Sunday, March 14, 2010

An 18th century account book.

Genealogy web sites can be great sources of historical data. I came across The Account Book of Thomas Morgan of Carmarthen from the 18th century.

(Also came across this interesting chronology of events, which mostly seem to be industrial.

This is an article on the book, and I wish the book itself were available on line as it would be a wonderful resource for daily cost of living. I'm currently gathering data on cost of living for the poorer folk in the mid 18th century for my MIP, An Unlikely Countess.The article is from the '50s. Where is the book now?

(The cover is of the UK edition of Tempting Fortune, out on March 22nd, and shows Portia about to be auctioned off in a brothel for a great deal of money. It's unavailable in the US at the moment, but if you want a copy you can get it from The Book Depository in the UK, which ships free around the world. Great de

Items of interest.
"In the same year Morgan rents a tenement called Gwaintre beddau [Laugharne ?] for £9 from Anne Parry whose receipt is a very shaky 'A'. " Was this an annual rent? It seems low for that, but without more detail it's hard to tell.

There's more clarity on the cost of a maidservant. "In 1761 he paid his servant maid Susan Hanmer £1.15s.0d per annum, had her shoes mended for a shilling and bought a silk hat for 4s.4d. Other purchases included a cotton gown, handkerchiefs, whale bone and even a pair of garters." So the wage was truly on top of all expenses.

Unless there's something else going on here. That silk hat is suspect. But we'll probably never know.

There are some clear lists, such as this.
  • Seven cane chairs £0.17s.6d
  • One Brass Pan £1.6s.7d
  • Five Pewter Dishes £0.8s.4d
  • Twelve Pewter Plates £0.11s.0d
  • Two brass candlesticks £0.3s.9d
  • Two Iron Pots £0.6s.0d
  • Two small casks £0.2s.0d

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