The Municipal Clerk is the oldest of public servants in local government, along with the tax collector. The beginning of the office of City Clerk in England can be traced back to 1272 AD in the history of the Corporation of Old London. The “Remembrancers” was called upon to remind the Councilors (members of Council) what had transpired at their previous meetings of the early councils were not recorded in written minutes.
Ancient Greece has a City secretary who read official documents publicly. At the opening of a meeting, one of his first duties was to decree a curse upon anyone who should seek to deceive the people.
The title “Clerk” was developed from the Latin clericus. During the Middle Ages, when scholarship and writing were limited to the clergy, Clerk came to mean a scholar, especially one who could read, write, and thus serve as a notary, secretary, accountant and recorder.
When the colonists first settled in Massachusetts, the town clerk was one of the earliest offices established. The settlers were well aware of the importance of keeping accurate written records of their agreements and actions including grants of land regulations governing animals, the collection of taxes and the expenditure of town funds.