DCD Bursar's account 1356-7 (A).

Extracts: Durham Account Rolls ii, Surtees Soc. 100 (1899), pp. 557-58 and 560.

Section for expenditure on repairs to buildings, 11 November 1356 - 20 August 1357

At Durham Cathedral Priory the bursar was the accounting officer for the main monastic estate, which was managed by the terrar or land-agent, and supported every aspect of the monastery's life that was not covered by such obedientiaries as the almoner, chamberlain, infirmarer or sacrist; although the provision of food was the responsibility of the cellarer and granator, they were financed by the bursar, as recorded in indentures between the respective office-holders Bursar-Granator indentures 1467-8. The income to be collected amounted to about £1500, balanced by an equivalent expenditure. The account, normally covering a year, was of exceptional length; 12 feet or more is typical for the period, with all the face and almost half the dorse used, and taking six membranes, sewn head-to-foot, exchequer fashion. Some sections record very small amounts of income or expenditure, building repairs being an example, while others present consolidated figures based on other documents, examples being assized rents, which were recorded individually in the rental Rental 1343-4; prior's expenses were the subject of a separate indenture, of which one survives for 1356-7 (Durham Account Rolls iii, Surtees Soc. 103 (1901) pp. 718-19) and another for summer 1357, along with nine vouchers for cash received or paid out, while that for 1349-50 is attached as a schedule to the bursar's account for 1350-1.
Virtually all the surviving accounts produced by the Durham community conform to the medieval norm of differentiating entries in the income and expenditure parts of the account by the placing of the figure for the money involved: a receipt typically begins "Et de" followed by the amount and then the identification of the source, whereas an expense begins "Et in" followed by the description of the outlay and then the amount involved afterwards (cf. Holy Island 1408-9). With the former a space was left after "Et de" and the amount was aligned left against a vertical line, and the amounts of expenditure were similarly aligned; this facilitated scanning, and the rapid identification of major items. On the other hand the common practice was followed of not breaking sums down into larger units whenever possible; thus 19d. was expressed as "xix d.", rather than "j s. vij d.", and up to £6 it was only amounts between 80 and 99 shillings that were expressed in pounds as well as shillings and pence, e.g. "iiij li. iij s. vj d.", but "lxxix s." and "Cxviij s.". The elements in each amount were articulated by means of separating dots and, as was standard, a final minim was rendered as "j" rather than "i", practices that made any alterations very much more conspicuous.
The sections for repairs to buildings typically provide important architectural and archaeological evidence, and were one of the most important sources for a fine unpublished thesis (E. Cambridge, `The Masons and Buildings Works of Durham Priory, 1339-1539', Durham Ph.D thesis 1992). The entry `Et in Meremio cuiusdam domus in Aluerton empto de Rectore de Siggeston- pro quadam grangia edificanda apud Dyghton liij.s. iiij.d.' [view] reveals a barn at Deighton built of second-hand timber from a house at Northallerton belonging to the rector of Kirby Sigston, and hence that dendrochronological techniques should be applied with caution, while `Et in coopertura Cancelle ecclesie de Akley cum spone per diuersa loca iiij.s.' [view] shows the monks fulfilling their responsibilities in respect of the chancel as quasi-rectors of their appropriated church of Aycliffe and that wooden shingles were the roofing material used. The entry `Et in solucione facta Iohanni Lewyn pro terris dominicalibus de Billyngham Rodandis xiij.s. iiij.d.' [view] is one of the earliest references to the activity in Durham of a distinguished architect who went on to supervise the building of the monastic kitchen LINK TO Misc. Ch. 7264, and worked for the king and the duke of Lancaster in northern England and the Borders, see Cambridge pp. 254-65, and J. Harvey, English Medieval Architects (1954), pp. 166-69. Here his skills were directed to surveying, but another entry shows him in his primary role: `Iohanni Lewyn pro auxilio suo circa ordinacionem Thoral- infra Abbathiam precepto prioris iij.s. iiij.d.' [view], also illustrating the use of the term "abbatia" for the monastic precinct of the cathedral priory.