Chamberlains' Accounts

Index Details

Full Name: Dumfries Chamberlains Accounts
Period: 1793-1801
Records: 2416 View

Index Description

The Chamberlain of Dumfries kept the accounts of the cash received by the town and the sums paid out, on a daily basis. Money came into the burgh's coffers from various sources - from fines charged in the burgh courts, from burgess fees (the membership due paid by merchants and craftsmen to enable them to operate within the burgh), from renting out seats in the town churches and from the burgh's "Common Good". The Common Good comprised land belonging to the town which it rented out yearly and also the right to charge certain dues - at the market, at the town gates or "ports", at the dock or on persons and goods coming over the bridge on the Nith from Kirkcudbrightshire, and at the town mills.

The Chamberlain's accounts also note every daily debursement - such as sums to improve the harbour and streets, payment of the salaries of all those employed by the burgh, incidental payments for every kind of service or commodity and donations made in charity to the sick or unfortunate.

This first part of this volume of accounts (from October 1793 until September 1795) was written in a beautiful, clear hand by John Aitken who had been the town's chamberlain for about 20 years. From 16 September 1795 until the end of the book in December 1801, however, the handwriting deteriorates and there are many smudges and crossings out as the accounts were being written up by a new chamberlain, John McMorine.

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Page last updated: 01/03/16