Kirk sessions had substantive responsibility for collecting and distributing money for the relief of the poor. This necessitated the recording of financial transactions and the gradual development of these records is examined. The evolution of a separate money register is traced from its origins in the central lowlands to wider, although still partial, distribution by the end of the eighteenth century. A detailed examination of records at the local level indicates a variety of formats and practices, all of which displayed a spirit of careful record keeping. The importance of the roles of the treasurer and session clerk is outlined, together with the centrality and nature of the poor box, the key artefact in a complex system which exposed lay members of the ‘middling sort’ to routines of accountability. The tensions that could ensue are indicated by an analysis of two legal disputes over poor relief in the parishes of Humbie and Cambuslang at mid-eighteenth century. Their exceptional nature confirms the broad outlines of the mature system.
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