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A profitable treatyce...

A profitable Treatyce called the Instrument or Boke to learne to knowe the good order of the kepying of the famouse reconynge called in Latyn, Dare and Habere, and in Englyshe, Debitor and Creditor.

Written by Hugh Oldcastle

Printed by John Gough (London; 1543)

No copy of this is known to exist. It was the first book on double-entry bookkeeping to be published in England and is known through John Mellis's reproduction of it published in 1588. Mellis had a copy and another was sold in 1779, at an auction with the property of the actuary collector and antiquary, Edward Rowe Mores. Benjamin F. Foster, in The Origin- and Progress of Book­keeping, 1852, refers to having seen a copy through August de Morgan, mathematician, 1806-1871.

Hugh Oldcastle came from a family of substance and he inherited property formerly belonging to John Oldcastle, (died 1417) the martyr. Falstaff was originally named Oldcastle by Shakespeare and in Henry IV he is referred to as "my old lord of the castle" . Hugh did not take up the property left him by his father and left no will himself when he died in 1543 before his book was published, presumably on behalf of his widow.

View the catalogue record for John Mellis's reproduction

This article was originally prepared by the library team in the mid-twentieth century to introduce the rare books and facsimiles in our collection to a wider audience. It is not intended as a piece of scholarly analysis and should not be read as such.

Historical Accounting Literature

The ICAEW collection of historical accounting literature currently comprises around 3,000 volumes and includes works published from the 15th century to the early 20th century. The collection includes books and journals in a variety of languages.

Find out more about the collection and its history.