were destroyed in a fire in the chamber in 1786. None of the apprenticeship registers before 1786 is known to be extant and only some mutilated portions of a few freedom registers. (fn. 18)

By the late sixteenth century the proceeds of the general rental formed a very important element in the city's income which in 1563–67, 1584–85 and the 1630s always exceeded the combined apprenticeship and freedom fees. In 1584–85 the rental yielded £836.18s.8d. (fn. 19) as against £211.16s.9d. and £409.13s. 1d. from apprenticeship and freedom fees respectively. The first page of the account of 1585–86, which would have contained similar information for that year, is missing but there is no reason to think that the relationship of these three sources of income would have been very different. (fn. 20)

The next two sections of the account contain detailed receipts. Of the sixteen items listed under 'Rent Farms' in 1584–85 (7), which produced a total of £398.10.1d., fourteen are fixed annual rents payable for leases of the measurage, gauging, packing or sealing of certain commodities and other offices of profit, some of which belonged to the city by virtue of royal grants, and two relate to actual profits received and paid into the chamber. There are corresponding entries in 1563–64 for thirteen of these items, nine of them in rents of the same amount, and eleven of them, seven at the same rent, are to be found in Richard Maunsell's account of 1535–36. 'Casual Receipts Ordinary' (8, 154) contains in the main items which might be expected to recur each year but which would be variable in amount, such as monies received for enrolments of deeds and wills in the husting or for setting over apprentices, but a few fixed sums, such as 6s.8d. received each year under the bequest of Sir Martin Bowes towards repair of the conduits, are also entered here. There appears to be a marked increase in the total of 'Casual Receipts Ordinary' between 1563–64 (£134.19s.8d.) and 1584–85 (£346.13s.0d.) but this is almost wholly accounted for by the inclusion under this head in the latter year of the farm and profits, due to the queen and the city, of the alnagers or searchers of woollen cloth; in the 1560s these are to be found entered under 'Receipts Extraordinary', presumably because the city had but lately acquired its interest in the office of alnage (see 8h).

The next section is headed 'Fines' and once more gives a total only, being the sum of small fines received for market offences, breaches of city ordinances and nuisances (9, 155). The contribution to the city's revenues was small (£36.3s.4d. in 1584–85) but it is the only section in the whole account for which a total alone is recorded where the particular account survives. This is the Book of Fines 1517–1628 in which is recorded annually details of these fines. (fn. 21)

'Leases, Incomes, Arrearages of Rents and Venditions' is the somewhat cumbrous title of the next section of the Charge (10, 156). Nearly all the entries relate to admission fines for newly granted leases of city properties and the sums recorded here are either receipts in full or first instalments of such fines received within the year of the account. The total of these non-recurring items was likely to vary considerably from year to year (£53.6s.8d. in 1584–85 and £130.0s.8d. in 1585–86).

Other non-recurring items, sometimes for considerable sums, are recorded in the section which follows, entitled 'Receipts Extraordinary' (11, 157). Here will be found receipt of those fines for refusal to serve the office of sheriff, or occasionally fines for discharge from other civic office, which were imposed within the year of the account and in respect of which monies were received, either in full or by way of a first instalment, before the account was closed. The shrieval fine, which is discussed more fully below, was usually £200. Receipts in respect of any other newly imposed fines or newly created obligations were treated in the same way. In this section also are to be found monies paid into the chamber in consequence of collections by or assessments upon the companies or wards, some of which might be made in respect of expenditure which had occurred some time previously. The expense of rebuilding Ludgate fell within the accounts of 1584–85 and 1585–86 (see below) but the order authorising the levying of two fifteenths for the rebuilding of the gate and the repair of the walls was not made until 6 September 1586 and the proceeds would have been recorded in later accounts no longer extant. (fn. 22) In 1584–85 monies were received of the companies for the redeeming of captives in the dominion of Turkey and of foreigners and strangers in the wards for musters of 1578 and 1585. In 1585–86 a ward assessment brought in monies to be used for the purchase of Sir James Croft's interests in the office of garbling. 'Receipts Extraordinary' was also used to record sums, usually small, received towards the 'finding' or maintenance of particular orphans and for a number of miscellaneous items of a non-recurring nature. The total of this section in 1584–85, in which year a number of shrieval fines were paid, was £1,728.3s.5d. but in 1585–86 only £838.13s.11d. By 1632–33 the 'Receipts Extraordinary' is a very much enlarged section largely due to the inclusion of no less than forty-five entries recording the receipt of interest paid upon loans advanced by the city to merchants and trading companies. Only one such entry is found in 1584–85, in respect of interest on £400 lent to Sir Edward Osborne at five per cent, and the difference vividly illustrates the growth of the chamber of London as a lending institution in the early part of the seventeenth century.

There follows a section headed 'Debts mentioned in the last account and other accounts and since received now being charged' in which are listed any sums received during the year of the account in respect of previously outstanding debts (12, 158). Second or later instalments of shrieval fines, fines for leases or other debts due will be found here as well as outstanding debts being paid off in full. There is no comparable section in the accounts of the 1560s when any such items were entered under 'Receipts Extraordinary', (fn. 23) but in 1632–33 this section, which includes receipts for repayment or partial repayment of loans plus accrued interest, is financially by far the most considerable in the whole Charge.

The Charge of the general account is completed by a section headed 'Orphanage', which in 1584–85 and 1585–86 records the totals only of monies deposited in the chamber that year for orphans' portions, £1,743.15s.0d. in the first year and £2,635.8s.4d. in the second (13, 159). Reference is made to two subsidiary accounts where particulars were recorded, the journal and the ledger. The orphans' journals, containing a chronological record of receipts of money for the use of orphans and of payments of orphans' portions and finding money, do not now survive before 1662. The orphans' ledgers, in which such receipts and payments are posted under the name of the deceased father of the orphan or orphans, are extant only from 1627. In the 1560s deposits were still being recorded individually in the chamberlain's account, each entry giving the names of the depositor, the deceased freeman and the orphan or orphans. In 1632–33 the entry for this section is a total only, as in the 1580s, but the sum received has risen to £16,842.6s.6½d.

The Charge upon the general account, excluding the arrears due upon the last account, amounted in 1584–85 to £5,979.6s.8d. and in 1585–86 to £7,182.10s.7½d. It will be observed that for the purposes of the chamberlain's account all the receipts previously described of whatever category, whether monies belonging to the city or orphans' portions held only on deposit, whether a substantial fine payable once only at the commencement of a long lease or an annual rent, were all calculated as current income.

The General Account: the Discharge

As has been seen, the Charge contained some sections for which totals only were recorded, and in other sections the number of individual entries of receipts was not large. By contrast the payments were very much more numerous and diverse and, with the exception of orphanage payments and some weekly payments for wages and minor necessities, are generally recorded in some detail. In consequence the Discharge upon the general account in 1584–85 fills some sixty-seven folios as compared with the mere seven of the Charge.

The Discharge begins with a small and financially unimportant section headed 'Salary of Priests' or 'Salaries of Ministers' (15, 161). Here are entered a small number of regular payments, e.g. to the parson appointed to hold weekday services in Guildhall Chapel, offering money paid to the vicar of St Lawrence Jewry, in the 1580s an annual pension to a former chantry chaplain of Edmonton, and in the 1560s an annual contribution towards the maintenance and exhibition of a student at the university of Cambridge. (fn. 24) Single payments, e.g. to individual preachers for preaching before the election of the lord mayor, are usually to be found entered under the 'Foreign Charge'.

The next section, entitled 'Rents and Quitrents' (16, 162), includes such items as the rent paid for the house at St Mary Spital where the lord mayor and other civic dignitaries heard the Spital sermons in the week following Easter and which was held by the city on a 99 year lease, rents for premises leased back from the tenants of Smart's and Somer's quays for the purpose of selling fish, and a variety of quitrents and other annual payments, some of which had been payable by the city since the fourteenth or fifteenth century while others arose from the acquisition in the 1560s of properties needed for the site of the Royal Exchange. (fn. 25) This section of the account, amounting to £77.0s.4d. in 1584–85, had increased considerably, both in number of items and in total payments, between the 1560s and the 1580s. In 1632–33 it includes annual payments for the supply of New River water to Guildhall kitchen, the hallkeeper's house and other places.

The next two sections are both concerned in the main with payments to officers. In the first, headed 'Inward Fees' (17–22, 163–8), are entered fees paid annually out of the chamber to the city's own chief officers, namely the recorder, chamberlain, common serjeant, town clerk and comptroller of the chamber, to certain clerks including the clerk of the chamber and the clerk of the works, to the renter-general, and to all the officers of the lord mayor's household. At this date the household comprised the swordbearer, common cryer, common hunt and water bailiff, who were the four esquires, three serjeant carvers, three serjeants of the chamber, two yeomen of the chamber, the serjeant and yeoman of the channel, the under waterbailiff, the four yeomen of the waterside and the several servants or men of the four esquires and the senior serjeant carver. (fn. 26) The fees listed here comprise the annual fee or salary out of the chamber, (fn. 27) 'rewards at the audit' which were paid to the clerk of the chamber and most of the senior officers of the household, payments in respect of regular responsibilities such as the monies paid to the common hunt for his hounds' meat or to the yeoman of the channel for his duties at Bartholomew Fair, any payments made in lieu of accommodation, and for some officers, principally the serjeants of the household, an additional yearly sum 'in augmentation of their living'. (fn. 28) Other payments to these officers which were particular to the year of the account, e.g. monies paid to the recorder for his work in connection with particular law suits or to the serjeants and yeomen for riding to the court or elsewhere on the city's business, will normally be found, grouped with related entries, in the 'Foreign Charge'. The 'Inward Fees' paid in 1563–54 totalled £382.5s.0d. and in 1584–85 £430.5s.0d.

'Outward Fees' are more varied in character but again always comprise regular annual payments (23–8, 169–75). They include the fees paid to the eminent men retained as legal counsel for the city, of whom more is said below, and to the attorneys for the city in the king's courts, and annual fees for the city waits, the chamberlain's clerk, three city artificers, the keeper of Leadenhall, and many minor officials including the keepers of the conduits and a number of rakers and keepers of grates and sluices. Payments are made to twenty-four rakers and keepers of grates in 1584–85 in contrast to nine in 1563–64 and six in 1535–36, an indication of increasing municipal administration. Also included under 'Outward Fees' are pensions granted to retired officers, to the dependants of officers now dead and to others in need, annuities paid to certain officers in respect of special responsibilities and occasionally other annuities. (fn. 29) 'Outward Fees', which accounted for expenditure of only £159.9s.0d. in 1563–64 had risen to £355.7s.3d. in 1584–85. Both 'Inward Fees' and 'Outward Fees' in the 1630s follow substantially the same pattern. It should be noted that not all the city officers are listed under 'Inward Fees' and 'Outward Fees'. The pleaders and attorneys of the mayor's court and the undersheriffs, secondaries and clerks of the sheriffs' courts, for example, were not in general in receipt of annual fees payable out of the chamber and will only and rarely be included if they receive an annual fee in respect of additional responsibilities such as the writing up of particular records.

The next section lists week by week throughout the year the total wages paid to the city's labour force of masons, carpenters, bricklayers and other workmen (29, 176). No individuals are named and no information given as to rates of wages or hours worked. The weekly bills themselves have not survived. The heading of the section lists in general terms the works upon which the workmen have been engaged during the year and in 1585–86 such information is also given in more detail for each month in the form of marginal annotations. From the sum total of the weekly wages at the end of the section are deducted any wages for work on properties belonging to the charitable estates or to the manor of Finsbury. (These wages are charged to the charitable and Finsbury accounts.) After such deductions the wages in both years totalled a little under £300. The weekly wages are similarly entered by totals only in the accounts of the 1560s and the 1630s.

The section which follows 'Weekly Wages' is the second largest in the whole account. In the Elizabethan accounts the contents range more widely than the title, 'Emptions of reparations stuff and other necessary things bought and provided this year . . .', would suggest. Payments cover workmanship as well as supply of goods and materials, and indeed often combine both, and also extend to major building or other undertakings carried out during the year of the account (30–62, 177–202). In 1584–85 and 1585–86 the gate and gaol of Ludgate were rebuilt by and to the design of William Kerwyn, the city mason, and many of the great conduit pipes were renewed or repaired by John Martyn, the city plumber. No details of the work at Ludgate are given but payments, most of them to Kerwyn, amounted to £321.11s.11d. out of the city's cash in 1584–85 (with a further £100 being contributed this year by the bridgewardens) and to £1,143.6s.8d. in 1585–86 (38, 181, 201). The difference between these two sums largely accounts for the difference between the sectional totals for the two years, £1,076.18s.3d. in 1584–85 and £2,034.14s. 10½d. in 1585–86.

Most of the money paid to Kerwyn consisted of sums due under contract or paid by an order of the court of aldermen specifically quoted as authority in the accounts but in general payments in the 'Emptions' section were made against bills which no longer survive. So far as the artificers were concerned the degree of detail recorded in the accounts seems to have depended on whether the work carried out was of a routine character or particular to the year of the account. Thus there is considerable detail of John Martyn's work in making and laying the great conduit pipes which was included with some other work in his quarterly bills, the information given including weights and prices of lead and sometimes the length of ground dug for the laying of the pipes (44, 58, 191). Only a total for the year's payments is given for some artificers and suppliers, including the blacksmith, the founder, the ironmonger and the turner, presumably since they provided only routine work and supplies. The paviours received less than a quarter of the sum paid to the blacksmith but the places where paving was done are listed with the total paving executed during the period covered by the bill (35, 183). Similarly the common vaults or vaults belonging to particular properties which were emptied by the nightman are specified, with the amount of soil removed and sometimes the number of nights taken (46, 190). 'Emptions' also covers payments for minor but specific jobs such as painting the pumps, mending the clocks in Guildhall or mending a saddle. Purchases of materials range from quantities of bricks, tiles and timber to a length of crimson velvet for a sword. From the sum total of the section are deducted any payments made in respect of the properties belonging to the charitable estates or the manor of Finsbury, which are to be charged to those accounts.

Those portions of the 'Emptions' which survive for 1563–67 name no major undertakings but the section is otherwise broadly similar to that in the 1580s. (fn. 30) By 1632–33, however, this part of the account has undergone one of the few major alterations. The section head, 'Emptions . . .', is still retained for purchases of materials and payments for routine supplies and work by the artificers but is followed by two new sections. The first, and the more important financially, is headed 'Extraordinary Works Buildings and Reparations . . .' and the introduction of this section must indicate a growth in such undertakings by the city. Here in 1632–33 are entered such expenses as repairs to the walks in Moorfields, cleaning and repairing the common sewer, clearing banks of sand and gravel in the Thames and the charges, including casting and laying of pipes, of bringing water from Paddington to the conduit heads near the Banqueting House. The second new section, headed 'Necessary Expenses', is chiefly concerned with expenses in and about Guildhall and repairs and embellishments to the city's plate and insignia, and thus draws together items which in the Elizabethan accounts are to be found variously entered under 'Emptions', 'Foreign Charge' and 'Allowances'.

The 'Foreign Charge' which follows 'Emptions' is the longest section of the whole account (63–114, 203–44). The payments, which are recorded in some detail, are extremely diverse and the 'Foreign Charge' is the residual section for all those items of expenditure which do not fit under the more specific headings of other sections. Here are to be found various expenses in connection with the election, presentation, swearing into office and knighting of the lord mayor as well as his attendance, with other aldermen, at St Paul's and St Mary Spital, payments to the city's four members of parliament, payments under acts of common council to those who accepted the office of sheriff after the refusal of others, and charges for the dinners which were inseparable from so many of the city's activities. Frequent consultations with the court can be discerned in the payments to the bargemen or for boat hire, horse hire, riding and other charges of the aldermen and officers travelling to Westminster or elsewhere and in charges for presents or rewards to great officers of state and lesser officials.

Considerable detail is recorded of arrangements for holding courts of conservancy, and payments are made to the waterbailiff for his searches of the river (96, 220, 221). The claim of the city to the Thames conservancy, made under its ancient charters and the statute of 17 Richard II c.9, had traditionally extended from Colney Ditch just beyond Staines in the west to Yantlett Creek in the east and to parts of the Medway. The right to the eastern half of this jurisdiction had for some years been successfully challenged by the lord admiral, (fn. 31) and in consequence the expenses recorded in the accounts of 1584–85 and 1585–86 relate to searches of the river only west of Blackwall and to the holding of conservancy courts and the summoning of juries for only two of the riparian counties, namely Middlesex and Surrey. This dispute grumbled on for a long time and it was not until 1613 that the city was able to resume its former powers. (fn. 32) In the accounts of the 1630s, where the conservancy charges are recorded in even greater detail, the city is once again exercising its full claim and courts are also held for the counties of Essex and Kent. (fn. 33)

Charges in many matters of litigation and controversy are to be found entered under the 'Foreign Charge' in these two years. The most important issues appear to have been the case in the exchequer court between the city and Sir James Croft concerning the office of garbling (79, 157b, 174b, 226, 251); the city's defence in the court of king's bench of its claim to the search and survey of hops, butter, oil, vinegar and soap (76, 227); a suit brought against the city in the star chamber for muring up a gate out of the liberty of Christ Church near Aldgate (83, 227); the perennial dispute with the lieutenant of the Tower as to the Tower liberties which reached one of its peaks of acrimony in the years 1579–85 (82, 212); (fn. 34) and a suit against the lord mayor and other aldermen by John Mellowes, clothworker (95, 228) which was one of several suits concerning orphanage monies.

The entries in the accounts do not, of course, give the background to these suits and controversies, for which recourse must be had to the repertories and journals and legal sources. Their chief interest lies in the detail they give of the activities of certain of the city's officers and counsel who are seen receiving payments for perusing and drawing up documents, viewing properties, giving advice, conferring in chambers and appearing in the central courts. The recorder, William Fleetwood, was involved in all the important cases, and the number of law suits in which the city was engaged, the responsibility for which fell chiefly on the recorder, was one of the reasons why William Daniel, esquire, of Gray's Inn had been appointed by the court of aldermen on 2 July 1584 to act in Fleetwood's place in the court of aldermen and the court of husting; he was also to take examinations and carry out other duties of the town clerk in the mayor's court in the absence both of the town clerk himself and of William Dalby, the senior attorney. (fn. 35) The other reasons for this appointment, to which the recorder and town clerk had consented, were Fleetwood's involvement in the queen's as well as the city's service and his duties as a serjeant at law, all of which made it impossible for him to attend at Guildhall as often as was needful. (fn. 36) Daniel's fee of £40 p.a. in respect of these duties, which he continued to exercise until his appointment as one of the undersheriffs or judges of the sheriffs' courts in 1589, (fn. 37) is listed under 'Inward Fees' along with the annual fees of the recorder, town clerk and other high officers (17f, 163f) but he is also among nine men in 1584–85 (eight in 1585–86) (fn. 38) who are listed under 'Outward Fees' as receiving annual fees as learned counsel of the city (23a, 169a). In the repertories such men are sometimes described as 'counsel at large'. Of these nine William Daniel was the busiest despite his responsibilities at Guildhall. He became a serjeant at law in 1594 and from 1604 to 1610 was a justice of the common pleas. Thomas Owen, who, after Daniel, was the counsel most actively engaged in the city's legal affairs during these two years, also, like Daniel, held another office under the city. From 1577 to 1589 he was one of the four common pleaders. (fn. 39) He became a serjeant at law in 1589 and was also a justice of the common pleas from 1594 to 1598. Three of the city's counsel were called upon in one case only, James Morris in the suit concerning Christ Church Aldgate; Robert Clarke, later Sir Robert, who was to serve as a baron of the exchequer from 1587 to 1607, in the suit over garbling; and Edward Coke, at this time in his early thirties but already with a considerable reputation and destined to be one of the great figures of English law, in the suit brought by John Mellowes against the lord mayor and aldermen. It is clear that the city was adept at engaging rising legal luminaries in its service. The other four counsel who received retainers, Matthew Dale, who was to succeed William Daniel in 1589 as deputy to the recorder, (fn. 40) Thomas Bowyer, John Cowper and Richard Shuttleworth, serjeant at law, were not called upon during these two years. In addition to the counsel at large, two other of the common pleaders, James Dalton, who was in office before October 1578 and was to become an undersheriff in 1594, (fn. 41) and Nicholas Fuller, who had been admitted as recently as 10 March 1584, (fn. 42) were each rewarded for similar activities in three of the city's law suits. Thomas Walmesley, serjeant at law and later a justice of the common pleas, was involved in the matter of the city's title to the search for hops, and Edmund Plowden, the distinguished lawyer and commentator upon the common law, was consulted in the case about garbling. (fn. 43)

On 28 October 1581 Robert Smith had been appointed at a fee of 20 marks p.a. to solicit and follow the city's causes at Westminster and elsewhere, to be attendant upon the learned counsel in all controversies about the liberties of the city, and to engross any collections of documents arising therefrom (27a). There are numerous references to Smith receiving reimbursement for his bills of expenses and for the fees which he had paid to the city's attorneys in the central courts as well as payments for making searches and obtaining and copying documents. Before appointment as city solicitor (fn. 44) Smith had been one of the under or assistant clerks in the mayor's court; on 29 November 1586 he was given also the office of deputy to the comptroller, William Dummer, and in 1594 he surrendered the post of city solicitor following his appointment as one of the clerks of the mayor's court; from 1597 until his death in 1623 he was also comptroller of the chamber. (fn. 45)

Smith also received payments for engrossing various books and documents (209, 229, 214). The accounts are a useful source of information for the names of writers or binders of particular books or records, most of this information appearing under the heading of the 'Foreign Charge', which also gives, by way of the city printer's bills, the numbers of acts of common council, proclamations, freemen's and constables' oaths and other documents printed (69, 229).

The 'Foreign Charge' also contains payments to the officers of the lord mayor's household for special responsibilities such as procuring venison warrants, delivering the bills of mortality to the court, keeping the door of the council chamber, seeing bills affixed to houses affected with the plague, riding into Kent or Essex to view the stocks of wood or procuring wheat for trial for the assize of bread, while the city's concern for its water supply, already evinced under 'Emptions' in the making of new conduit pipes, is further demonstrated by the many views of the conduits and conduit heads by aldermen, commoners and officers. Routine expenditure about Guildhall is still in the 1580s entered under 'Foreign Charge', as are repairs to the plate and insignia, although, as stated above, by 1632–33 these are recorded in the new section of 'Necessary Expenses'. The 'Foreign Charge' also includes those charitable expenses which took the form of a single payment rather than an annual relief. Thus the pension granted to a former officer of the household while in Bethlem appears under 'Outward Fees' but the 20s. given to his wife for her immediate relief, although granted by the same court order, is entered here.

Many payments in this section are authorised by specific order of the court of aldermen cited in the accounts (fn. 46) and a small number by commandment of the lord mayor. Officers of middle and lower rank usually submitted bills in connection with their expenses. It is usual in this section for a number of payments to be grouped together in one entry with a total in the right margin. Such payments are often related, as in an entry concerning the expenses of a particular law suit or the conservancy charges but a few composite entries are formed of quite unconnected payments (e.g. 85). The total of this section in 1584–85 was £1,586.16s.1½d. and in 1585–86 £2,119.8s.11d. The average over the ten years 1633–42 was £12,183. (fn. 47)

Many folios bearing entries which must be ascribed to the 'Foreign Charge' survive among the draft accounts in Chamber Accounts 1 but almost always in a confused order and in a heavily amended state. Only in 1563–64 does this section appear to be virtually complete (total £737.10s.0½d). Nevertheless it is clear that the 'Foreign Charge' of the 1560s and 1570s was very like that of the 1580s. A small selection of extracts from the 'Foreign Charge' 1563–71 is calendared as Appendix E.

After the 'Foreign Charge' a few sections calling for little explanation conclude the Discharge. 'New Year's Gifts' (115, 245), amounting to less than £100, lists a few payments to high officers of state and £40 p.a. paid to the lord mayor in lieu of wine for his household. 'Liveries' (116–20, 246–50) records both purchases of cloth for making winter and summer liveries and payments to officers who received money in lieu of a livery gown. Deductions are made from the total expenditure upon liveries of those sums which were to be borne upon the charitable or Finsbury accounts. The chamberlain then asks for certain 'Allowances' (121, 251) and, finally, payments made during the year in respect of orphans' portions, £1,411.4s.7d. in 1584–85 and £2,048.4s.7d. in 1585–86 (122, 252) and orphans' finding money, £245.19s.¼d. in 1584–85 and £301.5s.4d. in 1585–86 (123, 253) are given in total only. (As with the receipts of orphanage, these payments were being entered individually in the accounts of the 1560s.)

In the sixteenth century this completes the Discharge upon the general account which amounted in 1584–85 to £6,189.1s.1¼d. and in 1585–86 to £8,273.5s.4d. Again it has to be noted that these figures include all categories of payments made during the year whether in respect of corporate expenses or the payment of principal or interest to orphans. In the accounts of the 1630s, however, a new and financially most important section appears between 'Allowances' and 'Orphanage', which again illustrates the growth of the chamber's banking activities in the seventeenth century. This is headed 'Money at interest lent and paid within the time of this account' and lists monies lent out at interest for six or twelve months. (fn. 48) In the 1630s also the orphans' finding money is followed, still as part of the general account, by payments out of the Philipot, Carpenter and Reynwell estates, the more recently acquired Costen estate and the manor of Finsbury, each with its own total, before the total of the whole Discharge is entered.

The totals of the Charge and Discharge now being established, the balance upon the general account due to or from the chamberlain could be entered. (fn. 49) This balance, since it took account of arrears due from the chamberlain upon the previous year's account, masked the fact that in real terms the payments exceeded the receipts in each of the years 1584–85, 1585–86 and 1632–33.

Accounts for the Philipot, Carpenter, Reynwell and Finsbury Estates

In the 1560s and 1580s the general account is followed by three short accounts relating to the Philipot, Carpenter and Reynwell lands which the city had long held to uses and of which the combined rental amounted to nearly a third of that upon the general and Blanchappleton lands. Each of these three accounts was made up of a charge, which comprised the rental and any other source of income such as admission fines for leases of the property, plus, if appropriate, the arrears due from the chamberlain upon the last account, a discharge containing the disbursements, plus, if appropriate, an allowance for the sum owed by the city to the chamberlain upon the last account, and the balance (125–33, 255–63).

Under the will, with codicils, of John Philipot, mayor 1378–79, (fn. 50) proved in the court of husting in 1389, properties which included tenements on the south side of Cheapside, a tenement in Lombard Street near the Stocks, another in Pudding Lane, tenements in and near Lambeth Hill including the premises used in the sixteenth century and later as Blacksmiths' Hall, and tenements on the east side of Queenhithe, came into possession of the city upon the death of Philipot's widow. (fn. 51) A number of small payments for obits, which are still to be found in Richard Maunsell's account of 1535–36, were no longer payable by the time of the Elizabethan accounts but the chief charitable bequest of one penny a day to each of thirteen poor people to be chosen after his widow's death by the mayor and recorder remained the principal charge upon the estate. At the opening of the Philipot account for 1563–64 the city was indebted to the chamberlain in the sum of £157.11s.11d. (fn. 52) indicating considerable expenditure, perhaps on maintenance of properties, in a previous year or years. Income from the rental, amounting to a little more than £70, exceeded expenditure in the following years and the adverse balance had dropped to £28.13s.4½d. at the close of the account for 1566–67. (fn. 53) In both 1584–85 and 1585–86 income from the rental was supplemented by substantial fines for admission to leases while disbursements were less than in the 1560s (fn. 54) and the Philipot account was showing a comfortable surplus.

The principal object of the charity of John Carpenter, town clerk 1417–38, was the maintenance and schooling of four boys, originally as choristers in the Guildhall Chapel, and its fame has endured by reason of its absorption into the endowments of the City of London School upon the latter's foundation in 1834. The estate, which was the smallest of the three charitable estates, with a rental in the 1560s of only £26.6s.8d. and in the 1580s of £34, originally comprised three tenements in Thames Street, one in Bridge Street and one in Chancery Lane but the latter was exchanged with Sir Nicholas Bacon, the lord keeper, in 1574 for other premises in Cheapside, Houndsditch and St. Giles in the Fields in a transaction to which reference is made several times in the account of 1584–85. (fn. 55) The rental of the Carpenter estate in the second half of the sixteenth century did not exceed the regular outgoings by any considerable amount, and in both 1566–67 and 1584–85 additional expenditure on maintenance of properties resulted in an actual deficit that year although the accounts as presented show only a reduced balance due to the city from the chamberlain. (fn. 56)

The most substantial of the three estates was that of John Reynwell, mayor 1426–27, (fn. 57) which in the 1560s produced a rental of £123.16s.8d. and in the 1580s of £125.3s.4d. After Reynwell's death in 1445 his property in the parishes of St Botolph Billingsgate, St Mary at Hill, All Hallows the Great and St Andrew Undershaft and elsewhere in the city, and also all his lands and tenements in the town of Calais, had passed upon trusts to the city. (fn. 58) In 1447 the property in Calais was granted by the city to William Combes, alderman, for thirty years in recognition of his services in the execution of Reynwell's will. (fn. 59) Reynwell's former mansion house in London was held of the city on lease by alderman John Walden and his heirs until 1468. Together with adjoining premises it is to be identified as 'le Styleyerd' or the 'Stilehof' in the parish of All Hallows the Great in the ward of Dowgate, which was described in 1475, when by authority of the king in parliament it was conveyed to the merchants of the Hanse of Almaine in perpetuity for an annual rent of £70.3s.4d., as lately appertaining to John Reynwell and in the occupation of the Hanse merchants. (fn. 60) The rental of 1584–85 (amended 1586–87) is complete for the Reynwell lands and shows this rent from the merchants of the Steelyard to be the biggest item in the rental, which also included, among other properties, Somer's Quay leased to Margaret Stockmade for £30 p.a., the Salutation next Billingsgate with an adjoining tenement, and the Blackhoop next St Andrew Undershaft with other premises in St Andrew's parish. (fn. 61) The principal uses charged upon the Reynwell estate were payment of the fee farm rent of £10 a year for the borough of Southwark in order to remove the need to collect tolls there, a payment of £8 a year to the sheriffs intended to free Englishmen from paying tolls at London Bridge, and payments which could amount to as much as £65 in relief of the inhabitants of the wards of Billingsgate, Dowgate and Aldgate upon occasions of the levying of a fifteenth. There were also a number of small sums payable to officers and for obits; the latter had disappeared by the 1560s and the former had been modified or regrouped. Any surplus income after payment of the specific trusts could be divided into two and used, one part for the provisioning of the granary in time of need and the other for clearing the Thames of obstructions (e.g. 324 i–m). The rental of the Reynwell lands was well in excess of expenditure in 1563–64 and the two following years (the account for 1566–67 being incomplete) and again in 1584–85 and 1585–86.

By the 1630s these three accounts were no longer being entered separately. As already indicated, the total of each rental was entered in the general account following the entry for the rents of the general lands and the customary disbursements were recorded elsewhere in the general account, but it would seem that by this date any additional income from admission fines and any expenditure upon materials and wages for the maintenance of properties was no longer distinguished from that in respect of other city lands. The value of each of the three rentals had increased and was to continue to increase whereas most of the charitable trusts remained at a fixed level. (fn. 62) The properties comprising each estate continue to be listed separately in the rentals up to 1784; thereafter they are listed with other city lands under the topographical heads of the general rental and their origin is no longer indicated.

A separate account was also kept for the manor of Finsbury which the city held on lease from the prebendary of Finsbury in St Paul's Cathedral. The city had long had interests in Finsbury but the first lease of the prebendal manor was obtained in 1514 and a subsequent lease for ninety years was secured in 1554. (fn. 63) Sums to be charged to this account in respect of materials and wages expended upon the properties or for liveries are deducted from the general expenditure under these heads and the balance upon this account is among the list of balances due to or from the chamberlain. The Finsbury account itself, however, was not entered in the chamberlain's account and appears to have been kept as a separate series of subsidiary accounts none of which has survived. (fn. 64) In the 1630s this account is treated as part of the general account in precisely the same way as the accounts of the charitable estates.

Special Accounts: the Low Countries

In many years that would have concluded the accounts but on occasion a special account would be appended. In 1632–33 there was one for monies received towards the repair of Old St. Paul's. In 1584–85 such a special account related to the transportation of 2,420 men as soldiers to the Low Countries in August and September 1585, the queen having concluded a treaty with Commissioners from the Low Countries in August which bound her to provide an army and the city having already been asked to provide 500 men. (fn. 65) The account gives the names of the ships, twelve from London, three from Yarmouth and one each from Blakeney, Colchester and Hull, in which the 2,420 men sailed, the number of men carried in each ship, the name of the captain in charge of each contingent of men (one of whom was John, later Sir John, Norris, commander of the first force to leave for the continent), (fn. 66) and usually the name of the ship's master. In addition 400 vagrant and masterless men were taken up and sent as pioneers. Expenditure upon this account totalled £468.13s.4d. and was wholly re-imbursed by the crown (134–5). There are further entries in the body of the general account this year concerning the furnishing of 500 men with coats, powder and match, the 50 men who formed the guard of John Norris being given coats of a better quality than the others, and press money paid to the wards (11q, 102–4). In 1585–86 there are two short, special accounts, one for the diet of the masterless men (264–6) and the other for the hire of horses provided for the Commissioners from the Low Countries (267–9). Upon both these accounts more money was received from the crown than was actually disbursed in this year and the balances of charge over discharge upon these two accounts are listed with the balances upon the general account and the accounts for the charitable estates as part of the final audit of the chamberlain's account for 1585–86 (270). The 'Foreign Charge' of 1585–86 also records the payment on 1 December 1585 of £500 in new gold angels to the Earl of Leicester, who had been placed in command of the English army and who was about to leave for the continent, towards his expenses in the Low Countries (225). (fn. 67)

Debts and Plate

The chamberlain's account is followed each year by two lists of debts, one of sums owed to the city and the other of monies owed by the city. The two lists are separated by an inventory of the city's plate, which includes the lord mayor's collar of SS and jewel as well as the bowls, cups, dishes and spoons used for civic entertaining but not the swords or other items of regalia (143, 279). The chamberlain was responsible for the city's plate as he was for the city's cash, and each year the new lord mayor on taking custody of the plate, which remained in his house for the term of his mayoralty, entered into an indenture with the chamberlain for its safe keeping and ultimate return. The few sixteenth-century inventories of plate surviving in Chamber Accounts 1 and 2, of which the earliest is for 1567, provide our earliest knowledge of the size and content of the civic collection although they give no valuation. (fn. 68)

Neither list of debts is totalled. The debts owed to the city at the close of the account for 1584–85 (136–42) amounted to approximately £6,320, this sum being made up of sixty-two separate items, a marked increase since the close of the account for 1566–67 when only seven items totalling approximately £880 were listed, (fn. 69) even though examination suggests that a considerable proportion of the sums outstanding in 1585 were either short-term debts or in a few cases were not yet due for payment. Of the sixty-two, twent-six may be regarded as 'old' debts originating before 1583 and these totalled approximately £3,362. The first twenty-four are listed in a more or less chronological sequence covering 1558 to 1582 and are followed by two entries concerning a sum of £12.13s.4d. due annually from the merchants of the Steelyard which had been outstanding for thirty-one years and which by now totalled £392.13s.4d. By far the largest of these 'old' debts, which were very varied in character, was £1,463 due from George Heton, the last chamberlain but one, which represented the balance upon his last account for 1576–77, (fn. 70) and which was supplemented by two other small debts of £10 and £20 arising from his chamberlainship; the smallest was 30s., the moiety of a freedom fine as yet unpaid. As we have seen, interest at five per cent. was being received on the outstanding loan of £400 to Sir Edward Osborne and three other of the 'old' debts were being paid off in instalments. Two of the debts were in respect of admission fines for leases and of these one was not due until the death of the existing lessee and assurance had been given for payment of the other. Four related to discharge from shrieval or other civic office.

Fines for leases and for discharge from office form the bulk of the thirty-six remaining debts which are here distinguished as 'new' debts since, with the exception of a few of the smaller fines for leases, they had all arisen since 1582. These thirty-six totalled approximately £2,958. The accounts do not record the date and conditions of leases but these can usually be traced through the repertories. (fn. 71) Of the seventeen fines for leases among the 'new' debts, seven were to be paid off in full during the next year and in four cases the portion of the fine payable at the time of the grant had already been paid and the remainder was not due until a specified date or until the reversion became effective. In conjunction with the evidence of the 'Leases' section of the general account, which records payments in whole or in part of four fines all made within six months of the date of the grant of the lease, and of the 'Debts received' section, which includes several fines in respect of leases none of which had been granted earlier than 1583, it seems clear that debts in this category were not normally long outstanding.

There were twelve fines for refusal to serve as sheriff or for discharge from civic office listed among the 'new' debts in 1585 but this number was probably unusually high. The shrieval fine of £200 was considerably more substantial than the majority of fines for leases but there is evidence that this also was usually paid within a short time. Under the act of common council of 27 May 1585 (fn. 72) which, among other things, changed the date of the shrieval election from 1 August to 24 June, the lord mayor retained the right, which he exercised from before 1347 until 1694, of choosing one of the two sheriffs, the other being elected by the commonalty, which by now was represented for electoral purposes by the liverymen of the city companies. Between 8 and 24 June 1585, the lord mayor, Sir Thomas Pullison, met with no fewer than ten refusals to serve before his eleventh candidate, Anthony Ratcliffe, accepted office. The first two men elected by the commonalty also refused before the third, Henry Prannell, agreed to serve. A small encouragement to acceptance was given by the payment of £100 under the act of 1585 (£200 under an earlier act of 1 August 1582) (fn. 73) to the first person to accept office following a refusal.

Of the ten who rejected nomination by the lord mayor, Richard Hale and Giles Garton paid their fine in full within the account for 1584–85 and so do not appear in the 1585 list of debtors, Thomas Bracy, Richard Gurney and Robert Withens paid half in 1584–85 and half in 1585–86 and had discharged the debt by April 1586, Richard Morris paid one third in 1584–85 and two thirds in 1585–86 and was clear by September 1586, and Edward Elmer paid the whole within the account for 1585–86. John Taylor secured consent to the substitution of a larger fine to discharge him from serving as alderman and mayor as well as sheriff and paid the first of the agreed instalments on 10 November 1585. Apart from the outstanding portion of his debt, this left only William Elkyn and John Ketcher, together with the two men who had refused election by the commonalty, William Gardiner and John Lacy, to be listed among the debtors at the close of the account for 1585–86. The other two debts of this kind listed in 1585 were those of Thomas Gore, who had refused the office of sheriff in August 1584 and who was to pay his fine in full in February 1586, and Richard Barne who, having earlier paid a shrieval fine of £200, secured consent in July 1585 to the payment of a further fine of 200 marks, payable in instalments, to discharge him from shrieval and aldermanic office. The customary fine of £200 was payable, it should be said, in respect of a particular election only and did not of itself exempt a man from nomination in future or from a subsequent fine if he again refused to serve. This is well illustrated by the case of the unfortunate Thomas Skinner. He had been chosen by the lord mayor in July 1580 and was not only paying off his fine for refusal in small instalments of £20 a year but was also in debt for a fine for discharge from Newgate where he had been committed for his unwisely expressed exasperation at the lord mayor's nomination on that occasion (139b). On 1 August 1584 he was elected by the commonalty, again refused to serve, but this time paid his fine, which is recorded under 'Receipts Extraordinary' in 1584–85, within less than three months. In May 1585 he secured exemption for two years but in June 1587 upon being elected once more by the commonalty he resigned himself to serving. (fn. 74)

One of the 'old' debts and fourteen of the 'new' had been paid off before the close of 1585–86 and others had been reduced in amount; five fresh debts had arisen totalling only about £241. The lists of debts owed to the city in 1586 (272–8), therefore, was reduced to fifty-two in number and approximately £5,340 in total.

Apart from some monies due to the chamberlain, the list of debts owed by the city at the close of the account for 1584–85 (144) contained only four items but in total, at approximately £6,354, these slightly exceeded the sum of the debts due to the city at this date. The largest debt, and the one in which lay the seed of many of the city's financial problems in the next hundred years, was £5,493.17s.10½d. owed to the city orphans. (fn. 75) Two debts had originated in the acquisition of property for the site of the Royal Exchange and on both of these outstanding sums interest at five per cent was being paid. The remaining debt was the balance, as yet unspent and remaining in the chamber, of monies raised for the specific purpose of redeeming Christian captives held in infidel hands. All four of these items recur in the list of the city's debts at the close of the next year's account (280), the debt to the orphans having risen to £6,092.13s.8½d. and the capitives' money being slightly reduced. Two further debts have been added, each of £100, but both were of a kind likely to be paid off in the next account. The total indebtedness of the city at September 1586 was approximately £7,065.

Reference has been made to the growth of the city's banking activities between the 1580s and the 1630s and this is even more strikingly illustrated in the list of debts due to the city appended to the respective accounts. In 1633 the list includes no fewer than 118 debts, some of them for considerable sums, for money lent by the city at interest, a category of debt which is almost entirely absent in 1585 and 1586. In 1633 there are also twenty-two fines outstanding for refusal to serve as sheriff or discharge from civic office, thirty-one fines for leases and thirty other miscellaneous debts. Of the debts owed by the city, the orphans' debt had by 1633 reached the staggering total of £179,300. (fn. 76) It is the greater pity that the intervening accounts, which would help to mark the course of these changes, have not survived.


1 The principal series of administrative records, the Letter Books, the Journals of the Common Council and the Repertories of the Court of Aldermen, which survived the Great Fire despite being housed at Guildhall, would not have been kept in the chamber, and the bridgewardens' records were always held at the Bridge House in Southwark. The fire of 1786 occurred in the chamber.
2 Especially that for the period between 1632 and about 1660; there is some re-arrangement later.
3 In later centuries the city acquired new sources of revenue by the allotment of particular receipts to special purposes, e.g., the allocation by parliament of coal dues towards rebuilding after the Great Fire, and especially by the growth of rates income. In modern times most of the city's expenditure has been rates supported but city's cash remains in being as a separate fund, the principal income of which derives from the city's ancient lands.
4 Cal. Letter Book C, 29–31.
5 Ibid., 78.
6 Letter Book E, ff.147b, 157, 172b.
7 Letter Book E, ff.201b–202, 229b–230, 243b–244.
8 Letter Book F, ff.2b, 9b–10, 40b–41, 73, 128, 166. The initial date is not given for the second and third of these accounts but the sums included for arrears show that there are no gaps between the accounts.
9 Cal. Letter Book H, 14, 83, 105, 169, 250, 284; ibid., 102, 136, 153 and similar entries.
10 The calendaring of the entries concerning Horn's, de Seccheford's and de Maryns' accounts in Cal. Letter Books E & F, which is brief and very selective, does not present all the information. Extracts from the expenses for 1330–32 and 1337–39 are printed in Riley, Memorials, 185–6, 206–7.
11 In the audit of the account covering 24 June 1332–Aug. 1335 four sub-totals for freedom and apprenticeship fees are recorded, one for each complete year from Midsummer to Midsummer and the fourth for the remaining part of a year. The three yearly totals were £86.17s.2d., £85.15s.0d., and £83.17s.10d. Such sums comprised fees paid for admission to the freedom by redemption and apprenticeship (no fees being payable at this date by those admitted by patrimony) and for enrolment of apprentices. For the wide variation in fees paid by redemptioners and for some comparative figures of admissions to the freedom by patrimony, apprenticeship and redemption in 1309–12 and 1551–53, see Cal. P. & M. Rolls 1364–1381, xxxii, xxxiv, li–lii; at the former date redemptioners were in a substantial majority, at the later date admission was predominantly by apprenticeship.
12 A rental of c.1311 (Cal. Letter Book C, 237–9) totalled £17.10s.0d. The chamber rental was small compared with that of the Bridge House estates to which in 1358 the properties on the bridge alone contributed £160.4s.0d. (Bridge House Small Register, ff.64v–66v).
13 See especially the extracts from the accounts of 1330–32 and 1337–39 in Riley, Memorials, 185–6, 206–7. Expenditure upon some other building work, including repair of the City wall and the tun and work upon Guildhall chapel, as also the charges of a number of presents to the king and others, was met out of the farm of the profits of murage leased to John Vyncent, clerk, in 1331 and 1332 and did not form part of the chamberlain's account. The entry of the audit of this special account in Letter Book E, f.232b, is partially calendared in Riley, Memorials, 186–7.
14 e.g. Nicholas Mattok (Rep.3, f.220b).
15 As new and more modern forms of subsidiary accounts were developed the city's cash account became progressively less detailed but, although increasingly formal in character, the series was not discontinued until 1943. The accounts continue to show a charge, discharge and balance due from or to the chamberlain up to 1858.
16 The latter were discussed by M. C. Wren (Wren 1633–42; Wren 1633).
17 Blanchappleton is variously described as a manor, messuage, district, etc. and was situated at the north east end of Mark Lane (Harben, 84). Together with the offices of packer, gauger and garbler it had been acquired in 1478 in satisfaction of debts due by the king (Jor.8, ff. 145b, 168b, 169b, 173b, and Birch, 87–9, 90–3). The tenements comprising the Blanchappleton lands formed one section of the chamber rental (e.g. Chamber Accounts 2, ff. 189v–190v; City's Cash 1/1, ff.22r–23r).
18 Two mutilated portions of a parchment freedom register (B.L. Egerton Ms.2408 and G. L. Ms.512), probably parts of book N or book O, were edited by C. Welch, Register of Freemen of the City of London in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, LMAS, 1908. Some other mutilated fragments of registers, chiefly of the late 17th century, are in CLRO, the most complete being one for c.1668 which has been repaired and indexed. Bundles of documents, including apprenticeship indentures, which relate to admission to the freedom survive from 1681.
19 This was still less than the produce of the Bridge House rental which in 1584–85 totalled £1,313.9s.4¼d. (Bridge House A/C 10, f.317v).
20 The rental yielded £837.0s.8d. in 1586–87 after allowance of £21.0s.8d. for vacations and desperates (Rental, Chamber Accounts 2, f.190v. And see 148–52).
21 R. M. Benbow has pointed out that the fines listed in the book are fewer than the record in the repertory of fines imposed would indicate and suggests that some fines may have been forgiven or returned ('The Court of Aldermen and the Assizes: the policy of price control in Elizabethan London', Guildhall Studies in London History, iv, no. 3, Oct. 1980, 110). By 1632–33 the sum received under this head, for which there is no particular account extant, was only £6.13s.4d.
22 Jor.22, ff.53b, 89b.
23 In Chamber Accounts 1 only one example of the 'Debts received' section survives and this appears to be for 1576–77.
24 Chamber Accounts 1, ff.57b, 138, 159, 179b.
25 For a list of freehold and leasehold interests acquired for the site of the Royal Exchange, with the purchase prices, and of various payments for which the city became due, see Letter Book V, ff.70b–72.
26 B. R. Masters, 'The Mayor's Household before 1600', Studies in London History presented to Philip Edmund Jones, ed. A. J. Hollaender and W. Kellaway, 1969, 95–114.
27 This was generally only a small part of an officer's remuneration which was derived mainly from a variety of fees and perquisites and payments for particular tasks.
28 These last had nearly all been granted since 1565. Many of the annual fees are to be found, sometimes in the same amount, in 1535–36 and 1563–64.
29 'Pension' and 'annuity' are sometimes used interchangeably in this section although the former is most generally applied to payments with a charitable element.
30 For the names of artificers and suppliers of goods in Chamber Accounts 1, see 303.
31 Remembrancia, 500.
32 Rep.31(1), ff.97, 114b, 125b.
33 The detail is particularly interesting in those years when the holding of the courts was combined with a ceremonial view of the bounds of the jurisdiction as in 1632–33 (City's Cash 1/1, ff.60v–64). The City's Cash accounts appear to provide the only detailed record of such views earlier than the narrative descriptions which survive for the late 18th and 19th centuries.
34 Remembrancia, 426–7.
35 Rep.21, f.66b.
36 For some of Fleetwood's activities, see T. Wright, Queen Elizabeth and her times: a series of original letters, ii, 1838 (for Fleetwood's letters to Burghley); P. R. Harris, 'William Fleetwood, Recorder of the City, and Catholicism in Elizabethan London', Recusant History, vii, 1963–64, 106–22.
37 Rep.22, ff.95, 101.
38 The usual number (Letter Book R, f.310b; Rep.16, f.448).
39 Rep.19, f.237; Rep.22, f.124.
40 Rep.22, f.101.
41 Rep.19, f.385b; Rep.23, f.196b.
42 Rep.21, f.34b.
43 In addition to the specific references quoted above, see E. Foss, Biographia Juridica, 1870, for Daniel, Owen, Clarke, Coke and Walmesley; DNB for Fleetwood, Clarke, Coke and Plowden. The city's success in engaging rising legal talent in its service was not new. Plowden himself had been one of the counsel under retainer in 1563 (299g), along with Thomas Carus, later a judge of the queen's bench, Roger Manwood, who was successively a judge of the common pleas and chief baron of the exchequer, Christopher Wray, who was to serve as judge and then chief justice of the queen's bench, Thomas Bromley, who became successively recorder of the city, solicitor general and lord chancellor, and Gilbert Gerrard, already attorney general and later master of the rolls (Foss). Richard Maunsell in 1536 records fees paid to two future judges of the common pleas (295e). In July 1554 it was agreed that future recorders, undersheriffs and common serjeants of the city should always be chosen from among the counsel of the city and Fleetwood himself, who became recorder in 1571, had been admitted one of the counsel in 1569 (Letter Book R, f.310b; Rep.16, f.448).
44 This was a fairly new office; the first holder was probably Robert Christopher in 1544 (Rep.11, f.152).
45 Rep.21, f.364; Rep.23, ff.130, 186b. For further references to Smith's career, CLRO, Ms. list of schedules in the mayor's court original bills, introduction by Anne Sutton, pp. xxvii, xxx, xxxii, and for reference to his foundation of Market Harborough School, Ms.53.1.
46 Often the date of payment is given as well and this is nearly always within a very short time from the passing of the order. In the earlier accounts in Chamber Accounts 1, the authorising order and the date of payment are recorded more rarely.
47 Wren, 1633–42, 195.
48 In 1632–33 there were 36 loans totalling £28,330 but Wren has pointed out this was a very variable section. Some of the loans are marked as repaid and such repayments with accrued interest will be found as indicated under the 'Debts received' section of the Charge; repayments of interest alone are entered under 'Receipts Extraordinary'.
49 In the draft account of 1584–85 this figure is not entered.
50 Beaven i, 390; Thrupp 360; Cal. Wills ii, 275–7. Margaret Darby, 'John Philipot, a fourteenth century London merchant', unpublished London M.Sc. (Econ) thesis, 1972.
51 The rental of 1584–85, amended 1586–87, is complete for the Philipot lands although the location of all the tenements is not specified (Chamber Accounts 2, ff.191r–192r). For the rental in the 18th century, see Misc. MSS.354.17.
52 Chamber Accounts 1, f.108v.
53 Ibid., f.171.
54 All four accounts from 1563–64 to 1566–67 show expenditure on building materials and workmen's wages as well as a payment of £6.13s.4d. to the crown, formerly payable under Philipot's will to the convent of St Pancras at Lewes for the maintenance of a chantry. There are no such payments in 1584–85 and 1585–86.
55 The history of the Carpenter estate, including the exchange of lands with Bacon, and of the charity is fully discussed by P. E. Jones, who made use of Chamber Accounts 1 and 2 for his study (Cal. P & M Rolls, 1458–1482, xiii–xxi).
56 Chamber Accounts 1, ff. 171v–172; 128–30.
57 Beaven ii, 5; Thrupp, 363.
58 H. R. 169(46), Reynwell to feoffees 1441; H.R. 207(31), Cal. Wills ii, 576, will of William Stafford, surviving feoffee, 1458 enrolled 1478, reciting the uses of Reynwell's will.
59 Cal. Letter Book K, 322.
60 Cal. Letter Book L, 44, 127; Cal. PR. 1467–77, 509; Stow i, 234, ii, 319–21; Harben, 550.
61 Chamber Accounts 2, ff.193v–195r. No properties in Calais are included in the rental; even before the loss of Calais in 1558 the city was having problems in maintaining its interests there although the comptroller of the chamber, accompanied by the clerk of the works, spent three days there in June 1528 viewing the state of the property (Rep.7, ff.262b, 266b–267; Rep.12(2), f.427b; Rep.13, ff.38b, 52b, 54, 60b, 77, 156b).
62 Save for the cost of educating 'Carpenter's children' which in the early 19th century was considerable (Cal. P & M Rolls, 1458–82, xxi).
63 J. R. Sewell, The Artillery Ground and Fields in Finsbury, London Topographical Soc. publication no. 120, 1977, 3. The city continued to hold the manor of Finsbury by lease until 1867.
64 See 281. No account for Finsbury is to be found among Chamber Accounts 1 and 2 nor is the rental of the prebendal estate at Finsbury to be found in the city's cash volumes along with the general rental and rentals of the charitable estates before 1649–50.
65 Jor.21, ff.454–6.
66 Norris was appointed 12 Aug. and left England 12 days later (DNB). Most of the captains named are included, with others, in a list of 'Names of the [English] Captains in the Low Countries', 31 July 1585 (Cal. SPF 1584–85, 635).
67 With the exception of the monies for horse-hire and of the gift to Leicester, the above receipts and payments are also entered, in a different form and without supporting detail, in the repertory of 30 Nov. 1585 which records an examination to that date of the accounts of the chamberlain relating not only to sending soldiers to the Low Countries but also to musters (Rep.21, ff.242b–243b).
68 Masters, 302.
69 Chamber Accounts 2, ff.196–197. Of this £880, £700 was owed by Sir Thomas Lodge and his sureties. The total did not include the arrears of the annual sum due from the merchants of the Steelyard, referred to below. Two debts listed in 1567 were still oustanding in 1585 (136a,c).
70 See p. xxxv.
71 See CCPR.
72 Jor.21, ff.437a–438a.
73 Ibid., ff.226a–227a.
74 Jor.21, f.438 and Jor.22, f.109 for Skinner 1585, 1587. Other references to the journals and repertories relevant to this paragraph are cited at the appropriate points in the text of the calendar.
75 This debt is given as a total only. In 1567 the debts due to individual orphans are specified but the surviving list may not be complete (Chamber Accounts 2, f.200).
76 City's Cash 1/1, f.96; Wren 1633, 52.