Royal letter explaining that general taxation was needed to protect the kingdom. Dated 29 March 1225 (C 66/32)
The king sends greetings to his justices assigned for the assessment and collection of the tax on a fifteenth on movable goods in the county of Kent. Since our order about the assessment and collection of the fifteenth and the order of the lord, archbishop of Canterbury, are contradictory regarding this: the fact that we do not relieve any of the freemen of the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, or any other man of religion, from the execution of our order which is be made through you; [while] the same lord of Canterbury has indeed relieved all freeholders of the above who do not hold land for military service, we order you to allow this to happen following the order of the same lord of Canterbury. Indeed you should diligently and effectually urge those who have taken up the cross, apart from the magnates who have submitted themselves voluntarily, to give the fifteenth of their movable goods, [a tax] which has been constituted for the tranquillity and protection of the our kingdom and the common utility and defence of all, to whom you are to say plainly and openly that they should know that those who will exclude themselves from this payment to us of the fifteenth along with their heirs will not share in the freedom which has been granted to our honest men through our charters. And since we have heard that you do not even spare very poor women, requiring of them the fifteenth, even if they have nothing but the bare minimum, either something of small value or a brooch worth one, two, or three pennies, on account of which many maledictions arise from the poor, which we do not wish to fall on our head, we order that you do not require the fifteenth from small things of that sort especially from brooches of such kind and from other playthings, since such playthings are excluded from this tax. With the king as witness, at Winchester, on 29th March.
Original translation by Maroula Perisanidi.
The king sends greetings to his justices assigned for the assessment and collection of the tax to the value of a fifteenth of moveable goods. This tax has been imposed for the tranquility and protection of our kingdom and for the common good and defence of all, and you should speak plainly and openly that all those who refuse to contribute to the tax, along with their heirs, shall not share in the freedom which has been granted to our honest men through our charters.
Also, we have heard that you take this tax even from very poor women, and even if they have next to nothing, you take from them something of small value, or a brooch worth one, two or three pennies. Because we do not wish to be blamed for the sufferings of the poor, we order that you do not take small things in the name of taxation, especially brooches or playthings. Playthings are excluded from this tax. With the king as witness, at Winchester, on 29th March.