Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary's Church, Bletchingly, Surrey, 1546-1552.
Folger Shelf Mark: L.b. 85, fol. 3v.
Bletchingley is a small town in southeast Surrey, about twenty miles south of London, then in the diocese of Winchester, which was held at thisChurchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary's Church time by the beleaguered Bishop Stephen Gardiner. The accounts include various expenses for the repair and upkeep of the church, and are generally fair copies of those in another manuscript in the Folger collection (L.b. 84). This particular page, however, includes fourteen additional items (starting at the top) not in the draft copy and probably derived from a now-lost schedule. These items reflect substantial and expensive changes made to conform to recent reformist injunctions. They are the sorts of changes likely to be dictated by visitation articles—a diocesan checklist (often printed and—in the course of the English Reformation—often revised) of topics of administrative or dogmatic concern to which pastors and churchwardens were to conform.

The series of slashes and dots in the lower right-hand corner indicates the total sum of money disbursed on this page. The particular abacus-like system used here is known as the "auditors' use." Starting from the left, the dot in the column represents a score of pounds; the upper dot in the next column 10 and each of the other four dots, 1; in the next column, the shillings column, there are no dots; in the next and last column on the right, the pence column, the upper dot represents 6d and each of the other four dots 1d. The total, 34 - 0s - 10d, is thus the same as that given in Roman numerals on the line above.

For more information, consult Eamon Duffy, "The Impact of Reform: Parishes," in The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, c. 1400. c. 1500 (London: Yale University Press, 1992); and Walter Frere with W. P. M. Kennedy, Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Period of the Reformation, vol. 2 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1910). For information on the accounting system, see Charles Johnson and Hilary Jenkinson, English Court Hand A.D. 1066 to 1500 (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1967).

Click here to view and print a PDF transcription and more detailed image of this item.  You must have Adobe's free Acrobat Reader in order to access the PDF file.