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Records of tax assessments, or subsidies, are class E 179 in The National Archives.  Taxes were periodically levied upon the populace, both lay and clerical, to raise revenue for the Crown.  There was no fixed schedule for these levies, nor was there a fixed rate of taxation.  Crown revenue was also raised in other ways, such as enforced loans or ‘reliefs’.  This discussion relates only to subsidies.  Click on ‘Details’ for discussions of individual subsidies. 
    Lands, Goods, Fees:  A subject could be taxed in only one of these categories, whichever was the highest.  ‘Goods’ — which meant moveable goods — comprised by far the largest category, and because it was assumed, it often went unnoted, though ‘in lands’ and ‘in fees’ were almost always noted.  ‘Lands’ usually meant the income from lands, while ‘Fees’ usually denoted servants of the Crown.  Assessments upon clergy did not make these distinctions. 
    Rates of Assessment:  Through most of this period, assessments — and those subject to assessment — differed by category.  For moveable goods, the threshold of liability after 1566 was £3.  If the value of one's moveable goods fell below that valuation, no levy was assessed.  For lands, the threshold was £1.  If a levy were to be paid in two or more parts, the rates might well be dissimilar for the parts.  Aliens who met the threshold for goods or lands paid double rates; if they had neither sufficient goods nor lands they paid a poll tax.  Clergy were assessed at a fixed sum, different from subsidy to subsidy. 
    Tenths and Fifteenths:  An earlier form of taxation, superseded by subsidies, though both were used through most of our period.  The last fifteenth and tenth was voted in 1624.  In this system the tax was standardized at one-tenth the value of moveable, personal goods of lay persons in cities, boroughs and royal ancient demesne lands, and one-fifteenth for rural inhabitants.  The quota remained fixed or fossilized at this amount for nearly two centuries, and thus progressively ceased to match the distribution of wealth.  The Exchequer only kept records of the total amounts collected from each area, not individual contributions, so the tenths and fifteenths records contain no names. 


  Surviving Assessments for St Saviour parish, or for Southwark, by date  

1558 February 19:  a subsidy to be collected in one payment.  Details ]
    1558:  certificates of residence.  E179/382/11, part 2
    1558 after July 25:  defaulters.  E179/185/278  


1559 February 20:  a subsidy granted, to be levied over two years.  Details ]
    1559 July 1:  First assessment:   E179/185/286  


1563 February 23:  a subsidy granted, to be levied over two years.  Details ]
    1563 February 23:  certificates of residence.   E179/382/11, part 5  


1566 December 18:  a subsidy granted, to be levied over two years.  Details ]
    1569 February 16:  Second assessment, defaulters.   E179/185/294  


1571 May 15:  a subsidy granted, to be levied over two years.  Details ]
    1571? December 18:  first assessment, defaulters.   E179/185/304  


1585 March 13:  a subsidy granted, to be levied over two years.  Details ]
    1587 February 14:  second assessment, defaulters.   E179/269/36  


1587 March 7:  a subsidy granted, to be levied over two years.  Details ]
    1588 after February 12:  first assessment, defaulters.   E179/185/324A
    1589 January 20:  clerical subsidy, first assessment.   E179/278/43
    1589 May 1:  second assessment, defaulters.   E179/257/20A  


1589 January 20:  a clerical subsidy.  Details ]
    1589 by November 1:  first assessment.   E179/278/43
    1592 May 9:  first assessment, defaulters.   E179/185/334A
    1593 February 2:  second assessment, defaulters.   E179/241/335  


1589 March 17:  two subsidies granted, to be levied over four years.  Details ]
    1589 by November 1:  first assessment.   E179/185/335
    1592 May 9:  first assessment, defaulters.   E179/185/334A
    1593 February 2:  second assessment, defaulters.   E179/241/335  


1593 March 24:  three subsidies granted, to be levied over four years.  Details ]
    1593 August 21:  first assessment.   E179/186/349
    1594 June 7:  first assessment, defaulters.   E179/186/356
    1594 August 7:  second assessment.   E179/186/362  


1597 December 16:  three subsidies granted, to be levied over three years.  Details ]
    1594 August 7:  first assessment.   E179/186/370
    1599 August 29:  second assessment.   E179/186/375A
    1600 August 27:  third assessment.   E179/186/377  


1601 December 15:  four subsidies granted, to be levied in seven installments.  Details ]
    1602 after March 31:  third assessment.   E179/70/113
    1601-1643:  mixed documents.   E179/381/9  


1621 February 17:  two subsidies granted.  Details ]
    1622 February 15:  second payment of second subsidy.   E179/186/407
    1622 February 15:  all three payments of the two subsidies.   E179/266/2  


1624 May 13:  three subsidies granted.  Details ]
    1624 after May 13:  first assessment of first subsidy.   E179/186/430
    1625 March 15:  second subsidy.   E179/186/422
    1625 by March 30:  third subsidy.   E179/186/425
    c.1624-1626:  record of several assessments.   E179/270/28  


1625-1626:  an undetermined document. 
    1625-1626:  various lists.   E179/318/110  


1628 June 29:  three subsidies granted, to be levied in four instalments.  Details ]
    1628 September 3:  third subsidy, assessments.   E179/186/432
    1628 November 29:  fourth subsidy, assessments.   E179/186/435  


1640 December 10 and 23:  two subsidies granted, then two more granted, to be levied in two instalments.  Details ]
    1641 May 20:  third and fourth subsidies, assessments.   E179/186/452  





  Details of the subsidies, by year  

  1558:   E179/382/11 part 2E179/185/278  
Parliament opened on 20 January 1558, and on 19 February the commons granted a subsidy, to be collected in one payment.  They also granted a fifteenth and tenth.  Minimum thresholds of liability for the taxation of both moveable goods and lands were the same for both native-born taxpayers and aliens, but the latter paid a double rate; that is, all natives with goods worth £5 or more were taxed on those goods at a rate of 2s.8d per pound, and aliens were to pay 5s.4d per pound.  All aliens with less than £5 in goods paid a poll tax of 8d per head.  On income from lands, the threshold of liability was £1 per annum, on which natives paid a tax of 4s per pound and aliens paid 8s per pound.  Assessments were to be made by 20 April 1558 and certified at the Exchequer by 31 May 1558.  Payment was due by 24 June 1558. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.313, 337-338. 

  1559:   E179/185/286  
Parliament opened on 25 January 1559, and on 20 February the commons granted a subsidy to be levied over two years.  For the first time, payment of the subsidy was to be made in two unequal payments, the greater amount to be paid first, an arrangement which was to become a recurrent feature throughout the reign of both Elizabeth I and James I.  Individuals with moveable goods worth £5 or more paid 20d per pound in the first year, and 12d per pound in the second.  Aliens were to pay the double rate of 3s.4d per pound in the first year and 2s per pound in the second.  On land, the minimum threshold of liability was 20s per annum.  Native-born persons paid 2s.8d per pound in the first year, and 16d per pound in the second, while aliens paid the double rate of 5s.4d and 2s.8d respectively.  Aliens not liable in either category were subject to a poll tax of 4d in each year.  The statute set out that the first payment was to be assessed by 30 April 1559, certified at the Exchequer by 31 May 1559 and paid by 24 June 1559.  The second was to be assessed by 20 January 1560, certified by 20 February 1560, and paid by 1 March 1560. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.349, 385-396. 

  1563:   E179/382/11 part 5  
Parliament opened on 12 January 1563, and on 23 February the commons granted a subsidy payable over two years.  This subsidy is notable as being the one in which the minimum threshold of liability on moveable goods was lowered to £3, where it was to remain thereafter.  The rates were otherwise the same as those levied in 1559 and 1560, and the tax was again to be paid in two unequal payments.  On moveable goods, taxpayers were charged 20d per pound in the first year and 12d per pound in the second.  On lands, the universal threshold was £1, on which a rate of 2s.8d per pound was payable in the first year and 16d per pound in the second.  Aliens paid double these rates, and those not chargeable in either category were subject to a poll tax of 4d per head each year.  The first payment was to be assessed by 20 April 1563, certified at the Exchequer by 20 May 1563 and paid by 1 June 1563.  The second was to be assessed by 10 December 1563, certified by 24 January 1564 and paid by 20 February 1564. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.401, 464-478. 

  1566:   E179/185/294  
Parliament opened on 30 September 1566, and on 18 December the commons granted a subsidy leviable over two years.  Individual taxpayers, as well as guilds and corporations, were taxed on moveable goods worth £3 or more at 12d per pound for the first payment, and 10d per pound for the second payment.  Aliens had to pay double these rates — 2s per pound for the first payment and 20d per pound for the second — and were taxable on all moveable property.  Persons with an annual income from land of 20s or more were taxed at 16d per pound for both payments if native-born, or 2s.8d per pound for each payment if aliens.  Aliens with no taxable property in either category were to pay a poll tax of 4d for the first payment and 2d for the second.  The first payment was to be assessed by 10 February 1567, certified at the Exchequer by 10 March 1567 and paid by 1 April 1567.  The second was to be assessed by 10 February 1568, certified by 10 March 1568 and paid by 1 April 1568.  A book giving details of the commissioners and collectors of this subsidy, and another listing the collectors and the dates on which they gave bonds to guarantee their collection, are at E 179/282/4-5. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.483, 507-519.

  1571:   E179/185/304  
Parliament opened on 2 April 1571, and on 15 May the commons granted a subsidy over two years.  On the same day they granted two fifteenths and tenths.  On moveable goods, individuals (and corporations) with goods worth £3 or more paid 20d per pound for the first payment, and 12d per pound for the second.  The minimum threshold of liability for income from land was 20s, above which native-born individuals were assessed to pay 2s.8d per pound for the first payment and 16d per pound for the second.  Aliens paid double these rates, and if they were not liable in either category, they were to pay a poll tax of 4d per head for each payment. The first payment was to be assessed by 20 September 1571, certified at the Exchequer by 20 October 1571 and paid by 20 November 1571; the second was to be assessed by 20 September 1572, certified by 20 October 1572 and paid by 20 November 1572.  A book of interim accounts of the collectors of the second payment of this subsidy is in E 179/282. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.525, 568-581. 

  1585:   E179/269/36  
Parliament opened on 23 November 1584, but not until 13 March 1585 did the commons grant a subsidy, payable over two years.  As in the previous three subsidies, individuals (and corporations) with moveable goods worth £3 or more paid 20d per pound for the first payment, and 12d per pound for the second.  The minimum threshold of liability of income from land was 20s, on which individuals paid 2s.8d per pound for the first payment and 16d per pound for the second.  Aliens paid double these rates, and if they were not liable in either category, were subject to a poll tax of 4d  per head for each payment.  The first payment was to be assessed by 10 June 1585, certified at the Exchequer by 10 July 1585 and paid by 20 October 1585; the second payment was to be assessed by 20 September 1586, certified by 12 October 1586 and paid by 20 November 1586. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.703, 745-757. 

  1587:   E179/185/324AE179/257/20AE179/278/43  
Parliament opened on 20 October 1586 and during the second session, on 7 March 1587, the commons granted a subsidy over two years.  On the same day they granted two fifteenths and tenths.  As in the last four subsidies granted, individuals (and corporations) with moveable goods worth £3 or more, paid 20d per pound for the first payment and 12d per pound for the second.  The minimum threshold of liability of income from land was £1, on which individuals paid 2s.8d per pound for the first payment and 16d per pound for the second.  Aliens paid double these rates, and if not liable in either category, were subject to a poll tax of 4d per head for each payment.  The first payment was to be assessed by 1 October 1587, certified at the Exchequer by 1 November 1587 and paid by 12 February 1588; the second was to be assessed by 1 October 1588, certified by 1 November 1588 and paid by 12 February 1589. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.765, 780-792. 

  1589:   E179/185/335E179/185/334AE179/241/335  
Parliament opened on 4 February 1589, and on 17 March the commons granted two subsidies to be levied over the next four years.  On the same day they granted four fifteenths and tenths.  The terms were exactly the same as in the previous subsidies, but extended over four years rather than two, so that double the amount of money was to be raised.  Individuals (and corporations) with moveable goods worth £3 or more, paid 20d per pound for the first and third payments and 12d per pound for the second and fourth payments.  The minimum threshold of liability for income from land was £1, above which individuals paid 2s.8d per pound for the first and third payments, and 16d per pound for the second and fourth payments.  Aliens paid double the rates, and if they had no taxable property in either category, were to pay a poll tax of 4d per head for each payment.  The subsidy act contained a new provision that any children of aliens found to be holding property to the use of their parents, in order to enable those parents to escape payment, would be required to pay double subsidies.  Such provision suggests that this form of evasion had become common.  Assessments were to be made by 1 October annually (1589-1592), and certified at the Exchequer by 1 November (1589-1592).  Payment was to be made by 12 February (1590-1593). 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.798, 820-834. 

  1593:   E179/186/349E179/186/356E179/186/362  
Parliament opened on 19 February 1593, and on 24 March the commons granted three subsidies, to be paid in four instalments.  The first two subsidies were each to be paid in one instalment; the third was to be paid in two unequal instalments.  On the same day the commons granted six fifteenths and tenths.  The rates were: individuals (and corporations) paid 2s.8d per pound for moveable goods worth £3 or more, and 4s per pound for land worth £1 or more.  Aliens paid double these rates; those aliens not liable in either category of wealth paid a poll tax of 8d per head for the first and second subsidies, and 4d per head for the third.  The payments for the third subsidy were split as follows: on goods, 20d per pound for the first payment and 12d per pound for the second; on lands, 2s.8d per pound for the first payment and 1s.4d per pound for the second.  The rates for aliens were doubled, and for the alien poll tax, 8d per head was charged for the first payment, and 4d  for the second.  Assessment dates were 1 October annually (1593-1596); certification by 1 November annually (1593-1596) and payment was due on 12 February annually (1594-1597). 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.840, 869-883. 

  1597:   E179/186/370E179/186/375AE179/186/377  
Parliament opened on 24 October 1597, and on 16 December granted three subsidies to be paid in three equal annual instalments.  On the same day six fifteenths and tenths were voted.  Individuals (and corporations) paid 2s.8d per pound for moveable goods worth £3 or more, and 4s per pound for land worth 20s  or more.  Aliens paid double these rates, and if they had no taxable assets, paid an 8d per head poll tax for each subsidy.  Assessments were to be made by 1 October annually (1598-1600); certification was to be at the Exchequer by 1 November (1598-1600); and payment was due by 12 February (1599-1601). 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.889, 938-952.  (Statutes of the Realm IV.889, 938-952.

  1601:   E179/70/113  
Parliament opened on 27 October 1601 and on 15 December, after much debate, granted four subsidies to be paid in seven instalments.  On the same day eight fifteenths and tenths were voted.  Parliament made it clear that the granting of such sums was not to be viewed as a precedent.  The rates charged were the same as those levied by the subsidy of 1597, but the first subsidy was to be paid in one sum, and the other three were split into the two unequal payments of earlier subsidies.  For the first subsidy, to be levied in a single instalment, individuals (and corporations) paid 2s.8d per pound for moveable goods worth £3 or more, and 4s per pound for land worth £1 or more per annum.  Aliens paid double these rates (5s.4d per pound on moveable goods, and 8s per pound for land).  Those aliens without taxable assets had to pay an 8d per head poll tax for the first subsidy.  For the other three subsidies, individuals were to pay 1s.8d per pound for moveable goods for each of the first payments (that is, the second, fourth and sixth instalments), and 1s per pound for each of the second payments (or the third, fifth and seventh instalments).  On lands, they were to pay 2s.8d  for the first payments, and 1s.4d  for the second payments.  On moveable goods, aliens had to pay a double rate of 3s.4d for the first payments, and 2s for the second payments, and on lands they were to pay 5s.4d for the first payments, and 2s.8d for the second payments.  Those aliens without taxable assets paid a poll tax of 4d per head for both payments of the second, third and fourth subsidies.  Payment was to be in February and June annually in 1602, 1603 and 1604 and in February 1605. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.958, 995-998. 

  1621:   E179/186/407E179/266/2  
Although originally due to begin on 16 January, after two prorogations Parliament eventually opened on 30 January 1621.  A letter of 17 February 1621 recorded in CSP Dom, 1619-23, p.225 shows that by that date a grant of two subsidies had been made in anticipation of war in the defence of the Palatinate, although long discussions in committees meant that the bill did not receive royal assent until 22 March, by a commission dated 21 March (Statutes of the Realm iv.1208).  The roll of statutes enacted in this parliament is lacking, and the act for the subsidies is consequently not included in the printed statutes, but a copy of the act has recently been located among the State Papers, from which it is evident that the act was written before 26 March 1621 (SP 46/65, ff.122-140).  Commissioners to levy the first subsidy were to receive their commissions by 26 March 1621, and the assessment was to be completed by 31 March 1621, certified at the Exchequer by 20 April 1621 and paid in one payment on 1 May 1621.  The rates for this subsidy were 4s per pound on landed income, levied on all individuals and corporations holding lands valued at 20s or more per annum.  Those with goods worth £3 or more paid a tax of 2s.8d in the pound (E 179/193/279; E 179/259/1).  Aliens were to pay double these rates, and if not liable in either category of wealth, were charged with a poll tax of 8d per head.  The second subsidy was to be levied in two unequal payments, though the thresholds of liability remained the same as for the first subsidy, in both categories of wealth.  For the first payment of the second subsidy, the commissions were to be received by the commissioners by 20 July 1621, and the assessment was to be completed by 31 August 1621 and certified at the Exchequer by 30 September 1621; payment was due on 1 November 1621.  The rates levied on land for this payment were 2s.8d per pound, and on goods, 1s.8d per pound.  Aliens were again to be charged double these rates, and those without any taxable property were liable for an 8d per head poll tax — 4d for each payment of the second subsidy.  Letters from commissioners for assessment indicate that assessment for this first payment of the second subsidy took place from August to October 1621.  Commissioners for the second payment of the second subsidy were to receive their commissions by 20 January 1622, and the second payment was to be assessed by 28 February 1622, certified by 31 March 1622 and paid on 1 May 1622.  The rates levied for this payment were 16d per pound on land, and 12d per pound on goods (E 179/193/285; E 179/193/286). 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.1208. 

  1624:   E179/186/430E179/186/422E179/186/425E179/270/28  
Parliament was originally summoned to meet on 12 February 1624, but bad weather postponed the opening until 19 February, and soon after 13 May it granted three subsidies, together with three fifteenths and tenths.  The rates were the same as in previous subsidies, but each was to be collected in one payment.  Individuals and corporations paid 2s.8d per pound for moveable goods worth £3 or more, and 4s per pound for land worth £1 or more per annum.  Aliens paid double these rates (5s.4d per pound on goods and 8s per pound on lands), and those aliens without taxable assets paid an 8d per head poll tax for each subsidy.  The first subsidy was to be assessed by 20 June, certified at the Exchequer by 30 June and paid by 10 July 1624; the second was to be assessed by 10 October, certified by 30 October and paid by 10 December 1624; and the third was to be assessed by 10 March, certified by 30 March and paid by 10 May 1625. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm iv.1209, 1248-1262. 

  1628:   E179/186/432E179/186/435  
Parliament opened on 17 March 1628, but it was not until satisfactory answer had been made by the king to their grievances — primarily his assent to the Petition of Right — that the commons granted him five subsidies.  The subsidy bill was sent to the lords on 16 June and received royal assent before the adjournment of parliament on 29 June.  The tax was to be paid in four instalments.  The first two subsidies were to be paid in one payment, and the other three were payable individually.  The rates were otherwise the same as those for the previous subsidies.  For the first payment, that of two subsidies, individuals and corporations would have had to pay 5s.4d per pound for moveable goods worth £3 or more, and 8s per pound for lands worth £1 or more per annum.  Aliens and recusants, paying double these rates, would have had to pay 10s.8d per pound for their moveable goods, and 16s per pound for their lands, while the poll tax on those aliens and recusants possessing no estate was 16d per head.  For the single subsidies levied in the second, third and fourth payments, individuals and corporations were charged 2s.8d per pound for moveable goods worth £3 or more, and 4s per pound for lands worth £1 or more per annum.  Aliens paid double these rates (5s.4d per pound on goods and 8s per pound on lands), or a poll tax of 8d per head.  These hefty charges were payable over an unprecedentedly short period of time — less than eight months.  The first two subsidies were to be assessed by 30 June, certified at the Exchequer by 9 July and paid by 10 July 1628; the third (second payment) was to be assessed by 20 September, certified by 10 October and paid by 20 October 1628; the fourth (third payment) was to be assessed by 30 November, certified by 10 December and paid by 20 December 1628; and the fifth (fourth payment) was to be assessed by 10 February, certified by 20 February and paid by 1 March 1629.  From other extant records relating to these taxes, it is evident that payment of the fourth and the levy of the fifth subsidies did not conform to the schedule set out in the statute.  A letter dated 31 March 1629 from the privy council to the Suffolk commissioners explains that the levy of the fifth subsidy had been delayed in order to lessen the burden on the ‘poore sorte’, and to give time for the gentlemen who had attended the 1628 parliament to cool their tempers, and remember that they were only assessed ‘half as much as in former times’.  The commissioners were told to improve their performance in the levy of the last subsidy, complaining that ‘the former payments have been collected and retorned with so loose a hand that half of the last subsidy being payable the 10th of December last is not yet received’, and were cautioned against under-assessing. 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm v.23, 39-52. 

  1640:   E179/186/452  
Parliament opened on 3 November 1640.  After protests against the raising of ‘ship money’, which it claimed to be illegal and unconstitutional, it voted two subsidies on 10 December for relieving the king's army and the northern counties; on 23 December it granted an additional two subsidies to be used for the same purpose.  The money was said to be urgently needed, and little time was allowed for its collection.  The subsidies were to be collected in two payments, which amounted, in effect, to paying two double subsidies.  The rates, therefore, were the same as those for the first payment of the previous grant of subsidies (the five subsidies granted in 1628).  For each payment of two subsidies, individuals and corporations were to be charged 5s.4d per pound for moveable goods worth £3 or more, and 8s per pound for lands worth £1 or more per annum.  Aliens and recusants, paying double these rates, were to pay 10s.8d per pound for their moveable goods, and 16s per pound for their lands, while the poll tax on those aliens and recusants possessing no estate was 16d per head.  The first two subsidies were to be assessed by 27 February, certified at the Exchequer by 4 March and paid by 10 March 1641; the third and fourth were to be assessed by 1 April, certified by 20 April and paid by 10 May 1641.  The dates on which payments were due may, however, have been subsequently altered.  The assessment for the first two subsidies in Brixton hundred in Surrey, although making no reference to the payment date, was not certified until 23 March 1641, and not returned to the Exchequer until 5 April 1641.  The certificate of assessment merely states that the money was to be paid over by the high collector ‘imediately upon his Receipt thereof unto Robert Bateman and others’ at the chamberlain's office at the Guildhall in London (E 179/186/448).  This may be in response to an order of the House of Commons, dated 6 December 1641, that monies from subsidies in arrears should be paid directly into the Chamber of London, and not the Receipt of the Exchequer (E 179/274/47). 
⇨ Statutes of the Realm V.54, 58-78.