I'm an auditor. A colleague and I were discussing some 17th century English ledgers (pictured below). These come from the English Levant Company. However, we aren't sure how to interpret them. How do we read these documents?

To be clear - I don't mean we are having trouble with the script or language. We aren't sure what the various columns mean. The three right-most column seems to be an amount (so the first amount is 7, 05, 00). The two columns to the left of it also looks like an amount, but it isn't totaled at the end. It also isn't clear how these two sets of columns relate (if at all).

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  • 2
    It might help if you could transcribe some of the data into a table. The ledger is illegible for me I can't even reliably tell the difference between numbers and letters. Good question
    – MCW
    Nov 20 '17 at 15:38
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    What kind of an audit goes back ~400 years? This company must be in hot water with the tax agents...
    – SPavel
    Nov 20 '17 at 16:10
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    The final three columns are pounds, shillings and pence (LSD). I would expect the previous two columns to be cross-references to other records or ledgers in the spirit of double-entry bookkeeping. The far-left columns before the text are dates
    – Henry
    Nov 20 '17 at 16:22
  • @Henry That would make sense. These appear to be something similar to accounts payable/receivable journals. So it makes sense that they should relate back to the (undivided) journal. Nov 20 '17 at 16:25

The last columns at the right of each page appear to contain references to amounts of British money in the form of X pounds Y shillings Z pence. On the left are dates, and in the middle, references to the "accounts."

There were 12 pence to the shilling, and 20 shillings (240 pence) to the pound.

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