The article, ‘The Irish Receipt Roll of 1301–2: Data Science and Medieval Exchequer Practice’, I co-authored with Brendan Smith, has been published in the recent edition of Irish Economic and Social History

The abstract:

The English conquest and colonisation of Ireland, which began in the years around 1170 was accompanied by the introduction of an administrative system based on English models. From the point of view of the crown, perhaps the most important of the new offices of government that it established was the exchequer, which coordinated the financial exploitation of its Irish lordship. The exchequer generated a vast quantity of written documents recording its operations. This paper subjects one such document, detailing the sums received at the exchequer for the year 1301–2, to data science techniques in order to gain added insight into the routine functioning of the financial arm of English government in its oldest colony. It thereby also reveals previously unrecognised patterns in the nature of English power in Ireland. The purpose of the paper is not to assess the state of Irish finances in the early fourteenth century, but rather to argue that a deep reading of a single document produced by an elaborate bureaucratic system, combined with data science visualizations, can help to generate new research questions in relation to a substantial body of financial records which are soon to become more widely available to both scholars and the general public.

Read the full article here