Book of Fines

Southampton City Archives: SC5/3/1

f 143v (29 September–29 September) (Payments)


Item the xvijth daye of November for j Barrell of double beare and Cakes for the men that made pastime in the streate for the Quene iij s. iiij d.
Item the xviijth daye of Nobember to Sir Harrye Radecliffe and Sir Harry Seamer j galand of Claret wine j pottell of secke price ij s. x d.
Item the xxvijth daye of November to the Erle of Sussex Players by Mr Nicholas Caplin and Mr Stavelies order paied x s.


  • Footnotes
  • Glossed Terms
    • bear n beer; beare; ber; berman n beerman, a man who serves beer
    • galand n gallon
  • Endnote

    There is no other mention of the queen's visit in this year's accounts, though of course the missing steward's accounts might have included expenses on that occasion. Sir Henry Radcliffe was the younger brother of Thomas Radcliffe (1526–83), 8th earl of Sussex; Henry Radcliffe became earl of Sussex on his brother's death in 1583. Radcliffe was at this time MP for Portsmouth, as well as warden and captain of that town, so Southampton had good reason to seek his favour, and that of his brother, Thomas, the earl of Sussex, who had recently been named lord chamberlain by Queen Elizabeth.

    Sir Henry Seymour (1503–78) was the brother of Jane Seymour and uncle to Edward VI; he had a residence at Winchester and had been sheriff of the county in 1568–9. The Capelin and Staveley families were both prominent in Southampton in this period, with multiple mayors coming from each family. Nicholas Capelin was never mayor, however, so it is not clear why he and one of the Staveleys are commanding this payment.

  • Document Description

    Record title: Book of Fines
    Repository: Southampton City Archives
    Shelfmark: SC5/3/1
    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.

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