Source 2

Extract from a certificate by London tax commissioners 1597 (E 179/146/354)


St Martyns Outwhiche parishe.

Anthony Treavys………viii li ……viii s

Robert Whorewood…….. v li …… v s


St Ellens parishe.

Peter Dallila……….. l li ……. l s

William Shackspeare…….. v li…….. v s

Thomas Smythe gent…….. xxx li …… xxx s

William Boyele……….. xxx li …… xxx s

……. dyd saye and affirme that the persons hereunder named are all other dead departed and gone out of the sayd warde or their goodes so eloigned or conveyed out of the same or in suche pryvate or coverte manner kepte whereby the severall Sommes of money on them severally taxed and assessed towardes the sayde second payment of the sayde laste subsydye nether might nor coulde by anye meanes by them the sayde Pettycollectors or ether of them be leveyed of them or anye of them to her majestie’s use.

Simple Transcript

……….said that the people named on this list are either dead or have left this area or have taken their belongings out of the area or have secretly hidden them so that the tax collectors cannot charge them the correct amount of tax for the second payment which will be sent to Her Majesty (Queen Elizabeth I).


Each line contains the name of the person being taxed, the first number in the line is the value of their belongings and the second number (at the end of the line) is the amount of tax they have to pay at this collection.

Therefore Anthony Trevys has goods worth ?8 and he therefore owes 8 shillings in tax.

li = pounds

sterlings = shilling

Roman numerals:

c = 100

l = 50

x = 10

v = 5

vi = 6

iv = 4

i = 1

« Return to William Shakespeare

2. This is an extract from a certificate made by the tax commissioners showing a list of people living in St Helen’s Bishopsgate, who had not paid their tax in November 1597.

  • How much are Shakespeare’s goods valued at?
  • How much tax does Shakespeare owe?
  • This source shows ‘defaulters’ – what do you think this means?
  • What has happened to Shakespeare? Why hasn’t he paid his tax?