The English exchequer was the central board responsible for all in
comings and out goings into the royal treasury. It arrived with the Normans and
was the first system of centralized revenue extraction to appear that although
crude was a direct predecessor to the modern one.
The information on how the Exchequer functioned as a method of
institutionalised revenue extraction is from the `The course of the Exchequer'
written by Richard son of Nigel. The text provides a one sided argument into
the merits of the Exchequer as Richard himself is the treasurer. The text is
written in a typically classical dialogue style with a `master' dictating to his
`scholar'. Richard also presents himself as a well educated and intelligent man
through his grasp of Latin and his quotations from Biblical and classical texts
as well as alluding to philosophy through his talk of logic.
The interesting proposition therefore is who was interested in such a
complicated text and why was it produced. The system of the Exchequer was a
complex one that would have been understood by few at the time. By attempting
to describe this system in a way that presents it as equitable, it could have
convinced the Barons and others paying taxes of the validity and fairness of a
system of which they would have had little comprehension. This would also be
helped by Richards apparently good grasp of the area.
The Exchequer board was the highest office that could be obtained in the
royal circle and was the most powerful and prestigious as it presided over all
financial matters. It allowed records to be formed and general standards to be
maintained. The ultimate power of the exchequer is aptly put in the text..."
where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.²
The Exchequer had a greater role than just recording revenue as it
provided a forum where judgments could be made and disputes about financial... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). How Well Did the English Exchequer Function in the Twelfth Century?. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Well-Did-English-Exchequer-Function-Twelfth-2331.html
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