August 1491

All receivers [of revenues] for the town, viz. chamberlains, churchwardens, muragers, haven reeves [? water-bailiffs?], collectors of the half-doles, keeper of the hospital, keeper of Our Lady's light, and keeper of the sick men's house, with all other accountants, shall once a year render a due and clear account before the bailiffs then in office, the bailiffs of the previous year [i.e. the year in which revenues were collected], and at least two of the auditors. This audit shall be held in the tolhouse each year on the first working day after New Year's Day, continuing day by day until each of the accountants has rendered account of all revenues and receipts received and payments paid, for and to the use of the town and church. All the accounts are to be recorded in fair books within 14 days after New Year's, regardless of any other business occupying [the clerk]. The bailiffs shall also, a week before the day appointed for the audit, send an officer to the auditors and to the accountants giving them notice to keep the appointment at the tolhouse. If any of the auditors is at home [i.e. in town] and able to come to the audit but refuses to, he shall pay 20s. fine (half to profit of the town and the other half to the use of the bailiffs). If any of the accountants absents himself and refuses to come to [give] his account on the day assigned, he shall pay a fine of 20s. (half to the town and half to the bailiffs). These fines are to be levied by the bailiffs within four days after anyone makes default [in appearance]; if they are obstinate and refuse to pay the fine when first asked, or argue with the bailiffs about the default, then the bailiffs may send them to prison no matter who they are, there to remain until the fine is fully paid, without any remission. However, so often as two of the auditors and two of the chamberlains attend [the audit], the other two who fail [to attend] shall not be fined for that.

["Fair book" refers to the making of a more legibly written copy of accounting records in an official volume; this copy may also have amalgamated the separately kept accounts of each chamberlain and organized items of receipt and expenditure differently from the sources from which the information was copied.]