The church accounts belonging to St John the Baptist in the centre of Peterborough, were thankfully transcribed by W. T. Mellows some years ago. They allow the delicate pages of the original accounts to rest in the archives whilst the transcriptions are thumbed over. Far from being a dull record of money passing through the church’s hands, the accounts provides us with flashes of everyday life and the people working for or helping the church and from them we can learn a little more about life in the past in the city.
One of the records regards a William Farsett (possibly Farcet) who was a church warden. Unfortunately for him, he drew the short straw and had the task of ‘carrying out the doyng in the churchyarde’, which Mellows has indicated was dung! He was paid the handsome sum of 8 pence for the job, which is an excellent rate for 1543. Annoyingly there’s no indication of where in the churchyard the dung was, or whether it was human or animal. At least a later account tells us he had a cart, so he wasn’t moving it entirely by hand…
W. T. Mellows (ed.), Peterborough Local Administration Chruchwarden's Accounts 1467-1573 with Supplementary Documents 1107-1488, Northamptonshire Record Society, 1939