This paper is based upon an examination of a selection of the bursars' accounts from Durham Cathedral Priory covering the period from the first extant account (1278–9) to the end of the 14th century. The accounts selected have been transcribed from the original documents and translated from Latin into English. A traditional focus of accounting historians in the medieval period has been on manorial accounting and the system of charge and discharge. This paper examines a series of non-manorial accounts and a variety of supporting accounting materials, analyzing them for evidence of the development and refinement of controls. After an introduction which reviews the background of the accounts and the extent to which they have been utilized for historical research, this paper describes the various sources of receipts and types of expenditure which are revealed. The format of the accounts is traced, and a review of total receipts and expenditure is conducted to gain an understanding of the overall financial position of the bursar's office. Next, the accounts are considered within the context of other accounting records to explore the financial controls in place. Finally, areas for further investigation and analysis are identified. The accounts selected reveal that actual receipts and actual expenditure were kept closely in tandem, and that an extensive network of other accounting material and documents allowing a system of cross-checks enabled auditors to ascertain the veracity and accuracy of the accounts.

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