Two Early London Subsidy Rolls. Originally published by [s.n.], [s.l.], 1951.
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IV. Assessments of the wards.
(a) Errors in the sums total.
Errors in addition frequently occur in medieval tax-rolls and the like. The subsidy rolls under discussion form no exception in this respect, but the errors are on the whole slight. On differences between preliminary and final sums total in the Subsidy of 1319 see infra, p. 123.
In the roll for the Subsidy of 1292 Bas, Cordw, Ports, and Vintry show correct sums and the sum total for Bridge is correct if nos. 10 and 36 had a tax of 26s. 8d. instead of the unparalleled 25s. 8d. and 26s. 9d., which are doubtless mere clerical errors. Bill is 1d. short, but this must be due to a slip of the pen, iij.d. having been written for iiij.d. The only amounts containing pence are 40d. and 6s. 8d., and an uneven figure is excluded in the sum total. The return for Bish is damaged and the sum total cannot be verified.
In the remaining five wards there are errors, doubtless due to mistakes in addition. In all cases a round or standard sum such as 4d., 3s. 4d., 6s. 8d., 1 mark is either missing or in excess. BroadSt is 4d. in excess. The clerk may have counted one item of 3s. as 3s. 4d. Walbr is 3s. 4d. in excess. Crip is 6s. 8d. in excess, while Dowg is 6s. 8d. short. One item of this amount was evidently forgotten in one case, added by mistake in the other. Queenhithe is one mark short. One item of 2 marks may have been misread as 1 mark.
In the roll for the Subsidy of 1319 the sums for Bridge and Queenhithe cannot be definitely verified, because a few sums are illegible or doubtful. They may well be correct. The final sums total of 18 wards (CripI and CripE and FarrI and FarrE being counted as four wards) are exactly correct: Aldersg, Aldg (fn. 1), Bas, Bill, Bish, BreadSt, Castle, Cheap; ColemSt, Cordw, Cornh, CripI, CripE, Dowg, FarrE, LimeSt, Ports, Tower.
The remaining five wards show errors, which must be called very slight. Three wards are 1s. 10d. short between them, two wards are 5¾d. in excess between them. This gives a deficit of 1s. 4¼d. for all the wards, supposing the sums of Bridge and Queenhithe to be correct.
Walbr is 4d., BroadSt 6d., FarrI (fn. 2) 1s. short, Cand 4d., Langb 1¾d. in excess. In Walbr a sum of viij.d. may have been read as iiij.d. In BroadSt the clerk may have counted one item of 2s. 6d. as 2s. The 4d. in excess under Cand may be explained in the same way as this error in 1292 S under BroadSt. The extra 1¾d. under Langb must be due to an error in addition. The sum total cannot end with ¾d., since this amount occurs only in 6¾d., which is found 14 times.
The aggregate of the assessments in all the wards found in the "Schedule" is £916 18¼d. (fn. 3) The correct sum is a good deal higher, £949 11s. 6¼d.
(b) The Subsidy of 1292.
The sums total (fn. 4) range from just over £92 to just over £5.
Bridge had a sum total of £69 17s. (100 t.). There were 27 assessments of from £3 to £1 with a joint amount of over £43. No less than 20 paid one mark, and several such sums as 10s., 6s. 8d. There were few small assessments.
Medium wards were Billingsgate, BroadSt, Queenhithe and Vintry with totals of from £41 16s. 4d. to £35 8d. and about the same number of taxpayers, only slightly lower than in the rich wards. Bassishaw may be placed in this group, considering its small number of taxpayers.
Poor wards were Bishopsgate, Cripplegate I and E, and Portsoken with totals ranging from £33 11s. 8d. to £5 11s. The total of Cripplegate I is not much below that of Vintry, but the number of its taxpayers was far larger, indeed the same as that of Dowgate, the richest ward of all.
(c) The Subsidy of 1319.
The order between the wards, so far as a comparison can be made, shows some striking differences from that in 1292. But the highest sum total is much the same in both subsidies. The lowest sum total, on the other hand, is a little over £5 in 1292, only 24s. 3d. in 1319.
Dowgate again heads the list with a sum total of £96 9s. 8d. (56 or 57 t. as against 83 or 86 in 1292). 11 people with assessments ranging from 40 marks to £1 paid over £84. Only 17 had assessments of from 2s. to 1s. (the lowest tax).
Vintry comes as a good second with £94 10s. 11¼d. The immense rise from £35 8d. in 1292 is striking, especially seeing that in 1332 the total was £37 10s., about the same as in 1292. There must have been a boom in the wine-trade in 1319, and we may suppose there were many vintners with high assessments in the missing return for the ward.
Walbrook is third with £79 9s. 8d. (76 t.). One taxpayer had an assessment of £40 and 12 paid from £3 to £1. These 13 persons account for over £60. The remainder mostly had assessments of between 10s. and 20d. Only one paid 13½d., one 12d., the lowest sums.
Cripplegate I paid £77 4s. 11d. (110 t.). It had moved up among the rich wards as regards the sum total, but the number of taxpayers was high. Its 7 high taxpayers, one assessed at £20, one at 40 marks, between them paid over £61. The majority of the people were small taxpayers, 14 paying 20d., 11 13½d., 9 10d. and 20 6¾d. only. A few rich people sent the total up. It looks as if Cripplegate I had become a residential quarter for wealthy people; five of the acting aldermen lived there.
Cheap paid £57 9s. 6½d, but it had no less than 173 taxpayers. It had one taxpayer with an assessment of 10 marks and 13 assessed at from 5 marks to £1, whose taxes account for somewhat over £29 only. The majority of taxpayers had relatively small assessments; 27 had 20d., 41 10d., 4 8d., but none the minimum of 6¾d or 6½d.
Queenhithe had a total of £41 9s. 6d. (76 or 77 t.). There were 17 taxpayers with assessments of between £5 and £1 and a joint tax of £30 10s. There were a good many small taxpayers, but also 17 with medium amounts (1 mark to 5s.).
Farringdon I had about the same total as Queenhithe (£41 5s. 8¾d.), but it had more than double the number of taxpayers (172). There was one really high assessment (10 marks), but only 9 between that sum and £1. These high taxpayers contributed just over £17. There were few medium taxpayers, but numerous small ones. Thus 34 people paid 20d., 8 13½d. and 12d. each, 29 10d., 10 6¾d., one even 6½d.
Bridge had sunk from nearly £70 in 1292 to £40 2s. 8¼d. (82 t.). It had one really big assessment (25 marks), but only 6 more of £1 or above that sum. These account for a little under £24. Had it not been for Henry Norman's 25 marks, Bridge would have sunk into an insignificant place. The fishmongers and stockfishmongers of Bridge seem to have had a poor year in 1319. The majority of assessments amount to between 6s. 8d. and 40d.
BroadSt paid £37 18s. 10¾d. or about the same as in 1292. The number of taxpayers was also about the same, 70 in 1319, 65 in 1292. There was one big assessment (£20) and four of from £5 to £1, together a little below £30. Small assessments (from 2s. 8d. to 6¾d.) were in the majority. 34 people paid 20d. or less, 11 6¾d.
Candlewick had a total of £30 18s. 6¾d. (66 or 67 t.), but £13 6s. 8d. should probably of right be credited to Farringdon E, viz. the tax on the 24 sacks of wool that had belonged to Roger Chauntecler. If this sum is deducted, the ward paid only £17 11s. 10¾d. There were, apart from the £13 6s. 8d., only five assessments of £1 or more, together amounting to just over £6. The majority of assessments (41) range from 40d. to 8d.
Farringdon E had a total of £19 6s. 9d. (103 t.), but to this sum should probably be added the £13 6s. 8d. entered in the margin under Candlewick. If so, the total of the ward would rise to £32 13s. 5d. The highest taxes were otherwise one of 1 mark and five of 11s. 8d. 43 persons had assessments of 20d. or less.
Cripplegate E paid £16 5s. 4¾d. (80 t. (fn. 5)). Three high taxpayers contributed a little over £6. No less than 55 people paid only 20d. or less, 21 6¾d.
Bishopsgate had gone down from nearly £17 in 1292 to £4 19s. 9d., which means a decrease of almost exactly £12, while the number of taxpayers had risen from 36 to 65. The highest assessment in 1319 was 6s. 8d., and 53 were of 20d. or less.
Bassishaw had gone down from £8 10s. in 1292 to £4 9s. 7¾d. in 1319, that is by almost exactly £4, while the number of taxpayers had risen from 13 to 36. Its highest taxpayer in 1319 paid 1 mark, whereas in 1292 five high taxpayers alone contributed £7. 22 people in 1319 paid 20d. or less, one even the minimum of 6½d.
Portsoken had gone down by about 30s. from £5 11s. in 1292 to £3 19s. 8d., while the number of taxpayers had gone up from 23 to 42. The highest tax was 10s. There were 27 assessments of 20d. or less, 14 of 6¾d.
Rich wards were Dowgate, Vintry, Cordwainer and Tower with totals of from £96 9s. 8d. to £67 13s. 8d. and taxpayers numbering from 76 to 56. Cripplegate I and Cheap with totals of over £77 and £57 respectively may be placed in this group with regard to the actual sum total, but the number of taxpayers, especially in Cheap, was much above those in the really rich wards.
Medium wards were Billingsgate, Queenhithe, Bridge, Broad St, Bread St, Langbourn and Cornhill with totals ranging from £45 15s. 6d. to £21 16s. 10d. and taxpayers numbering from 87 to 57. Farringdon I belongs here as regards its total assessment (over £41), but it had 172 taxpayers and was thus in a special position. If Farringdon E, with 103 taxpayers, had rightly a sum total of over £32, it may be placed with Farringdon I. Cripplegate E and Castle Baynard, with totals of just over £16, held an intermediate position between this and the next group, since the numbers of taxpayers were large (80 and 59), and with them may be placed Candlewick (net sum total £17 11s. 10¾d. and 66 taxpayers).
(d) Sums total in the two Subsidies compared.
The aggregate of the assessments in the 12 wards in the Subsidy of 1292 was £512 8d. The sum for the same wards in 1319 was higher, just over £616. This seems to contradict the statement made above that the Subsidy of 1292 was heavier than that of 1319. The truth is that the Subsidy of 1319 was heavier for a number of high taxpayers, but that the Subsidy of 1292 was more severe for medium and small taxpayers. It is also to be remembered that the taxes of aldermen are missing in 1292.
The totals were higher in 1292 in the following wards: Bassishaw (c. £4), Bishopsgate (c. £12), Bridge (c. £29 15s.), Broad St (c. £1), Portsoken (c. 30s.), together c. £48. The totals were lower in 1292 in Billingsgate (c. £4), Cordwainer (c. £14), Cripplegate I and E (c. £49), Dowgate (c. £4), Queenhithe (c. £4), Vintry (nearly £60), Walbrook (c. £18), together about £153.
The higher totals in 1292 are found in poor and medium wards, which had few high taxpayers in 1319. The high total of Bridge in 1292 is striking, but is explained by the considerable number of medium assessments (1 mark-10s.).
In most of the rich wards (that is rich in 1319) the totals show a very considerable rise from 1292 to 1319, notably in Vintry, but also in Cordwainer and Walbrook. The rise in Cripplegate, especially Cripplegate I, where it was nearly £44, must be due to special circumstances, as already hinted at. Whereas in 1292 the high taxpayers (in CripI) only paid £20 between them, in 1319 the seven high taxpayers contributed over £61. The rise in the contributions of the high taxpayers is about the same as that in the totals.
(e) Preliminary sums total and the Schedule sums total.
In the Subsidy of 1292 a preliminary sum total under Cripplegate was eventually cancelled. The original sum was £16 18s. 8d., the definitive one being £44 8s. 8d. The original sum is difficult to explain. It cannot be the sum total for CripE, which works out at £10 10s. 4d. Possibly the sum for some other ward, one not represented in the roll, was entered by mistake.
The discrepancies between the two sums are in some cases considerable. Under Cand the preliminary sum is £13 6s. 8d. short, under Dowg £9 13s. 4d. (or just under £10) in excess of the definitive sum. Under ColemSt it is 15s. short, under Langb 16s. 6d. in excess of the definitive sum. In other wards the discrepancies are slight, as under Bish, BreadSt, FarrE. Under Cheap the preliminary sum has been corrected by 9s. being added above the original 6s.
Small discrepancies may be due to errors in addition. When, for instance, the preliminary sum of BreadSt is 20d. in excess, the simple explanation may be that the clerk added one item of that amount. But it is less probable that large discrepancies can be so accounted for. We must reckon with changes in the individual assessments made by the chief taxers after the preliminary sums had been entered. Such a change is actually seen in the return for Cand (see p. 91). The discrepancy under ColemSt might be explained by one erasure (at no. 19) and the addition of no. 28 between the lines. The tax of no. 19 is 13s. 4d., that of no. 28 5s. If the original tax of no. 19 was 40d. and no. 28 had not been entered when the first addition was made, the sum total for the ward works out at just £6 19s. 1d., or 15s. less than the definitive sum total. No erasures can be seen in the return for Langb, but one or two of the persons exempted may originally have had assessments amounting to 16s. 6d. Under Dowgate there are two erasures, but, as pointed out p. 15 (foot-note), it is doubtful if they can explain the excess of £9 13s. 4d. in the preliminary sum total. However, an error of addition is possible even in the column of pounds, and £106 3s. might conceivably be an error for £96 3s. If we then assume that the original assessment of Roger de Wodeham (no. 33) was half a mark (6s. 8d.) instead of the definitive one mark, the sum total for the ward would be exactly £96 3s.
In connection with these double sums total we must discuss those in the Schedule referred to on p. 8, which gives a list of the sums total for all the wards. Where the Exchequer copy has one sum only, the Schedule generally agrees with it exactly, even as regards such a figure as 108s. 4d., namely under Aldersg, Aldg, Bas, Bill, BroadSt, Castle, Cordw, Cornh, CripI, CripE, FarrI, LimeSt, Qu and Tower. There are differences under Bridge, Ports and Walbr, a slight one under Ports, where the Schedule sum is 6¾d. short, larger ones under the two other wards, the Schedule sum for Bridge being 26s. 8d. (or 2 marks), that for Walbr 29s. 10d. in excess of those in the roll. Where, on the other hand, the Exchequer roll has two sums total, the Schedule sum generally agrees exactly with the preliminary one in the roll, namely under Bish, BreadSt, Cand, ColemSt, and Dowg. Under FarrE the sums agree exactly, but there is nothing in the Exchequer roll corresponding to the addition "preter Rogerum Chauntecler" in the Schedule. There are slight discrepancies under Cheap and Langb, the sum for Cheap being 2d., that for Langb 10¾d. short of the preliminary sum in the roll. These may be due to clerical errors.
The Schedule must have been based on a copy of the roll in which the definitive sums total had not yet been entered. That copy cannot have been the extant one, since some of the sums in the Schedule, and the addition under FarrE, are not found in it. There only remains the lost copy that was to be kept by the City authorities.
The Schedule is a finely executed document, which makes the impression of being an authoritative one meant for some special purpose. But the fact that the sum total for all the wards is erroneous raises some doubt as to its authority, and it cannot represent the definitive result of the taxation. In the MS. the name of the alderman is entered in another hand before each ward. The aldermen were those of 1319-20, those acting after the new-elections just referred to. Thus the alderman for Bill was William de Hedersete, elected on Jan. 24, 1319-20. Broad St seems to have been vacant. Henry Nasard was acting on Feb. 1, 1319-20, and his successor, William de Caustone, on Aug. 7, 1320. The names of the aldermen must have been added after Feb. 1, 1319-20, but the Schedule itself may have been drawn up a good deal earlier.
(f) Table of assessments of the wards in the Subsidy of 1292.
(g) Table of assessments of the wards in the Subsidy of 1319.
Since the total of assessments "in Rotulo" was £167 5s., the net yield of the Subsidy was £783 8s. 3¾d. (or £783 9s. 8d. after correction of certain sums for the wards). The net total given by James H. Ramsay, EHR xxiv, 319, is £783 8s. 3½d. or one farthing short, no doubt because it was overlooked that the "q." in the sum total under Aldgate was accidentally omitted in the net sum. Ramsay's sum was made up from the Account; cf. p. 351 ff.