Record title: Book of Fines
Repository: Southampton City Archives
Repository location: Southampton
This account book was started to record only the receipts from 'casualties': here, fines for offences such as fighting, burgesses verbally attacking each other, married men being caught in the stews, and citizens and foreigners buying and selling in violation of the town's ordinances, as well as admission fees paid by those desiring to practise a craft in the city. These receipts provided the mayor with a small fund from which to pay for rewards to players, messengers, noblemen and their servants, and the like, and occasionally for minor repairs to town buildings. After a few years of accounts the payments also begin to be recorded here, so that in fact the accounts are not just a record of fines, but are the complete mayors' accounts. In the second half of the sixteenth century the accounts, especially the payments, become more detailed and broader in content, including much more extensive expenses for construction and repair, and detailed accounts for poor relief. The accounting year runs from Michaelmas to Michaelmas. The Book of Fines has been transcribed by Butler, Book of Fines, 3 vols.
The dating of these accounts by regnal years gets a year
out of step with the heading of the 1573–4 accounts as 16–17 Elizabeth
(f 147r), following the accounts for 14–15 Elizabeth: there is no set of
accounts headed 15–16 Elizabeth. The error was only rectified in 1586–7,
which is correctly headed 28–9 Elizabeth. (1585–6 is also, incorrectly,
labeled 28–9 Elizabeth.) Dates given within the accounts are correct,
further revealing the error, as in the accounts for 1576–7, which are
headed 19–20 Elizabeth (which would be 1577–8) but twice dated
internally to June and July 1577.
29 September 1488–29 September 1594; English with some Latin; paper; 252 leaves; 417mm x 285mm; modern pencil foliation (numbering in upper right corner of the rectos has been used throughout rather than numbering of some folios at bottom left, which is often 1 higher than the correct numbering but has been used by Cheryl Butler in her edition); good condition (only last 2 leaves have lost any written space, several leaves lost between ff 41 and 42, so there are no accounts for 1514–15, 1515–16, or 1516–17, many different hands; contemporary parchment cover in poor condition, title on front of cover much faded.