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Mundum books and their successors, 1447 - 2010

Reference Code: GBR/0272/KCAR/4/A/3

Scope and Contents

These are the College's annual accounts books recording income and expenditure since 1447. Because of the continuity of recordkeeping practices, the sequence (continuous since 1552) offers a remarkable overview of the College through times of prosperity, agricultural depressions, even through wartime.

The mundum books run from 1447 to 1991. In 1990-91 the accounts were kept both as a mundum book and as a four-volume Nominal Ledger which served as a transition to the Dolphin computerised accounting system. From the 1991-92 financial year the Year End Reports were generated by Dolphin, Great Plains and its successors. Until 2003-04 printouts were microfilmed for permanent retention. Since 2004-05, the computerised accounts are converted to PDF files. These accounts include those for King's College, Cambridge (a charitable corporate body established in 1441 by Royal Charter, and governed by statutes and ordinances); King's College, Cambridge Developments Limited (KC dbd or KCCD) (incorporated on 28 January 2000); and King's College, Cambridge Enterprises Limited (KCCE) (incorporated on 18 June 1979).

The Mundum Books present the stipends and individual duties of College Fellows, payments for goods and services, and wages for College employees. Importantly, they hold the key to the construction of the Chapel and other College buildings: the craftsmen and labourers, the materials they used, and their salaries. For students of education, society, economics, consumption, material culture, land use, architecture, religion and national politics, the Mundum Books provide a rich and impressive source. The Mundum Books offer researchers more than financial information. Their continuity and depth of detail allows individuals from the past to be traced through payments made to them, or bills paid by them. They act as a ‘register’ for Kingsmen, College staff, and tradespeople. Moreover, they offer an insight into the lives of scholars from the 15th century onwards. Consequently, they are used by biographical historians and genealogists alike to track an individual at a certain date, and to place him in a context of College, local and national activity.

Volumes 1-51 were bound in the mid 18th century. Some accounts not found at time of binding were replaced with Bursar's Common or Particular Books. Some accounts were bound in the wrong order.

Covering dates in this list are those for which information is extant rather than the dates on the spines of the volumes. Volume numbers in brackets are those assigned at the time of binding.


  • Creation: 1447 - 2010

Conditions Governing Access

Annual accounts less than 50 years old are closed for data protection reasons.


1 collection (c. 351 volumes, 1 quire, 24 reels and 30 digital files) : paper, microfilm and PDF digital files

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference


Finding aid date

2004-03-25 14:41:12+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Archive Centre, King's College, Cambridge Repository

King's College
Cambridge CB2 1ST United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 331444