Catalogue description IRISH EXCHEQUER ACCOUNTS.

Details of Subseries within E 101
Reference: Subseries within E 101

Particulars of accounts from the Irish Exchequer from the reign of Henry III to that of Elizabeth I, the great bulk of them relating to the period from about 1275-1385. Because of the destruction of the Irish public record in 1922, they (with the related enrolled accounts) are easily the largest surviving source of information about Irish government for that period.

The ordinance of 1293 explains the survival in this series of a great many particulars of account arising from the accounts of the Irish Treasurer for the period down to 1446. The first group belong to Fulbourne's account (E 101/230/4, 8-31; E 101/231/3) and the subsequent proceedings against Nicholas de Clere resulted in the survival of a good many more subsidiary records (E 101/231/1-2, 4-26). Later Alexander de Bicknor, Treasurer fom 1308-1314, was accused of falsifying documents relating to his audit, which was held in 1323 after years of delay, so a full investigation was conducted, which resulted in the survival of more subsidiary documentation (E 101/235/5-24; E 101/236/1-10). The account was not finally enrolled until Bicknor was pardoned in 1344.

Types of particulars which have survived include copies of the Irish receipt and issue rolls, files of receipts and warrants (for example E 101/233/22-23), records resulting from complaints against sheriffs (for example E 101/235/4) or justiciars (such as E 101/232/11), extents of the lands of prominent individuals (such as E 101/233/6, 10), summaries of accounts, indentures, and even letters and petitions (E 101/246/9; E 101/247/17). There are some particulars of accounts of military and naval expenditure (for example E 101/246/11-12) but most items of that kind have been included in the section of E 101 devoted to Army, Navy and Ordnance.

At the beginning of the collection are also an account for the treasureship of Hugh de Taghmon for 1270 to 1272 (E 101/230/2), and two documents relating to the exchange of Ireland from the reign of Henry III (E 101/230/1,3). Other Irish Exchequer material from Henry's reign survives elsewhere. At the end are a slightly greater number of more miscellaneous Irish documents for the later fifteenth and the sixteenth century. For the period after the Irish Treasurer ceased to account at the English Exchequer there are a few miscellaneous Irish documents (E 101/248/15-23; E 101/540/19), by no means all of which related to financial matters. The latest date from the reign of Elizabeth I.

Related material:

Material relating to the Irish Exchequer appears in E 159 and E 368. Enrolled accounts are in E 372 (copies in E 352) and latterly in E 364. See C 47 for vouchers of Richard de Beresford's first account as Irish Treasurer, 33 Edward I.

Publication note:

Sample documents illustative of the audit process are printed in H G Richardson and G O Sayles, 'The Administration of Ireland, 1172-1377' (1963).

Unpublished finding aids:

The list of documents concerning the Irish Exchequer are in the printed Public Record Office Lists and Indexes, vol xxxv and in the printed supplement, Public Record Lists and Indexes, Supplementary Review, vol ix, and in the typescript addenda.

Administrative / biographical background:

The Irish Exchequer is first referred to in 1200, but had probably existed for some time before, headed by a clerk who was from 1217 known as the Treasurer. Barons of the Exchequer were giving legal judgements by 1207, by 1215 there was a chamberlain, and by 1232 a Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was largely modelled on the English Exchequer at Westminster, to which it seems to have been regarded as subordinate. From 1285 to 1384, except for a brief gap from 1365 to 1368, and for much of the period from about 1390 to 1446, the Irish Treasurer periodically accounted at the English Exchequer. The original cause was that as a result of disquiet at corruption and inefficiency revealed by enquiries into the treasureships of Stephen de Fulbourn, bishop of Waterford (1274-85) (E 101/234/19) and Nicholas de Clere (1285-91), an ordinance of 1293 prescribed that the Treasurer of Ireland was in future to have his accounts audited by the English Exchequer. The pipe rolls (E 372) and later the foreign account rolls (E 364) therefore contain enrolled accounts for the Irish Treasurers from 6 Edward I to 24 Henry VI.

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