Gayle, Gail, Gaill, Gale, Gayl or Gaile Money

In the Churchwarden’s Accounts 1729 – 1777 there is an annual payment variously spelled ‘Gayle, Gail, Gaill, Gale, Gayl or Gaile’ money. Similar payments also occur in the Overseers of the Poor Books – 1771 – 1798. We now know that this was ‘Gaol Money’ and later referred to as ‘County Rate’ Neither Churchwardens or Overseers used any system of spelling at this time – they wrote as they heard. It has been suggested that in the 18th century many of the older people would have lost their teeth and that their pronunciation suffered, as well as speaking in Dorset dialect.

On some occasions the Gale was paid to ‘the constable’. It is clearly paid near Quarter days, but not every quarter. It was £3 12s 6d on every occurrence.

We presume that this was for a a gaol or jail somewhere. There was no gaol that we know of in Milton Abbas, although there is one mention in the Churchwardens Accounts of ‘cleaning out the dungeons’.

Was there a constable and a jail for each hundred in the 18th Century?

How were the payments by each parish calculated?

Answers please here.