The Ancient Exchequer
THERE is every evidence that the early kings had in use well developed methods of administering their finances.
The Exchequer was the place where the King's revenue was received, where it was kept, supervised and controlled and from whence it was issued. There were three officers of the Exchequer, each of whom had control over the issue of the money. The money was kept in chests, each chest having three locks and each of these officers having his key to one of the locks. One of these officers called the Teller, was the cashier who received the money; then there was the Clerk of the Pells, who recorded on a pell or parchment all receipts and issues; finally there was the Auditor, who examined the records and whose duty it was to see that no money was issued except in accordance with the law, and with the sanction of Parliament.
This system existed until well into the nineteenth century, although certain changes were of course made in respect to the actual custody of the cash. In 1834 the whole system for the administration of the public finances was revised and modernized.
The King's revenues were collected by the sheriffs and by them were twice a year, at Easter and at Michaelmas (the day after the feast of St. Michaels, about the end of September) paid to the King's treasury.