The "Kendal Debt Book" 1841-1844

The Bednall Archive 

Last updated 20/01/2010


The "Kendal Debt Book" is approximately 17” x 8.5” x 1.4” and was originally bound in half calf with marbled boards.  It contains 382 pages plus end papers and although the marbling is missing from the front board and the corner pieces either missing or damaged, internally, the book is in good condition.

The "Kendal" Debt Book 1841-1844 in the Bednall Archive www.bednallarchive.infoAll the pages, including the inner surfaces of the cover and the end papers, have been written on and notes, including names and addresses appear to have been written, externally, on the surviving marbling and spine.  On the spine can also be seen the words “Kendal” and "Debt Book" and  the book has thus been given the name "The Kendal Debt Book". However, the neither the shopkeeper's name nor the location of his or her shop is currently known

The inside of the front board carries a “List of Tares on Sugars imported into Liverpool from British Possessions in the West Indies”, comprising three columns headed respectively Dema, Trinidad and [….]; Barbados; and All other sorts.  The tares for amounts between 8 and 20 cwt are then given, in 1 cwt steps, below.   A footnote to the table states “ On all descriptions of the above in barrels and Terices under 8 cwt, the cwt tare is 14lb per cwt and Raws are usually sold weighed. On E. I and Mauritius the customs tare is allowed.  They are generally bought and sold at landing weights, with  Drfts. The latter is 4lbs on arr 5 bags when under 10 cwt and 7lb when 10 cwt and above”.   


Order/Debt Entries & Cash Accounts

The entries in the book date from 25th November 1841 to January 1844 and take several forms i.e.:
1: Dated individual orders giving customers' names and addresses, the items ordered, prices (and sometimes unit prices) and the amount owed by the customer. A column on the LHS of the page is used to indicate whether the customer has paid.

Example of customer's accounts. Kendal Debt Book 1841-1844. The Bednall Archive.

2: Collective cash accounts listing the money received from individual customers, the gross amount collected and the net amount after deduction of expences.  This type of account is usually given a locative heading e.g. “Swaledale Cash” and a date

.Stainmore cash account-from The Kendal Debt Book 1842-443. ; The Bednall

Stainmore Cash Account For 17th March 1842

Customer’s Orders/Debts 
The accounts of the customers visited are grouped under area headings i.e. Ravenstonedale, Warcop, Swaledale, Wensley Dale, and Stainmore. The dates of the individual accounts for particular areas occur in a fixed sequence that is repeated (generally) every two months. In 1842 for example, the dates were as follows:


5th January 1842.



18th January 1842

24th March 1842


1st February 1842

5th April 1842

Wensley Dale

14th February 1842

23rd April 1842


17th March 1842

19th May 1842

Cash Accounts
These accounts were generally settled every two months, presumably, on delivery of the previous order and the collective cash accounts drawn up, as shown below: 

Warcop  25th Sept 1841, 25 Nov 1841, 18 January 1842, 24 March 1842, (made up about 1 June 1842) 1 June 1842. (account paid 21 July 1842)  

12 Oct 1841, 7 Dec 1841, 1 Feb 1842 (account paid in 9 April1842) 5 April 1842  (made up 13 June 1842) 10 June 1842,  

Wensley Dale 26 Oct 1841, 21 Dec 1841, 14 Feb 1842, (account paid in 23 April 1842) 23 June 1842 (paid 27 August 1842)  
Ravenstonedale 2 Nov 1841, 5 January 1842.   3 May 1842,  
Stainmore 16 Nov 1841, 11 Jun 1842, ?   17 Mar 1842, 19 May 1842,  

 What was ordered? 

The items most frequently ordered were coffee and tea, generally conger tea but also green tea, coupon tea and on one occasion "Mexican" tea. Many orders also included tobacco (twist and shag) and snuff, currents and raisins. Some of the other items ordered were: sugar, treacle, cheese, eggs flour, meal, salt, pepper and mustard, annatto, nutmeg, cumin and rue , soap, starch, blue and soda, candles, linseed and on one occasion gunpowder. A very few orders included hardware or other non-food goods such as a shoes, a shoe brush, a broom head,  mustard pot and snuffer.

Most of the orders are given under the customer's name the exceptions being the orders placed by the "Workhouse" and that placed by " Mrs at the Turnpike Gate" but which workhouse it was  and who "Mrs" was is unknown.

Places Mentioned

The following list of places named in the Kendal Debt Book is not comprehensive and may require (spelling) correction.

Angram Coverta /Covertree Enterber Hastley Fold Lowthwaite Ramsholm S. R[]head Thwaite
Artelgarth Crackpot Flake Bridge Hartley Castle Lundas Rash /Raist Stainmore Tarn Riggs
Assfell Crosby Forelands Killmire T[   ] Mallerstang Ravenstonedale Staithby Walden
Blear Tarn Crosby Garrets Gillbank Keld (Swaledale) Muker Riddin House Stennerskeugh Warop 
Borrathwaite Cross Bank Grainhome Kirkby Stephen Musgrave Rookby Stobars Wath
Brough Dike Head Great Musgrave Langrigg Naithby Row Rigg Stonesdale Weasdale
Brunskill Cross Dowdale Gunnerts Low Mill New Biggin Sandford Street Head Wensleydale
Browhill Court Duckingtree Gunnerside Lowden Gill Orton Sandwath Swaledale Whatton
Bruton Dulas Haggerside Low Lane Paddon Sk[  ]ehead Swinithwaite Whiterow
Burton Eaden Place Hartley Gath Lower Ormside Peper Hole Soulby Thornalby Winton
Cathole East Stonesdale Hart Lakes Low Stennerscar Raisbeck Sowerby Thorns Worton

People Mentioned 

So far no complete index has been prepared of the names mentioned in the book but a substantial proportion of those names are listed on the following images and in a recently prepared list:

Ravenstonedale Cash Account 3 May 1842 . From the Kendal Debt Book 1841-1844.  Bednall Archive Stainore Cash Account for 19 May 1842 The Kendal Debt Book 1841-1844. The Bednall Archive. Swaledale Cash Account 7 February 1843. TFrom the Kendal Debt Book 1841-1844 in the Bednall Archive. Warcop Cash Account 25 September 1841 from Kendal Debt Book 1841-1844. Bednall Archive: Wensleydale Cash Account for 23 August 1842. From the Kendal Debt Book 1841-1844. Bednall Archive.:






Further Information 

Further information may be available through the following links:


Cumbria Record Office

Swaledale Museum

Cyndi's List

The National Archives

AWBednall, Macclesfield 1986-2009