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Exchequer

Exchequer. Financial institution. The term is derived from the chequered cloth, similar to a chess board, which was placed over a table to assist in the counting of sums due to the crown. Its function and organization are first described in the Dialogus de Scaccario (Dialogue of the Exchequer, c.1179): the Lower Exchequer received and issued money, the Upper Exchequer was essentially a court of account where royal revenue was managed, accounts audited, and disputes dealt with. The Exchequer thus exercised a judicial as well as financial competence. The origins of the Exchequer are not entirely certain, but it seems most likely that its institutional form dates from the reign of Henry I. The first surviving pipe roll for the financial year 1129–30 shows how the sheriffs and other royal officials were summoned to account at the Exchequer twice a year, at Easter and Michaelmas. By the later 12th cent., the Exchequer was no longer itinerant but permanently based at Westminster, the first of the crown's departments to acquire a separate existence, definite organization, and buildings of its own. Although there were reforms in procedures in the mid-13th cent., and other financial bodies, such as the wardrobe and chamber, were developed in response to the crown's changing needs, the Exchequer remained the linchpin and apex of the crown's financial administration throughout the Middle Ages. In the 16th and 17th cents., the Treasury developed as a separate department, so that the administrative functions of the Exchequer declined. It ceased to be a financial department in 1833 but its judicial functions continued until 1873–80. The Treasury is now a ministerial department headed by the chancellor of the Exchequer, although the prime minister is technically its 1st lord.

Anne Curry

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Exchequer, Court of

Court of Exchequer (ĕkschĕk´ər, ĕks´chĕk´ər), in English history, governmental agency. It originated after the Norman Conquest as a financial committee of the Curia Regis. By the reign of Henry II it had a separate organization and was responsible for the collection of the king's revenue as well as for exercising jurisdiction in cases affecting the revenue. By the latter part of the 13th cent. a separation became discernible between the court proper and the exchequer or treasury, especially with the appointment of lawyers as barons (judges) of the exchequer. Its jurisdiction over common pleas now steadily increased, to include, for example, money disputes between private litigants on the assumption that the plaintiff was indebted to the crown and needed payment from the defendant to enable him to pay the king. A second Court of Exchequer Chamber was set up in 1585 to amend errors of the Court of the King's Bench. From an amalgamation in 1830, a single Court of Exchequer emerged as a court of appeal intermediate between the common-law courts and the House of Lords. In 1875 the Court of Exchequer became, by the Judicature Act of 1873, the exchequer division of the High Court of Justice, and in 1880 was combined with the Court of Common Pleas into the Queen's Bench.

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Exchequer

Exchequer in the UK, the former government office responsible for collecting revenue and making payments on behalf of the sovereign, auditing official accounts, and trying legal cases relating to revenue. The original sense was ‘chessboard’, and current senses derive from the department of state established by the Norman kings to deal with the royal revenues, named Exchequer from the chequered tablecloth on which accounts were kept by means of counters.
Exchequer Chamber any of a number of former courts of appeal whose functions were amalgamated in the Court of Appeal in 1873. Formerly also, an assembly of all the judges to decide points of law, defunct since the 18th century.

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exchequer

exchequer †chess-board XIII; department of state concerned with the royal revenues, so called orig. with ref. to the table covered with a cloth divided into squares on which the accounts were kept by means of counters XIV; court of law theoretically concerned with revenue; office charged with the receipt and custody of public revenue XV; pecuniary possessions XVII. ME. escheker — AN. escheker, OF. eschequier — medL. scaccārium chess-board, f. scaccus CHECK1; see -ER2. The form with ex- (from XV) is due to assoc. of OF. es- with EX-1, as in exchange.

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exchequer

ex·cheq·uer / eksˈchekər; iks-/ • n. a royal or national treasury.

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exchequer

exchequeralpaca, attacker, backer, clacker, claqueur, cracker, Dhaka, hacker, Hakka, knacker, lacquer, maraca, paca, packer, sifaka, slacker, smacker, stacker, tacker, tracker, whacker, yakka •Kafka •anchor, banker, Bianca, canker, Casablanca, Costa Blanca, flanker, franker, hanker, lingua franca, Lubyanka, rancour (US rancor), ranker, Salamanca, spanker, Sri Lanka, tanka, tanker, up-anchor, wanker •Alaska, lascar, Madagascar, Nebraska •Kamchatka • linebacker • outbacker •hijacker, skyjacker •Schumacher • backpacker •safecracker • wisecracker •nutcracker • firecracker • ransacker •scrimshanker • bushwhacker •barker, haka, Kabaka, Lusaka, marker, moussaka, nosy parker, Oaxaca, Osaka, parka, Shaka, Zarqa •asker, masker •backmarker • waymarker •Becker, checker, Cheka, chequer, Dekker, exchequer, Flecker, mecca, Neckar, Necker, pecker, Quebecker, Rebecca, Rijeka, trekker, weka, wrecker •sepulchre (US sepulcher) • Cuenca •burlesquer, Francesca, Wesker •woodpecker

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