Just as businesses do today, the Royal Household kept close records of its expenditure. Every October, all the receipts and records from the different departments were gathered and calculated, to ensure all there were no irregularities, and to ensure that the household was not expending more than it could afford.
Below is the record of Henry VIII’s household expenses for 1519. A vast amount was spent on food, though unfortunately the expenses of the bakehouse cannot be read due to damage to the manuscript. It should be noted that the buttery had nothing to do with butter or dairy, but was actually the department in charge of wine.
The Princess is Mary, who was at this time just a few short months shy of 4 years old, and very much doted upon by both her parents.
The ‘Henry Webbe, Wm. Dawbeney, and Marcellus de la More’ mentioned are members of Henry’s household; Marcellus de la More was a surgeon in Henry’s employ, and Henry Webb was a sewer of the privy chamber.
The grand total of the Royal Household expenses was £20,359. 8s. 5½d. In the currency of 2017, that would work out at around £10,587,400.76 ($12,801,215.67USD, $18,961,800.71AUD) – a princely sum indeed!
A view of the expenses of the household for the year ending 1 Oct. 11 Hen. VIII.
Bakehouse, [obscured; manuscript damaged]
Pantry, cxxx … l.
Buttery, 3,389l. 2s. 8½d.
Wardrobe, 2,919l. 19s. 5½d.
Kitchen and larder, 1,658l. 4s. 3½d.
Accatry, 3,839l. 10s. 2¼d.
Poultry, 2,151l. 8s. 8d.
Scullery, 595l. 6s. 8½d.
Saucery, 119l. 13s. 3d.
Hall and chamber, 555l. 1s. 2d.
Stable and marshalsy, 1,554l. 5s. 8¾d. Vadia de cõe (commune ?), 1,171l. 15s. 9d.
Wages of the chapel, 3,045l. 9s. 6d.
Sundries: Feast of St. George, 417l. 17s. 1½d.
Payments by warrant to Henry Webbe, Wm. Dawbeney, and Marcellus de la More, &c., 518l. 15s. 8½d.
Gifts and rewards, 118l. 8s. 10d.
To the Princess, 462l. 15s. 1¾d.
Total, 20,359l. 8s. 5½d.