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The Bristol and Gloucestershire Lay Subsidy of 1523-1527

M. A. Faraday

(Volume 23, 2009)

The records of the taxation levied under the Subsidy Act of 1523 have long been recognised as providing important evidence of the social and economic condition of the country in the first half of Henry VIII's reign. The surviving manuscripts, however, are fragmentary and defective, particularly those relating to Gloucestershire, and they are difficult to understand. The present volume brings together the available relevant material for Bristol and Gloucestershire. The records have been skilfully edited by a former Senior Inspector of Taxes who has previously published editions of comparable records for Herefordshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

The subsidy was payable on three forms of wealth: landed income, goods and wages. Those with less than 1 (20 shillings) in annual income from land or wages or with less than 2 in goods were not liable to the tax. Each taxpayer was assessed on whichever form of taxable wealth would produce the largest amount of tax. The rate of tax varied, four pence in the pound on wages, six pence in the pound on goods valued at 2 or more but less than 20, and a shilling in the pound on goods valued at 20 or more and on income from land.

For most taxpayers the subsidy was payable in each of two years, 1524 and 1525, and the greater part of the text relates to the detailed assessment of individual taxpayers in those two years, set out in their parishes or townships grouped within their hundreds, in six geographical divisions, or within Bristol and the county of the city of Gloucester. The edition includes preliminary documents, the Anticipation of 1523, accounts of payments into the Exchequer, and assessments of wealthier taxpayers in 1526 and 1527. A full introduction and comprehensive indexes complete the edition.

lx + 548 pages, ISBN 9780900197734

Price: £5 + postage

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