Accounts of a medieval Dorset estate

Contributed by Dorset History Centre

Accounts of a medieval Dorset estate

This object shows the sophisticated network of trade, accounting and estate management at the end of the medieval period. The formal Latin account for the profits of the manors of Burcombe, Fifehead Neville and Melbury Osmond is written on parchment by the steward of the estates of the Earls of Arundel in Dorset. It is attached to small paper receipts written in English for rents and services. All of these documents are tied to two small wooden tallies submitted by the shepherds, reeves and bailiffs with their contributions to the final account. While it is often stated that the life of a medieval peasant was "nasty, brutish and short" it is less often observed that medieval peasants contributed to a highly developed market economy. As these tallies show a shepherd might not have been literate, but he could account for five or six hundred sheep as well as the wool, skins and cheese they produced.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline

Location
Culture
Period

Michaelmas 1485

Theme
Size
H:
10cm
W:
30cm
D:
10cm
Colour
Material

View more objects from people in Dorset.

Find out more

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.