Archive centreCarlisle
TitleFinancial records
DescriptionVouchers are the evidences of receipt and disbursement upon which the chamberlains' accounts are based. The bundles in the main series are fairly orderly and usually labelled with date, though items have sometimes been withdrawn from them to make up the other bundles, most of which have a definite subject. CA/4/126-218 are not natural bundles but comprise items scattered amongst the loose papers in the collection. Eleven of the fifteenth century fee farm receipts have attached seals or fragments of seals. Right to receive the city's fee farm of £80 p.a. reduced to £40 p.a. in 1461 CA/1/12 was frequently granted to individuals by the Crown.
Vouchers for receipts and disbursements, usually in year bundles. Subjects covered can include: rents paid and received; wages paid to officials; bills sometimes detailed from workmen for work carried out/services provided to the Corporation. Services can include:- provision of material and uniforms for employees; provision candles, lamps, oil, maintenance of town clock, legal bills, maintenance of 'engine'; maintenance of civic buildings, e.g. Town Hall, Redness Hall, Moot Hall; and gaol receipts for taxes and rates paid by area, per quarter; paving of streets and maintenance of city mills and wears, shambles and removal of rubbish and manure. CA/4/142 and CA/4/141 up to 1620 consist of lists of names of people and the amount of money offered by each for the demission of a particular profit, with a note of to whom the profit was actually demised. The content and arrangement suggest the documents are records of auctions. After 1633, a change occurs; only the names of the lessees of the profits with their signatures and the names of their sureties are given, as in later lettings books.
Extent224 items
ContextChamberlains' Accounts : The finances of the City of Carlisle were administered by chamberlains. In 1602 when the series of accounts begins, there were two, but this was reduced to one about 1650.
Occasionally, experiments were made with other officers; the indenture of 1464 CA/4/138 mentions accounts of chamberlains, deans "decani" and collectors of the city. In 1738 a steward was appointed to receive corporation revenues, but this proved so unsatisfactory that the chamberlains were restored in 1748. Administration of revenue was the subject of three reports made by committees of the council, in 1762, 1765 and 1767 respectively. See CA/2/14.
The chamberlains continued in existence until 1835 when their functions were transferred to the City Treasurer appointed under the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835.
The financial year in the accounts normally begins at Michaelmas when the annually elected chamberlains took up office. The binding into volumes is comparatively recent and the accounts consist in reality of a separate booklet for each financial year.
From 1597, when the audit books begin, up to 1641, audit of the Chamberlains' accounts took place on 24 March of the year following, before the Mayor, his brethren and the "fours of the election of every occupation" or representatives of the trade gilds. After 1650, it took place on St. Matthew's day 21 Sept. for a number of years, but from the end of the seventeenth century onwards, there appears to have been no fixed date, the audit usually occurring between October and March. The citizens of Carlisle enjoyed by virtue of royal grant CA/1/2, 5 and 12 the 2 fisheries in the River Eden, King Garth and "fritment" or sheriff's net, 3 mills, called respectively, Borough Mill, Castle Mill and Bridge End, and various tolls, farms and profits. These sources of revenue were normally demised or let to individuals for a fixed rent.
Toll was charged on the sale of horses on Carlisle "Sands", an island between the two channels of the River Eden, the main one and the Priestbeck. The forse toll books usually give the name and parish of buyers, sellers and one surety, a brief description of the horse and its price. Sample entries are transcribed in the H.M.C. Report.
The Corporation's right to shire toll on goods and cattle passing through the County of Cumberland, was the subject of lawsuits in both the seventeenth and eighteenth century. CA/2/76.
Related materialList of freemen and of expenses paid for the dinner on the Feast of St. Matthew 21 Sept. are included amongst CA/4/141. For rentals see also CA/4/140 and CA/4/6.
Catalogue levelSeries
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