LAY SUBSIDY OF 1334

In medieval times the monarch was required to fund all official activity.

At times of special expense such as wartime this places strain on normal income such as duty, rent and profits from royal estates.

Tax collectors would visit individual Parishes and assess the wealth. They would pay special attention to wealthy residents and perhaps   examine the contents of the  treasure-chest and then assess the house both upstairs and downstairs in the kitchens and servants quarters. Ostentatious displays of wealth were hurriedly secreted when the tax collectors called. Once the house had been visited they would then assess trading implements for businessmen or in the case of farmers animals equipment and food stocks. Once everyone of wealth in the parish was visited the area was assessed for wealth and a tax allocated.

From a family historian viewpoint ancient taxation is a great source of information as it is one of the few times that the lives of people are written down. The allocation of taxes gives us a change to see the relative wealth of parishes at any given point.

In 1334 Edward 3rd was the Monarch and he was in need of funds to support his campaign against the Scots. Like most monarchs in need of money he levied a tax which allows us to measure the importance of several Parishes in our area in 1334.

Three of our parishes appear in the roll. An indication of the importance of the area is that Chelmsford was valued at 69 and Maldon which was a one of the most highly valued towns in Essex was valued at 140

Parish

Value

Bradwell on Sea

61.11 shillings

Burnham on Crouch

48.82 shillings

Southminster

91.13 shillings

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