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Alien Relating to taxation, the term used to describe any person paying a tax who was not a native of England or Wales, or other dominions of the English crown (e.g. the Channel Islands). Such people were often liable to pay special taxes in the fifteenth century, and paid Tudor and Stuart subsidies at double the standard rates.
Alien Priory Religious house dependent upon a 'mother' institution in another country. In England and Wales these were predominantly cells of French houses.
Ancient demesne Land traditionally forming part of the personal estates of the monarch. In medieval taxation (and fifteenths and tenths) such areas, and their inhabitants, were liable to be taxed at the same higher rate as cities and boroughs.
Anticipation Used in connection with certain collections of the subsidies of 1523 and 1543, method by which the higher rate taxpayers were ordered to submit their assessed payments early, before the date on which they were technically due, in order to meet the pressing financial needs of the Crown. Often administered in separate documentation.
Archdeaconry Sub-division of a diocese, itself divided into deaneries.
Assessor Individual appointed to calculate the sums payable by given individuals towards a tax, but not to collect the revenue.
Auditors' Use A system of dots representing sums of money used in accounting at the Exchequer. Often found at the foot of tax documents after audit.
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Barons of the Exchequer The chief officials of the Exchequer, responsible for the accounting of the royal revenue.
Benefice The living associated with a parish church.
Benevolence A tax raised theoretically through the 'benevolence' of the monarch's subjects, whereby the monarch would simply ask for 'voluntary' contributions, often for a particular reason and usually without parliamentary agreement. Payment was generally enforced, and such taxes amounted to little more than official extortion.
Book Format used to describe any document comprising one or more membranes or folios arranged in an original volume, with or without an outer covering.
Bundle Format used to describe any document comprising loose membranes or folios, possibly held in a folder or tied loosely with string.
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Cantref A territorial and administrative unit of Wales, generally before the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1543, consisting of two or more commotes.
Carucage A land tax of the late-twelfth and early-thirteenth centuries, assessed upon the carucate or the hide (units of area) or the actual plough-teams upon which such areas were based.
Chancellor of the Exchequer The official with overall responsibility for the day-to-day activities of the Exchequer and its officials, and keeper of the Exchequer duplicate of the Great Seal.
Collection Sub-division of a tax, whereby payment was spread over a given number of specified instalments, rather than one lump sum. Also used for individual payments of grants of multiple subsidies or fifteenths and tenths, and for the separate payments of taxes which continued over many years (e.g. the Hearth Tax or the 1453 alien subsidy).
Collectors The people appointed to gather the proceeds of a particular tax. Collectors of medieval taxes and those for fifteenths and tenths were generally appointed by the Crown from the Exchequer (and their names are often enrolled), while later subsidy collectors were appointed by local commissioners. Most Exchequer accounting documents would be drawn up in the names of the collectors.
Commissioners The men appointed by the Crown to assess and administer particular taxes. Predominantly members of the nobility or the gentry, they were often named in the relevant Act of Parliament, but would often appoint deputies to carry out the tasks. Each county was usually divided between the various commissioners, who would then appoint their own collectors.
Commote A territorial and administrative unit of Wales, generally before the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1543. In some areas, this was roughly equivalent to the English hundred.
Composition Process whereby a particular individual or group (often residents of a town or specific area) agreed to pay the Crown a given sum in return for exemption from assessment (usually in the hope of paying a lower amount). For instance, the town of Kingston upon Hull paid a flat composition of 50 marks (33 6s 8d) towards the fifteenth and tenth of 1334.
Customs Process whereby a particular individual or group (often residents of a town or specific area) agreed to pay the Crown a given sum in return for exemption from assessment (usually in the hope of paying a lower amount). For instance, the town of Kingston upon Hull paid a flat composition of 50 marks (33 6s 8d) towards the fifteenth and tenth of 1334.
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Deanery Sub-division of an archdeaconry, itself divided into parishes.
Discharge The process whereby a collector was officially relieved of responsibility for the sum for which he had been made responsible, usually following payment of the sum at the Exchequer or (if he had been unable to collect the full amount) after a successful petition.
Distraint The process of seizing the goods and chattels of individuals for a given reason. In taxation terms, used as a method of securing payment of sums where the individual concerned had refused or failed to pay.
Dorse The back of a parchment membrane.
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Exchequer The main financial department of the medieval and early-modern English government. Most taxes of this period were accounted through the Exchequer, and many of the documents in the E 179 series were either returned to, or produced by, this body.
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Face The front of a parchment membrane.
Feudal Aid Tax paid according to feudal tenure, generally at a set rate per knight's fee. Payable on certain set occasions, such as the knighting of the King's eldest son or the marriage of his eldest daughter. Last levied by James I in 1612. By the late-seventeenth century, the term 'aid' was often used interchangeably for other forms of taxation.
Fifteenth and tenth The standard form of medieval and early-modern taxation, being the final form of the fractional taxes raised in the thirteenth and early-fourteenth centuries. These specific rates were first levied in 1332, with the quotas being standardised in 1334. The final such tax was granted in 1624.
File Format used in the database to describe any document comprising individual membranes or folios held together by a thong or similar loose binding, or guarded and filed into a modern archival volume.
Folio An individual paper sheet, whether loose or bound into a file, roll or book.
Forced Loan A tax levied by the monarch, whereby particular people were required to 'lend' specific amounts of money to the Crown, often for a given reason. Although generally requested as a loan, such sums were rarely repaid, and, as with benevolences, were often little more than official extortion.
Fractional tax A tax calculated as a given proportion or fraction of a person's assessed wealth. Employed from the thirteenth century onwards, such taxes were raised at a variety of rates until the standardisation at a fifteenth and tenth from 1332 onwards. Early fractional taxes required new assessments for each tax, and the records often contain lists of the goods upon which the taxpayer was being assessed. A fractional tax (the tenth) was also the general form of clerical taxation.
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Gall Also known as gallic acid, a liquid used by nineteenth- and twentieth-century archivists to assist reading faded text. However, the liquid dries to a brown stain, leaving the area totally or virtually illegible, and a large number of documents in the E 179 series have suffered from such treatment. The substance is no longer used.
Grant Technically any tax authorised by a Parliament or similar body, but often used in the database to refer to taxes in general.
Groat English coin equivalent to 4d. First issued by Edward I in 1279.
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Hundred The standard sub-division of an English county, generally used in southern and midland England (and later Wales). Roughly the equivalent of a wapentake.
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Indenture Any document drawn up in two or more copies from the same piece of parchment or paper, and then cut leaving a distinctive zig-zag or wavy edge. This would allow the copies to be authenticated, if necessary, by matching the two halves.
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Lady Day In the Christian calendar, the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 25 March, the first day of the new year according to the Julian calendar. One of the traditional dates on which payment of taxation was due.
Lathe The five sub-divisions of Kent, each itself divided into hundreds.
Lay General term for all members of the population not in holy orders.
Liberty Specific area, either a distinct region or a scattered accumulation of estates, in which a given person or institution possessed special rights and privileges. Many such areas were either exempt from general taxation, or assessed and administered separately or at different rates.
Lord Chancellor The chief minister of the Crown, and keeper of the Great Seal.
Lord Treasurer The principal financial official of the Crown.
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Mainpernor Individual standing surety for another person. In taxation terms, mainpernors would attest to the trustworthiness of an individual appointed as collector of a tax, and would be held responsible for any sums which the collector failed to deliver for no good reason, and which could not be secured from the collector himself.
Mark Traditional unit of currency, equal to 13s 4d (3 marks amounted to £2).
Martinmas In the Christian calendar, the feast of St. Martin in Winter, 11 November. One of the dates on which payment of taxation was often due.
Membrane Individual sheet of parchment, whether loose or bound into a file, roll or book.
Michaelmas In the Christian calendar, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, 29 September. One of the traditional dates on which payment of taxation was due.
Mise A sum of money collected from the inhabitants of a lordship or other lands on the entry of a new lord. In Wales, this generally applied to Crown lands on the entry of a new Prince of Wales. These sums could be considerable, and payments normally took precedence over the collection of other forms of taxation. This often caused tax payments in many areas of Wales to be delayed, perhaps by several years.
Moiety From the French, meaning 'a half', often used in the wording of grants of taxation.
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Ordinance Term used predominantly to describe the orders issued by Parliament to authorise taxation during the Civil War and Commonwealth periods of the seventeenth century.
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Poll tax Term used for any tax levied at a given flat rate per 'poll' or head of population. Generally associated with the famous taxes of 1377-80, it formed an element of numerous other medieval and early-modern taxes, particular Tudor and Stuart subsidies and the alien subsidies of the fifteenth century, and the term was used for a variety of taxes under Charles I and his successors.
Province In ecclesiastical terms, the two areas under the authority of the archbishops of Canterbury and York respectively. Clerical taxation was granted separately in each province, by the Convocations of each.
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Rape The six sub-divisions of Sussex, each itself divided into hundreds.
Rate The terms upon which a tax was to be gathered, generally set at a given amount per pound of assessed wealth or other assessment unit (e.g. 1s per hearth for the 1662 Hearth Tax). Subsidy assessment rates could fluctuate greatly between individual taxes, particularly in the early-sixteenth century.
Recto The front of a paper folio.
Recusants The term used from the sixteenth century for religious dissenters, or those who failed to attend religious services. From 1625 onwards, such people were taxed at double the standard rates.
Remembrancer The officials responsible for keeping the records produced by, or returned into, the Exchequer. There were two Remembrancers, the King's Remembrancer and the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer. The E 179 series forms part of the archive of the King's Remembrancer.
Riding Literally a 'third part', the term used for the three divisions of Yorkshire, and the three divisions of Lindsey in Lincolnshire.
Roll Any document which would have been rolled up after production, or was produced in such a format. These generally appear in one of two formats; 'Chancery' style, where the constituent membranes are sewn end-to-end in a long series, and 'Exchequer' style, where the membranes are sewn together at their heads.
Rotulet The constituent membranes of an 'Exchequer-style' roll, stitched together at their heads to form the finished document. Generally easier to use than long 'Chancery-style' rolls, this format was often employed for subsidy assessment rolls, and for Exchequer account and memoranda rolls. Each rotulet could consist of a number of individual membranes sewn end-to-end. Formerly known as a rotulus.
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Schedule Document containing a list of some kind (persons, amounts, places, etc.). One of the most common types of document within the E 179 series. Also used to describe an supplementary membrane or folio attached as an addition to a larger document.
Scutage Traditional tax payable by feudal tenants in lieu of military service. The last attempt to raise such a tax occurred in 1337.
Seal Generally made of wax and bearing the imprint of a signet ring or official metal seal, used to authenticate a document. Such seals are only highlighted in the E 179 database where they still bear visible impressions and details.
Sheet Format used to describe any document comprising a single membrane or folio. Usually flat, but may appear rolled into a small roll.
Sheriff The principal royal official in a county (or pair of counties). Often responsible for the administration of certain taxes (e.g. the alien subsidies and the early collections of the Hearth Tax), and for distraining individuals who had failed to pay.
Shilling Traditional unit of English currency, equal to 12d. 20s was equal to £1.
Spiritualities Lands and other property held by religious institutions to which spiritual duties were attached.
Subsidy Generic term used for various forms of taxation. Used specifically for the long-running property taxes raised from the sixteenth century onwards, but often used in relation to all forms of taxes.
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Tallage Traditionally a tax levied at the will of the monarch upon the tenants of his own demesne lands and royal boroughs, it was also applied to taxes on other groups, such as the Jews. The term was often used as a generic description of unfair, arbitrary taxation. Eventually superseded by taxes on movables, it was revived briefly by Edward I and Edward II, and considered in 1332, but was never levied thereafter.
Tally A wooden stick, split in two and notched. Half would be given to collectors in receipt of payment at the Exchequer, while the other half would be retained. Many of these were destroyed by a fire in 1834.
Temporalities Lands and other property held by religious institutions to which no spiritual duties were attached.
Threshold The lowest assessment of wealth upon which an individual was liable to contribute to a grant of taxation. Usually applied to taxes granted on the value of movable goods or income from land, such thresholds could fluctuate dramatically (e.g. in 1540 it was £20 in goods, while in 1543 it was only 20s in goods).
Township The constituent parts of a parish. A given parish could comprise any number of townships, from one to several dozen.
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Ultra-Violet (UV) Light used to help enhance faded text. Lamps are available in the Map and Large Document Reading Room on request.
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Verso The back of a paper folio.
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Wapentake A sub-division of a county, roughly the equivalent of a hundred. Of Scandinavian origin, the term was used in the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire and the north midlands.
Ward The constituent administrative divisions of a city or borough. Also used for the sub-divisions of some northern counties (Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland and Durham), where they form the equivalent of hundreds or wapentakes.
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