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A Short Treatise touching sheriffs accompts

A Short Treatise touching sheriffs accompts … to which is added, a tryal of witches at the assizes held at Bury St. Edmonds.

Written by Sir Matthew Hale

Printed by Will. Shrowsbery (1683)

This is a long sought first edition and one of the later additions to the collection (an edition from 1716 had been purchased for the collection between 1903 and 1913). The accounting section of this work made little impression but the irrelevant part of the book on the trial of witches makes it rather fascinating.

The more interesting section of Matthew Hale's treatise of 1683

Dorothy Durent and Rose Cullendar were the two witches tried before Sir Matthew Hale when he was Lord Chief Baron of His Majesty 's Exchequer. These two unfortunate old women were, on evidence that seems fantastic to us today, found guilty and hanged. The least surprising part of the story is "they were urged to confess, but would not".

Sir Matthew Hale, 1609-1676, judge and Member of Parliament left a large number of manuscripts on scientific, legal and religious subjects many of which were published after his death. As Counsel he defended Archbishop Laud in 1643 and offered his services to Charles I for his trial. He was a member of the special court which adjudicated between owners and tenants of property in the City after the Great Fire and advised the corporation on various matters related to rebuilding.

View the catalogue record for this book

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.