Who compiled the Brokage Books, and when?

Southampton Bargate

Bargate, Southampton
photograph: Simon Harwood

Between 1430 and 1540 the broker’s clerk systematically and meticulously recorded the names of carter and owner, brokage levied, the destination and contents of each cart every day. The data was written up in Latin as daily entries in the Brokage Books.

Whilst fraud cannot be ruled out and no doubt some traffic was illicitly carried via other town gates, the Brokage Books remained ‘real’ and never fossilised during the 110 years covered. Altogether 38 books survive, several being duplicates, 13 covering 12 years have been entered in this database. These run from 1430-1, almost certainly the prototype book, to 1539-40, after which the series loses some of its value.