Financial accounts of the County of Holland 1358-1361 and 1393-1396

Prepared by the ‘Holland 1300-1500’ Workgroup supervised by D.E.H. de Boer, D.J. Faber, H.P.H. Jansen and J.W. Marsilje; final editing by M.J. van Gent

The accounts originate from the archive of the counts of Holland which is housed at the National Archive in The Hague. The selection was made based on specific years during which the accounts of all the officials involved were present; in this case 1358-1361 and 1393-1396. These particular years were chosen on the assumption that publishing all the accounts in quick succession from a short period would offer more insights into how the count’s administration worked in practice.

The edition contains ten accounts connected to the royal household of Albrecht of Bavaria, who was regent at first and later became Count of Hainault, Holland and Zeeland from 1389. These accounts are the most important source for reconstructing the income and expenditure of the lord of the land and the way in which his court was assembled and maintained. In addition, the accounts provide a lot of information on issues such as political developments during the second half of the 14th century (particularly via the messengers’ wages), cultural life at the court, administering the count’s justice system, and the circulation of various coins.

The bills of the dike-reeve of the Grote Waard have also been included. This official was responsible for supervising the construction and maintenance of dikes in the area between Dordrecht, Gorinchem, Heusden and Geertruidenberg.

In addition to accounts connected to the court officials and the dike-reeve of the Grote Waard, accounts issued by lower level civil servants have also been published for the years 1393-1396. Specifically bills of the land agents of Kennemerland and West Friesland, North Holland, Woerden, Voorne and South Holland and the bills of the sheriff of Heusden and the reeves of The Hague, Rijnland (and Woerden) and Brielle and the land belonging to Voorne. The land agents were in charge of the count’s territories in their particular district. The sheriff and reeves were responsible for administering justice in the count’s name. Irrespective of whether they are viewed individually or in totality, their bills offer a picture of the administration and justice system in Holland during the 14th century. At the same time, because they are ‘official reports’ they also provide a lot of data on all kinds of socio-economic, cultural and currency developments.

All the bills have been published in full, with attention for palaeographic and codicological peculiarities. The text contains two systems of annotation; one for text-critical and one for factual remarks. All the volumes contain a detailed general introduction and an index of individuals and families, and of geographical terms.