Transcript of Gressingham Township Accounts, 1709-1781

Scope and Content

The volume comprises a partial transcript made by H.G. Richardson of a volume of Gressingham township accounts, including accounts of Churchwardens, Constables and Overseers of the Poor. Folios 1r-1v contain an index and folios 2-3 a Table of Officers to 1756. The volume also contains a letter from Richardson to Henry Guppy, Librarian of the John Rylands Library, about the transcript.

Administrative / Biographical History

The chief officers of parish administration were the churchwardens and the overseers of the poor. Churchwardens' accounts show how much was spent on the repair and maintenance of the local church. The Churchwardens were also responsible for the levying of parish taxes, known as 'layes'. Gressingham was a township in the parish of Lancaster.

Henry Gerald Richardson entered the Civil Service in 1899, aged 15. In 1905, Richardson began attending evening classes in Latin and Old French at Birkbeck College, and in 1906 became a full-time student at the London School of Economics, continuing at the same time with his civil service duties. Throughout his career Richardson maintained this double life as civil servant and medieval historian. He graduated in 1909 with a BSc in Economics and First Class Honours in Medieval History. Richardson remained at LSE and helped Hubert Hall produce a Manual of British Archives, and gained his MA degree in 1912. From 1936 until his retirement he was Secretary of the Tithe Redemption Commission in the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. Richardson wrote a number of works on the history of financial accounting and early economic and administrative history. With G.O. Sayles, he published The governance of medieval England (1962) and Law and legislation in medieval England (1966).

Conditions Governing Access

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the John Rylands Library by H.G. Richardson in September 1935.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, and Elizabeth Gow, with reference to the obituary of Henry Gerald Richardson by G.O. Sayles in Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 61 (1975), pp. 497-521.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Supplementary Hand-List of Western Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1937 (English MS 866).

Additional Information

This is a partial transcript of a volume held at Lancashire Record Office: Gressingham, St John the Evangelist, overseers account book 1709-1819 (ref.: GB 055 PR3337/7/1). The original item is in poor condition.