tally

1) A piece of wood on which notches, numbers or letters might be incised in order to keep an account of debts, payments or work done. In some cases identical tallies were kept by each party to an agreement.

1728 he took the tally stick along with him, Wakefield. In a dispute at the Quarter Sessions in 1638, Mr Lionel Copley was criticised for not restoring to the poore men their Tallyes of the coals led to him. On that occasion the coals were actually charcoal but it was a practice used also in coal-mining, and a tally board from Dark Lane Colliery in Mirfield has survived. Gresley noted that in some pits tallies were attached to corves to credit men working below.

spellings tally stick tally board
dates 1638 1728

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0