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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Taxes, Lists, Business, Electoral and Insurance Records by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Tenths & Fifteenths 1334-1623
This was a lay subsidy standardized at one tenth of the value of moveable, personal goods of lay persons for cities, boroughs and royal ancient demesne lands and one fifteenth for rural inhabitants. It was actually assessed on townships and to spare the cost of new assessments the quota remained fixed or fossilized at this amount for nearly two centuries. The quotas thus progressively ceased to match the distribution of wealth, although some exemptions were made at the time of disasters such as the Black Death (1347-1350).
The Exchequer only kept records of the total amounts collected from each area, not individual contributions, so most of the large numbers of post-1332 tenths and fifteenths records are not useful to family historians. However there are a few exceptions including large numbers of certificates of exemption for individuals from Kent and Sussex prior to 1400, (details in Jurkowski et al. Lay Taxes in England and Wales 1188-1688, 1998). Local town archives may have contributors’ lists, for example Nottingham, Southampton and Winchester; others such as Colchester are in the British Library, and occasionally an assessment may have been printed (Hoyle).
Jurkowski et al. illustrate an original 1587 assessment of fifteenths and tenths for places in Surrey and a transcript for a 1357 one is given here.
Chart : Tenth & Fifteenth 1357 Newport, Isle of Wight, Hampshire
TNA reference E 179 173/34 (Film 1470908)
This example illustrates the confused state of the records as the film title has Poll Tax, the item is labelled Lay Subsidy, and Jurkowski’s definitive text refers to it as a Tenth & Fifteenth! It seems that tradesmen paid 6d and servants or women 4d each.
Villata de Neuport in Insula Vecta
Mich Couper Tanner vjd
Peter ate Yate Butcher vjd
Joh Boteler His servant iiijd
Joh Leche His servant iiijd
Robert ate Stone Skinner vjd
Joh Kecayn Fletcher vjd
John Makerell Merchant vjd
Hugh Maicok Tanner vjd
William Douning Servants of same Hugh viijd
Rich ate ffe[-]le
John Bagnyll Farmer iiijd
John Walys Siccor vjd
John [C]lere Touker vjd
Robert Lange His servant iiijd
Alice Lange Spinner iiijd
John Whyt Touker vjd
Thomas Lange Fisherman vjd
Richard Fyscher Fisherman vjd
John Bowyer Butcher vjd
John Haiward Butcher vjd
John Compton Butcher vjd
Thomas Sadelar Servant of same John iiijd
Richard Parker Merchant vjd
John Waleway His servant iiijd
Warin Fusch Shepherd vjd
John Maycok Farmer iiijd
William Curtnney Taverner vjd
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Taxes, Lists, Business, Electoral and Insurance Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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