I. General remarks.
(a) Clerics and non-freemen as taxpayers.
The subsidies were generally lay subsidies, and clergy were to be
taxed only for goods found upon temporal property, which were not
assessed for clerical taxes (Willard, EHR 29, 318). In the Subsidy
of 1292 no cleric can be found to have been included, but in that
of 1319 there is one certain case, John de Epwelle [CripI 12].
Master Henry le Mareschal [Langb 54] was originally assessed at
over 40s., but the entry was cancelled, the remark "quia clericus"
being added in the margin. He will have been a cleric.
Only London citizens (freemen) were normally taxpayers, and
there is nothing to suggest that any taxpayer in 1319 was not a
freeman. Two persons were struck out because not freemen. Henry
Nasard, later alderman of BroadSt, and a taxpayer in 1319, was
distrained for a twentieth in 1306, a silver cup of the value of 10
marks being seized for a tax of 100s., exactly the amount of his
tax in 1319. He pleaded that he was not a freeman at the time, and
the cup was restored to him (LBD 217 f.).
But in the earlier roll several persons appear as taxpayers, who
were not freemen at the time. A safe case is Robert Persun, who was
assessed at £2 in Walbrook. He must be the Robert Persone, skinner,
who was elected a sheriff in 1309. After the election had taken place
it was pointed out that he was never a freeman of the City, nor
admitted to the freedom, nor sworn, and the election was quashed
(LBC 180). He must have been admitted a freeman later. It is
noteworthy that a Robert Person, probably the same man, is
styled citizen of London as early as 1288 (C1).
No less than 7 taxpayers of 1292 in Bridge seem not to have
been admitted freemen till about 1310, the admissions being booked
in LBD. They are: Reginald Abel (no. 4), John Helis (no. 16),
Robert de Eclyntone (no. 17), Gerad le Ceynturer (no. 31), John
May (no. 33), Simon Kidmenstre (no. 37), Robert Palmere (no. 66).
Two instances are found in Walbrook: John de Heynesham (no. 5)
and Phelip le Fount (no. 64); one in Billingsgate: John de Doddinghirst, barber (no. 22); two in Cripplegate E: Robert Podyfat
(no. 14), Walter le Gardiner (no. 25). It is possible that some of
these persons, who were admitted c. 1310, were namesakes of the
taxpayers of 1292, but it is improbable that there were two persons
called Reginald Abel or Robert de Iclyndone (Eclyntone) or Robert
Podyfat. It is also noteworthy that an apprentice of Gerard le
Ceynturer was admitted a freeman in 1310-11, and that it is
stated about Philip le Fount (or Lenfaunt) that he had long borne
the burdens of the City (LBD 104). It is doubtless more than a
coincidence that Reginald Abel and Robert de Iclyndone, stockfishmongers, and Robert le Paumer were admitted within a few
days of each other (LBD 71).
It was not unusual for admission to have been deferred for a
considerable time. Several statements in the lists of admission in
LBD prove this to have been so. Thus Richard de Gravele, called
Bokskyn [1319 S, FarrI 151] was admitted in 1311, but it is stated
that he was articled in 1276. Simon de Benstede, who was admitted
in 1310-11, paid a fee of only 2s. 6d. "because he stood well in the
City for the past thirty years and long undertook the burdens of
the City". The statement "had long borne the burdens of the
City" or the like is found also, for instance, in connection with the
admissions of Henry de Bristowe (LBD 72), Geoffrey de Chelchethe (ib. 140), Hamo de Chepe (ib. 149). The last was a taxpayer in
1319 [Walbr 4].
(b) The ward where taxpayers were to be taxed.
People were taxed in one ward only, even if they had property in
more wards than one, and property of London citizens outside
London was taxed in London. We may thus take it for granted that
if a name appears in more than one ward, different persons are
meant, and not that the same person was taxed in two or more
wards for property in these wards. One might be tempted to suppose
that there was only one John de Pampesworth, though taxpayers
with that name are found in three wards, but there is no doubt that
there were three persons with this name in London in 1319, who
can be identified as people of different occupations.
Before 1311 there was some doubt as to the ward where a taxpayer was to be assessed, and it is not certain that all the taxpayers
of 1292 were actually resident in the ward where they appear. But
in 1311 an ordinance was issued as regards the ward in which
assessment and collection of tallages was to be made; it is printed
in LBD 285 f. It was ordained that if a citizen has his mansion in
divers Wards, or has the entrance and exit of his mansion in one
Ward and the hall, chambers, and kitchen in another Ward; and
further if he have his mansion as aforesaid in one Ward, whilst his
merchandise and goods for sale lie in another Ward, the citizens
shall henceforth be taxed, tallaged, and assessed in those Wards
wherein their halls, chambers, and the rest of their houses are
situate, and where they eat, rise, and sleep, for all their goods and
chattels which they possess within the said City. But as touching
Aldermen, it was agreed and ordained that thenceforth they
should always be taxed and assessed in those Wards where they
reside, and not in the Wards where they are Aldermen.
Aldermen, so far as can be seen, were not taxed with the rest of the
citizens in 1292. In view of the fragmentary state of the roll it is
impossible to be quite sure of this, since a number of aldermen
may have been taxed in wards for which the returns are missing.
But we should expect to have found Wolmar de Essex under
Billingsgate, of which he was alderman and where he presumably
lived. Adam de Fulham, alderman of Bridge, doubtless lived in that
ward, where he is missing. John de Gisors, alderman of Vintry, probably lived in that ward, but he is not among taxpayers. Thomas
de Stanes, alderman of Broad St, probably lived in Cripplegate
I, but is absent in both wards. John de Dunstaple, alderman of
Walbrook, is assessed under Walbrook, but he was not elected
till 1292 or 1293. The only alderman acting in 1290-2 who is
listed in the returns is Robert de Rokesle, alderman of Lime St
and entered among taxpayers of Dowgate, but he has no assessment and will have been put in by mistake. We must not conclude
that aldermen were exempted from taxation. They may have been
assessed separately, perhaps by the chief taxers.
In the subsidy of 1319 aldermen were assessed in the ward where
they lived. No less than five aldermen were resident in Cripplegate
There was some doubt as to the ward in which three taxpayers
were to be assessed in 1319. John Sok [BroadSt 74] was struck out
because he had been assessed in Castle Baynard ward, where he
duly appears. William atte Rode [BreadSt 22] was exempted because
assessed in Cripplegate, where he is found. Bernard de la Pouche
[Tower 64] was exempted because he lived in Langbourn ward,
but he was apparently forgotten by the taxers of the latter ward.
The case of Roger Chauntecler is peculiar. In the return for
Farringdon Extra the column of assessments shows a blank after
his name, an assessment having been erased, and the "t" is absent
at the beginning of the line. But in the "Schedule" (LBE 125) is
added to the sum total for Farr E "preter Rogerum Chauntecler."
The explanation of these facts is given by a marginal note under
Candlewick ward, opposite to the entry for John de la Nonneys,
according to which an addition was to be made to the tax of the
latter of 13 pounds and half a mark, being the twelfth of 24 sacks
of wool found in Billingsgate ward, which had belonged to Roger
Chauntecler. This sum is added at the end of the return to the original sum total of 17 pounds odd, raising the sum total for Candlewick to 30 pounds odd.
Miss Thrupp, op. cit., p. 115, referring to this entry, suggests that
the collectors discovering the 24 sacks of wool belonging to Roger
Chauntecler in Billingsgate confiscated two and sold them for 10
marks. It must at least have been for 10 marks each, since 20
marks are equivalent to £13 6s. 8d. And we are not told why the
sacks were taxed in Candlewick ward and why the entry is placed
over against the name of John de la Nonneys. Besides the sacks
did not belong to Roger Chauntecler, but had belonged to him
(fuerunt). What happened seems to have been this.
Roger Chauntecler apparently had failed to declare 24 sacks of
wool and had concealed them in Billingsgate ward. The taxers
were unaware of their existence, but they seem to have suspected
that he had taxable property somewhere, and left the matter of his
assessment open, as indicated by the additional note in the Schedule. After the work of assessment had been finished by the subtaxers and the returns had been handed over to the chief taxers,
and the latter had entered the sum total for Candlewick, it was
found that Roger Chauntecler had sold 24 sacks of wool stored in
Billingsgate to John de la Nonneys. The sale must have taken place
after the date of the assessment (Michaelmas Day 1319). One might
have thought that the chief taxers would have held Roger Chauntecler liable for the tax, but they seem to have simply taxed
the wool. They may, as Miss Thrupp suggests, have confiscated
two sacks and left it to John de la Nonneys to arrange the matter
with Roger Chauntecler. If John de la Nonneys had acquired the
wool before the day fixed for the assessment there would have
been no reason to mention Roger Chauntecler as earlier owner, and
the note on the tax of the latter in the Schedule is unexplained.
The chief point is here that Roger Chauntecler was not taxed
outside the ward in which he lived. (fn. 1)
There seems to be one certain case in the subsidy of 1319 of a
London citizen having been taxed in London also for property
outside the City. Under the name of John de Triple [Walbr 69] is
written in a small hand "de .xviij. et .xij." This must mean "de
octodecima et duodecima", implying that John de Triple was assessed for the twelfth in London and the eighteenth raised in
country districts. He was erroneously charged for the subsidy of
1313 in Hertfordshire, though ultimately released (Willard, p. 153).
He may have had property in Herts also in 1319.
Exempted from taxation were people with a value of taxable
movables below a certain minimum, in 1319 half a mark (6s. 8d.),
deduction having been made for certain articles, the same in 1290
and 1319 (cf. p. 11). Some people were exempted for other reasons,
among others the moneyers.
Three persons have a blank in the column of assessments in the
returns for the subsidy of 1292. Robert de Rokesle senior [Dowg 33]
was the alderman of that name, on whom see p. 90. Why John le
Bukeler [Bas 11] was not assessed cannot be determined. Roger
Crock [BishI 12] is a special case. It is stated in Select Cases of the
King's Bench (Selden 58) in 1294 that he was a debtor of William de
Hameldon, king's clerk and a well-known financier, and had fraudulently alienated to his sons the house where he lived and two
others and was devoid of means in February 1291-2. No doubt
this transaction explains why Roger was not assessed for the
subsidy in 1292.
The number of persons exempted is far larger in the subsidy of
1319. Apparently the sub-taxers provisionally included some names
that had to be cancelled for one reason or the other. The number
of such items is at least 33. On Bernard de la Pouche and Roger
Chauntecler see p. 91.
In all cases, except one, the column of assessments shows a
blank. The exception is Master Henry le Mareschal [Langb 54],
but the entry has been heavily scored through. He will have been
a cleric (cf. p. 88).
The reason for exemption was in most other cases doubtless
technical poverty, and this is often expressly stated by the remark
"nichil quia pauper" or "pauper" in the margin or elsewhere. The
persons are Hugh le Wyrdrawere Bish 47, Richard de Farndone
and Stephen atte Holte Cornh 57, 59, John de Harlestede Cand 35,
Richard de Nortone CripI 66, John le Fayner, William Cocus,
and Robert de Chesthunt Qu 57, 64, 67, Avice Clenhond Tower 62.
The initial t has not been filled in before these names. In some
wards a "nichil" is added in the margin and the "t" is missing:
Roger le Brewere, Reginald de Vndle and Alice de Bokyngham
Langb 18, 48, 65, Hugh de Copham Cordw 9, Robert le Dorturer,
Agnes de Newenham and Richard le Long FarrE 68, 73, 80,
Stephen le Nayler FarrI 162. Most of these were doubtless technical
paupers, but Reginald de Vndle may have been exempted as a
legal pleader. Hugh de Parys Langb 39 has no assessment and t
De before his name is cancelled. He will have been a pauper.
In a few cases the column of assessments shows a blank and the
initial "t" has not been filled in, there being no remark in the
margin: Robert de Stowe, John atte Bataille and Sabina le Taburer BroadSt 48, 56, 66, John Cosyn and Henry le Marchal BreadSt
16, 25, Robert de Clactone, John de Fylers and William Huberd
Aldersg 12, 31, 37. Most of these were doubtless paupers, but
William Huberd was probably a moneyer and exempted for that
reason. An assessment has been erased after his name.
The surnames of Queenhithe 81 and 82 are illegible, and an
assessment is not visible.
Two persons were struck out because they were not freemen,
John le White Tower 61 ("extranius" being added in the margin)
and Bankyn de Brounlexk Cand 53 ("non liber ville").
Two persons were struck out because non-existent, "nullus talis"
being added in the margin: Richard de Wodesslade Qu 19, William
atte Vyne Qu 56.
(d) "In Rotulo".
In connection with exemptions it will be convenient to deal
with the taxpayers in the Subsidy of 1319 who have "in R." or
"in Ro." before their names, since this marginal note has apparently been taken to indicate exemption. 19 taxpayers belong to
this group: John de Triple Walbr 69, John de Warle and Henry
Norman Bridge 60, 75, Stephen de Abyndone (alderman), Robert
Personn, Thomas Cok and Simon de Swanlonde Dowg 1, 3-5,
John de Wengraue (alderman) BroadSt 1, William Bonserieaunt
Aldg 1, Geoffrey de Meldeburne Cordw 68, John de Lyncolne
BreadSt 77, Chiuellus caligarius regis, John de Sellyngg, John le
Luter and Edmund le Latoner Cheap 163-6, Roger de Frowyk
(alderman), John atte Sole, John Smart Junior and John le Mynour
Tower 67-70. In Rotulo is usually abbreviated as "in R.", or
"in Ro.", but "in Rotulo" occurs in additions to sums total under
BreadSt and Tower.
The taxpayers in question generally had high, some very high,
assessments, as £40, 40 marks, £20 (two), 25 marks (two), 10 marks,
£5, £4, £2 (three), 33s. 4d., £1 (two). Two had a tax of 1 mark, one
a tax of 8s. 4d., Edmund le Latoner one of 40d. only. The sum total
of the assessments in Rotulo is no less than £167 5s.
Professor Willard apparently takes these persons to have been
exempted from taxation. In Parliamentary Taxes, p. 155, dealing
with the Subsidy of 1319, he remarks that some names were crossed
off because the men were exempt from taxation and refers to membranes 1, 3, etc. On membranes 1 and 3 no cases of exemption are
found, but on mem. 1 there is one taxpayer who has "in R." before
his name, and on mem. 3 there are no less than four such taxpayers,
and Professor Willard seems to be referring to them. This view
receives some support from the fact that certain among these
persons are known to have been exempted from taxation for life,
as John le Luter (or le Leutur) so early as 1295, John de Selling in
1309, John de Triple, Robert Person and Simon de Swanlond during
the reign of Edward II (op. cit. 153). John de Warle was exempted
from taxation in 1309. William Bonserieaunt and John atte Sole
were moneyers and as such normally exempted, and John le Mynour
may also have been a moneyer. But an exemption from taxation
could be withdrawn, at least temporarily, or people enjoying this
privilege might get a hint that a voluntary contribution was
expected from them on a special occasion.
The persons with "in R(o)." before their names were not exempt.
As Lady Stenton informs the editor in a private communication,
"in Rotulo" indicates that the taxpayers had not paid their taxes
and that the amounts were carried over to next year's Pipe Roll.
The roll referred to in these entries is not the Subsidy Roll, as might
be supposed, but the Pipe Roll. "In R(o)." will have been entered
after the collection had been finished. See also p. 351.
The reason why these taxpayers had got a respite may in some
cases have been simply a temporary inability to pay, but there are
circumstances which seem to indicate that some of these persons
were in a special position. Three were aldermen, and two among
these had taxes which they should not have been unable to pay.
Further the placing of these taxpayers in the returns offers some
In some wards, being high taxpayers, they are at the head of
the lists, as in Dowg, BroadSt, Aldg. In BreadSt and in Bridge
they are in the middle of the lists. But in Walbr, Cordw, Cheap
and Tower they are placed at the end of the lists. John de Triple
(Walbr) is followed by the sub-taxers and two taxpayers who were
evidently entered on a later occasion. Geoffrey de Meldeburne
(Cordw) comes before the sub-taxers and one more taxpayer. The
taxpayers with "in Ro." before their names in Cheap are followed
only by two widowed ladies and the sub-taxers. In Tower they
come before five taxpayers, among whom were doubtless the
sub-taxers for the ward. This cannot be a mere coincidence.
The taxpayers with "in R(o)." before their names seem to
have been added in these four wards after the lists had been drawn
up and before the sub-taxers' names had been entered. The
reason may be that these persons were known to have had an
exemption from taxation and were therefore omitted in the first
This suggests that the respite may in some cases have been a
privilege. If taxpayers who had had an exemption from taxation
were yet assessed for the Subsidy, they may have been granted the
liberty to pay at their own convenience. Other taxpayers may
have been allowed a respite for other reasons, for instance the
(e) The sub-taxers.
The sub-taxers were assessed by the chief taxers. It has been
shown by Professor Willard (pp. 62, 207 ff.) that the sub-taxers
were often assessed leniently and in round sums such as 1s., 1s.
6d., 2s.; in this way they got some compensation for their trouble.
In some cases taxpayers had a smaller tax when serving as subtaxers than they had when not so employed. This holds good for
country districts, but a similar system may have been followed in
London, and it is therefore desirable to deal separately with subtaxers and their assessments.
The sub-taxers of the Subsidy of 1292 are not indicated, and the
same is true of the Subsidy of 1319 as far as nine wards are concerned. In these nine wards they should generally be looked for
among the taxpayers placed towards the end of the lists (cf. p. 20),
but in most cases it is improfitable to make guesses as to definite
names. In some wards it is clear that the last four or five taxpayers
were not sub-taxers. Thus in Cornhill they include two paupers
and in Langbourn two women. But for Coleman St and Aldersgate
the last four or five may well be supposed to have been sub-taxers.
Those for Tower were pretty certainly the last five or the last four
but one (cf. p. 96), and Adam Hunteman may owe his low tax
of 1s. to his having been a sub-taxer.
The sub-taxers of the remaining wards are indicated by a Tax'
or Taxat' (Taxatores) or Nomina Tax[atorum] in the left margin.
Their number varies, but only in Cripplegate reaches the minimum
of six stipulated by the form of the Subsidy. Under Bishopsgate,
Candlewick, Cordwainer and Portsoken lines are drawn from the
Tax' to each name. In several wards there is a round bracket over
against a series of three to six names; this is found under BreadSt,
Bridge, Cripplegate, Dowgate, Queenhithe and Walbrook. In the
remaining wards there is a bracket consisting of lines drawn from
Tax' (Taxat') to the first and the last in a series of three to five
taxpayers, evidently all sub-taxers. The number of sub-taxers thus
varies between three, four, five, and six.
The six sub-taxers placed at the end of CripE doubtless represented Cripplegate ward as a whole. It is unlikely that CripE should
have had six sub-taxers. Apparently the first three were resident
in CripI, the last three in CripE. Robert Sely probably lived in
CripI like his father, and John Michel was assessed in CripI in 1292.
On William Jurdan no certain information is available.
It is worthy of notice that Robert Sely was alderman of LimeSt
on Oct. 28, 1319, but he may have been recently elected then. It is
hardly likely that an alderman would act as sub-taxer.
The assessments of the sub-taxers show much variation. The
highest is £10, the lowest 6¾d., practically the minimum assessment, paid by a sub-taxer in Bishopsgate. The sums are, the number
of persons assessed at each amount being added between brackets,
if more than one: £10, £5, 30s. (2), 20s., 16s. 8d., 16s. 1d., 1 mark (4),
11s. 8d., 10s. (3), 8s. 4d., 6s. 8d. or half a mark (5), 6s. (2), 5s. (11),
40d. (7), 3s., 2s. 2½d., 2s. (6), 20d. (11), 13½d. (3), 12d. or 1s. (2),
6¾d. It will be seen that 45 sub-taxers had assessments below
half a mark and 32 below 5s., the total number being 66.
The assessments of the sub-taxers do not generally show round
sums such as 1s. or 2s., those common in country districts. The
sums most often met with are 5s. and 20d., the latter the amount
most frequently found in the Subsidy and the former also very
often met with. The assessments in Bishopsgate are small, the
highest being 2s. 2½d.; but most taxpayers in this ward had small
taxes. It is impossible to determine if or to what extent a reduction
was made for sub-taxers, but it is intrinsically probable that one was
made for people of moderate means. The sub-taxers would be
chosen among people who were of good standing and generally
trusted, and one would expect them to have had taxable movables
worth considerably more than half a mark, the minimum value
taxed. The low assessments of half the number of sub-taxers may
well be due to a reduction having been made for them, and the fact
that three sub-taxers in Aldgate had a tax of 2s., an amount not
otherwise found in this ward, is noteworthy. It must be left an open
question if a reduction was made also for people in a good economic
position, but such people seem rarely to have been asked or been
willing to undertake a sub-taxer's work.
The occupations of the sub-taxers show much variety. They would
naturally often be chosen from among people who had the occupations most frequently followed in the respective wards, and one has
the impression that care was taken to get various occupations
represented. Thus the sub-taxers for Billingsgate were two fishmongers, one cornmonger, and one woolmonger, those for Bridge
two stockfishmongers, one fishmonger, one cutler and one chandler,
those for Candlewick two plumbers, one butcher, and one waxchandler, those for Queenhithe three fishmongers and one dyer,
those for Walbrook two skinners, one or two burellers, and one