Fragment of a wooden tallystick: 13th century
© Museum of London
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Fragment of a wooden tallystick with three deep notches and four shallow ones carved into the top. Tallysticks were used as receipts for loans or other payments. Notches were cut into them recording the amount of money involved, and then the stick was split lengthways. Both people taking part in the transaction would keep a piece as proof. When the debt was paid, the two pieces were compared to check the amount. The size of the notches indicates the sum of money. This tally stick was found in a cesspit behind a row of houses on Milk Street that belonged to Jews at various times in the 1200s. Jewish settlers were often moneylenders - perhaps this tally stick was thrown away after a borrower had repaid a debt. The cesspit where this tally stick was found was behind a house, which in 1276, was owned by Bonamicus, 'Jew of York'. His neighbours at that time were Master Moses, 'Jew of London', then Cresseus son of Elias, 'Jew of London'.
1260 AD - 1300 AD