The corporation of Shrewsbury: Subsidy rolls

Pages 6-7

The Manuscripts of Shrewsbury and Coventry Corporations [Etc] Fourth Report, Appendix: Part X. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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II.—Subsidy Rolls.

Of these there is an unusually full series, from the end of the 13th century to the time of Queen Anne, commencing at an earlier date than any now in the Record Office. There are three undated rolls of Edw. I., being taxations of a sixth, (Nov. 1294) of a ninth (1297), and of a twentieth (1306). Two rolls are dated in Edward's 25th and 26th years, (1296–7, 1297–8), but these were not forthcoming at the time of my inspection, and appear to have been temporarily mislaid. There is also one in which the proportion is not specified, on two membranes, of which one bears an endorsement of the total as being 220l. 9s. 4d., and the other 134l. 14d.; but it is possible that this is rather a municipal assessment than a regal. An assessment for a tenth ("R[egis] xam") of the ward of the Castle Foregate and of the liberties belongs to the beginning of the 14th century, probably to the reign of Edward II. For that reign there is an assessment of a twenty-fifth (granted in 1309), which is very minute in its details of all personal property; a taxation of the liberties of the town at Easter in that year; a fifteenth for the town in 1313 ("Tallagium factum tempore r. E. fil. r. E. vi.") and of the liberties in the same year ("Taxacio libert. ville Salop. XVe domino r. concesse, de anno r. r. Edwardi fil. r. Edwardi vijmo incipiente"), on six numbered membranes; and a fifteenth in the ninth year (1316), in which 154 persons are taxed. For the reign of Edw. III. there is only one roll, that of a tenth in his tenth year (1336), and but one for Rich. II. That one, however, is specially interesting as being the taxation in 1380 for every person above the age of 14 which caused the insurrection of Wat Tyler, and as consequently giving the total of the population of the town above that age. It is headed, "Compotus Ric. de Graffton, Walteri de Brom. . . . ., Hug. Donfowe, et Johannis le Tyelere, collectorum subsidii domino Regi concessi in villa Salop et libertate ejusdem (struck out), videlicet de qualibet persona laica, homine et femina, etatis xiiij annorum iiijd," and begins, "In primis, in eadem villa Salop et suburbiis ejusdem computantur strata et venelle xv., quorum nomina sunt subscripta, cum numero personarum commorantium in eisdem, mendicantibus absque fraude prout in commissione continetur exceptis." The total is thus stated at the end: "Et sic in villa et libertate Salop computantur in totali summa tam de viris quam de feminis laicis etatis xiiij annorum, Ml Ml iiijxx et iij persone, secundum computacionem ad C vxx, de quibus quidem Ml Ml iiijxx et iii personis dicti collectores r[eceperunt] de qualibet persona iiijd, unde summa totalis recepta se extendit ad xxxiiijli xiiijs et iiijd." The roll is endorsed with the names of the collectors in the outlying liberties, but not with their returns. (fn. 1) The reigns of Henry V. and VII. are blanks; for that of Henry VI. there are three or four rolls, and one for Edward IV., of a fifteenth in 1474–5; but from the time of Hen. VIII. onwards the series is very regular. The latter king's series begins with the account of a benevolence in 1522; "the names and summes of those persones that have made lone or prest of money to the King's grace the xith day of November in the xiiijth yere," &c. In the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. there are returns of collections made for provision of the royal household. The ship-money accounts form a large file in 1635–9, and include an original letter of instructions signed by the Privy Council; and in 1644 there is a small tattered parcel of returns of the monthly assessment at 4d. in the pound levied for the king in the months of June to September. Some papers connected with this assessment will be found below among the Miscellaneous Papers under the same year.


  • 1. It is printed, with notes by Rev. G. W. D. Fletcher, in Trans. of Shropsh. Archœol. Soc., 2nd S., II. 17–28.