The English government at work, 1327-1336, Vol. 2 pn89d7181

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The English government at work, 1327-1336, Vol. 2

Table of contents :
I: INTRODUCTION (Joseph R. Strayer, Princeton University, page 3)
II: THE SHERIFF (the late William A. Morris, University of California, page 41)
III: THE ESCHEATOR (the late E.R. Stevenson, Lebanon Valley College, page 109)
IV: THE COLLECTORS OF CUSTOMS (Mabel H. Mills, F.S.A., page 168)
V: THE COLLECTORS OF LAY TAXES (Charles Johnson, Assistant Keeper of the Public Records, page 201)
VI: THE COLLECTORS OF CLERICAL SUBSIDIES (William E. Lunt, Haverford College, page 227)

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The publication of this book was made possible by a grant of funds to the Academy from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the American Council of American Societies



Printed in the U.S. A.

PREFACE ‘hk publication of the second of The English Government at Work has been delayed by avolume long series of public disasters and private misfortunes. The first plans for the volume were drawn up by Professor Willard, but this eminent scholar died when work had barely begun. Professor Morris then assumed the editorship and devoted all his energies to a task which became increasingly difficult. Many of the chapters in this volume were written in the shadow of war, and in circumstances which imposed great psychological and physical handicaps on historians. Ill health, the responsibilities of national service and the inaccessibility

of libraries and archives forced several of our colleagures to abandon or to curtail their promised contributions. Professor E. R. Stevenson, a young scholar of unusual promise, died soon after completing his chapter on the escheators. The final blow was the death of Professor Morris himself on 20 February 1946. Though he had been in ill health for some time, Professor Morris insisted on continuing his editorial work to the end, and impaired his chances for recovery by his devotion to the project. This volume is the capstone to his monumental studies of the government

of mediaeval England. It would never have appeared without his unceasing labor, his persistence in the face of repeated discouragements, and his profound belief in the value of the work. As originally planned, this volume was to cover all phases of financial administration in England during the decade 1327-1336. The difficulties

mentioned above made it impossible to adhere fully to this plan. The most serious omission is the absence of a detailed study of the workings

of the exchequer. Miss Dorothy M. Broome, who was to write this chapter, found that her responsibilities at home and the closing of the Public Record Office forced a postponement of her contribution. Fortunately, several of our collaborators were able to discuss exchequer procedure as it affected the work of the officials whom they were studying,

so that the subject is not entirely neglected in these pages. It is to be hoped that this and other omissions may be repaired in the third volume.

Meanwhile, it seemed best to the editors and to the Council of the Mediaeval Academy to publish the second volume as it is, rather than to risk further delay by seeking a perhaps unobtainable completeness. JOSEPH R. STRAYER

Princeton, New Jersey 28 October, 1946 Vv




INTRODUCTION . . . . ee 3-40 by Joseph R. Strayer, Princeton University The Revenues of the Crown, 3-12; The Collection of the Royal Revenues, 12-36; The Local Collectors and the Central Government, 36-40.


Tue SHERIFF .... . . . . eee eee 41-108 by the late William A. Morris, University of California Appointment and Qualifications of the Sheriff, 41-53; General Work

of the Sheriff, 53-73; The Exchequer and the Fiscal Work of the Sheriff, 73-100 (Table of sheriff’s farms 76-77, Table of amounts received from summonses 82-83); The Sheriff’s Staff and the Volume of Business, 100-108.


THe ESCHEATOR. . . . . . . . . . sw «~~ 109-167 by the late E. R. Stevenson, Lebanon Valley College Introduction, 109-110; The Royal Escheats, 110-113; Brief History of the Office of Escheator, 113-120; Duties of the Escheator in Seizing Escheats, 120-140 (Table of time elapsed between death of tenant and inquisition 122, Table of relationship between dates of orders to seize

and deliver and dates of escheators’ accounts 124); Duties of the Escheator in Administering Lands in the King’s Hands, 140-156 (Table of proffers in 1332-3 by escheators 142, Origin and value of old escheats 145, Origin and value of new escheats 147, Account of William

Trussell 148, Tables of income from escheats 149-153, Expenses of William Trussell 155); Personnel, 156-167.


THE CoLLectorS OF CUSTOMS . . . . . . . . ~ . 168-200 by Mabel H. Mills, F.S.A. The Old and the New Customs, 168-169; The Officials, 169-180 (Collectors 170-176, Controllers 176-177, Tronagers 177-178, Searchers

and subordinate staff 179-180); The Customs House and Quay, 180181; The Work at the Customs House, 181-188 (Tables showing


Vill Contents seasonal variation in trade 184-185, Table of export trade for 5-6 Edward III 188); The Staple, 189-191; At the Exchequer, 192-200 (Payments to the exchequer of receipts 192-194, The audit at the upper exchequer 194-195, The final audit 195-200).


Tue Cotutectors oF Lay Taxes. . . . . . . .. . 201-226 by Charles Johnson, Assistant Keeper of the Public Records The Taxers and Their Instructions, 201-207; Exemptions from Assessment and Conventional Assessment, 207-214; The Collection of the Subsidies, 214-219 (Table of expenses 217); The Final Accounting, 219-226.


THE CoLLECTORS OF CLERICAL SUBSIDIES . . . . .. . 227-280 by William E. Lunt, Haverford College The Grants of the Subsidies, 227-232; Appointment of the Collectors, 232-239 (Lists of collectors 233-235); The Work of Collection, 239254; The Collectors’ Delivery of the Funds, 255-257; Assignments on the Collectors, 257-262; The Collectors’ Accounts with the Exchequer, 262-280.






Te men were responsible forreign the finances ofIII thehad English governmentwho in the early years of the of Edward two great and persistent problems with which to deal. The first was to find sources of revenue large enough to meet the expenses of government; the second was to collect the money as rapidly, efficiently and cheaply as possible. It is no reflection on their ability or loyalty to say that they were seldom entirely successful in either task. Expenses of government had increased rapidly during the thirteenth century and were to rise even higher under Edward III. The new type of warfare, with long campaigns, paid troops and expensive alliances, was largely responsible for the increase in expend-

itures, and this influence was felt even in time of peace. Former wars left debts behind which had to be paid, at least in part, and the likelihood of new wars made it necessary to maintain a military establishment and to continue alliances with foreign princes. In addition, non-military expenses had increased as the royal government gained power and dignity. There were more officials to be paid, more records to be kept, a more magnificent court to be maintained. As early as 1329 the Bardi were lending

Edward III £20 a day, or £7300 a year for the expenses of his household.t This is a large sum, even when it is remembered that some soldiers

and some administrative officials were on the household payroll. The household did not pay the salaries of all royal officials, nor did it assume the entire cost of military preparations, yet it spent more money than was derived from the farms of counties and hundreds.2 In other words, the king’s oldest and surest revenues were no longer sufficient to meet the ex-

penses of his court and household government even in time of peace. Other resources made it possible for the government to remain more or 1 C.P.R. 1330-1334, 52; C.C.R. 1830-1333, 15. 2 See Morris, Sheriff, below, pp. 76-77.


A The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 less solvent as long as there was no war, but war imposed an intolerable strain on the whole financial system. This explains the search for new sources of revenue during the war with Scotland and the financial juggling of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War. Moreover, even when the government had discovered more or less adequate sources of revenue it was never able to collect as much as might

have been expected. Everyone who had access to the king expected special favors, either exemptions from payment or grants of sums paid by others. Those who received no favors tried to make their payments as small as possible by concealment, undervaluation and passive resistance. Englishmen were not yet convinced that taxes were as unavoidable as death. ‘They admitted the king’s right to request financial assistance in great emergencies, but they resented his demands when they came too frequently or when he asked for too much money at one time. Any government would find it difficult to collect large sums under these conditions,

and the mediaeval English government lacked both the information and

the personnel which are at the disposal of modern states. There were never enough paid civil servants to collect the king’s revenues, and thousands of unpaid assessors and collectors had to be pressed into service.

These men were naturally not eager to squeeze the last farthing out of their neighbors and their lack of zeal is reflected in the tax returns. The decline in the yield of the personal property tax offers a well-known example of this bias! and there seems to have been at least as much trouble in securing an adequate return from the customs.? There was a constant tendency for new levies to become fixed at conventional levels and this was another reason for the difficulties which Edward’s government experienced in financing his wars. The royal revenues may be classified under three heads. ‘There were the revenues which the king received as landlord and feudal lord — farms of shires, boroughs, and royal manors, escheats, wardships and reliefs. There were the revenues which came from the operations of the govern-

ment — amercements, fines, and profits of the seals and the mints. Finally there were the revenues which were based on the king’s position as the head of the state — duties on exports and imports, lay subsidies and clerical tenths. The three classes of revenue were not kept entirely distinct in royal accounts, but it is possible to make a rough guess as to the value of each. In 1345 an official estimate stated that the king de-

rived £15,723 a year from county and borough farms, wardships and escheats, fines and amercements, and the profits of the hanaper and the 1J. F. Willard, Parliamentary Taxes on Personal Property (Cambridge, Mass., 1984), pp. 343 ff. 2 See below, pp. 8, 33-34.

Introduction 5 mint.! This estimate covers most of the items included under the first two heads above and probably fits our period almost as well as the decade of the 1340’s.2, The income from the sheriffs’ farms seems to have been

about £7500 a year® and the profits of justice collected by the sheriffs added, on the average, £635 to this sum.’ The average income from the escheators was only about £450 a year® but the escheators were much more

active in finding revenue than in collecting it.6 The total sum derived from escheats, wardships, marriages and reliefs must have been much greater, perhaps on the order of £2000 a year. Issues of justice collected by the central courts,’ profits of the hanaper, the mint, and other branches of the administration may have run as high as £3000 to £4000 a year.® These items would give a total of £14,000 to £15,000 a year which is close to the estimate made in 1345. It is much easier to discover the value of the newer revenues derived

from indirect and direct taxation. Duties on exports and imports were about £13,000 in an average year.’ A tenth from the clergy was worth about £18,900 when it could be collected.!° Lay subsidies were at first levied at varying rates, but from 1332 on they were always 1/15 of the value of personal property in the country districts and 1/10 in the boroughs. In 1334 the value of a tenth and a fifteenth was fixed at the conventional sum of £37,430." This tax could not be collected every year, but when it was available it was by far the largest item in the royal income.

These figures, tentative though they may be, permit some interesting conclusions. In the first place it is clear that the nature of the royal revenue made it impossible to draw up an annual budget. ‘The royal domain 1J.H. Ramsay, A History of the Revenues of the Kings of England (Oxford, 1925), 11, 144-145.

* Ramsay, loc. cit., thinks the estimate about £4000 too low for a normal year. S. B. Terry, The Financing of the Hundred Years’ War (London, 1914), App. 1, would also have a higher estimate. Leaving out doubtful items (such as income from Scotland), his figures would give an annual income

of c. £17,000 from the items listed above. However, his estimate of the net return from sheriffs’ farms is about £2000 higher than that of Morris (below, pp. 76-77), which does not inspire confidence in his other calculations. 3 See Morris below, pp. 76-77. 4 See Morris below, pp. 82-83. 5 See Stevenson below, pp. 148-152. 6 See zbid., pp. 133, 136-137.

7 Ramsay, op. cit., 11, 293, estimates fines in the fiscal year 1845-1346 as worth £1047. Terry, loc.

cit., does not separate profits of justice from profits of the hanaper, but his figures for 1331-1332 are of the same order of magnitude as Ramsay’s (c. £2100 from justice and hanaper). 8’ Ramsay, op. cit., 11, 293, estimates £2216 from the hanaper, the mint and the exchange in 13451346.

° Ramsay, op. cit., 11, 292, customs revenue in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th years of Edward III ran from £12,483 to £14,537. These are the most nearly ‘normal’ years in the first decade of the reign. 10 See Lunt, below, pp. 262, notes 5 and 6. 1 Willard, Parliamentary Taxes, p. 345.

6 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 and the customs yielded more or less stable sums every year and it might have been possible to establish average yields for feudal incidents and

profits of government. But even the long-suffering clergy sometimes passed a year without making any contribution to the government! and lay subsidies came at even less frequent intervals.?, Both these levies produced such important sums that they could not be ignored in establishing

the government’s financial position, but they clearly could not be estimated on an annual basis. When the Walton ordinances required the exchequer to prepare an estimate of the king’s regular income?’ they were

requiring an impossibility. It is true that the exchequer was organized so that it was easier for it to keep track of individual items than of totals, but even if it had had a different system of records it still could not have prepared annual estimates.

In the second place the king never had enough money, even in time of peace, unless he secured a grant from either the clergy or laity. His only certain revenues were those derived from his domain, from feudal incidents, from the profits of government and from customs. As we have seen, these would amount to about £28,000 annually. In 1331 Edward III had this income and in addition half of a clerical tenth, worth about £9400,? or about £37,400 altogether.’ It is clear that most of this money was spent as fast as it was collected and that there was no surplus which could be set aside for emergencies. In 1331 the government was borrowing money for current expenses and pledging the customs as security.° When war with Scotland began in 1332 a lay subsidy was immediately requested and the government was so short of money that it put unusual

pressure on the collectors in order to secure prompt returns.’ If there was no surplus in 1331, in spite of the absence of foreign adventures and the confiscation of the lands of Mortimer’s faction, then it is unlikely that there was ever a surplus in the first decade of the reign. Finally, it is worth stressing the importance of the customs revenues. They were very nearly half of the revenues which the king was sure to receive every year; they were about a third of the revenues which the king

did receive in such peaceful years as 1330 and 1331. ‘This must have 1 In the first decade of the reign no clerical tenths were collected in 1327, 1329, 1334 and 1336. The

clergy granted a tenth in 1336 but it was not collected that year. See Lunt below, pp. 218-221. 2 Lay subsidies were granted in 1327, 1832, 1334 and 1336. 3T,. F. Tout, Chapters in Mediaeval Administrative History, 11 (Manchester, 1928), 77-78, 149. 4 See Lunt, Clerical Subsidies, p. 228 below.

5 Ramsay, op. cit., Table 1 (at p. 292) estimates Edward’s income in this year at c. £37,597. Since my figures are based in part on Ramsay’s conclusions regarding individual items, my estimate has no independent value. ® C.C.R. 1330-1333, 418.

7 Willard, Parliamentary Tazes, pp. 281-282.

Introduction 7 made the government conscious of the importance of keeping the main

trade routes open, and certainly suggested the attempt to finance the first part of the Hundred Years’ War by levies on exports. If the government was barely solvent in time of peace, what was to be done in time of war? The obvious answer was to increase both the rate and the frequency of taxation, but neither remedy was easy to apply. It was clearly impossible to secure any significant increase in the income from farms, feudal incidents and the operations of governmental agencies. The clergy could be persuaded to make their grants more frequently, but it was much more difficult to make them increase the rate at which they paid. Double tenths were not unknown in France, but such heavy levies

occurred in England only later in the reign. Lay subsidies were somewhat more flexible. Since they had been less frequent than clerical tenths more could be gained by decreasing the intervals between their collection. Moreover, since the product of a tenth and a fifteenth had been fixed in

1334 at an arbitrary sum much lower than the real value, it was theoretically possible to ask laymen for two tenths and two fifteenths without

raising the rate of taxation to an intolerable level. Double subsidies were granted after 1336 but none were taken in the first ten years of the reign. Asa matter of fact, during the war with Scotland which filled the last half of our decade, Edward did not even succeed in obtaining annual grants of lay subsidies and clerical tenths. He received grants of half tenths in 1332 and 1333, grants of full tenths in 1334 and 1336, and grants of lay subsidies in 1332, 1334 and 1336.1. This was not enough to finance even a minor war.

Another possible way to increase the revenue was to manipulate the customs rates, especially the duties on exports. The right of parliament to control customs rates was not yet fully established and Edward may have thought it easier to coerce merchants into paying extra duties than to secure additional subsidies from the commons. The fact that the king had an undoubted right of regulating foreign trade made it easier to secure grants from the merchants, since their payments could be represented as gifts made to induce the king to change his regulations rather than as taxes. The attempts to set up a system of staple ports, which were made at intervals during the first ten years of the reign, were usually

connected with requests to the merchants for loans or gifts. There may have been excellent administrative reasons for the establishment of the staple system, but most of the merchants disliked it so much that they were willing to pay large sums to have it quashed. Thus in 1327 Edward moved to put into effect the ordinance of the staple which had been de1 A second subsidy was granted late in 1336, but was not collected until 1837, see C.F.R., tv, 504.

8 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 signed in his father’s reign. The merchants immediately offered a loan of 20s. on the sack of wool or last of hides in order to have the enforcement

of the ordinance suspended.' Again in 1333 Edward set up a system of home staples and almost simultaneously asked for an increase in the customs. ‘The prelates and magnates gave him a retroactive grant (running from 2 February 1332 to 2 February 1333) of half a mark on the sack of

wool.?. There was a strong protest against both actions. Many merchants refused to bring their goods to the staples’ and the collectors of the additional export duties had great difficulty in securing payment.* | On 20 June 1333 the government revoked the new duties but substituted a tax of 10s. a sack on all wool exported from 14 May 1333 to 14 May 1334.

Since this charge was imposed with the assent of at least some of the merchants,® the government may have thought that it would be easier to

collect than a levy ordered by the prelates and magnates. The protests continued in spite of this concession in form, and some merchants refused

to pay while others kept their wool in storage. Parliament became alarmed and complained both of the staple system and of a grant of taxation about which it had not been consulted. The king gave way on both points. On 18 May 1334 the staple system was abolished’ and on 21 September the attempt to collect new duties was abandoned.’ ‘The experiment had not been entirely profitless, since customs revenues rose from £14,237 in the sixth year of the reign to £24,116 in the seventh year, in which the new duties were instituted. Even in the eighth year, when the extra duties were collected only for a few months, the customs revenue

was £19,720. These were important increases, but the experiment should have demonstrated two things to Edward’s advisers. In the first place, it showed that the amount of extra revenue which could be ob-

tained from increases in export duties was strictly limited. An increase of approximately 100% in the rate did not yield an increase of 100% in the returns. In the second place, it was clear that any attempt to secure increases in export duties by non-parliamentary means would cause serious protests from both the merchants and parliament. The merchants 1F. R. Barnes, “The Taxation of Wool 1327-1348’ in Finance and Trade under Edward III, ed. G. Unwin (Manchester, 1918), p. 139. * Ihid., pp. 140-141; C.F.R., 1v, 342. 3 See Miss Mills below, pp. 190-191. 4 C.F R., tv, 354, 355. 5 Barnes, loc. cit., p. 141; C.F.R., rv, 365. 6 C.F.R., tv, 404; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 257. 7 See Miss Mills, below, pp. 190-191. 8 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 257. ° Ramsay, Revenues, 11, 292.

Introduction 9 did not feel bound by the actions of the individual members of their group whom Edward consulted and parliament denied the right of any unofficial body to make grants which affected the whole country. Nevertheless, as the likelihood of war with France increased, Edward made a new effort to secure additional grants from the merchants. ‘Three assemblies of merchants were held in 1336! and at the last of these meet-

ings the king was given an export duty of 20s. per sack of wool. In addition the merchants promised to lend him an additional 20s. on each sack if it were needed. The new export duty of 20s. a sack was collected during the last months of 1336, though it had never been sanctioned by par-

liament.2 At this point the story becomes complicated by Edward’s effort to increase his income by securing a monopoly of the sale of English wool abroad. Since this policy falls outside the decade with which we are concerned it need not be discussed in detail here. It is interesting to note

that it failed for the same reasons which had impeded the attempt to se-

cure increased revenue from exports in 1333 and 1334. No group of merchants, however selected, could speak for all the men interested in the wool trade. There was stubborn, if passive, resistance to the king’s attempt to take more than his old income from the export of wool, and much wool was concealed or smuggled out of the country. Finally parliament, jealous of its prerogatives, made itself the spokesman for all those discontented with royal policy and in the end forced a complete revision of the system.’ There were other non-parliamentary bodies, besides the ‘estate of mer-

chants,’ which might be persuaded to make grants to the king. The most important of these were the county courts and Edward (or his ministers) made a number of attempts to secure additional revenue from the counties. None of these experiments were pushed very far, and there is not enough evidence to say that the government wished to supplement or replace parliament by shire assemblies, but it is not impossible that

such an idea occurred to someone in authority. The shire court had acted more or less as a corporate body in the past; it spoke for the whole county; the knights in parliament made their grants for ‘the communities

of the counties’ and not for the realm as a whole.’ If each county assented to taxation through its representatives in the high court of parhament why could not each county give its assent in its own court? Moreover, need the grant take the form of a tax? Could it not rather 1 Unwin, Finance and Trade under Edward III, pp. 182-185. 2 Ihid., p. 182. 3 Ibid., pp. 186-221.

4 J. R. Strayer, ‘Statute of York and Community of the Realm,’ A.H.R., xvii (Oct., 1941), 16.

10 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 be represented as a fine for a special favor? Thus, early in 1334 the ‘communitas comitatus’ of Kent offered the king 1000 marks to be freed from an eyre which had been ordered in 1333.1 In 1335 the king asked each county to provide him with a fixed number of soldiers and later accepted fines in lieu of the men. These fines would have produced large sums if they had been fully collected; many counties promised to pay 200 or 250 marks. There was some confusion, however, over the substitution of money for soldiers, and many counties were released from their obligations, so this experiment was not very profitable. Then in 1337 Edward made a determined effort to secure individual grants from the counties. Strong commissions, including members of the council or household and influential local landholders, were sent to explain the king’s needs to the men of each shire and to ask for aid. Substantial grants were made, al-

most equal in value to a tenth and a fifteenth, but all were cancelled when the September parliament granted a subsidy for three years.’ These facts indicate that the attempt to secure grants from the counties instead of or in addition to grants from parliament was not very suc-

cessful. Parliamentary dislike of non-parliamentary taxation is one obvious reason for the failure. Another, and less obvious obstacle, was inability of the county court to speak for all inhabitants of the district. Somehow, by a process which is still obscure, parliament had established the rule that absent members were bound by the action of those present

and that an act of parliament was an act of the whole community. ‘The

county assemblies had not reached this position. As Mr Edwards pointed out, the abbot of Bayham argued that since he was not present when the county of Kent offered 1000 marks to be freed from an eyre he was not bound to contribute to the payment. The same difficulty seems to have arisen when the counties tried to commute their grant of soldiers into a gift of money. In case after case the ‘men of the county’ complain that after they had agreed to raise a certain number of soldiers and had equipped them and sent them off to war, other men of the county offered ‘before the king and his council in parliament’ a large sum of money to

be free from this service. The result was that the county was being charged both for the equipment and wages of the soldiers and for the fine offered to avoid sending the soldiers. The usual solution was to cancel 1J.G. Edwards, ‘Taxation and Consent in the Court of Common Pleas,’ E.A.R., tv1t (1942), 479. 2C.P.R. 1834-1338, 289, Buckingham offered 200 m.; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 530, Somerset offered 250 m.; tbid., p. 542, Wiltshire offered £120; Edwards, loc. cit., p. 479, Kent offered £200. 3 J. F. Willard, ‘Negotiations for a Grant in 1337,’ E.H.R., xx1 (1906), 727 ff. 4 Edwards, loc. cit., pp. 473, 477-478. 5 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 530, 543 (Somerset), 531 (Middlesex), 542 (Wilts.); C.P.R. 1334-1338, 289 (Bucks.), 373 (Cambridge), 378 (Bedford).

Introduction 11 the fine, but the episode shows how difficult it was to find men who could peak with authority for the whole community of a shire. Attempts to revive obsolete royal rights caused almost as much opposi-

tion as attempts to impose new forms of taxation. An unimportant example of this tendency is the ineffective attempt made in 1333 to take into the king’s hands all hundreds which were farmed for less than their true value. Very little was gained by this move since the men who farmed the hundreds found all sorts of reasons for proving exemption from the general

rule... The attempt to take a tallage in 1332 ran into even greater obstacles. There could be no doubt that the king had the legal right to tallage his demesne lands and towns, and in 1332 the government seems to have planned to make tallage an important part of the royal revenue. Some of the ablest men in the government, justices and king’s clerks, were sent out to the counties with instructions to assess a tallage. They were

empowered to accept lump sums from communities which wished to avoid a per capita assessment and were ordered to do their work as rapidly as possible.2, There may have been some hope on the part of the government that tallage might be made a permanent part of the royal system of taxation; at least many of the commissioners for the tallage were used in establishing the tenth and the fifteenth on a permanent basis two years later.*? They may have gained a little useful experience in their attempts to assess the tallage, but their work was never completed. Parliament protested and the king revoked the order for the tallage after being assured the grant of a lay subsidy. Thus wherever he turned for additional revenue Edward ran into op-

position. It would be anachronistic to claim that the opposition was based on constitutional principles, but it is safe to say that there had been a certain hardening of public opinion from which constitutional prin-

ciples could eventually be derived. The king was certainly within his legal rights when he sold favors to the counties or asked for tallage from his demesne. He was probably not overstepping the limits of his author-

ity when he negotiated with the merchants over export duties. Yet in all these cases individuals refused to be bound by the actions of their groups and parliament tried to put an end to the levy. Just as a matter of practical politics, it was becoming evident that the best way to secure additional revenue was to ask parliament to make a grant. Parliament did not always give as much as the king wished, but there was very little 1C.C.R. 1333-1337, 128, 176. See below, Morris, Sheriffs, p. 92. 2 Rymer’s Foedera (Record Commission ed., London, 1821) 11, part 2, p. 840. 3 C.P.R. 1330-1324, 312-313, gives the list of assessors of the tallage. Compare this with the list of the men who established the tenth and fifteenth on a permanent basis, C.P.R. 1334-1338, 38-39.

12 The English Government at Work, 1327-13836 difficulty in collecting a parliamentary tax, and, after 1332, very little danger that the money actually collected would fall much below the esti-

mated value of the grant. The taxpayers of England were ready to admit that they were bound by a parliamentary grant, that the members of parliament in some sense spokefor them. They were not ready to make

these admissions about any other body. In short, given the theory and practice of the mediaeval English monarchy, Edward could not make any significant increase in his revenue without a grant from parliament. Thus the great problem of English government was fairly posed. The king’s regular revenues, which he could count on collecting without diffi-

culty every year, were barely adequate to meet the routine expenses of administration. Any active policy, especially any active foreign policy, required additional revenues. ‘These revenues could not be secured in substantial amounts or for any length of time, without the assent of parhiament. But parliament, which took no responsibility for policy, was seldom willing to make grants which were large enough to implement fully the policies on which the king had decided. Thus the king was forced either to modify his policies or to risk antagonizing parliament and public opinion by making financial demands on his subjects without par-

hamentary approval. The dilemma was solved only in the eighteenth century when parliament assumed responsibility for policy. Such a solution was an obvious impossibility in the fourteenth century and as a result Edward III esperienced financial difficulties during most of his reign. 2. Tor COLLECTION OF THE RoyaL REVENUES

Public opinion, or rather the opinion of the middle and upper classes, made it difficult for the king to secure any large, permanent additions to his revenue. ‘This opinion was expressed in parliament; it was also felt in the actual collection of royal revenue. This was true because by far the largest part of the king’s income was collected, not by paid officials, but by unpaid local notables. The sheriffs, the assessors and collectors of taxes, and, for most of the decade, the escheators, were moderately wealthy landholders, of the class which produced the ‘buzones’ of the thirteenth century and the justices of the peace of the early modern period. Lapsley’s definition of the ‘buzones’ fits this group perfectly; they were ‘gentlemen of moderate position and no national importance who were constantly occupied with local affairs and local administration and were recognized by the central government, which put one task after an-

other upon them, as particularly fitted for this work.’ The customs 1G, Lapsley in E.H.R., xivit (1932), 565-566.

Introduction 13 revenues were usually collected by the leading citizens of the seacoast towns, men who held high positions in the municipal governments and who were frequently returned to parliament. Clerical tenths were collected by abbots and priors rather than by the secular clergy. Royal influence was sometimes felt in the appointment of these dignitaries, but on the whole they were much more independent than the leaders of the secular clergy, many of whom had served as royal clerks and owed their preferment entirely to the king. Thus all the important items of royal revenue

passed through the hands of men who enjoyed financial independence, high social position, and considerable political influence in their communities. There were hundreds of them, closely bound together by ties of kin-

ship, political association and business interests. The abbots and priors were often related to the leading laymen of the counties and the merchants

of the towns were buying country estates and marrying their daughters into knightly families! They were loyal to the king, and willing to make considerable efforts to satisfy his needs, but they were not dependent on the king for their income or for their political power. Such men could not be bullied into oppressing their neighbors for the benefit of the royal treasury; they could not even be effectively punished for grave derelictions in duty.?. They could not be replaced by paid civil servants, not only because 1t would have been too expensive but also because it would have contradicted one of the oldest traditions of the English monarchy. Unlike France, England had a centralized government before she had a bureaucracy, and the English centralized government had always depended on the unpaid services of the knights and law-abiding men of

shires and hundreds. This tradition could not be reversed without wrecking the whole structure of English government, and as long as it continued it was an effective bar to absolutism. A study of each group which was responsible for collecting the revenue will support these generalizations. The sheriffs held the oldest, though not the most important, financial office. They paid a lump sum for the

older revenues of their counties and in addition collected farms from newer portions of the royal domain. They were also responsible for collection of some of the profits of justice and might be called on to assist other financial agents of the crown by distraining or arresting debtors of the king. The information which they collected and sent to the central government was often useful in revealing profitable royal rights. The 1 A good example is Richard Acton of Newcastle, collector of customs there (C.C.R. 1333-1337, 531, 669) who held at least two manors and whose daughter married the brother of a knight (C.P.R. 1334-1338, 42; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 298). 2 See below, pp. 15-16,

14 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 sums which they collected, while not as large as those supplied by the customs or lay subsidies, were an important part of the royalincome. While the sheriff was no longer the key man in local administration, he was still a useful and responsible official.

The sheriffs of this period were seldom magnates. The few sheriffs who are given this title were barons of the second rank, men who were just on the shadowy line which separated knights from lords.!. The typical sheriff was, or was soon to become, a knight, though squires, men-atarms and even royal yeomen sometimes held the position.» He was usually a substantial landholder in his county, as required by law, but a few sheriffs were so poor that they had to give security for their financial responsibility before they could assume office.2 They held office for rather

short periods. Tenure of more than a year or two was exceptional, though reappointments after a lapse of several years were not uncommon, and one man, John de Scures, held Hampshire from 1321 to 1338. It was not usual for a sheriff to serve in more than one county or pair of counties; the only professional sheriff of the period was Hildebrand of London, who served in Wilts from 1330 to 1332, in Dorset-Somerset from 1333 to 1335, and again in 1336, and who would have been sheriff of Devon in 1335 if someone had not objected to his not holding land in the county.* Short tenure did not mean that the sheriffs lacked experience as administrators. Most of them had served the king in other capacities before they received their shrievalties and most of them continued to take part in local administration after they relinquished their offices. Of 82 sheriffs in the first decade of the reign whose careers I have been able to trace in some detail, 57 were members of parliament,® 38 were keepers of the peace, Justices of jail delivery or justices of oyer and terminer, and 36 were assessors and

collectors of taxes. Five served as escheators, if one sub-escheator be 1 See Morris, below, pp. 51-52. Henry de Bisshebury, sheriff of Salop, Ralph de Bulmer, sheriff of York, Stephen de Cobham, sheriff of Kent, Ralph de Dacre, sheriff of Cumberland, and Roger de Kerdeston, sheriff of Norfolk, are examples of sheriffs who were called magnates or barons. None of them were important feudal lords. 2 See Morris, below, pp. 51-53. 3 C.F.R., 1v, 329, Richard de Bayeux had to find four men to guarantee his financial responsibility before he became sheriff of Cambridge and Huntingdon in 1332; ibid., 333, 327, 315, similar arrangements for William Lovel, sheriff of Northampton, Reginald de Montfort, sheriff of Devon, and Peter

de Saltmarsh, sheriff of York. It is interesting to note that all of these cases fall in 1832 when the government was clearly worried about collection of the revenue. 4See Morris, below, p. 48. 5 See Morris, below, p. 51. Morris says that of 84 sheriffs two thirds served as knights of the shire; my figure is just a shade higher. 6 John Dabernoun the Younger isa fairly typical example of the sheriffs of the period. He held two manors in Surrey by the service of 23 kts. and was a knight at least as early as 1332 (C.F.R., Iv, 80-81; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 460). He was sheriff of Surrey-Sussex from 5 December 1330 to 19 November 1331

Introduction 15 included in the group. Only two were coroners, which indicates that coroners were drawn from a slightly lower social stratum. In fact, we sometimes find the king naming or replacing coroners on the advice of men belonging to the class of substantial landowners which furnished most of the sheriffs.? The sheriff, then, was an influential local landholder wrth considerable administrative experience. How much freedom of choice did the central

government have in selecting these men? Their short tenure of office would suggest that there were a number of men in each county qualified to hold the post and this impression is supported by other facts. During the year 1327 the regency replaced nineteen sheriffs who had served Edward II. Of these nineteen sheriffs only five ever held the office again. The figures are even more striking if we consider only the twelve sheriffs who lost their positions on 4 February 1327, immediately after the revolution. Only one of these men was ever reappointed, so that this group must have been considered politically unreliable. A similar purge took place in December 1330, soon after the fall of Mortimer. Nineteen new sheriffs were then appointed and, of the men replaced, only four held the office again. In short, men who were identified with a defeated political faction were usually not eligible for the office of sheriff, even if they had had considerable administrative experience. Political misconduct was sufficient cause for replacing a sheriff, but personal peccadillos, inefficiency, and even extortion had a better chance of being overlooked. “Thus, Thomas de Brokhill was fined £10 for the escape of seven prisoners from Canterbury jail in 1332, but was renamed sheriff of Kent in 1335.2, John de Trehampton was one of a group of taxcollectors who were suspected of misappropriation of funds in levying the subsidy of 1332, but he was made sheriff of Lincoln in 1334 and held the post during the investigation of his conduct as taxer.? Ralph de Dacre, ordered to surrender a farm to the king in 1328, resisted a forester with force of arms and was threatened with a sheriff’s posse, but this did not and again from 8 March 1334 to 20 July 1335 (C.F.R., rv, 200, 288, 392, 454). He collected the subsidies of 1827 and 1332 in Surrey (C.P.R. 1327-1330, 172; C.P.R. 1330-1334, 358). He was on the commission of the peace in Surrey in 1331 and was made keeper of the peace with power to hear and determine cases in 1332 (C.P.R. 1330-1334, 237, 293). He was knight of the shire for Surrey in 1330. 1C.C.R. 1330-1333, 433, an Essex coroner removed because he is too ‘occupied with the affairs of divers magnates, whose steward he is. . . to attend to the duties of the office,’ done ‘by testimony of Richard Perers {a former sheriff] and others of the said county.’1332. Jbid., p. 460, an insufficient

coroner of Surrey to be replaced ‘by the testimony of John Dabernoun [a former sheriff], John de Ifeld, Robert de Stangrave [a former sheriff], knights, William de Weston [collector of subsidies and keeper of the peace] and Robert de Dole.’ 1332. 2 C.F R., iv, 322, 483. The amercement was later pardoned. 3 0.C.R. 1333-1337, 504, 515; C.F.R., tv, 422.

16 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 prevent him from serving as sheriff of Cumberland from 1330 to 1336.1 Robert Jorce was imprisoned for forest offenses in 1330, but became sheriff of Nottingham and Derby in January of 1331. While sheriff he was committed to prison by the justices in eyre for various trespasses and excesses in the conduct of his office, but he fined for release from jail and remained

sheriff until 1333.2, Robert de Causton had an even worse record. Convicted of embezzling part of a subsidy which he had collected in Norfolk for Edward II, he resisted by force attempts to distrain his property for damages. He was nevertheless made sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1335.2 Even Hildebrand of London and John de Secures, who held office longer than any other sheriffs of the period, did not have unblemished records. Hildebrand was accused in 1333 of leading armed men against royal officials preparing Jury panels in Wiltshire,‘ while John’s accounts were regularly in arrears from Easter 1334 to Easter 1336. These facts might suggest that the government had such a limited field of choice in selecting sheriffs that it had to use men who were not entirely trustworthy. Such a conclusion would be unwarranted. Even the men who have been named may have had extenuating circumstances on their side which do not appear in the record. An act which appears as trespass with force and arms in the plaintiff’s count may be a mere legal taking of possession when the defendant tells his story. Strong government had forced the English gentry to transfer their combats to courts of law, and their anger took the form of legal accusations. There are few local landholders who were not charged with worse offenses than these sheriffs. Indeed, the really surprising fact is that there are not more serious charges against the sheriffs of the period. On the whole, the government seems to have succeeded in finding fairly respectable men to act as sheriffs, in spite of the high turnover in the office. How efficient the sheriffs were is another matter. They seem to have collected the sums due from their counties without too much trouble. A few were seriously in arrears when they left office, for example, Richard de

Perers, who owed £200 after holding office for two years,® and John de Wroxhale, who had allowed a debt of £700 to accumulate in less than two years’ service.’ These are exceptional cases; most of the sheriffs left office 1 O.F.R., rv, 16, 111, 200, 471. 2 O.0.R. 1330-1333, 58; C.P.R. 1330-1334, 307; C.F.R., 1v, 200, 262, 347. 3 O.P.R. 1327-1330, 477, 566; C.F.R., tv, 460. 4 C.P.R. 1330-1334, 501. 5 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 108, 206, 252, 308, 476, 645. 6 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 249. 1 CLF.R., Iv, 388,

Introduction 17 owing little to the king.! They are not so efficient in carrying out orders of the central courts; the records are full of angry reminders to the sheriffs that they have failed to serve a writ or enforce a distraint.2, Their time was so taken up with routine matters that they could not be expected to aid the king in his search for additional income. LEscheators or special commissioners searched for lands to which the king might have acquired a claim, while taxers and customers were in charge of the newer revenues. The sheriffs could be trusted to see that the king received his ancient dues; beyond that they had little responsibility for financial administration. The assessors and collectors of taxes came largely from the same class as the sheriffs and had much the same sort of local administrative experience. Of 123 collectors who served in the shires in the first ten yars of Edward’s reign, 54 were knights of the shire, while four represented boroughts in parliament, 41 served as commissioners or keepers of the peace, Justices of jail delivery, etc., 36 were sheriffs, seven were escheators and

two sub-escheators, and six were coroners. As a group they may not have been quite as distinguished as the sheriffs. Some of them never acted in any other capacity, and prominent burgesses were sometimes used to collect taxes in a county.’ However, this difference, if it did exist, was very slight and on the whole the taxers reflected the views and shared the prejudices of the local landholders. The economic and political attitudes of the tax-collectors had more effect on the royal revenues than did those of the sheriffs. The sheriff collected fixed sums, consecrated by ancient custom, from property and rights

which were universally recognized as belonging to the king. He had little opportunity to use his own judgment in determining the value of the chief items of the revenue for which he was responsible. The taxer collected sums which were supposed to vary with the value of the personal property held in his district from people who felt that taxation was a burden to be avoided as far as possible. He had wide opportunities for exercising his discretion in estimating the value of property, the extent of exemptions, and the speed with which payment could be exacted. Moreover, the sheriff worked with a small staff of paid officials whom he could control,‘ while the chief taxers had to rely on hundreds of unpaid sub1 See below, Morris, Sherif, pp. 85, 87-89. 2 See Morris, below, pp. 64-68. 3 C.P.R. 1330-133}, 358; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 285, Richard of Emeldon, mayor of Newcastle in 1328, collected the subsidy of 1332 in Northumberland; C.P.R. 1330-1334, 392, 434, 516, and ibid., 13341338, 40, 336; C_LF.R., tv, 94, 451, 481; John Denton, mayor and collector of customs at Newcastle collected the subsidy of 1336 in Northumberland. 4 See Morris, below, pp. 100-102.

18 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 assessors in each hundred and vill. There were at least 375 sub-assessors in Shropshire and 194 sub-assessors in Sussex in 1327.1 These men were influential and respected inhabitants of their districts and it was difficult for the chief taxers to go behind their returns or question their judgments. The chief taxers seem to have been more anxious to keep the good will of their neighbors than to gain the favor of the king and as a result they ac-

cepted returns which probably grossly underestimated the wealth of their districts. Willard has shown how the yield of the subsidies decreased from 1290 to 1332, a period in which it is very unlikely that either the population or wealth of England declined. A fifteenth levied in 1290

on clergy and laity alike brought in £116,346. If we assume that a tax of one fifteenth on spiritualities (exempt in later subsidies) was worth £15,000, we are making a generous estimate, since the value of a clerical

tenth was about £19,000. This would mean that in 1290 a tax of one fifteenth of the value of personal property not annexed to churches yielded about £100,000. By 1307 there had already been a sharp decline in assessments, since a twentieth and fifteenth levied in that year brought in only £38,364. The low point was reached in 1332 when a tenth and a fifteenth yielded only £34,295.2, Undervaluation, conventional valuation, and a decrease in the number of taxpayers all contributed to this decline. It is difficult to find specific proof of undervaluation, but the evidence for conventional valuation is overwhelming. In district after district dozens of men were listed as having property of the same value, usu-

ally at or close to the minimum amount liable to taxation.2 The decrease in the number of taxpayers points to the same conclusion. In Worcestershire in 1275 there were 7373 taxpayers, though property worth less than 15s. was exempt. In the same county in 1327 there were 4642

taxpayers, though the exemption was reduced to 10s. In Leicester 190 persons contributed to the subsidy of 1307 and only 73 to the subsidy of 1332. In this case there can be no question of a loss of population, for when Leicester paid a lump sum for the subsidy of 1336 the town authorities found 445 persons to contribute to the payment.* It seems clear that

many people who should have paid taxes escaped altogether and that others paid much less than they should. The government was very dissatisfied with the results of the subsidy of 1332° and the steps which it took to remedy the situation show that it 1 Willard, Parliamentary Taxes, p. 209. W.S. Thomson, A Lincolnshire Assize Roll for 1298 (Lincoln Record Society, v. 26, Hereford, 1944), p. xliv, estimates that there were 380 wapentake collectors and 3400 subcollectors for each tax levied in the county between 1294 and 1297. 2 Willard, op. cit., pp. 343-345. 3 Ihnd., p. 90.

4 Ihid., pp. 177-178. 5 Ibid., pp. 11-12.

Introduction 19 felt that the system of assessment by local notables was at fault. When the next subsidy was to be raised in 1334 a very different group of assessors was employed. Two men were sent to each county, one a high-ranking clergyman who was usually an abbot or prior, the other, in most cases,

a professional civil servant. At least fifteen king’s clerks, five justices of the central courts and three high officials of the exchequer were employed in this work, while none of the assessors of 1332 were used. Local

landholders were not entirely barred from appointment, since four or five of the assessors of 1334 clearly belong to this class, but they were a small, carefully selected minority.1_ These assessors were to negotiate with each community for a lump sum, which could not be less than the amount paid in 1332 and might be more. Each community would then

apportion the sum it was to pay among its inhabitants.2 This method was satisfactory to the crown, since it increased the yield of a tenth and a fifteenth from £34,295 to£ 37,429, and pleased the people since it pro-

tected them against extortion or erratic assessments. As a result, succeeding subsidies were collected on the basis of the assessment of 1334; each community continued to pay what it had paid in the base year unless it had suffered some calamity which might justify a temporary exemption. This system lightened the responsibility of the tax-collectors. They were now in much the same position as the sheriffs; they collected fixed sums, agreed on in advance, which everyone recognized were due the king. As a result, it was possible to return to the old method of appointing chief taxers, and many of the men who collected the subsidy of 1336 had served as taxers in 1327 or 1332.3 The uncertainty about assessments before 1334 made it possible for the tax-collectors as well as the taxpayers to defraud the crown. Since the exchequer could not know in advance what the subsidy in each county

would yield, it had to accept the figures sent in by the chief taxers. It was not always very happy about this, and sometimes sent tax-rolls back to the collectors with a suggestion that their totals were too low, but the available evidence suggests that this procedure was not very effective.‘ Obviously the chief taxers had repeated opportunities to embezzle tax 1 Hugh de Croft is a good example of this group. He collected the subsidy of 1336 as well as that of

1334 (C.P.R. 1334-1338, 39; C.F.R., tv, 480); he was a keeper of the peace, justice of oyer and terminer, and justice of assize in Beds. and Hunts. (C.P.R. 1334-1338, 208, 360, 361, 368, 445); he was a commissioner of array for Beds. in 1335 (ibid., p. 182) and knight of the shire for the same county in 1334 and 1335. 2 See below, Johnson, Lay Tazes, p. 205.

’ Our information about the taxers of 1336 is not complete, but of the eighty men listed as collectors in C.F.R., Iv, 480-481, ten had held the same position in 1332, six in 1327, five in 1334 and one in both 1327 and 1332. This gives about 27% of experienced collectors as a minimum, compared to 29% in 1332 (see Willard, op. cit., pp. 42-44). 4 Johnson, Lay Tazes, below, p. 213.

20 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 money by omitting items from their rolls or by understating the value of

the sums received from vills and hundreds. Some of them yielded to these temptations, but the only cases in which embezzlement was proved

during the decade involved relatively small sums. The collectors in Worcestershire in 1332 admitted concealing a little more than £13 and the chief taxer of the East Riding of Yorkshire in the same year confessed to the theft of about £81.1. This was almost ten per cent of the tax due from his district, and it is doubtful if many other collectors were as audacious. The government was very suspicious of the collectors of 1332 and ordered

a general investigation of their conduct, but no great scandal resulted.” As we have seen, ten of the chief taxers of 1332 were reappointed in 1336, including two who had been called before the council for special inquiries.’

Since the collectors were unpaid, and received very small sums for expenses,’ it would not be surprising to find that they picked up a little loose change here and there as compensation for their trouble. The government rather expected this; at least it does not seem to have been disturbed by collectors who accepted small presents of a shilling or two from each vill’ and it did not punish the guilty collectors of 1332 very severely.® There was probably plenty of petty graft in the collection of subsidies but it is unlikely that there were many serious frauds.”

The chief taxers did not always collect the subsidies as rapidly as the government desired. ‘They were very slow in 1327, when only five groups rendered a final account on the date when it was due.’ Since there was no urgent need for the money, the exchequer tolerated the delay. But in 1332, with a northern war under way, the government’s attitude changed. Collectors were warned that they must account on time and those who were late were threatened with distraint and heavy amercements. Collectors who appeared only a month late were amerced £5, while in 1327— 1328 lateness of a year was not punished.® ‘These energetic steps produced good results; the bulk of the subsidy of 1332 was collected within a year and almost no arrears were left after eighteen months.!° More time had to be allowed for the subsidy of 1334, both because the new form of 1 Johnson, Lay Taxes, below, p. 218. 2 Willard, Parl. Taxes, p. 223; also pp. 200-210. 3 C.C.R. 1833-1337, 504; C.F.R., tv, 480. The two taxers were William de Skargill and Robert de Shirburn. 4 See below, Johnson, p. 216. 5 Willard, op. cit., pp. 206, 210, 212-215. 6 Ibid., pp. 210, 225-226. 7 Ibid., pp. 214, 217. 8 Ibid., pp. 280-281. ° Ihid., pp. 281-282. 10 Ibid., pp. 261, 281-282.

Introduction 2) assessment required separate negotiations with hundreds of communities and because the clerical tax-collectors could not be distrained as easily

as laymen. The abbots and priors who collected the subsidy of 1334 were probably more honest than local notables, but they were certainly no more efficient and the government seems to have been troubled by their slowness.? At least no churchmen were used in collecting the subsidy of 1336 and the fact that the same lay collectors were used for the next subsidy indicates that their work was satisfactory.’ Whatever other defects characterized the collectors of taxes, they could not be accused of leaving significant arrears in their accounts. They were sometimes slow in clearing themselves with the exchequer, but when they did make a final statement it usually showed that very little remained to

be collected. They may have refused to burden their districts with high assessments, but they collected almost every penny of the sums which they assessed. Moreover, they kept their expenses at a surprisingly low level; Willard has estimated that the expenses of collecting a subsidy never rose above 1.4% of the total amount during our decade.’ In both these respects the country gentlemen of England compare favorably with the professional bureaucrats of France. Taxes in France were collected almost entirely by royal officials, yet arrears were larger and expenses were higher there than in England.® In short, the assessors and collectors of taxes tried to do rough justice between king and people. They played somewhat the same réle in finan-

cial administration as the juries in judicial administration. They tried to obey the central government and enforce the law without outraging public opinion. They accepted the statements of their neighbors rather than the wishes of the king in estimating the value of a subsidy, but once 1 Willard, op. cit., pp. 338-339. Note that the royal officials who helped assess the subsidy of 1334 were not responsible for its collection; this was entirely in the hands of their clerical colleagues. 2 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 354-356. A curious incident occurred in 1334 which shows the government playing one set of officials against another, and also proves its need for money. The royal officials responsible for the assessment of the subsidy were instructed to go to the collectors of a clerical tenth which had been granted but was not yet due and urged them to send in all the money they could raise immediately. There were also to ask their clerical colleagues, collectors of the lay subsidy, to help them put pressure on the collectors of the clerical tenth. 3 C.F.R., 1v, 480, 504. * See Willard, Parl. Taxes, 200-205, Johnson, Lay Taxes, below, p. 226. > Willard, op. cit., pp. 203-204. ° Ch. V. Langlois, ed., Inventaire des anciens comptes royaux dressé par Robert Mignon (Recueil des historiens de France, documents financiers 1, Paris, 1899), paragraphs 1173 ff. show how slow French

collectors were in rendering their accounts. These paragraphs also indicate that the collectors of lay subsidies in France were usually paid officials of the central government, a practice which naturally increased expenses.

22 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 they had found that a given sum was due the king they made sure that he received it. Given the nature of the English government and the English people, it 1s doubtful if any more could have been secured by the use of professional royal officials.

Compared to the taxers the escheators may seem very unimportant figures since the revenues which they collected amounted to less than a thousand pounds a year. Yet the escheators occupied an important place in the English administrative system and the position was usually given to men who were at least as prominent as the chief taxers. In the first place, the escheators furnished information which could be used by the

exchequer to increase the king’s revenue. For example, while the escheators seldom accounted for wardships they usually made the surveys which enabled the exchequer to farm wardships for amounts fairly close to their real value... In the second place, the escheators were key men in the great real estate business which was one of the most delicate and absorbing problems of mediaeval government. Under the rules of feudal land law almost every holding in the country came sooner or later into the king’s hands. The king could not keep all this land for his own profit — that would have shocked all right-thinking men — but he could regrant it in such a way that his friends would be strengthened, his enemies weakened, and men of doubtful loyalty confirmed in their allegiance to the crown. Not only the great lords, but also the local notables of the counties, and even the prominent burgesses of the larger towns had to be

rewarded or conciliated by more or less profitable, more or less permanent grants of lands to which the king had aclaim. A mediaeval government which redistributed its lands injudiciously was sure to find itself in trouble; a mediaeval government which had no lands to distribute was in an even worse position. The escheators, whose duty it was to claim every estate in which the king might have an interest, provided the land-currency which kept the government from political bankruptcy. It is easy to see why the land-holding classes were always interested in the organization and personnel of the escheator’s office. The escheator was in a position to strike at the heart of their social and economic position. If he made extravagant claims on behalf of the king they might lose temporary or permanent possession of their estates. Even if he failed to prove that the lands in question should be in the king’s hand, he could cause all sorts of annoyance by forcing them to sue or fine for release. The close rolls illustrate the problem perfectly; every year there were hundreds of letters to escheators ordering them to return holdings which they had mistakenly seized for the king. 1 See Stevenson, Escheators, below, pp. 185-136.

Introduction 23 It was easy to recognize the problem; it was much more difficult to find a solution. The land-holding classes seemed to be sure of only one thing,

that whatever policy the government wished to follow in appointing escheators was apt to be dangerous to their interests. As Gibson has shown, the leaders of the revolution against Edward II disliked the Despensers’ policy of having eight escheators, each in charge of a group of counties, and in 1327 persuaded the regency to revert to the older plan of appointing only two escheators, one north and one south of ‘Trent.} They may have felt that eight escheators would be more active and hence interfere more with the rights of the tenants-in-chief than two, or they may have acted on the general principle that any system established by the Despensers was hostile to their interests. When the eight escheatries were revived in 1332 the change seems to have been made in the interests of the central government; at least, the shift coincided with attempts to increase the royal revenue without asking for parliamentary sanction.’ But the return to the system of two escheators at the end of 1335 was disliked by the magnates and in 1340 they asked for the reéstablishment of the eight local escheatries.2 In 1341 they secured an even more important change; a separate escheator was named for each shire, and in every county the sheriff was the first incumbent of the new position. As we have seen, the sheriffs represented the local landholders, so the class which was most affected by the escheator’s activities had protected itself by gaining control of the office. It would be easier to explain the changes in the attitude of the tenantsin-chief toward the organization of the escheatries if the escheators them-

selves had represented clearly defined political interests. One might have expected that the escheators named in 1327 would have been local notables, representing the interests of the landholding classes, while the men chosen in 1332 should have been professional civil servants or royal favorites. Actually, men of both types held the office during both periods. William Trussell and Simon de Bereford, who were escheators south of Trent during the period 1327-1332 were professional officials, not local notables. Bereford was an adherent of the Mortimer faction and was executed when Mortimer fell, but Trussell remained high in royal favor and was sent on several important diplomatic missions after 1332.4 Robert Seliman, on the other hand, who was escheator south of Trent from 23 October 1330 to 17 January 1331, was a typical local notable. He was knight of the shire for Wiltshire and keeper of the peace, 1S. T. Gibson, ‘The Escheatries, 1827-1341,’ E.H.R., XxXvi (1921), 218, 220. ? Gibson, loc. cit., p. 219. 3 Gibson, loc. cit., p. 220. * See Stevenson, Escheators, below, pp. 156-157.

24 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 justice of assize and justice of jail delivery, commissioner of array, and

collector of tallage in Wiltshire and neighboring counties.!. He was escheator south of Trent in a period when baronial influence was supposedly predominant, and escheator of the south central counties after 1332 when the office was theoretically dominated by the central government.? Again, of the four escheators north of Trent between 1327 and 1332, two were king’s clerks (John de Lowther and John de Houton),’ and two were local notables (John de Bolingbroke and Simon de Grimesby).4. To complete the confusion, John de Lowther, the king’s clerk, and

John de Bolingbroke, the local notable, each served as escheator in a group of northern counties between 1332 and 1335.° The picture is no clearer if we consider the men who served in the eight regional escheatries between 1332 and the end of 1335. ‘These escheators were drawn largely, though not exclusively, from the class of local landholders. King’s clerks, such as John de Lowther and William de Rosteley,° were occasionally appointed, but men like Robert Seliman, William

de Northo or Ralph de Middlenye are more typical. Seliman, as we have seen, had the usual career of a country gentleman, and the lives of Northo and Middlenye follow the same pattern. Northo was a sheriff, tax-collector, commissioner of oyer and terminer and knight of the shire for Sussex,” while Middlenye was a landholder in Somerset, a collector of the subsidy of 1336, commissioner of oyer and terminer, and knight of the shire for Somerset in the 1340’s.8 It is true that these men, and most of their colleagues, seem to have been especially trusted by the king, since they served on more commissions than the ordinary country gentleman and were entrusted with important and delicate missions,* but 1 See below, p. 157. C.P.R. 1334-1338, 70, 72, 140, 209, 296; C.C.R. 1330-1833, 493; C.C.R, 18331337, 470.

2 Gibson, loc. cit., p. 223. 3C.P.R. 1330-1334, 309; C.F.R., tv, 192.

4 For Bolingbroke additional information may be found in C.P.R. 1327-1320, 60, 70; tbid., 13301334, 358; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 61, 181; C.F.R., tv, 39. For Grimesby see C.P.R. 1334-1338, 368, 374, and C.C.R. 1333-1337, 61, 504, 392, 561. 5 C.LF.R., tv, 318, 392. Lowther was escheator of Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumberland and

Westmoreland from 23 July 1332 to 8 March 1334; but the scanty evidence suggests that these appointments were unusual and that most tronagers were chosen from the petty officials of the court and household. The last group of collectors of royal revenues to be considered are the

men who were responsible for securing payment of clerical tenths. Legally the bishop of each diocese was liable for the tenths of his clergy,

but he always appointed deputies to do the actual work, and in most cases these deputies dealt directly with the exchequer. It was only when they were unable or unwilling to account for the charges against them that the bishop was held personally responsible.6 As indicated above, these deputy collectors were usually abbots and priors,? men who were often

related to knights and barons and who, in any case, ranked socially with the landholding aristocracy. The collectors of clerical tenths had little discretionary power; their chief task was to secure payment of sums which everyone knew were due, since they had not varied for many years. ‘There were a few doubtful cases, usually of religious houses which claimed exemption by special 1 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 257 (Hull), 467 (Newcastle). 2 C.P.R. 1330-1334, 145; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 467. The ordinance as summarized in the calendar

of the patent rolls puts no time limit on the right of election, but in the close rolls it is said that weighers ‘should be elected by the communities of the ports . . . until inquiry should be made concerning the weighers, controllers, etc.’ This implies that the elected tronagers were to have only temporary appointments. 3 C.P.R. 1334-1338, 25, 87, 247, Robert de St. Maur, tronager at Boston 29 September 1334, made tronager for life with right to use a deputy, 29 March 1335. He gave the office to Robert Pynson, with royal approval, 9 April 1836. C.P.R. 1330-1334, 402, 436; ibid. 1334-1338, 23, 519, Walter de Cheshunt, royal yeoman in the service of Queen Isabella, after some trouble secured a grant of the tronager-

ship of London for life in 1833. C.P.R. 1330-1334, 212, 239, John de Deen, usher of the queen’s chamber, one of the claimants to the controllership at Southampton, was made tronager there for life in 1331 and allowed to use a deputy in 1332. 4 O.P.R. 1330-1334, 145; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 326.

5 C.P.R. 1334-1338, 247, C.F.R., tv, 453, 475, Robert Pynson, tronager at Boston, 9 April 1336, was collector of the port 23 March to 10 November 1336, and was therefore probably a local man. 6 See Lunt, Clerical Subsidies, below, pp. 236, 238-239. 7 See below, pp. 233-235.

36 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 privilege, and these were regularly referred to the exchequer.! The exchequer was rather reluctant to recognize exemptions, even when the grant seemed perfectly clear, and its slowness caused the collectors a good deal of trouble.2 Otherwise they had little difficulty. They seldom turned in all their money on the dates fixed by the exchequer, but neither did the collectors of lay taxes. They accounted for most of the sums charged against them within a year of the final date and arrears left after that time were always small.*? The exchequer was most unwilling to lose even these small sums and put such pressure on the collectors and taxpayers that most delinquents finally paid their debts.‘ There was some slackness in Wales,° but elsewhere the collectors of clerical

tenths seem to have been reasonably honest and efficient. When a clerical tenth was granted the government could be sure of receiving almost all of the sum which was due. 3. THE Locau CoLLECTORS AND THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

We have seen that almost all the revenues of the English government were collected by unpaid local notables—abbots and priors, knights and squires, merchants and burgesses. ‘The weaknesses in this system are obvious. The collectors of royal revenues must have begrudged every hour they spent on the king’s affairs, since it meant so much less time to

devote to their private interests. They must have wanted to get their tasks out of the way as quickly and cheaply as possible and this meant relying on precedent and routine for the general pattern of the work and on deputies or assistants for most of the details. Moreover, most of the local collectors had no chance of making a career of government service. Few of them ever secured offices which gave them real power; not many were rewarded with salaried positions in the forests, manors or mines of the king. Their most obvious and immediate reward was prestige and influence in their own communities, and this might be endangered by excessive zeal. They had no compelling reason for exerting themselves to increase the king’s income and they had every reason for wishing to keep the good-will of their relatives, friends and acquaintances in their own neighborhoods. As a result, they all tended to accept nominal or conventional valuations of the property which they were taxing. ‘This

is clearly apparent in the work of the collectors of lay subsidies and almost as obvious with the escheators and collectors of customs. The 1 See Lunt, below, p. 246, 266. 2 See below, pp. 244, 246. 3 See below, pp. 256-257, 271, 279. 4 See below, pp. 277-278. 5 See below, pp. 256-257.

Introduction 37 collectors of clerical subsidies and the sheriffs were free from this temptation only because they accounted for conventional sums whose value had been fixed years ago. The king and his ministers may have grossly overestimated the wealth of England when they made their plans for financing the Hundred Years’ War, but they were certainly right in their belief that the existing system of collecting taxes and dues did not begin to tap the resources of the country. The government was not unaware of the problem, but it could find no

effective remedy. It was probably impossible, and certainly inexpedient, to replace the local collectors with clerks sent out from the central bureaux of the government. That could be done in Wales, but Wales was a conquered country controlled by English garrisons. The landholding classes would not have tolerated the appointment of royal clerks as sheriffs and taxers; they were unhappy enough about their presence in

the escheatries. Moreover, even if royal clerks had been used, it is doubtful if they could have greatly increased the king’s revenues. The whole tradition of English finance, running back at least as far as Domes-

day, was to base all taxes and dues on the sworn statements of men in the neighborhood. A local notable might know when these sworn statements were blatantly false; a stranger would find it much harder to detect

the fraud. The experiments in the escheatorships during the decade illustrate these points. The employment of royal clerks as escheators did not cause any noticeable addition to the king’s income and it did annoy the groups represented in Parliament. By 1330 it was either too late or too early to substitute a hierarchy of paid bureaucrats for the amateur collectors of royal revenues.

If the local collectors could not be replaced they might be carefully supervised. This was the duty of the exchequer, and it did its work with great care and accuracy. All accounts of local collectors were checked in detail, excessive credits for expenses were disallowed, claims of

taxpayers for exemptions were thoroughly investigated, and arrears were never forgotten. Collectors who carelessly or fraudulently omitted items from their accounts found that the exchequer was not easily deceived. The detailed records which it had at its disposal made it almost certain that the omission of a farm from a sheriff’s account or a vill from a taxer’s rolls would be noticed. The exchequer showed great tenacity in maintaining the king’s rights. Once a collector had charged himself with a given sum neither he nor his heirs had any peace until it was paid to the last shilling. Once a piece of property was listed as owing money to the king it was almost impossible to persuade the clerks of the exchequer that it was to be relieved of the burden. In fact, the exchequer

38 The English Government at Work, 1327-13836 often devoted more time and energy to collecting petty arrears and fighting exemptions than they were worth. But with all its efforts the exchequer could not correct the basic weakness in the system of collecting the king’s income. It was an accounting and auditing office, not a bureau of appraisals and assessments. It had been established in an age when the chief problem had been to make sure that the sheriffs paid the king the sums which everyone knew they owed. Once the exchequer knew that money was due the king it was almost sure to collect it, but often it could not determine the exact amount

of an obligation through the efforts of its own officials. For many sources of revenue the clerks of the exchequer had to accept the statements of local officials or local juries as to what was due. Willard gives a perfect example of this limitation in his discussion of the subsidy of 1332. The chief taxers of Huntingdonshire sent in a roll which valued the personal property of the men of the county at a figure which produced

only £407 in taxes. The exchequer was morally certain that this was an underestimate, since in all previous subsidies, even those levied at rates as low as a twentieth, the county had paid over £500. The roll was sent back for correction, but the taxers refused to make any changes and in the final audit they were charged with only the £407 which they had originally admitted.!

This case illustrates not only the reliance of the exchequer on local assessors, but also the weakness of the whole system of checking col-

lectors’ accounts by comparison with past records. Even if the exchequer had succeeded in increasing the payment of Huntingdonshire to £500 it is still not certain that this would have represented a fair assessment. Increases in wealth and population could not be ascertained by an examination of exchequer records, and unless this were done the yields of lay subsidies were bound to be disappointing. For the same reasons, it was impossible to be sure, merely from a comparison of past with present accounts, that escheators and customs collectors were giving

proper valuations to the property which passed through their hands. The exchequer could prevent flagrant dishonesty, but it could not prevent

undervaluation or conventional valuation of taxable property. If the government could not secure adequate valuations of property by careful auditing of accounts in the exchequer, it might make the collectors more careful by sending out agents to supervise their work in the field. This method was used sporadically during the decade without noticeable success. High officials of the exchequer and royal clerks were sent throughout England to supervise the collection of the lay subsidies of 1327 and 1332,” but they were unable to halt the steady decline in the 1 Willard, Parliamentary Tazes, p. 161. 2 See Johnson, Lay Taxes below, p. 204.

Introduction 39 yield of the tax. Attempts to supervise the collectors of customs were more persistent, and perhaps more successful, since the customs revenues for the first years of the reign were slightly larger than they had been in

the last years of Edward II. The controllers, as delegates of the central

administration, were supposed to be present whenever goods were weighed, and thus to prevent undervaluation of cargoes. Yet, as we have seen, the controllers were accused of neglecting their duties and by the end of the decade there was a tendency to use local merchants, instead of royal clerks, for this work.! William de la Pole was ordered to supervise all collectors of customs in 1335, but since he and his brother had just made a large loan to the king, secured by the customs revenues, this

arrangement was probably devised to protect his interests rather than those of the king.2. The chief butlers repeatedly sent out agents to inspect the work of their deputies, but here again private interests were involved. None of these expedients produced any important increase in the customs revenue, and this may explain the repeated efforts of the government to take over wool exports in the first period of the Hundred Years’ War. By sending the wool out through its own agents, the crown not only shared in the profits of the trade but also made sure that all export dues were paid.

There was less to be gained by sending out agents to supervise the financial work of the sheriffs, since the largest part of the income collected

by the sheriff came from fixed farms which could not be altered. Exchequer officials, however, sometimes visited the counties to check on the collection of fines and amercements, and royal clerks were regularly used to supervise the work of the sheriffs in purveying supplies for the army.* The bailiff-errant, who was one of the chief subordinates of the sheriff, was often appointed by the crown,® but there is no evidence to show that he was expected to check on the sheriff’s financial activities. The bailiffs-errant named by the king were usually clerks and yeomen who had grown old in the royal service,’ and such men were probably not very active.

The escheators, like the sheriffs, were engaged in operations which 1 See above, pp. 32-34. 2 C.P.R. 1334-1338, 166, 168, 265. 3 See above, pp. 31-32. 4 See Morris below, pp. 72-73, 91. 5 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 255, 320, 333, 458, 490; ibid. 1330-1334, 121, 162, 249, 302; ibid. 1334-1338, 98, 172, 192, 244, 320.

6 C.P.R. 1330-1334, 302, William de Wytheresfeld, who had served both Edward II and Edward ITI, made bailiff-errant of Suffolk in 1332; ibid., p. 162, Richard de Bakton, king’s yeoman, made bailiff-errant of Lincoln during good behavior in 1331; ibid. 1334-1338, 98, Thomas Sweteman, yeoman of the larder, made bailiff-errant of Hampshire in 1335; ztzd., p. 192, Thomas de Grove, long a chancery clerk, named bailiff-errant for life in Norfolk and Suffolk in 1335.

40 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 could not very well be supervised by agents sent out to the counties. Their principal duty was to discover and estimate the value of properties

which should be in the king’s hand. The exchequer could aid them in discovering such properties by consulting records of the central government, though the escheators frequently acted of their own knowledge without promptings from above.' But estimates of value had to be made by the escheators with the aid of local juries, and a supervisor, in these circumstances, could have done little more than duplicate the escheator’s

work. The government tried to lighten the escheators’ burden and remove temptation by farming out, or entrusting to custodians, properties which were likely to remain in the king’s hand for more than a year,’ so that the escheators accounted only for small properties or those which

were soon to be restored to private persons. If the farmer made an honest bid for the property or if the custodian rendered a true account, erroneous estimates of value might thus be corrected.

The most careful supervision, either by the central offices of the government or by agents in the field, could do little to increase the king’s

income. The important items of the royal revenue were either fixed sums based on frozen valuations (clerical subsidies, lay subsidies after 1334, sheriffs’ farms) or variable sums based on estimates and declarations of leading members of the local community (escheats and customs). In either case conventional valuation and undervaluation kept the revenues at relatively low figures. There was no hope for any immediate

change in the system of valuation and collection. If the government wished to increase its income to meet its increasing expenses it either had

to find new sources of revenue, or it had to levy some of the old taxes

more frequently. Neither of these things could be done without the consent of the upper classes, and the upper classes were beginning to show

a strong preference for making grants only in parliament. Thus the peculiar nature of the English system of collecting royal revenues strengthened the position of parliament, and the growing strength of parliament made it impossible to think of changing the system of collecting revenue. The king could not hope to have an adequate income

unless he gained the support of the landowners and merchants who granted his taxes and collected his revenues. And the need for securing this support is one reason why the English kings of the later middle ages found it impossible to lay a solid foundation for absolute monarchy. 1 See Stevenson, Escheators, below, pp. 125-126, 128, 2 See Stevenson, below, pp. 136, 145, 147,



/ \HE first decade of the reign of Edward ITI, especially the years after 1330 which brought an end to a period of internal disorder, advanced

the shrievalty toward better administrative conditions. To the reforms of the late reign, instituted by the Ordainers and the exchequer reformers, were now added some others designed to hold the sheriff in check. The judicial safeguards, already numerous, were increased, and the sheriff's inability to preserve the peace subordinated a certain part of his work to

the conservators of the peace. There are various indications that statutes, common law rules, and administrative regulations governing the sheriff’s conduct were being regarded with a seriousness which for medie-

val England was unusual. The sheriff’s power was entering upon that decline which was to continue for ages. Popular clamor against his oppression, though at times assertive, was but one factor in all this, for the office was still a very important one to the efficiency and dependability

of which the king and his ministers could not be indifferent.’ 1. APPOINTMENT AND QUALIFICATIONS OF THE SHERIFF

There were in England at this period, exclusive of the two palatinates, twenty-seven shrievalties. Five of these, in as many counties, were held in fee, granted by the king either for life or by hereditary tenure; one,

that of London and Middlesex,’ was filled from year to year by two 1 The writer gratefully acknowledges the aid of the Social Science Research Council and, for certain

clerical assistance, that of the Research Board of the University of California. In the verification of manuscript references he availed himself, through Professor Willard, of the offices of the Mediaeval Academy. [Professor Morris died 20 Feb., 1946, before he could read proof on this chapter.] 2 In the words of an ordinance of 1326 (Red Book of Exchequer, ed. Hubert Hall, Rolls Series, Lon-

don, 1896, 111 960-961), ‘upon good execution by sheriffs and bailiffs to levy the debts of the king and the writs they have received “depent molt ge le Roi soit servi duement de soen et le people par tut en sa court convenable esploite.”’ ’ 3 The official who performed the duties of the office for Middlesex was the deputy of the sheriffs of London (Cal. Letterbooks of London, Bk E, 167).


42 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 elected sheriffs; the remaining twenty-one were conferred during the pleasure of the crown. Of the holders of these offices, eleven were commissioned for single counties, ten each for two adjoining counties.!_| The sheriff of Durham was the official of the palatine bishop and the sheriff

of the county of Chester, that of the palatine earl. A voidance of the bishopric, however, gave the king temporary control, and might enable him to appoint a sheriff.2, The earldom of Chester at this time was regularly conferred upon the king’s eldest son. Just before his accession to

the throne, Edward III as earl appointed a sheriff for the county and later confirmed the act. Henceforth he made appointment through the justice of Chester,’ who, after the prince of Wales was created earl in May, 1333, governed in the name of the latter. The method of appointing sheriffs and the law bearing thereupon were approaching, though only in 1340 were they to reach, their permanent status. The Ordinances of 1311 required that sheriffs be appointed by the chancellor, treasurer and others of the council who should be present. In the event of the chancellor’s absence, sheriffs were to be named by the

treasurer and barons of the exchequer and the justices of the bench.‘ Included also in the Ordinances was the requirement that the sheriff recelve a commission under the great seal, a provision which superseded

appointment under the exchequer seal and forbade it under the privy seal.5 From this time commissions cease to be recorded on the memoranda rolls of the exchequer and henceforth appear on the fine roll® of the chancery. With the exception of sheriffs who held in fee and the elective sheriffs of London,’ the record of sheriff’s commissions must be sought upon the fine roll until modern times. The parliament of Lincoln in 1316 re-enacted the method of 1311 in 1 Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire were under the same sheriff; the other counties similarly linked were Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, Essex and Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, Salop and Staffordshire, Somerset and Dorset, Surrey and Sussex, Warwickshire and Leicestershire.

2G. T. Lapsley, County Palatine of Durham (New York, 1900), pp. 80-81. The only vacancy in this period was from 26 Sept. to 19 Dec. 1333. 3 The grant of the shrievalty of Chester on 12 Jan., 1328, to the king’s yeoman, John of Wrenbury, for six years was confirmed by Edward III on 1 May (C.F.R., 1v, 88). William de Praers (Chance.

Misc., 51/1/38) received this shrievalty at Christmas 1330 by commission under the seal of the exchequer of Chester for four years at a fee of £240 per year. The king’s ratification of the letters patent of the justice of Chester committing this shrievalty to David de Egerton for three years 1s dated 15 Sept. 1332 (ihid., 327). For directions to the earl’s justice or lieutenant, elsewhere sent to sheriffs, see ibid., 453. 4 Sec. 17, Rot. Parl., 1, 282; Stats. of Realm, 1, 160. > As Tout (Chapters, 11, 284-285) shows.

6 The change comes with L.T.R.M.R., No. 82, and K.R.M.R., No. 85, 5 Edward II. This was shown by J. Conway Davies in his Baronial Opposition to Edward II (Cambridge, 1918) p. 526. * Both usually recorded on the memoranda roll of the lord treasurer’s remembrancer.

The Sheriff 43 appointing sheriffs! and this was specifically retained after the triumph of Edward II and the repeal of the Ordinances in 1322.2, A response to a petition in parliament in 1334 shows that the appointment was according to the statutes? previously made. None of these measures transferred the appointment from the exchequer to the chancery.’ When the chan-

cellor was not present the conciliar group who appointed might well assume the aspect of a council at the exchequer. The admission of sheriffs to office remained exchequer business.5 As authority for sealing

their commissions the chancellor might receive notification from the

treasurer. In the first decade of Edward III warrant to commission sheriffs was also conveyed to the chancery by writ of privy seal,’ or per ipsum regem, or by the council or the king and council. The sheriff’s commission® gave into his custody a specified county or two of the counties linked for this purpose, to be held during the king’s pleasure, and provided that he was to respond annually at the exchequer for the farms and debts due the king as well as other things pertaining to the office. An additional clause in the commissions for certain coun-

ties conferred custody of a castle, usually the castle of the principal town of the county.® This was useful to the sheriff as an office and gaol. 1 Stats. of Realm, 1. 283. The barons of the exchequer were now substituted for ‘others of the council.’

2 Rot. Parl., 1, 456; Davies, Baronial Opposition, pp. 492-493. 3 Rot. Parl., 11, 376. Cf. Davies, Baronial Opposition, p. 526; B. Wilkinson, The Chancery under Edward III (Manchester, 1929), p. 34. 4 The actual change was appointment by the council, and as Davies indicates (in Law Quarterly Review, Xxxitl, 1917, 78 ff.), the issue of the sheriffs’ commissions under the great seal instead of the exchequer seal. Even in Cornwall, where the duke was hereditary sheriff, a petition of the period 1338-

1340 (Ancient Petitions, No. 9648) requests that the duke and his council with the chancellor and treasurer of England shall replace an unsatisfactory under-sheriff. 5 See below, pp. 45-46. Wilkinson’s evidence that sheriffs were sworn in at the chancery (Chancery under Edward III, p. 34) is only an order to the chancellor to prepare a commission which adds some unusual detail. 6 Asin Fine Roll, No. 127, mm. 1-12, 18-23; ibid., No. 129, mm. 2-4; in zibid., No. 132, mm. 21-22, per billam thes. Sheriffs for certain Scottish counties were in 1334 designated by Edward II] and his council (Foedera, 11, pt. ii, 889). 7 Asin Fine Rolls, No. 131, m. 28 (5 Edw. III); No. 132, m. 21 (6 Edw. III); No. 135 (9 Edw. IID mm. 5, 21. Cf. Cal. Chanc. Warrants, 1, 495. 8 The following is the form: ‘Rex commisit dilecto sibi Hildebrando de London comitatus Somerset

et Dorset cum pertinenciis custodiendos quamdiu Regi placuerit. Ita quod firmas debitas Regi reddat annuatim ad scaccarium Regis et de debitis Regis et omnibus aliis ad officium vicecomitis Comitatuum predictorum spectantibus Regi ad idem Scaccarium respondeat prout alii vicecomites comitatuum predictorum hactenus reddere et inde respondere consueverunt. In cuius, etc. T. R. apud Botheville xiiii die Decembris. Per consilium.’ “Et mandatum est Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Abbatibus, prioribus, comitibus, Baronibus, Militibus et omnibus aliis de comitatibus predictis quod eidem Hildebrando tanquam vicecomiti Regis Comita-

tuum predictorum intendentes sint et respondentes. In cuius, etc. T. ut Supra.’ The date here is 10 Edward III (Fine Roll, No. 136, m. 4). * The wording of the commission in this respect was the same as that in List of Sheriffs for England

44 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 Although sometimes the castle was transferred from the keeping of the sheriff to another person, in the main sheriffs continued to receive the castle in those counties! wherein their predecessors had held it. From the time of Edward II by another slight variation in the commissions of two sheriffs, the one of Lincolnshire, the other of the linked counties of Bedford and Buckingham,” these were not like the others made farmers of their counties but custodians.? In the five shrievalties held in fee the tenure of the office was subject to feudal law. If the noble grantee or his descendant forfeited, or his estate escheated, or he left an heir who was a minor, the king resumed

control and appointed a sheriff. Most of these shrievalties had been seized by Edward II in 1322. Three magnates once more received their counties in 1327. Henry, earl of Lancaster in April, regained the shrievalty of Lancaster, forfeited through the rebellion of his brother, Earl Thomas.‘ Robert de Clifford on 3 February of the same year regained the hereditary shrievalty of Westmoreland, taken into the king’s hands in February 1322, because of the treason of Robert’s brother, Roger, who joined Thomas of Lancaster. Moreover, Hugh Audley with Margaret of Clare, his wife,* who had held the county of Rutland in right of succes-

sion to Margaret, widow of Edmund, earl of Cornwall, but had in 1321 been deprived as a contrariant, regained possession at Easter 1327. At the advent of Edward III to power in 1330 Queen Isabella surrendered Cornwall,’ and its sheriffs were appointed by the crown until 1337, when the office was made over to the duke of Cornwall, the king’s eldest son. and Wales from the Earliest Times to 1831 (P.R.O. Lists and Indexes, No. rx, London, 1896), p. vii, No. x1. Asarule counties were granted with castles in accordance with usage which may be traced back for more than a century. In rare instances more than one castle was conferred. 1 The castles regularly conferred with their counties were those of Cambridge, Canterbury, Col-

chester, Exeter, Hereford, Launceston, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Norwich, Sarum, Shrewsbury, Winchester and York; also Sherborne until 1335 (except as in C.P.R. 1330-1334, 528) and Northampton with occasional exceptions. Bridgnorth castle was conferred along with that of Shrewsbury (cf.

C.F.R., tv, 146) until 1829. The county court at Nottingham was in 1336 held in a hall (C.C.R. 1333-1337, p. 618) in the town. 2 Thus in Fine Roll, No. 134, m. 4 (8 Edw. III) they are to respond de exitibus inde provientibus. The formula was not always the same and shows some differences as between the two shrievaltes.

3 See below, p. 78. 4 The forfeiture is shown in C.F.R., 1, 105. ’ Chroniques de London, ed. C. J. Aungier, Camden Soc. (London, 1844), p. 44; Parl. Writs, ed. Palgrave, 11, Pt. ii, app., p. 200. Cf. Cal Inq., vi, 304, 456; vu, 41. 6 One of the sisters of the late earl of Gloucester. As Gaveston’s widow she was countess of Cornwall, like her aunt, the elder Margaret, who had held Rutland as part of her dower. Hugh's dispossession is shown, in C.F.R., 1, 51, 55, 71, 105; his restoration, C.C.R. 1327-1530, 76. 7 Granted to her by Edward II, 25 July 1317, with the king’s castles, vills, manors and lands in the county along with hundreds, views of frankpledge, advowsons of churches, fines, redemptions, amercements, year and waste and murder fines to meet the expenses of her hospice (Z.T.R. Misc. Roll,

5/19). 8 Accounts in the duke’s name began from Michaelmas, 1338.

The Sheriff 45 The shrievalty of Worcestershire taken into the king’s hands, at the death

of Guy de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, in 1315, was returned to his son,! Earl Thomas, when in 1330 the latter came of age. The herditary sheriff did not perform his duties in person, but designated to the treasurer and barons of the exchequer an undersheriff, who was commissioned in the usual way, admitted to the office, and sworn in by these officials. The sheriff in Cornwall was sometimes the seneschal of the earldom as well; but at times, as in 1330, the sheriff and the steward were different persons.?, The exchequer repeatedly held that it was the duty of the sheriff in fee to appear personally to nominate his substitute.

When, at Easter 1331, one of the justices of the bench presented the letters of Robert de Clifford naming his undersheriff, they were accepted

on the ground that Robert was unable to be present.? In 1336 it was ruled that he ought to be present, but his undersheriff was admitted by grace. In 1331 Hugh Audley was required to make personal appearance to ratify his nomination.? The mayor and other officials of London appeared each year after Michaelmas to present the sheriffs elected.®

The sheriff was sworn and admitted to the office at the exchequer. The form of oath employed was preserved in the Red Book of the Exchequer’ and described as an oath to observe good and faithful conduct in the office.2 The only known form generally® used in the earlier part of the fourteenth century is that prescribed by the Ordinances of 1311,1° but comparison of this with a form of 1298" shows that fundamentally it was normal. In both forms the sheriff undertook to serve the king for 1 C.F.R., w1, 70.

2 L.T.R.M.R., No. 78, m. 14d; Fine Roll, No. 113, m. 16; C.F.R., tv, 222. For his account as sheriff and seneschal, 16-17 Edward II, L.T.R. Misc. Roll, 5/19. The heads of that county appointed by the king from 1330 were sheriffs, not undersheriffs.

3 L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 100; K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 277. So in the case of the earl of Warwick’s undersheriff in Worcestershire, L.T.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 85. 4 L.T.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 76. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 80. Other cases of nomination occur ibid., 107, m. 98; P.R.O. Lists of Sheriffs, p. 150, note. 6 Tiber Albus, ed. Riley, 1, 141, 148, 150, Plac. de Quo War., pp. 449, 450, 451; Annales Londonienses

(ed. W. Stubbs, Rolls Ser., London, 1882), p. 218. 7L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 100; K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 277. 8 De bene et fideltier se habendo in officio vicecomitis, as in L.T.R.M.R., No. 90, m. 23; Ibid., No. 106, m. 65 (new). Taking oath at the exchequer is described as prout moris, in Pipe Roll 172, Lancaster. ° That for London in the Liber Albus (ed. Riley, 1, 306-307), possibly as late as 1336 (cf. Stats. of Realm, 1, 277), contains numerous features inapplicable elsewhere. 10 Printed in Stats. of Realm, 1, 247; recorded under date of 11 Nov. 1311 (Close Roll, 5 Edwd. I, m. 23d; Cf. C.P.R. 1307-1313, 411). 11 Printed in Thomas Madox, The History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England (London, 1769), 11, 149, note kkd.

AG The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 | the profit of the latter, and to guard the fiscal rights of the crown, not assenting to their decrease or concealment; if unable to save these, he would report the matter to the king or to those of his council who were certain so to report. He also swore to treat the people of his bailiwick lawfully, to do right to all, and to appoint his bailiffs from among the most lawful men in the county. By the form of 1311 the sheriff further bound himself not to take bribes to the king’s loss. Similarly he engaged to acquit at the exchequer persons of whose debts he received anything; also truly to return writs, and to receive none unsealed except from justices assigned to the county and, those of Newgate;! furthermore to employ only bailiffs for whom he was willing to respond and who had not served

under another sheriff, causing them to take due oath. When a form of oath is again available, in 1344, it is in substance that of 1311 with three exceptions. There is additional safeguard against the perversion of justice through gift, promise or favor; also an undertaking to give receipt for writs coming at the suit of the king, clearly of later date than 1323;° in the third place, an omission of the obligation not to take the bailiffs of former sheriffs, accorded with usage existent by 1333.4

Some exception was made to the rule that sheriffs be sworn at the exchequer. By special mandate of this body a prelate or other prominent local resident® was sometimes directed to receive the sheriff’s oath in his own county according to the form which was forwarded. London in the time of Edward II claimed the right to swear in its own sheriffs, but the barons of the exchequer refused to admit these to office unless sworn

before themselves. The desired concession was made in a charter, 1 Fowler’s rendering of this difficult passage (Rolls from Office of Sheriff of Beds. and Bucks., 1332— 1334, Quarto Memoirs of the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, vol. III, ed. G. H. Fowler, Apsley Guise, 1929, p. 2) is sustained by a later form of sheriffs’ oath (Cart. of St. Peter’s Gloucester, Rolls. Ser.,

1, 288). This meant in 1338 that a writ of judgment, except in the two cases specified in the oath, should bear the seal (Rot. Parl., 11, 99, No. 6) either of the chancery or the exchequer. The provision in the sheriff’s oath was to safeguard the fees of these two bodies. The problem assumed another aspect (ibid., 11, 170, No. 45) after 1344, when the courts of king’s bench and coramon pleas received

their own seals. (Maxwell-Lyte, The Great Seal, p. 330). The justices had also been entitled to a small fee for sealing judicial writs (C.F.R., v1, 89, 184). 2 Fowler, loc. cit., pp. 1-2. 3 Below, p. 65.

4 Fowler, op. cit., p. 5. An order to remove bailiffs without lands and all who have been bailiffs in the king’s time (Ancient Petitions, No. 6505), seems to date from about 1319 (cf. C.P.R., 13171821, 298; Stats. of Realm, 1, 175).

5 A prior (Chartulary of Westminster Cathedral, ed. A. W. Goodman, n.p., 1927, p. 130; Fowler, Rolls from Office of Sheriff, p. 1); a former sheriff (L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 100; K.R.M.R. No. 107,

m. 277); coroners, temp. Edw. I (Parl. Writs, 1, app., 394). In one instance (K.R.M.R., No. 83, m. 4d) oath was subsequently taken before the barons of the exchequer. 6 The Londoners regarded their sheriffs as municipal officials, and were probably imposing upon them (cf. Liber Albus, ed. Riley, 1, 306-307; Letter Books of City of London, Book E, p. 25) restraints

by oath.

The Sheriff AT granted by Edward IIT in 1327, which declared that sheriffs of London should not be distrained to make oath in the exchequer except concerning their accounts.! The sheriff remained in office until he received the king’s letters, issued concurrently with his successor’s commission, which notified him to hand over the county with the rolls, writs, memoranda and other things pertaining to the office, taking an indenture for these; and, when he held a castle with the county, to surrender, also by indenture, the custody of this with its armament and provisions.” New sheriffs were constantly being appointed to succeed others. A general replacement occurred in 1327, nearly all the sheriffs of the Despenser period being dismissed.’ A few months after the personal rule of Edward III began there was another general change, and it was enacted that the sheriffs of England be removed and more satisfactory ones supersede them.* An inquiry by commission of oyer and terminer® into the conduct of sheriffs and their subordinates, prescribed in the same order, implied that these agents of the late government were unsatisfactory because of misdeeds. For the remainder of the period the number of annual changes in the twenty-one appointive shrievalties ranged from six to fifteen, averaging

twelve.6 The odds were more than even that an appointive sheriff holding office in January, when the regnal year began, would be superseded within the next twelve months. In some instances a term of several years occurs, and in Hampshire one sheriff’? even served from 1321 to 1338. The statute of 1340, which required that sheriffs hold office but one year, gave as a reason oppression on the part of persons who by procurement retained the position for some years.® Since 1311 there had been three main qualifications for the shrievalty. 1 Historical Charters of the City of London, ed. W. de Gray Birch (London, 1887), p. 56; L.T.R.M.R.

No. 102, m. 75. Cf. P.R.O. Lists of Sheriffs for England and Wales, p. xi. The contention is mentioned in 1315 (L.T.R.M.R., No. 86, m. 38); the Annales Londonienses (Rolls Ser., p. 219) date the beginning of the quarrel as 1312. It continued as late as 1823 (Madox, Exchequer, ed. 1769, 11, 97-99).

— 2See C.F.R., tv, 15, passim. For a complete text of the order as it stood in 1336, Fine Roll, No. 136, 8 Nov. and 14 Dec.

3 Fine Roll, No. 127, mm. 4-25. Twenty-three were replaced in February and March, ten more in December. * Rot. Parl., u, 60; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 287. Cf. Tout, Chapters, 111,35. Nineteen new sheriffs were commissioned under date of 5 Dec. 1330 and 15 Jan. 1331 (C.F.R., tv, 199). 5 This was not altogether new. Such commissions. were issued in various counties in August, 1330 (C.P.R., 1327-1330, 573), in 1331 (ibid., 1330-1334, 133, 188) and in 1333 (ibid., pp. 440, 449). For the form of one in 1818, Parl. Writs., ed. Palgrave, u, Pt. ii., app., 135; in 1323, zbid., app., 231; in 1324, abid., app. 260. 6 For 5 Edward III, 6 changes; 6 and 9 Edw. III, 15 each year; 8 Edw. ITI, and 10 Edw. III, 11 each. 7 John de Scures. 8 Stats. of Realm, 1, 283.

48 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 Its holder was required by law to be a landholder who was not the bailiff of a lord,! by politics to be an adherent of the ruling group, and by

administrative necessity to be a person of some executive ability and dependability.

The landholding qualification, known more or less in practice still earlier, was formally imposed by one of the Ordinances, which required sheriffs to be suitable and sufficient persons holding lands and tenements from which they were able to answer the king and the people for their

deeds.2 Restitution for undue exaction and collection of the kings claims against him were possible only when the sheriff was a responsible person. The statute of Lincoln in 1316 specified that he should have in the shire wherein he held office land sufficient to answer the king and the

people’. These provisions, re-affirmed by statute in 1322 and by ordinance in 1326,4 must have been poorly enforced,’ for an enactment of

1328 declared that the statute of Lincoln should be observed at all points. By specifying that the sheriff should have lands in his shire or bailiwick,® this last statute qualified the head of two linked shires who held land in but one of them. _ There are further indications that the legal requirements were not well enforced. The justices in the Nottingham eyre of 1329 complained that they could not obtain by distraint the records and memoranda of former sheriffs because these held no land in the county.’ At that very time a sheriff of two counties who was appointed in July 1328, and in office until 1330, held no land in either of these although he did so in a third county.® The difficulty appears again in the re-enactment of the statute of 1328 in 1330, again the next year, and finally in 1336 with the requirement that former statutes to be kept at all points.? In October, 1335, a sheriff of Devon, lately appointed, was actually required by authority of the king’s 1 Added in the statute of Lincoln. 2 Rot. Parl., 1, 282, Sec. 17; Stats. of Realm, 1, 160. For earlier instances of sheriffs holding land both within and without their bailiwicks, Assize Roll No. 26, m. 1, 4 Edw. III. 3 Rot. Parl., 1, 353; Stats. of Realm, 1, 174. 4 Rot. Parl., 1, 468; Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 958-961.

5 The sheriffs of the counties of Bedford and Buckingham in the time of Edward II (Assize Roll, No. 26, m. 1) held lands in one or the other of these counties except Ingelran Berengar, 1320-1321, who in 1324 (Parl. Writs, 11, Pt. ii, 648; cf. Cal. Ing., vit, 312-314) held in Hampshire the qualifications of knighthood. The men of Leicester at about the same time asked for the removal of William de Neville as sheriff because he held no lands except the dower of his wife (Ancient Petitions, No. 2881) 6 Stats. of Realm, 1, 258. 7 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 584.

§ Assize Roll, No. 31 (1340-1341), m. 21. The sheriff was John le Mareschal. For his half fee in Herts, Feudal Aids, u, 431. 9 Stats. of Realm, 1, 264, 266, 277.

The Sheriff 49 council to surrender custody of the county on the ground that he had no lands within it according to the statute.! The principle that the sheriff’s land was security for his acts and obligations held even after his decease. If he or his heir was no longer living,

the tenants of the lands he held in fee were responsible.?, A record of 1330-1331 shows a sheriff ordered to make inquiry who were the tenants

of a former sheriff and what the portion of each was worth per year.’ Occasionally a sheriff at the time of his appointment was required to find securities to pledge his official obligations.‘ Political partisanship was a weighty consideration in the appointment of sheriffs for the two decades following 1311. Despite the declaration of an ordinance of 1326 that sheriffs had been changed too often,® adherents of the Despensers were largely excluded from office between 1326 and the autumn of 1330.6 The order to remove all sheriffs in February, 1331, once more turned the tables. ‘The sheriffs,’ like Ralph de Sancto Laurento, now re-appointed had not served under the Mortimer govern-

ment, and a number of them had been keepers of the lands of the ‘con-

trariants,’ seized by the crown in 1322. Only henceforth might the words ‘suitable and sufficient sheriffs’ assume their natural connotation. Persons who regarded themselves as liable to be named sheriffs often obtained letters patent exempting them for life from appointment against their will. These grants included also as a rule exemption from service on juries and assizes and appointment as mayor, coroner or escheator.® 1C.F.R., tv, 463, 467-468; Fine Roll, No. 185, m. 2. This was Hildebrand of London who had been sheriff of Wilts, 1330-1332, and of Dorset and Somerset, 1333-1335. He held land in the last named county (see below, p. 52, n. 6). The Cornish petition (see above, p. 43, n. 4) for the removal of an undersheriff was on the ground that he held no land in the county. 2 As in K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 130 (4 Edward ITI); Assize Roll 683, mm. 1, 1d (3 Edward ITI,

Notts.). 8 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 57, m. 13d. 4 So Richard de Baiocis, Cambridge and Hunts. (C.F.R., tv, 329); Reginald de Montfort (zbid., 327); and Peter de Saltmarsh (ibid., 315), Yorkshire. Saltmarsh was a knight. 5 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 960-961.

6 Sheriffs in office before 1322 and reappointed include John de Brompton (Oxford and Berks.), 1319-1322, 1327-1328; Philip de la Beche (Wilts.), 1820-1321. Only Ralph Ingham (Nottingham and Derby) 13822-1323, 1827-1328; Henry de Faucomberge (York) 1325-1327, 1328-1330; and Almaric la Zouche (Cambridge and Huntingdon) 1820-1327, 1828-1330, were sheriffs of the Despenser period who were reappointeed. As to the last named, C.F.R., rv, 15. 7 These include Philip de Aylesbury (Beds. and Bucks.), 1321-1322, 1830-1333; Matthew de Crauthorn (Devon), 1822-1325; Ralph de Sancto Laurento (Kent), 1326-1327, 1331-1332; Henry de Bisshebury (Salop), 1322, 1327, 1830-1333. 8 Several of these grants were usually made each year in this period. In July and August 1333 eleven were issued within a few days (C.P.R. 1330-1334, 459-462). In the autumn of 1331, when a general change of sheriffs was still under way, eleven were also issued (zbid., pp. 174-175), all except one from 6 Oct. to 14 Oct. One of the grantees was a knight and a former sheriff. As far back as

50 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 They show a desire to escape from official obligations felt to be burdensome; they also suggest that coroners and escheators were chosen from the same class as sheriffs. Since coroners were expected to be knights,!

and more than one sheriff is known to have been escheator at another time,” there is clearly some truth in the assumption. That some sheriffs were men who could serve the king usefully in other capacities is amply shown. One appears somewhat earlier as a banneret, at the head of ten men-at-arms.’ One, lately in office, received a fairly large sum for expenses while staying with the king in his service.*’ ‘Two had been custodians of Welsh castles,> and one of these was designated in

1330 to make inquest in Glamorgan concerning the property of the younger Despenser. Several had been entrusted with the duty of appraising or acting as custodians of the property of the king’s enemies.® One had been a collector of scutage,’ a half dozen were collectors of subsidies,® and at least one of these conservator of the peace in his county.’ Many others of the shrievial group also received commissions as conservators. An occasional one was placed on a commission of oyer and terminer.!° One had been a seneschal in Devon for the bishop of Oxford, and subsequently acted as keeper of certain of the king’s mines there.”

One, while sheriff, was a custodian of the temporalities of the see of Winchester during a voidance, and another sole custodian of the temporalities of the see of Durham.’ One had been a _ sub-escheator.¥ Furthermore, it was not unusual to place these men on the county com-

the reign of Henry III the burgesses of Bamburgh had obtained a similar exemption for themselves (C.Ch.R., tv, 267). 1 Stats. of Realm, 1, 29, ef. C.C.R. 13833-1337, 142; Select Cases from the Coroners Rolls, ed. Charles

Gross (Selden Soc., London, 1896), p. xx. 2 Roger de Chandos and William de Northo. Cf. S. J. Gibson in E.H.R., xxxv1 (1921), 223; also C.F.R., tv, 322. 3 Ralph de Bulmer (Foedera, 11, Pt. ii, 688). *0.0.R. 1327-1330, 347. 5 Peter de Veel and Roger de Chandos (C.F.R., tv, 171, 178, 235). 6 Ibid., 40, 149, 181; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 160. 7 CLFLR., Iv, 208.

8 Philip of Aylesbury, Hildebrand of London (C.F.R., tv, 354), Thomas de Berkeley (cbid., 481, 504), Henry de Trethewy, John de Chiddleigh and Matthew de Crauthorn (ibid., 504). 9 Hildebrand of London (Assize Roll, No. 219). Of the keepers of the peace appointed in March 1332, twenty (see list in C.P.R., 1330-1334, 292-295) had been sheriffs, of whom four were at that time in office, two of these, Clifford and Audeley, being hereditary sheriffs. Cf. also C.P.R., 18271330, 88-90. 10 As Thomas de Novo Mercato (ibid., 297) and Roger de Kerdeston (ibid., 1330-1334, 352). 1! Crauthorn (C.C.R. 1333-1337, 376, 449, 639). 12 John de Scures (C.F.R., tv, 385); Peter de Saltmarsh (C.C.R. 1333-1337, 160). 18 Gilbert de Berwick. See reference in note 2 above.

The Sheriff 51 mission of array.! At least one former sheriff served as a verderer,” and two sheriffs had been coroners.’

More impressive are the parliamentary returns. If the appointee of the hereditary sheriff be counted as a sheriff, there was only one English county‘ electing members to parliament which did not within the decade in question send at least one member of the shrievial group as a knight

of the shire. In some counties the number ran as high as four or five. In all eighty-four men whose names appear on the list of sheriffs, twothirds of those appointed during the decade, were returned as county members, some while still in office. A fair number were elected repeatedly; some who had been sheriffs of linked counties were chosen first

for one of these, then for the other. An occasional sheriff was also returned as a borough member, one or two for the county and afterwards for the borough. Many were clearly persons of weight and standing in their own communities. Some grouping of sheriffs according to social or landed status is possi-

ble. Earls held none but hereditary shrievalties in this period, though one sheriff of the border county of Cumberland ranked as a baron,® and several who appear as knights also counted as magnates of the realm for military or parliamentary purposes.’ Sheriffs who were knights may often be identified, although the title

miles was usually a casual matter of record. The prestige and security for obligations offered by the man who had an income from lands of £40

a year, had much weight. Of the hundred and twenty-seven men appointed sheriffs by the crown between 1326 and 1337, at least forty had been knighted by 1324,° and twenty-five others are mentioned as knights. °® 1 Simon Warde and Nicholas de Meynil, ex-sheriffs (C.C.R. 1330-1333, 87, 470), with numerous others. So C.P.R. 1330-1334, 419. 2 C.0.R. 1333-1337, 315. 3 C.C.R. 1830-1333, 15 (Jorce); ibid., p. 241 (Bourne).

4 Middlesex. In this case the sheriffs were those of London, not likely to be returned for the nonurban parts of Middlesex. Yorkshire returned one of the shrievial group, Saltmarsh (Parliamentary Representation of Yorkshire, 1238-1832, ed. A. Gooden, Yorkshire Archaeological Soc., Record Series xclI, 1932, p. 7). 5 Miss Ward-Legh, F.H.R., xtv1 (1931), 373.

6 Ralph de Dacre (C.F.R., tv, 164. Cf. Parl. Writs, ed. Palgrave, 11, Pt. ii, 558, 609, 612). 7 On the record of summons to parliament for these ten years (Dignity of a Peer, tv) appear the names of Ralph de Bulmer (sheriff of Yorkshire), Roger de Chandos (Herefordshire), Matthew de Bassingbourn (Cambridgeshire), Stephen de Cobham (Kent), John Cailly (Norfolk), Roger de

Kerdeston (Norfolk) and Henry de Bisshebury (Shropshire). That Chandos (C.F.R., tv, 350; Feudal Aids, 11, 380; Chance. Rolls Various, 1277-1326, 389, 395), Cobham (Cal. Ing., vit, 195-196) and Kerdeston (Cal. Ing., vit1, 74-75) were tenants-in-chief, is shown.

8 According to military returns of 1322 and 1324 (Parl. Writs, ed. Palgrave, ii, Pt. 1, 587-611, 637-657) thirty-nine; and John de Scures (Goodman, Chart. of Winchester Cathedral, p. 30). § Warin de Bassingbourn, Cambridge and Huntington (either Feudal Aids, 1v, 171, 183, 190, or

52 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 Of the latter group seventeen are so named only after their terms in office were ended, though usually within a short time thereafter. Since there were in addition at least five who had in the respective counties in which they served either a whole knight’s fee or its equivalent in fractions,! to say nothing of others who may have partly met the qualification of £40 a year from lands held by non-military tenure, it seems that fully half, if not more, of the sheriffs of this decade were knights. A few were fairly large landholders, who would have qualified for knighthood in several counties,? but much landholding was discrete and only a small number are recorded as lords of entire manors or vills.2 The majority - who were knights held only a portion of their lands as military tenants. The inference is that of the approximate half of the sheriffs remaining the large majority were esquires whose income, according to the statute of Winchester, should have ranged from almost that of knights down to £15a year. About twenty of this rank may be identified. One of them, certified in 1324 as a man-at-arms‘ with an income of £40 a year, was,

therefore a man of knightly rank, who through pardon, fine, or some other reason remained an esquire. ‘Two sheriffs of the period, returned to parliament loco militis, were obviously esquires, one of them remaining so for years afterward.’ Four more parliamentary knights of the shrievial group had been in 1324 listed only as men-at-arms.® Nine other sheriffs else 156); John de Bourne, Kent (C.C.R. 1330-1333, 541; Feudal Aids, 111, 22); William Vaghan, Surrey and Sussex (C.C.R. 1330-1333, 598); Philip de la Beche, Wilts. (cbid., 167); John le Mareschal, Beds. and Bucks. (cbid., 180); William de Spersholt, Berks. (itid., 569); Almaric la Zouche, Cambridge

(tbid., 310); Robert Jorce, Nottingham and Derby (C.C.R. 1333-1337, 192) Thomas de Rokeby, Yorks. (ibid., 416); Robert de Stanegrave, Surrey and Sussex (ibid., 338, 460): Peter de Veel, Devon

(Cal. Ing., vit, 85): John de Wauton, Essex (ibid., 505); Philip de Somerville, Beds. and Bucks. (tbed., 87); Roger de Peshale, Salop (C.F.R., tv, 338); and Roger de Chandos, Hereford (C.F.R., Iv, 318). Nine others, Wiliam de Moigne and Richard de Baiocis (Cambridge and Hunts), Thomas de Berkeley of Coberley (Gloucester), William de Orleston and Thomas de Brokhill (Kent), Roger Deyncourt (Notts. and Derby), John de Loudham (Norfolk and Suffolk), William de Whitfield and Walter de Rodney (Somerset and Dorset) are mentioned as knights in 1338 (Foedera, tv, Pt. ii, 1013-1014), Hildebrand of London in 1345 (ibid., 111, Pt. i, 51). 1 Thomas de Rodebergh, Gloucester (Feudal Aids, 11, 279, 293); Matthew de Crauthorne, Devon (ibid., 1, 418); Ralph de Sancto Laurento, Kent (111, 20, 26); John Cailly, Norfolk and Suffolk (1,

506, 568). John de la Haye, Essex, held a fee in Bucks. (1, 100, 126) and a fee and a half in Cambridge (abid., 145, 163).

2 Philip de Aylesbury (Beds. and Bucks.) was in 1324 reported as a knight in Bedford, Essex and Oxford. As to John de la Haye, above n. 1. 8 Such as Thomas de Berkeley of Coberley (Feudal Aids, 11, 271); John de Scures, Hants (ibid., 11, 308, 320); John de Rous, Hereford (11, 385, 388); Robert de Walkefare, Norfolk (111, 460). 4 Oliver de Carminou, Cornwall (Parl. Writs., ed. Palgrave, 11, Pt. ii, 655). 5 Both were for Oxfordshire: John de Leukenore in 1332, 1334, 1335 the holder of at least a half vill

(Feudal Aids, tv, 22) and later knighted (C.F.R., v, 392); John de Alveton, in 1332, 1336, still an esquire in 1345 (Foedera, 111, Pt. i, 51), held at least three-fourths (Feudal Aids, tv, 180, 190) of a knight’s fee. 6 Of these Hildebrand of London, returned for Wilts in 1328, held a half fee (Feudal Aids, 11, 58)

The Sheriff 53 of the period were so reported in the returns of 1322 or 1324. The knighting of some of these later! shows that they had been of the next lower status; and there was some presumption that men-at-arms were worth £15 a year, though they might have less.? A certain number of the sheriffs of the period, then, probably belonged to the lowest grade of esquires, or even to the next category below, who according to military classification, had an income of between £10 and £15 a year. Some of those designated as the king’s valett: possessed the requisite qualifications, for they occasionally sought exemption from appointment to the office. They are, however, to be regarded as prospective knights rather than yeomen‘ in the later sense. Returns of feudal aids, inquisitions post mortem and military classes fail to give clues to the landed status of only about a dozen of the sheriffs of the period. Others

are recorded merely as tenants of fractional fees, sometimes as among several joint tenants of vills or fees. Unless the sheriffs in these two categories held lands also by socage or fee-farm, some of them fell below the rank of esquire; but this is uncertain, for even in the cases of the sheriffs who were knights, non-military tenure was common enough. 2. GENERAL WORK OF THE SHERIFF

The sheriff’s work was still of many kinds. He held certain local courts; he had a part in the enforcement of the laws, and especially of the peace, through the arrest and custody of offenders; he aided the work of

the king’s courts by the execution and return of writs and the empanelling of juries; he carried out the directions of the executive in the in Dorset and is mentioned as a knight (Foedera, 111, Pt. i, 51) only in 1345; William Spersholt, knight of the shire for Berks in 1332, was by 1330 (C.C.R. 1330-1332, 569) abelted knight. Ralph de Sancto Laurento, member for Kent in 1831 became a man of superior status (above, p. 52, n. 1), and Robert

Darrays, member for Northumberland in 1334, at his death (Cal. Ing., vit, 396-399) probably met the £40 qualification. None of these nor those named in the preceding note sat in the parliament

of November 1340, the only one of the period for which sheriffs were given specific authority to return esquires (Foedera, 11, Pt. ii, 800) as well as knights.

1 Chandos by 1332 (C.F.R., tv, 318), Brockhill, Loudham and Deyncourt (above, p.51, n. 9) by 1338.

2 At least one sheriff included in the returns of 1324 (Parl. Writs., ed. Palgrave, 11, Pt. ii, 639) the

names of men-at-arms with £15 except when they had less. Deyncourt (Feudal Aids, 1v, 112), Richard de Grofhurst, Kent (11, 37, 45), and James de Cokynton, Devon (Cal. Ing., viu1, 205), held fair-sized fractions of a fee; Brockhill (Feudal Aids, 111, 28, 29, 39), nearly a fee; Robert de Causton, Norfolk (ibid., 111, 508, 520), small fractions; John de Loudham, Norfolk, apparently (111, 478)

a half vill; Robert Burdet of Warwick and Leicester, parts (v, 180, 183) of several vills. Richard de Coleshill, Oxfordshire, in 1824 was not of the better grade (Parl. Writs., u, Pt. i, 543) of armigerz of the county. Gilbert de Berwick, Wilts, was in military reckoning still an armiger in 1845 (Foedera, inl, Pt.i, 51), though a quite well-to-do person (K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 292d). * Asin C.P.R. 1330-1334, 121, 460. Here the word has been translated yeomen. * See E. F. Jacob, Studies in the Period of Baronial Reform (Oxford, 1925), pp. 127-128.

54. The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 performance of many other duties especially enjoined upon him; and he collected and accounted for a fairly important part of the king’s revenue, including the county farms and the judicial income arising through the royal courts. In his own judicial work and often in his power of arrest and his collection of county farms, he acted upon an old-time initiative. The limits of his authority however, were by this time fairly well recognized, and nearly everything he did was subject to direction and judicial scrutiny, many things if done amiss, to amercement. In regular course the sheriff held a session of the county court on a spec-

ified day! of the week every four weeks?, though in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Northumberland only once in six weeks. Sheriffs issued the necessary summonses and citations, enforcing them, if necessary, by distraint.2 The jurisdiction exercised was normally in small civil suits and pleas of trespass, and judgment was given by the assembled

suitors without resort to jury procedure.* Duel might be waged in this

court., In 1329 the duty of certain vills in Nottingham to repair the king’s park was enforceable here. Indictments made in the sheriff’s tourn were repeated’ and appeals of felony made in the first instance by the injured persons.’ These were entered upon the coroner’s roll, and classed as inquests before the sheriff and the coroner.? Along with them were enrolled the proceedings upon the writ of exigend, issued by the king’s courts, whereby the sheriff was required to demand from county court to county court a man who had ignored summons and, if he failed to appear at the fifth session, to proclaim him an outlaw.!® The pro1 In the Welsh county of Carmarthen sessions of two days each, on Thursday and Friday, had been permitted in 1280 (Cal. Chanc. Rolls, Various, p. 184). 2 See W. A. Morris, The Early English County Court (Berkeley, Cal., 1926), pp.90-91. The interval between sessions is shown, ibid., pp. 149-150, 181, 197 ff., 207 ff. Shown for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, vbid., 90, 150, 160-161, 223 ff.; for Lancashire in Excheg. L.T.R. Misc. Roll, 5/40; for North-

umberland, Cal. Ing., vi, 237, also for all these counties from somewhat later evidence by J. J. Alexander, E.H.R., xu (1925), 5. In Westmoreland (Cal. Ing., vit, 196) and in Cumberland (E.H.R., Xt, 4) at this time county courts were held every four weeks. 3G. H. Fowler, Rolls from the Office of Sheriff, pp. 50-53; Morris, Early English County Court, p. 100.

4 Ihid., pp. 107-112. Though juries were used in cases instituted under the king’s writ (ibid., pp. 184, 190). 5 For instances in 1308-1309, Cal. Chancery Rolls, Various, p. 145. 6 Assize Roll, No. 635, m. 70. 7 Tbid., No. 683, m. 92. § Morris, Early English County Court, pp. 114, 155-156. * The order to send up an indictment or appeal is addressed (C.C.R. 1333-1237, 315; Fowler, Rolls from Office of Sheriff, p. 42, No. 1) to the sheriff and the coroners. For convictions of novel desseisin before these, ibid., 43, No. 185; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 117. 10 For illustrations of this period, Morris, Early Eng. County Court, pp. 150, 160; Fowler, Rolls from Office of Sheriff, pp. 55-69. Waiver, the corresponding process in the case of a woman, is still mentioned (C.P.R. 1330-1334, 249; C.C.R. 13830-1333, 595.

The Sheriff 55 nouncement was invalidated if the defendant was in prison when it was made.!

Other duties,? which the sheriff was ordered by writ to perform in the county court, were the holding of certain trials or inquests,® the issue of proclamations,‘ the preparation for a higher court of an agreed statement

(recordum) of a former action of the assembly,’ and the election of coroners,® verderers’? and knights of the shire for parliament. Coroners and verderers were sworn in here,® and a statute required this in the case of bailiffs of the hundreds.° The sheriff on the day following this session held what was known as a

rear county court, in which he collected money accruing and received writs. This usage was still taken for granted in a statute of 1328.1° It is probable that amercements were assessed here.!! The sheriff ordinarily had no direct responsibility” for holding the court of the hundred other than that for the semiannual tourn. ‘Twice a year he presided over this session in each hundred still in the king’s hands,

though the undersheriff might take his place.8 ‘That at one session he still rearranged the lists of frankpledge tithings is probable, for there is evidence that officials of franchises did so.14 Apparently the coroner still recorded defaults of obligation on the part of the tithings, and failure of vills to have their men in tithing, for at the last general eyres, held in a few counties in 1329 and 1330, the justices occasionally imposed amerce1 Coram Rege Roll, No. 277, Rex m. xii. By statute of 1331 the justices of the bench (Stats. of Realm, 1, 268) might exercise a corrective procedure if the sheriff gave fraudulent testimony in the matter. 2 An unusual one, imposed in 1327 was that of exhibiting an impression of the new great seal (C.C.R. 1327-1330, 227),

3 Especially by writs of justicies and loquelam audias. See Morris, Early Eng. County Court, pp. 118-121; also Stats. of Realm, 1, 61, and Fowler, Rolls from Office of Sheriff, pp. 56 (No. 38), 63-64. 4 Below, pp. 70 ff.

5 Cf. the writ recordart facias loquelam (Fowler, op. cit., pp. 7, 43). The sheriff upon writ makes similar record in the hundred court (ibid., p. 32, No. 1) and in that of a borough (C.R.R., No. 196, m. xli, d). ® C.C.R. 1327-1330, 156, 254; Cf. Morris, op. cit., pp. 178-179. 7 Ihnd., pp. 179-180; C.C.R. 1827-1330, 250, 427; 1830-1333, 271. Miss B. H. Putnam will show in vol. 111 one instance of election of keepers of the peace. 8 Morris, zbid., p. 179; C.C.R. 1827-1330, 284; C.F.R., tv, 50. * Stats. of Realm, 1, 175; cf. Morris, e e « S$:. 7. an OR. : Pa

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84 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 Michaelmas, to make his proffer. This was the payment of what he had been able to collect not only of farms but also of summonses and other debts.1. The time preceding the proffer was, therefore, one which had to be devoted to the business of collection by the sheriff and his bailiffs. At times he was specifically ordered to issue warning to bailiffs of liberties and others who made proffer that they should be present.” In times of financial stress he received special orders stringently directing him to levy without delay all that could be levied, and to have the money at his next proffer. The memoranda rolls record twice a year the Adventus Vcecomitum, a roll of the sheriffs’ appearances at the proffer and the amounts

they brought from the various sources. If they brought only writs authorizing disbursements, as the great number did for some years after 1327,4 this was also noted on the Adventus. The Cowick ordinance,® issued in June 1323, and embodying the famous exchequer reforms of Bishop Stapleton, prescribed the more strict regulations for the proffer which applied after 1327. The sheriff was required to come to the proffer in person, and so might not send an attorney at his pleasure,®

as seems often to have been done in the thirteenth century. Excuses were to be allowed by the king’s mandate or for evident cause allowable

by the usages of the exchequer. As the records show, the practice in these cases was to allow frequent permission that sheriffs appear by attorney.’ The roll of the proffer was to be examined on the fourth day and those who had not appeared were to be amerced according to the custom of the exchequer,® a rule the careful enforcement of which is shown by numerous entries in the memoranda rolls® for the various 1 At times a special notice was sent sheriffs concerning the proffer at York. ‘They were to come in person to make their proffer, and to warn other farmers of the bailiwick to be present (C.C.R. 13271330, 162).

2 See above note; also L.T.R.M.R. No. 92, m. 86d (15 Edw. II). 3 In April 1331 (C.C.R., 1330-1333, p. 218) all the sheriffs were to have at the exchequer on the morrow of Ascension all moneys that they could collect [disregarding previous orders for payment elsewhere. In July 1334 (C.C.R. 1833-1387, 244-245, cf. 271) they were to have at the Michaelmas proffer all that could be levied of the issues of their bailiwicks and were to warn all who held lands by the king’s commission to appear in person at that time. 4 Tout (Chaps., m1, '7) noted this for 1326. > Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 894-897. This continued the usage concerning proffers laid down in the Statutes of the Exchequer (Stats. of Realm, 1, 197).

6 Cf. Morris, Med. Eng. Sheriff, p. 249. In 1332 a precedent for current usage is cited from 18 Edw. I (L.T.R.M.R. No. 104, slip attached to Mich. and Easter adventus). For reference to the new rule in 1334, C.C.R. 1333-1337, 261. 7 The king’s mandate was given by letters close (C.C.R. 1333-1337, 22, 261, 206, 385; K.R.M.R.,

No. 107, Easter adventus) or by writ of privy seal (K.R.M.R., No. 109, Easter adventus, No. 111, m. 69; L.T.R.M.R. No. 106, Mich. adventus; zb7d., m. 107, Easter adventus). Instances of license by barons of the exchequer or the treasurer occur in the last reference. 8 At five marks.

9 Asin L.T.R.M.R. Nos. 102, 105 (slips attached to adventus, Mich. and Easter); ibid., 106 Mich. adventus; zbid., No. 107, Easter adventus.

The Sheriff 85 proffers of the period. Sheriffs, bailiffs and others who made proffers were by older usage assumed to be ready to make view of account for what was involved in their proffer,! but henceforth it was the rule that those whose days for account were not set at the current proffer were to be required to make view. The ordinance issued in June 1326, during the treasurership of Archbishop Melton, went further, prescribing that sheriffs and bailiffs who levied the king’s debts by summons should deliver on their proffers the details not only as to the sums collected, but the names of the debtors, the causes and the specific estreats involved.? The proffer which assembled the sheriffs might be the occasion for

important announcements’ as well as the payment of sums due. The days appointed for sheriffs who were to account during the two exchequer terms between one proffer and the next were made known,‘ and the dies dati were carefully noted on both memoranda rolls at the con-

clusion of the record of the proffer. Proclamation was made at the Michaelmas proffer that all sheriffs and bailiffs of liberties held to render

account for the past year and adjourned, should be present at the next Easter to render account or make views of account the purpose of which

was to show their clear debts due the crown at the time. Failure of a sheriff to observe this rendered him liable for contempt and trespass.° The payment into the lower exchequer of sums required at this time was an urgent matter of business, for, if the sheriff made default in payment, usage required that he be held till he either paid or made agreement.® The rule of the exchequer required that those who came to their proffer should remain until the treasurer and barons gave them leave to depart.’ Some sheriffs made payment, as the receipt rolls show, on the day after the beginning of the proffer. ‘These were followed by others for a week or more at Michaelmas, sometimes two weeks or more at Easter, until the great bulk of their regular payments were made. Payments of farms, debts levied and balances due on earlier accounts were recorded separately on the receipt roll and separate tallies given. Sheriffs’ payments after that occurred only sporadically until the next proffer, the majority of these being either special levies of specific character or balances on ac1 Stats. of the Realm. 1, 197. 2 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 942-943.

3 In 1298 the sheriffs were notified here (Stats. of the Realm, 1, 213) of a new ordinance which imposed additional liabilities upon them. * There is specific evidence in L.T.R.M.R. No. 80 (Devon), m. 37. ° L.T.R.M.R. No. 106, m. 47. This procedure of 1334 is described as prout moris. Cf.L.T.R.M.R. No. 108, m. 138.

8 Stats. of the Realm,1, 197. A day was sometimes set for him to pay, asin L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 91d (Glouc.); ibid., No. 101, m. 115 (Hereford). 7 As in L.T.R.M.R., No. 95, Communia Mich., m. 1 (18 Edw. IT).

86 The English Government at Work, 1327-13836 count. Payments on farms and summonses by estreat were generally possible again only after the sheriff made a systematic levy preparatory to the next proffer. The rule that sheriffs who were not held to account before the next proffer, should make view of account, was well enforced after the confusion which, attended the revolution of 1826. There are recorded no days set for sheriffs’ accounts at Michaelmas 1327, but on the morrow of St. Margaret in the second year of the reign the treasurer and barons, as an older rule required, made a special survey to show what accounts were and were not rendered by sheriffs the preceding year and what remained to be done.!. Henceforth memoranda rolls prove that the exchequer did

even better than the Cowick ordinance prescribed. From the third to the tenth year of the reign the number of sheriffs who made view of account at Easter ranged from 17 to 21, at Michaelmas from 9 to 15. Moreover, from 12 to 14 in the later years made view twice a year. There are notable gaps in the record for the counties held in fee, wherein the king usually had no farm, and in Cumberland and Northumberland, constantly disturbed by border hostilities. Because of the detail required on proffers by the ordinance of 1326 they naturally shaded off toward views of account. When a sheriff had held office but a quarter of a year preceding his retirement, there was often a special view. Most views covered the work of a half year, though views for a whole year occur.2. Views were sometimes ordered by a special precept? and sometimes adjourned to a later term.* A view of aspecial account was sometimes held, as when the sheriff of Herefordshire in 1331 showed the state of the income of the lands of Roger Mortimer which had been committed to his custody.®

The purpose of the view of account was to show the condition of the sheriff’s current business and the amount of clear debts without attempting to settle all accounts to date. To do this he required writs, tallies and memoranda.’ An attorney might represent him,’ but the business could hardly be transacted by a clerk without previous arrangement, and 11L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, adventus mm. 1-7. Cf. Stats. of Realm, 1, 198. 2 Asin L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 116d (Kent). ’ Thus a precept of the sheriff of Dorset and Somerset in the Easter term, 1330, orders him to be present in person or by a sufficient representative to make view for the time for which he had not yet computed (ibid., No. 102, m. 131). * Asin L.T.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 146 (Beds. and Bucks.); No. 105, m. 146 (Camb. and Hunts.). 5 K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 304. 6 Asin L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 131. 7 The exchequer frequently agrees to this. In numerous instances the amounts represented are charged to the sheriff by attorney or by his clerk (asin K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 195; L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 115; No. 106, m. 106; K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 294).

The Sheriff 87 demands might be made which were very difficult for a clerk to meet. At the ordinary view covering the work of the preceding half year or year, the sheriff was charged first, nearly always in one lump sum, for the

farms of the county of the period under review, less fixed allowances. Next came the amount levied by summons for debts of individuals (de debitis plurium) during the same period, a much more difficult matter, since it could be ascertained only by examination of the estreats and of the sheriff’s record of the levy of partial or total items recorded upon them.’ To these two amounts were added usually also a sum remaining over from the last view or account and additional amounts which might be due from the sheriff as custodian of lands in the king’s hands, of forfeited chattels, or of other special sources of income.* The total (summa coniuncta) of these various items was recorded, and some adjustments or allowances

for sums expended were often made. If adjustments could not be made as yet,‘ or if certain amounts charged, such as the minor farms, had not yet been collected, the matter might be postponed. If the amount collected on summonses was small and this was not explained by special

conditions, the view might be adjourned to a later term. Before the sheriff departed the treasurer’s remembrancer was required to cause the state of the view to be declared before the barons.’ When it was shown that the sheriff owed money, directions might be given for its payment,® 1 Especially in settling demands for payment. In L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 138, the attorney of the sheriff of Cumberland fails to keep the day set for payment of what is due, ‘flees payment’ and gratis se retrazit, thus placing himself in contempt. 2 Above, pp. 80-81. The method of accounting for the summonses in 1284 is explained by Miss Mills in the publications of the Surrey Record Society, vol. XxI., vii-ix. 3 The following is the substance of the view of account of the sheriff of Kent in Michaelmas term 1835 for the last half year of the preceding fiscal year (L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, Mich. status et visus):

£84 10s.0 all farms of the county 10 0 O levied by summons 7 5 O remainder from last view of account 20 0 price of chattels of late sheriff, taken into king’s hands (part payment on next item). 41 0 0O remainder on account of late sheriff by writ 20 0 price of chattels of Hugh Audley taken into king’s hands (part payment in next item). 500 marks owed by Hugh Audley for custody of lands of Richard Greystoke and marriage of his heir.

6 8 price of chattels of John Maleville in king’s hand 10 O for part of 75s. relief. 13 4 other items of chattels in king’s hand * Thus an amount due has to be respited because a former sheriff has made levies for part of the half year (L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 162d (Norf. and Suff.); No. 104, m. 161) (Norf. and Suff.); No. 105, m. 146 (Camb. and Hunts.). 5 By the Cowick ordinance (Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 872-873).

6 Thus (in K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 195) at the Michaelmas view, 1327, the sheriff of Salop and Staffs has day to pay £43 three weeks from Michaelmas, another has precept to have £47 17s. 63d. here with as great celerity as possible.

88 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 and he might not leave without giving satisfaction for what he owed. In addition to one or two views of account the sheriff was assigned, at some time within each fiscal year, a day for his final account at the exchequer. ‘These days, if within the Michaelmas or Hilary terms, were

, written on the record of the Michaelmas proffer; if within the Easter or Trinity terms, on the corresponding record at Easter. It is there noted whether he accounted and if not whether a later day was set. ‘The account was a much more painstaking and detailed matter than the view. The latter afforded a ready statement of the sheriff’s current obligations, but made no attempt to balance debits and credits. The former was an audit which went into accounts not yet rendered and thoroughly into problems of allowances on account, for the mere payment of money at the lower exchequer did not of itself acquit a charge made in the upper. The account began with the computing of a sum due! and dealt item by item

with the credit to be allowed upon it because of allowance of payment until, just so far as possible, the account balanced. Its record attempted to show how the sheriff cleared up his business with the exchequer. In the process new amounts as discovered were charged to the sheriff and added to the balance he owed; but he also claimed allowance for further sums, and the record was continued by the exchequer scribes quite beyond the term of the formal proceedings. The so-called swmma record, which

begins with the words Facta summa under the general classification Praecepta super compota in the memoranda rolls, records this intricate process of clearing the sheriff’s accounts. Its details as to specific items may be supplemented by the pipe roll bearing date of the preceding year. This final accounting was an elaborate and, from the sheriff’s point of view, an exacting affair. He accounted upon oath? and required clerical 1A summary (Facta Summa) of account of Roger laZouche, sheriff of Warwick and Leicester, Hilary, 9 Edward III (L.T.R.M.R., No. 107 m. 192) shows that he owed: £132 10s. 6d. within which sum he says he was charged with £30 13s. 9d. of divers debts of which he levied nothing and was able to levy nothing. He delivers a schedule of names. This leaves £101 16s. 9d., less

de Clynton

47 2 0 sought as allowance beeause the hundred of Frameland which is de corpore of county of Leicester is now committed to Roger Beler. This leaves

5414 9 and 1 mark (13s. 4d.) for which he was afterwards charged in the roll by John Summa coniuncta

55 8 1 Which he paid by tally, 3 March, 9 Edward III. Afterwards he was charged the above £30 13s. 9d. respited to him to the close of Easter.

2 The sheriff evidently swore to account truly for debts levied and those which could be levied (Red Book of Exch. 111, 940-941; Stats. of Realm, 1, 255, cap. 4). In K.R.M.R., No. 83, the sheriff of Nor-

folk and Suffolk, Henry de Segrave, in making his account praestitit sacramentum de se onerando

m. 133. |

plenarie et fideliter computando, etc. veteris moris. The oath is also mentioned in L.T.R.M.R., No. 101,

The Sheriff 89 aid! and an elaborate set of records to substantiate his statements. The form of precept used in this period ordered him to appear on the specified day with rolls, writs, tallies and summonses, old and new, touching the account of his office of the time for which it had not yet been rendered.?

He was expected to be present in person. The rule of the exchequer regarding his substitution of an attorney on such an occasion had been fairly lenient,’ until the Cowick ordinance. ‘This prescribed that those held to render account at the exchequer might be received to account by attorney only by the king’s special mandate unless the treasurer and barons were well aware that they are incapable of travelling or for manifest cause hindered from coming.* Besides illness, the most common reason accepted was attention to other business of the king.6 Even then the rule prescribed that the sheriff should be present at the end of the account for the year to give satisfaction for what was due.’ The sheriff was solemly called on the day fixed, and, if he did not appear in person or by at-

torney, an amercement of a hundred shillings was imposed. This was repeated on the second day and on the third. Absence on the fourth day made him liable at the king’s pleasure.’ An order was then issued to the coroners of the county to distrain him or to attach him by his body

and to have him at the exchequer to account on a later day.’ In case of the sheriff’s decease in office or at any time before the account was made, it had to be rendered by his heirs or executors. Besides the sheriff and his clerks, a fairly numerous body of persons might be present before the exchequer officials. The presence of various individuals was sometimes necessary to complete the business. It was essential that bailiffs of liberties respond for farms and debts levied.?

The account might also require that a former sheriff come. The attendance of interested persons of the county, long encouraged, was now publicly invited, not only to expedite the necessary business but to allow complaints concerning the official conduct of sheriffs and their bailiffs. 1 Asin K.R.M.R., No. 83, m. 49. 2 Asin L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 81d. (War. and Leic.). 3 Morris, Mediaeval English Sheriff, 251. 4 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 892-893.

5 Asin C.C.R., 1330-1333, 301; 1333-1337, 111, 261, 342. L.T.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 106. Cornwall.

6 L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 106, Cornwall. Prescribed by the ordinances of 13823 and 1326 (Red Book of Each., 111, 894-895, 948-949).

7 Asin K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 142; L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 43d. 8 Thid.

®° Asin K.R.M.R., No. 107 (Oxford and Berks.), m. 5; 104, m. 194; L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 123 (Beds.); No. 108, m. 195; No. 106, m. 122. Thus the seneschal of the bishop of Exeter (L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 35).

90 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 The exchequer was a forum in which the sheriff might complain if hindered in his work,’ but in which others might also appear against him. He had for a long time been subject to a penalty for failure to acquit the debts of individuals who had paid him,? and the exchequer had even been authorized to send its agents to the various shires to secure enforcement by investigation and infliction of penalties upon offenders.? The sheriff’s relations with bailiffs also came under exchequer jurisdiction. While he

might by authority of the treasurer and barons attach the bailiff of a liberty who failed to account,* he was by statute authorized to imprison his own bailiff whom his auditors found in arrears. In this instance if the bailiff questioned the auditor’s findings the barons of the exchequer were the judges in the case.° Before 1326 these matters, as well as cases involving the sheriff’s or bailiff’s return of writs or other fiscal relations with

persons of the shire, were being adjudged at the exchequer,® and the sheriff was subject to attachment to answer complaints when he appeared for his final account.

The last year of the reign of Edward ITI brought a wide publicity to these proceedings. ‘This was in line with a strong insistence seen in this reign that the king’s justices who visited the shires should hear complaints against sheriffs and other local officials.’ The sheriff had made proclamation calling upon those who had receipt tallies to present them

for allocation at his account. A statute of 1320° and the exchequer ordinance of 1323, however, went much further with the avowed purpose

of affording opportunity to those who wished to seek redress. The sheriff’s day of account was to be set well in advance’® and writs directed to the coroners of the county to cause the sheriff to be warned to attend

on the day appointed. The coroners were then to have it cried in the full county court that bailiffs of liberties who responded directly concern-

ing the king’s debts should be present on the day of the account; they were likewise to have it cried, both in the full county court and in other suitable places, that those who possessed tallies of the exchequer for which 1 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 57, m. 11: failure of bailiff of two hundreds to make accounting. 2 Stats of Realm, 1, 32, 129, 197; Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 960-961.

3 Stats. of Realm, 1, 32, 69-70, 129. * [bid., 1, 97; cf. p. 24. 5 Tind., 1, 80.

6 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 30, m. 8; No. 32, m. 9; No. 35, m. 25; No. 41, mm. 6, 10; No. 48, m. 19d. Cf. Stats. of the Realm, 1, 180.

7 Seen in Fine Roll No. 124, m. 24; Exch. Plea Roll, No. 41, m. 1. 8 Stats. of Realm, 1, 69, 180. 9 [bid., 1, 180.

10 According to the ordinance, nearly a year in advance, at the end of Trinity term for the next Faster and Trinity terms.

The Sheriff 91 allowance had not been made should have them at the same day and place; that those who claimed allowance by reason of writs, tallies and charters in quittance of debts exacted by summons of the exchequer were to appear at the same time; and, finally, that those who desired to com-

plain of oppressions, undue distraints, and grievances inflicted under color of their offices by the sheriff or the bailiffs should also appear at the final account.!. The enforcement of this regulation through mandate of the exchequer to coroners became a matter of record in 1326? and thereafter remained a fixture of exchequer procedure.’ So far as its jurisdiction extended,‘ the exchequer was publicly committed to deal in regular course with the offenses of the sheriff and his officials. Complaints continued to be made here against sheriffs for insufficient return of writs,’ for failure to acquit debts,* for undue levies’ or for false imprisonment.® In these cases damages were demanded and sometimes awarded. Where there was a conflict of testimony, the decision was often left to an award by jury verdict. The treasurer and barons were authorized to charge the sheriff at his account only for the portion of debts which he declared upon oath he was

able to collect, having regard to the estate of debtors. The principle’ was not new, but in the time of Edward II had not been strictly followed. It was specifically laid down in a statute of 1327, the application of which is traceable the next year. Satisfactory reasons, of which the exchequer officials were judges, were required in case of failure to collect,!° and details provided concerning what was not leviable, so if possible

these debts might go out in a new summons. The exchequer ordinance of 1326 contemplated visits to the shires on the part of exchequer officials

who were to investigate whether the sheriff had reported all debts col1 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 896-899.

2 L.T.R.M.R., No. 98, writs returnable, Easter, Trinity and Michaelmas. 5 Well shown in the writ to coroners of Nottingham, L.T.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 184, and in many other instances. * In 1326 declared to be limited (Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 960-961) to matters which pertained to

the exchequer or its ministers in what was there terminable by ancient law and the custom of the exchequer. ® Exch. Plea Roll, No. 60, Trinity, m. 30. Cf. Stats. of Realm, 1, 253. ® Exch. Plea Roll, No. 60, mm. 1, 36; No. 61, m. 10d. 7 Ibid., No. '70, m. 5. 8 Iind., No. 61, m. 17. ® Stats. of Realm, 1, 255; Rot. Parl., 11, 8, 11; K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 71. Here the sheriff had been charged sums he could not levy because of insufficiency of the debtors. But cf. Stats. of Realm, 1,

129. In 1329 the treasurer sent a clerk to six counties to superintend and hasten the levy of debts within liberties and without (K.R.M.R., No. 106 m. 6) and to charge bailiffs and sheriffs with these.

1°’'The exchequer might order the collection of certain debts and charge the amounts. Thus (L.T.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 159) a sheriff owes amounts from precepts of this term. Moreover the statute of 1327 did not hold for debts over £300.

92 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 lected by summons and whether he had made faithful representation concerning what was leviable. If found remiss in these matters he was to be distrained to appear at the exchequer, that he might answer for trespass in

violating his oath.! Therecan beno doubt that barons of the exchequer did visit the shires after 1327 to oversee such levies,? but it is not clear that they reported sheriffs as remiss.

The first part of the actual account had to do with farms and other debts, the amount of which was recorded on the pipe roll for the last year. Upon these items the sheriff was apposed in full court before the treasurer and barons. He was charged with the full amount of farms less fixed allowances unless he could show that some of the sources of this income had vanished, as for instance through the Scottish invasions of the North or the kings’ grants of hundreds, lands or castles. The granting

away of hundreds of wapentakes had brought much hardship to the sheriffs, and an act of parliament in 1328 required that those granted in the present reign, which had in the past been annexed to the farms of the

counties, should be joined once more to the counties and not again severed. This was followed by a process of resuming hundreds into the king’s hands,’ but they were soon being granted on condition that the holders were to render yearly at the exchequer by the hands of the sheriff as much as others were wont to pay. Upon petition of the commons and of the sheriffs in parliament in 1333, it was directed again that hundreds

granted by the king be reannexed to the counties and sheriffs be discharged for the time when they were separated.’ The holding of hundreds in such a manner that they rendered the ancient farm through the sheriff was further authorized by a statute of the parliament at York in 1334,® and this seems to have solved the problem.® 1 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 940-947.

2 Above, p. 78, n. 4 and 6. 5 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 850-851.

4K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 52: loss of farm of devastated lands in Northumberland belonging to an honor; C.P.R., 1334-1338, 36: loss of income of a castle; K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 15d: loss of farm of hundreds. Cf. C.C.R. 1833-1337, 63, and above, p. 74, n. 3. 5 Stats. of Realm, 1, 259-260; C.F.R., tv, 90. For an instance of overcharge against the sheriff, Rot. Parl., 11, 74.

6 C.F.R., wv, 162; C.C.R. 1333-1837, 114, 116-117, 127; C.P.R. 1334-1338, 14-15. Cf. p. 65 for an exception; Rot. Parl., 11, 73-74, and C.C.R. 1333-1337, 68, 174, 176, for alleged control of a hundred by connivance with the sheriff.

1 O.F.R., rv, 348, 850. 8 C.C.R. 1338-1337, 208-207. Cf. C.P.R. 13834-1338, 14-15. The statute of 1336 (Stats. of Realm., 1, 277) is non-committal on this point. 9O.C.R. 13383-1337, 691. Cf.C.C.R., 13843-1346, 231; also Stats. of Realm, 1, 284. A grant in C.C.R. 1333-1337, 564, apparently on other terms, is that of hundreds subsequently taken into the

king’s hands. ,

The Sheriff 93 Sheriffs also asked exoneration or respite of a certain amount of farm when some other unusual condition made it impossible to collect. This state of affairs was temporary when itinerant justices forbade the holding of county and hundred courts as well as sheriffs’ tourns during an eyre,! but was almost perpetual at this period in the counties on the Scottish border.? In these cases the sheriffs’ answers with detailed statement of allowance claimed were in writing.? Arrears of farms were noted on the

pipe roll. Dead farms and desperate debts, by an enactment of 1284, were required to be removed from the pipe roll and entered in a roll of the bodies of the counties, later in the exannual roll, so sheriffs might be called

to answer concerning these and, if there was hope of payment, might be charged and the items reéntered on a subsequent pipe roll. Besides farms and debts already noted on the pipe roll, the other items concerning which the sheriff made answer in full court were those arising from the estreats on the originalia roll. This was a record in the custody of the lord treasurer’s remembrancer, made out for each regnal year at the chancery, and listing charters and commissions issued under the great seal, as well as all letters patent and close through which income was likely

to accrue to the crown. Upon it were further noted the names of the tenants-in-chief who rendered homage and fealty and from whom reliefs were consequently due; also fines (grossi fines) madeinthechancery.* For the amounts thus falling due summonses were sent to the sheriffs. Chancery fines,’ reliefs,® and farms and rents arising through the king’s special commission’ were collected by these officials, who, as the receipt rolls show 1L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 196. The eyre is that in Nottingham and Derby, 4 Edw. III. 2 Above, p. 74.

3 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 852-853; for the record, above, p. 74, n. 2; also Exch. L.T.R. Misc. Rolls, 5/20. 4 The nature of these entries is well illustrated in Abbreviatio Rotulorum Originalium, 11 (1810), 1-122; the administrative process is described in Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 878-879. 5 The variety of these is shown in Abbreviatio Rotulorum Originalium, 11, 18-15, 24-26, 32-34 ff., The fines for feudal marriages, which sheriffs also collected and paid to the credit of those who owed them (as in Receipt Roll 302, 6 Edw. ITI, 9, 10, 21, Oct., 21 Jan., 7, 24, Feb.), do not appear on the

originalia rolls. Apparently this business was handled directly (Cf. Maxwell-Lyte, Great Seal, pp. 200-201) by the Exchequer. 6 Thus (Receipt Roll, No. 270, 1, Edw. III, 21 July) the sheriff pays 13s. 4d. to the credit of John de Clavering de relevio suo; again (R.R., No. 299, 5 Edw. III, 10 Apr.) 5s. to the credit of John, son and heir of John de Pabenham de relevio suo; so (R.R., No. 326, 9 Edw. III, 25 Apr.) 40s. to the credit of Peter, son and heir of Thomas de Botiller de relevio; also (RR., No. 296, 5 Edw. III, 4 Oct.) 10s. to the credit of Reginald de Marchynton de fine pro relevio. The relief of John, son of Isabella Stayngrave, is similarly paid, but in installments (in R.R., No. 299, 5 Edw. ITI, 28 May, 6s. 8d; R.R., No. 295, 22 Oct., 13s. 4d; R.R., No. 302, 6 Edw. ITI, 7 Mar., 10s; R.R. No. 305, 30 Apr., 5s; R.R., No. 323, 9 Edw. III, 18 Jan., 6s. 8d; R.R., No. 326, 28 Apr., 8s). 7 As examples may be taken sheriffs’ payments to the credit of the following: 50s. for Philip de Hardshull, late custos of forefeited lands (Receipt Roll, No. 270, 1 Edw. III, 21 Apr.); 3s. 4d. for

94 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 in many cases, received separate tallies on behalf of the various debtors when they paid such sums at the receipt of the exchequer. Accounts and reliefs were collected by writs authorizing distraint of those who owed them unitl they came to make satisfaction. For the issues of the property of law-breakers or lands of an honor or of lands, castles, vills or manors taken into the king’s hands and placed under the sheriff's custodianship he was assigned a special day to account,! though such days might correspond to those fixed for his general account. The requiring of these special accounts for unknown amounts became an increasingly prominent feature of exchequer procedure as the reign of Edward [If advanced. At the account of the sheriff it was required that all

matters from the originalia roll whereof the king might be answered should be entered on the pipe roll in one form or another.’

A different procedure prevailed with respect to the great number of summonses issued from various kinds of estreats. These included estreats of debts arising in the exchequer, such as tallages, purprestures and assarts arrented, fines, amercements and issues arising generally out of the

rolls and writs of the exchequer or chancery as well as estreats of the justices of the bench, the forest, the eyre, and the justices of assize and of

gaol delivery. Many of the debtors were not very substantial persons, and it was assumed that the amounts represented would not generally be chargeable on the account. Since a thorough check had to be made of the estreats, item by item, to ascertain upon what debts the sheriff had collected part or all of the amounts, the matters involved were too detailed to take up the attention of the full court, and apposal except in case of estreats of chancery was in 1323 ordered to be merely before a baron and a clerk.

In case the sheriff had not been able to collect these debts, he was expected to put his answer in writing, and such responstones are to be found.’

Only farms and those items for which he charged himself wholly or in part were, according to the Cowick ordinance, henceforth to be entered Nicholas de Hanbury, late custos of the forest of Feckenham (R.R., No. 282, 3 Edw. III, 26 Oct.); 30s. for Walter Ladd, remainder of account of issues of the manor of Henley (zbid., 21 Jan.); 6s. 8d. for

Roger de Belgrave, farm of the manor of Sheepshead (R.R., No. 285, 3 Edw. III, 8 June); 20s. for Edmund de Kendal, arrearages of the farm of the manor of Cranford (R.R., No. 295, 5 Edw. ITI, 3 Oct.); 10s. for Robert de Waltham, remainder of account for the ballia of the seven hundreds, Berkshire

(ibid.); 10s. for Walter de Norton for goodsand chattels of Hugh de Despenser, Jr., in the manor of Bradfield (ibzd.); 20s. for John de Hoese, remainder on view of account as custos of Carisbrooke Castle

(R.R., No. 299, 5 Edw. III, 9 Apr.); 26s. 8d. for John, son of Richard of Aylesbury, late farmer of the honor of Peverill (R.R., No. 308, 7 Edw. HI, 1 Mar.). 1 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 94 (Lincoln); 106, m. 109 (Surrey and Sussex); 107, m. 88 (Norfolk and Suffolk); K.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 213. * Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 878-879.

3 [bid., 111, 852-853, 878-879; L.T.R. Misc., Rolls, 5/20, 7/8. Cf. L.T.R.M.R., No. 98, writs returnable Mich. (Salop and Staffs).

The Sheriff 95 upon the pipe roll. The others were to be written on the exannual roll, so fresh summons could be sent out.!. This, however, meant a transfer of the unpaid debts of Edward II as well as those which were recent and was not fully carried out in the period.? By the ordinance of 1326 the keeper of estreats was required to have a roll of all summonses to be shown at the sheriff’s account so no concealment might be possible;* by the ordinance of 1323 the marshal of the exchequer was required to make a memorandum of writs received for delivery and the ushers to take a bill of receipt from

sheriffs for those delivered, so that the latter might not deny receipt of summonses nor wrongfully allege, as they had sometimes done, that these

had come late. For debts entered on the pipe roll and not fully acquitted, and for those in the roll of the bodies of the counties,® as well as those in the exannual roll of which there was some hope of payment, summons was issued anew after the conclusion of the account. Through the process just described the exchequer officials, as in the case of the view, were able to reckon a total of the sheriff’s obligations. The allowance of credits toward this sum, the directions to the sheriff as to additional levies to be made, and the final computation of the balance due

upon the account were the remaining tasks of the exchequer. It was required that record be made not only of the sum but also of the final status of everyone who accounted at the exchequer. At the casting of the

sum and also at the end of the account the accountant had the right to present his claims to allowance and to be heard thereupon by the treasurer

and barons. At the end of the account he gave satisfaction for what he owed clear® or else was turned over to the marshal to be held until he paid or obtained grace.’

The claims to allowance on the account, made at and after the sum, represented matters upon which a formal decision of many intricate points was necessary. What was known in technical language as the sum began at the point at which the business turned from the computation of debits to the allowance of credits. This explains why an attorney for the sheriff,

might be admitted to represent him only as far as the sum.’ The entries 1 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 854-855. For a case in which a debt of a former sheriff is demanded ex rotulo exannualit, L.T.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 68. 2 Tout, Chapters, 111, 47. 3 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 964-965.

4 Ibid., 891-898. Cf. 882-883. > Cf, abid., 111, 944-945.

§ He might obtain respite (L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 116), if the claim of the exchequer still required adjustment. 7 Cf. Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 874-875. In L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 132; 102, m. 161, the

coroners of the county are directed to produce on a day set a sheriff who has departed without permission.

¢ Morris, Medieval English Sheriff, p. 254. For a case in this period, K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 235.

96 The English Government at Work, 13827-1336 in the memoranda rolls concerning sheriffs’ accounts headed F'acta Summa

in the division entitled Praecepta super Compota record the action taken upon the claims made and the amount of allowance made accordingly upon the various accounts. Often these involved an issue between the sheriff and his predecessor as to the amount for which each should be held.1. Between the sheriff and the lord of a liberty an issue had sometimes to be decided. When the latter was by charter entitled to amercements and forfeitures which had gone out in summons, he or his attorney

made claim to these at the sheriff’s account. In the same way he demanded the portion of the common amercement of a county which had been collected within his liberty.2, When the sheriff had formerly been charged an amount which he now declared he could not possibly levy he also sought allowance or respite.2 Many matters had to be respited and the settlement of some postponed to a later time.‘ The easiest and most obvious method of allowance was that through tallies which showed payment of money at the exchequer of receipt. The exchequer reform of 1326 sought to facilitate this process by making special concession for the reissue of lost tallies.2 It also prescribed that when exchequer tallies were issued these should forthwith be shown to the treasurer and barons who were to make allowance at once unless the matter presented difficulty, in which case they were to state the cause and to set a time to sue for allowance, in the meantime letting the claimant have a writ, so he might not be distrained. ‘The advantages of these provisions, especially to a former sheriff, in saving him trips to the exchequer as well as delay and trouble, are obvious. Much of the allowance claimed by sheriffs had to do with amounts expended for the benefit of the king’s service by writs or letters under the

great or the privy seal. These payments for temporary purposes were reckoned separately from the fixed allowances, treated as a customary de-

duction from farms. Allowance on the account also had to be made for sums the sheriff had expended by authorization of the wardrobe or had paid into the wardrobe.’ Melton’s exchequer ordinance directed the 1 Asin L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 91d (Devon), where the sheriff claims his predecessor is responsible for farms of the first half year; so zbid., No. 103, m. 199.

2 An example of the claims of the abbot of Peterborough: L.T.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 195. So claims for amercements and felons’ chattels (Plac. de Quo War., pp. 41, 42, 60. Cf. 59; also Goodman, Chart. Winchester Cathedral, pp. 121-122. 3 The day for payment might be set later, as in L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 116. 4 As when the account was adjourned to a later time (in L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 161.). 5 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 964-967.

6 Thus the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk asserts that within a tally for £147 17s. 7d. de firma comitatuum (L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 91), dated 1 Feb. 1328, is contained £100, which he paid into the wardrobe; cf. ibid., No. 101, m..125. An account for victuals sold might be rendered (ibid., No. 102, m. 161) partly in the exchequer and partly in the wardrobe.

The Sheriff 97 chancellor and the keeper of the privy seal to put in a roll writs authorizing expenditures with promise of reasonable allowance upon account. This was to include all the writs and mandates under the two seals which enjoined sheriffs and others to make payments, operations, purveyances or other provision for outlay from their receipts; and it was to be delivered at the exchequer in time for the semi-annual proffer. Thus the barons of the exchequer would be able to make these allowances promptly and to spare accountants the necessity of seeking new writs directing that credit be given.1

The general nature of the payments for which the sheriff sought allowance upon his account has been explained for an earlier period? and little need be said here. ‘The fixed allowances were becoming more numerous through the king’s gifts? or grants of wages and other yearly income.* The class of payments allowed upon the sheriff’s oath’ persisted, as is testified by occasional mention of the third penny of the county® and of the wages of approvers.’ Many casual disbursements were made by writ for public works, building materials,* cartage,° fees,’° and wages" and other ob-

jects. Purveyances might be attested by receipt in the form of an indenture, and expenditures for public works were proved by the view and testimony of supervisors appointed for the purpose.!4 The claiming of credit for payment or outlay not actually made was punishable by the exchequer and constituted the offense of taking false allowance in deceit of the exchequer.”

The sheriff as purveyor performed especially important duties. He impressed horses and carts for the king’s service.® In 1330 the king’s 1 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 948-951.

2 Morris, Medieval English Sheriff, pp. 125-126. 3 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 173; 1333-1337, 14-75.

4 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 392. Often for life (C.C.R. 1327-1330, 160, 277) or until the king provided the same amount of income in lands (as in ibid., 343; 1333-1337, 75). 5 Cf. Morris, Med. Eng. Sheriff, p. 126. ® C.0.R. 1330-1333, 7; C.P.R. 1334-1338, 559.

7L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 167d; No. 104, m. 160. 8 As in L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 135.

, 9 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 18, $41; 1333-1337, 15; C.F.R., tv, 353. 10 Of a justice (C.C.R. 1327-1330, 352); a keeper of a castle (C.C.R. 1330-1333, 224; 1333-1337, 600); a forest official (C.C.R. 1330-1333, 227). | 11 Of the king’s clerks sent on his business (C.C.R. 1327-1330, 469; 1330-13338, 65-66, 227; 13331337, 40); of Welsh prisoners (C.C.R. 1333-1337, 2); of knights in wartime (ibid., 1327-1330, 160); of crossbowmen and archers in castles (K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 19).

2 The king’s debts to foreigners, notably the Bardi (C.C.R. 1330-1333, 439); the maintenance of his horses (C.C.R. 1327-1330, 355, 466, 469) ; his huntsmen, his dogs and their keepers (C.C.R. 13331337, 44). 13 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 17, 18-19; 1333-1337, 270. 4 O.C.R. 1327-1330, 269, 452, 455, 489-490; 1333-1337, 254.

15 Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 950-951. 16K .R.M.R., No. 109, m. 11.

98 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 clerk, William de Weston, was directed to receive at Plymouth by inden-

ture with various sheriffs the victuals which they had purveyed for sustenance of the magnates who were being sent to Guienne.!. Sometimes

immediate payment was necessary.2 In January 1334, an order to sheriffs, bailiffs, purveyors and officers of the king’s household, directed them to take no prises of the goods of citizens of London unless they made

down payment or had respite at the good will of the vendor. Because of grievances committed by keepers of the king’s great horses a statute of 1326 declared the purveyances for these as they should sojourn in any locality should be made only by the sheriffs to be delivered to the keepers by indenture.* In time of war the purchase and: transportation of provisions for the army and of food for its horses largely occupied the attention of sheriffs. In 1327 sheriffs of northern counties were directed to procure provisions

in considerable amounts.’ The keeper of the wardrobe audited an account of £100 claimed by the sheriff of Nottingham for the purchase and

carriage of war victuals delivered to the sheriff of York.6 As part of the munition of the Channel Isles in 1328 the sheriff of Hampshire was ordered to procure supplies and have them carried to Portsmouth.’ Two years later the same sheriff was ordered to cause wheat and bacon pigs to be purveyed and taken to Plymouth three weeks from Easter to be delivered to the king’s receiver there. Some of the sheriffs of the southern counties were ordered to provide larger amounts and, in a few cases, oats and hake.®

Hostilities in 1333 called for greater activity. Sheriffs were instructed to aid the king’s purveyors of victuals for castles; also to buy quantities of oats, wheat and beans to be delivered to the receiver of the king’s victuals at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Sheriffs in the southern counties were directed to procure victuals and ship them to the port of Skinburness.’° A form of commission, issued by the treasurer to assist a sheriff in providing

grain and other victuals for the war, directed that his agents receive 1 C.F .R., tv, 173.

2 The crown sometimes furnished sheriffs with the necessary funds as a loan (C.F.R., tv, 426). 3 C.C.R. 13833-1337, 287. Cf. the proclamation (C.C.R. 1327-1330, 421) which all sheriffs were ordered to make in 1328 for the enforcement of the Statute of Edward I. 4 Stats. of the Realm, 1, 277. 5 Rot. Scot., 1, 215, 221.

6 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 213. In 1328 the sheriffs of London rendered an account (L.T.R.M.R., No 100, m. 93) for victuals for the tower. 7 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 318, in this case firewood and charcoal. 8 C.C.R. 1330-13338, 15, 16, 18, 19.

9K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 12. 10 O.C.R. 1333-1337, 25-26.

The Sheriff 99 due aid in carriage by land and by water.! In the spring of this year? and again in the autumn? certain king’s clerks were sent to supervise purveyance by sheriffs in various counties. Early in 1336 sheriffs were again ordered to purvey supplies, some to be sent to the receiver of the king’s

victuals at Carlisle, some to be forwarded to Hull and thence to the receiver at Newcastle-on-Tyne.* In August the sheriff of Kent was ordered to purvey wheat and malt for delivery to the king’s admiral off the south coast,® and a little later the sheriffs of London received a similar mandate for wheat to be delivered to the clerk of the king’s works at the Tower.°

When a campaign was ended or when the need was past, sheriffs were ordered to sell provisions on hand’ and render an account of the proceeds. The sheriffs of maritime counties were also enjoined from time to time

to provide ships or equipment for them, as when the king went abroad in 13308 and when his officials in Ireland required passage thither.® In 1330 the sheriffs of several southern counties were ordered to pay wages to the mariners of the ships carrying the king’s nobles to Aquitaine.?° Another duty of the sheriff imposed by writ was that of levying upon the county at the close of each parliament a sum to pay wages at the rate of four shillings a day to each of the two knights of the shire who had

attended." It is in one instance recorded that the sheriff caused this amount to be assessed in full county court by assent of the county. Both the levy and delivery of the proceeds to the members of parliament were enforceable by suit, and the exchequer not only enforced payment but sometimes awarded in addition damages against the delinquent sheriff. 1K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 11. The counties are Beds. and Bucks. 2 C.P.R. 1330-133}, 418; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 35, 37, 40, 50-51. 3 O.C.R. 13833-1337, 254. 4 Thid., 548.

5 Ibid., 607.

6 [bid., 614, on p. 619 is an order that they provide coal, charcoal, lead and spears for the tower of London. 7 As in Fine Roll, 133, m. 7; C.F.R., tv, 187-188, 378; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 157. 8 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 386. 9 C.P.R. 1330-1333, 305; 1333-1337, 244. 10 Tbid., 1330-1333, 36.

1 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 107-111; 1330-1333, 187-138; 1333-1337, 95, 304, See below, p. 107 n. 1 for further detail. 12 Assize Roll, No. 635, m. 70 (1330). Here the writ directed that the levy be made both within and without liberties. In 1316 (Parl. Writs, 11, Pt. ii, 179) the levy was made and certified by two sworn knights. In 1332 the bailiff of the hundred of East Wevelshire in Cornwall was directed by the sheriff to levy toward the wages of the knights attending the parliament of York two pence upon each acre of land within the hundred (Exch. Plea Roll, No. 51, m. 14). 13 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 59, m. 5d. At the Northampton eyre in 1330 the sheriff was compelled to fine (Assize Roll, No. 635, m. 70) for levying more than was authorized.

100 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 Finally, the sheriff was an ex officio custodian of the king’s fiscal interests.1_ When lands and other property in the hands of the king were not committed to the escheator or some other custodian, responsibility often rested with the sheriff. Hein many instances was the agent ordered to take rights or chattels into the king’s hands? and to give seisin at the order of the crown.’ Sometimes he was ordered to appraise and sell such property. The admeasurement of lands®> and the appraisal of woods,° of growing crops,’ and of other goods and chattels® were duties enjoined upon him by the king’s writ. He still took lands into the king’s hands and delivered them to others as instructed.? He was responsible at times for the king’s right of year and day,!° for deodands and for chattels of felons." Often in possession of fiscal assets otherwise unaccounted for, he might be required, like any other custodian, to render an account of these at the exchequer. THE SHERIFF'S STAFF AND THE VOLUME OF BUSINESS

The sheriff’s work could be accomplished only with the aid of a force

of subordinates. An older rule designated a retinue with five or six horses as that for which he might seek hospitality in his travels about the shire.’ The staff attached to the office varied in number but included a

clerical force, an under-sheriff, bailiffs of hundreds, a bailiff errant in some counties," a gaoler, and various petty agents. The sheriff’s clerks had been employed on various errands and duties of the office, and in the period under review might be used to make attachments. They were indispensable in keeping records. Where Latin writs and accounts were concerned, it is not difficult to believe that many 1 This appears in his oath of office. 2 In C.C.R. 1827-1330, 340-341, including the office of tronage of wool at Southampton. 3 Asin C.C.R. 1327-1330, 3, 16, 27, 30; 1330-1333, 48, 59; 1333-1337, 217, 392, 204. Even hundreds as in C.C.R. 1333-1337, 175. 4 C.F.R., tv, 259, 272. 5 Stats. of Realm, 1, 77-78. ® C.C.R. 1333-1337, 639.

7 C.C.R. 1827-13830, 68; C.F.R., tv, 198-195. Cf. Stats. of Realm, 1, 1. 8 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 205. 9 As in C.F.R., 1v, 184, 185, 196. 10 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 3, 40. 1 C.C.R. 1827-1330, 1; 1333-1337, 8, 509; in regular course he collected the value of deodands by estreat under order from the exchequer (ibid., 1333-1337, 74-75). 12 Stats. of Realm, 1, 237; Madox, Exchequer (1769) 11, 147, 148, note (k); fora local usage of a later time, Parl. Writs, 11, Pt. 11,315. InCal. Ing. Misc., 11, 231 it is noted in 1324 that no sheriff has made

more than six journeys in the county, or come often to the house of any one person. 13 Stats. of Realm, 1, 284. M4 Morris, Med. Eng. Sheriff, pp. 189-190. 18 Assize Roll, No. 691, m. 2d.

The Sheriff 101 sheriffs were unlettered, as a statute of 1298 implies and as a sheriff of 1322 says of himself.1. Much writing might be necessary. A sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1329 had expended four pounds in parchment for his office.2. There were memoranda to be turned over to his successor.’ The sheriff was required to keep a counter coroners’ roll, which he or his heirs retained until the justices at the next eyre called for the rolls

and memoranda of his time of service. There were indentures to be made of indictments in the sheriff’s tourn. Although the extant records of pleas in the county courts are few,° this may not always have been the case. The estreats of these pleas which survive in large number,® were essential to an accounting for the farm of the county. A list of farms uncollected was prepared for presentation at the sheriff’s account, which

required memoranda concerning summonses of the exchequer and amounts collected upon them. Financial accounting had to be made with

bailiffs of the hundreds. Receipts were given and taken by indenture. Finally, a vast number of writs were received, receipted and returns made upon them. Even this records nothing of the orders sent to bailiffs for execution.

In London each of the sheriffs was limited to two clerks by reason of his office, and undersheriffs had others.? Elsewhere, two are mentioned, a receiver of moneys and a keeper of writs. The latter was stationed in the town where the county court was held, if there was more than one such town, where the gaol was located. The volume of judicial business demanded that the writ keeper be easily in reach. His office was that of

the sheriff. The return of writs made by this clerk was legally the sheriff’s, and if false, the latter might be amerced for it, even though he had been deceived by his clerk.?®

It was also assumed that at the office of the keeper of writs money was paid.!° The presence of the receiver of moneys is often seen to be essen1 Stats. of Realm, 1, 213; Fowler, Rolls from Office of Sheriff, pp. '79-80. The undersheriff in this case could write. 2L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 136. 3 In the preceding century a list of the suitors of the county court and of those who owed sheriff’s

aid was kept in Cambridge castle; and a record of collections, in Norwich castle. (Memoranda de Bernewelle, ed. J. W. Clark (Cambridge, 1895), p. 238; Cam, Hundred and Hundred Rolls, p. 135). 4 Stats. of Realm, 1, 75; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 584. 5 The list is reviewed by Fowler, op. cit., pp. 75-77. 6 See ibid., p. 77, and Morris, Early Eng. County Court, pp. 197-230 for examples. 7 Liber Albus, ed. Riley, 1, 142, 317. Two clerks and two serjeants bearing keys (Exch. Plea Roll, No. 41, London). § See above, p. 61; ef. C.P.R. 1334-1338, 289. ® Asin K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 134; zbid., No. 115 Communia Trinity, m. 3; so in Exch. Plea Roll 38, m.18. Since 1298 the clerk might be punished for his wrongful act and if his property was sufficient to make restitution, the sheriff was quit (Stats. of Realm, 1, 213). 1° See above, p. 61, n. 8.

102 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 tial to the sheriff’s accounting at the exchequer,' where rolls, writs, tallies and summonses had to be produced. A statute of Edward I which dealt with the sheriff’s failure to acquit debts paid, warned him to have a receiver for whom he would answer;? an ordinance of 1298 held respon-

sible clerks of sheriffs who gave false answer to summonses of the exchequer.? General directions for inquiry into the acts of sheriff’s clerks as well as his own acts and those of his other subordinates‘ were repeatedly issued.

The undersheriff was the sheriff’s appointee’ for whose acts also he was legally responsible.6 This official so far as one may judge, might act for him in any capacity,’ even as attorney at the exchequer. ‘This occasional function, always pro hac vice® and subject to special authorization

by exchequer officials, was, however, more likely to be entrusted to the sheriff’s receiver. By statutory enactment the undersheriff might take the sheriff’s place in receiving and returning writs.? He is found holding the sheriff’s tourn!® and was responsible to the king’s courts for sum-

monses. At the eyre he took an oath, identical with that of the sheriff, to perform the duties imposed by the justices... He might attend the justices of assize within the bar.!2. He received or assumed custody of prisoners® and took part in the sheriff’s fiscal work, for the story of his misdeeds in these matters is but too frequently told. The position was an old one, the existence of which was assumed both by statute!’ and by various judicial commissions subjecting the conduct of the under-sheriff to the same sort of investigation and penalty as that of the sheriff.’’ 1 Stats. of Realm, 1, 32.

2 C.P.R. 1330-1334, 449. 3 Stats. of Realm, 1, 218. 4C.P.R. 1330-1334, 449. In C.C.R. 1327-1330, 269, the sheriff of Norfolk is ordered to remove an

undersheriff and a custodian of the castle, who are under indictment. The sheriff is charged with acting contrary to his oath in appointing these persons. 5 Asin Exch. Plea Roll, No. 32, m. 9. 6 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 60, m. 32. 7 For his functions in the thirteenth century, Morris, Med. Eng. Sheriff, 189, 148. For complaint that one controlled the election of coroners, D. Hughes, Early Years of Edward IIT, p. 226. 8 J do not regard with Mr Fowler this attorney as a deputy sheriff. (Rolls from the Office of Sheriff,

pp. 2, 3). He was an agent to acquit the sheriff before the court of an obligation that was personal and ultimately involved all his property. Until 1326, there was nothing to prevent an exchequer clerk (Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 958-959) from acting as the sheriff’s attorney. 9 Stats. of the Realm, 1, 80, 258; cf. Exch. Plea Roll, No. 60, m. 32 (Trinity). 10 Fowler, op. cit., 45, No. 179.

1t Stats. of Realm, 1, 232. 2 O.P.R. 1334-1338, 195. 13 He was subject to fine and imprisonment for letting unbailable persons go by surety (Staés. of Realm, 1, 30).

14 Assize Roll, No. 686, m. 89d. Here he makes exaction in taking purveyance and also for levying a writ; see also C.P.R. 1330-1334; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 287; Assize Roll, No. 691, m. 6.

15 See Morris, Med. Eng. Sheriff, pp. 53, 88. | |

16 Stats. of Realm, 1, 30, 90, 232. VW CO.C.R. 1330-1333, 287; C.P.R. 1330-1334, 442.

The Sheriff 103 The sheriff was liable for the acts of the bailiffs whom he appointed.! He was bound by his oath of office after 1311 to take into his service no bailiff for whom he would not respond.? The bailiwick belonged to the

shrievalty. Though its revenues might be farmed, not so the office.’ The statute of Lincoln in 1316 and later acts required that hundredors as well as sheriffs should be persons with land in the county.* In 1336 this was distinctly made to apply to bailiffs other than those of hundreds

and wapentakes. Yet in the decade under consideration a bailiff in difficulty might still be reported as having nothing.®

The bailiff of the hundred or wapentake in the king’s hands was appointed by the sheriff® unless the king himself had granted the bailiwick.’ The sheriff promised in his oath of office to cause his bailiffs to take the

proper oath of office.2 Only bailiffs known and sworn were authorized by statute to execute writs and take distresses.2 The hundred bailiff farmed his bailiwick of the sheriff and it was illegal to let a hundred or a wapentake for more than the ancient farm.’ This bailiff was the sheriff’s agent in collecting the king’s debts" and in making levies and purveyance. That he usually held the hundred court is clear,™ but in at least two counties he did not farm the judicial income from the hundreds.“ In some matters it was necessary to send the sheriff’s precept to all the 1 As in Exch. Plea Roll, No. 35, m. 25 (6 Edw. IID) for bailiffs of hundreds; for the bailiff errant, C.C.R. 1830-1338, 251. 2 Stats. of the Realm, 1, 247; cf. Fowler, Rolls from the Office, p. 2. 3 Stats. of Realm, 1, 175. * [bid., 1, 175, 214, 266, 277; Red Book of Exchequer, 111, 958-961. 5 Asin Exch. Plea Roll, No. 57, m. 11. A bailiff of a Staffordshire hundred was ordered dismissed in 1335 (C.C.R. 1333-1337, 451) because he had no lands in the county, as the statute of Westminster required. 6 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 53, m. 18d: the sheriff’s bailiff of the hundred of Dodesdon.

7 As C.C.R. 1333-1337, 203, 451. The first reference is to a grant for life. A grant was made to one person (Exch. Plea Roll, No. 61, m. 21d) of two hundreds in the Isle of Wight. For commitment

during the pleasure of the crown of seven Kentish hundreds in 1330, C.F.R., tv, 183; of various individual hundreds during good behavior, ibid., 300, 430, 432. For a bailiff in fee, C_.R.R., No. 190, m. 5, 8 The Statute of Lincoln, 1316, required that he be sworn in full county court. For the oath of the serviens of the sheriffs of London, Liber Albus, ed. Riley, 1, 318. 9 Stats. of Realm, 1, 89, 175. 10 This principle, found in Magna Carta, is reinforced by a statute of 1330 (Stats. of Realm, 1, 265). 41 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 61, m. 17; C.P.R. 1327-1330, 213; C.P.R. 1827-1330, 213; ibid., 1330-1334, 580.

2 Ibid., 1830-1334, 580. In Assize Roll, No. 24, m. 14 (Bedford) a bailiff is in difficulty for collect-

ing toward wages of knights in parliament a greater sum than that assessed upon the hundred. In Assize Roll, No. 686, m. 87, he levies carriage for the king. 13 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 53, m. 18d (Gloucestershire). The bailiff of Tickhill in the wapentake of Saymdale amerced vills for not making watch (Assize Roll, No. 686, m. 87). 14 Fowler shows this for the counties of Beds. and Bucks. (op. cit., p. 6). Cf. Rot. Parl., 11, 242.

104. The English Government at Work, 13827-1336 bailiffs of the hundreds of the county.!. The latter were also peace officers who made arrests and sent prisoners to the sheriff.” The bailiff errant was sometimes appointed by’ the sheriff, sometimes

by the crown. He is mentioned as the chief bailiff for the county® and was attached to the sheriff’s central staff. The performance of his duties was not limited to any single locality.6 His known duties included conveying the sheriff’s orders to local bailiffs, execution of writs and summonses, and distraint when hundredors were disqualified or otherwise failed to act.” His work extended to the collection of the sheriff’s farm

of the county and to purveyance.® It is probable that he executed process of the county court, as he is known to have done later.® The position and reputation of the gaoler have already been explained.’ Appointment through the sheriff was regarded, as in the cases of bailiffs, a better security for good official conduct than even appointment direct by thecrown." This was apparently a reason why a statute of 1336 re-

quired that gaols appendant to shrievalties but granted away be reannexed.” The petty subordinates of the sheriff included, at least in some localities, under-bailiffs and riding-serjeants (garciones).*& He employed mes-

sengers for return of writs to the central courts,“ and required special 1 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 60, Trinity Term (Richard de Aston). So (in 2 Edw. II) a writ ordering an attachment was sent by the sheriff to all bailiffs of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk within liberties and without (K.R.M.R., No. 82, m. 61). 2 Exch. Plea Roll, No. 63, m. 22; Assize Roll, No. 166, m. 25 (Derby). 3 Rot. Parl., 11, 93; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 251. An act of 1340 specified that (Stats. of Realm, 1, 284) there might be more than one in a county. 4O.P.R. 1327-1330, 249, 490; 1330-13834, 121; 1334-1338, 38. 5 C.P.R. 1334-1338, 436. 6 In an action for trespass against the bailiff of a Yorkshire wapentake the exchequer directs that the jury be returned either by the sheriff or a bailiff errant (Exch. Plea Roll, No. 63, m.22). See, for the time of Richard IJ, Historical M.S. Commission, Dean and Chapter of Wells, 1,411. It was declared that a crown appointment for life of a bailiff errant in Norfolk and Suffolk would place the people in

too great subjection to him (Rot. Parl., 11, 93). 7 Fowler, Rolls from Office of Sheriff, p. 4; cf. Cam, Hundred and Hundred Rolls, pp. 185-136. For cases in which hundredors could not act, the above note and Stats. of Realm, 1, 175. 8 Rot. Parl., 1, 387; 1, 93. 9 Fowler, op. cit., pp. 54, 76. 10 See above, pp. 57-58.

11 In special commissions of oyer and terminer his acts, like those of other subordinates of the sheriff, were made subject to inquiry and punishment. 12 Stats. of Realm, 1, 277. Cf. the statute of 1340 (zbid., 1, 284). 13 See Morris, Med. Eng. Sheriff, p. 190, notes 161, 162; also Liber Albus, ed. Riley, 1, 142, 217; Exchequer Plea Roll, No. 41 (London). 14 The sheriff of Lincolnshire at Hilary, 1329, dispatched such messengers (L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 136) and later requested the exchequer to allow £2 for their wages. See also Fowler, Rolls from Office of Sheriff, p.'7. At times (as in C.C.R. 1327-1330, 162) writs of the exchequer and the king’s bench had to be returned to these bodies at York,

The Sheriff 105 summoners to notify persons to appear in court.! Under an act of 1335, prescribing that searchers of money be appointed to prevent the export of coin or bullion and the import of base money, the sheriff as well as

the king appointed such persons, and in the beginning installed the keepers of the tables of exchange as well as the searchers.? The actual volume of business transacted by the sheriff and his staff,

with the exception of his fiscal payments, appears only in an unique record of writs returned and in an occasional county court roll. It was business handled by an office, and was carried on constantly in various phases and in different places. The execution of writs, the collection of dues, the custody of prisoners, the making of arrests could be accomplished by subordinates. The sheriff, however, was in law responsible for everything, and a few of his more important functions could not normally be performed by his assistants.

Although the undersheriff might handle the judicial business of the county, this was not necessary. Here is offered a clue to the amount of time necessary for one part of the work of the office. The county court was held one day every four weeks except in those counties in which the

period was six weeks. Twelve, sometimes thirteen, days a year were required for this purpose, eight in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Northumberland. After each session an additional day was devoted to a rear county court, so these figures are to be doubled, and, in the case of the ten sheriffs who ruled two counties each, either 48 or 52 days a year were required. The sheriff’s tourn, moreover, was convened twice a year

in every hundred or wapentake not alienated from the crown. A full fifty years before this period all the hundreds in Sussex, Rutland and Lancashire had been granted away,’ so in these counties a sheriff’s tourn except as the private undertaking of an hereditary sheriff was ap-

parently out of the question. In Devon and Worcestershire it could have included in 1327 but one or two hundreds.‘ Yet, if wards be counted as hundreds for the purposes of the tourn in the three counties on the Scottish border,’ the average number to be visited by each sheriff in 1274 was still as high as ten, in seven cases running five or less, but 1 See above, pp. 69, 71. 2 C.C.R. 13383-1337, 514; C.F.R., tv, 452-453. Stats. of Realm, 1, 273-274. In 1281, on the other hand, an inquisition stated that a wardship was not due from a tenement held by a serjeanty of which the

service rendered was 15s. a year. An example of a grand serjeanty rendering what might be termed an undignified service is afforded by a manor in Norfolk held by a grand serjeanty of selling beasts taken for the king’s debts in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.? A rule existed that serjeanties could not be alienated or partitioned. 1 See above, I, 9. 2 Hist. of English Law, London, 1923, 11, 65. 3 Miss E. G. Kimball, Serjeanty Tenure in Medieval England (New Haven, etc., 1936), pp. 150-166,

finds that the idea of the distinction between grand and petty serjeanty existed in the thirteenth century only in ambiguous form. 4 Fleta, London, 1685, Bk. 1, Ch. xz. 5 Cal. Ing., 111, 578. 5 [bid., 11, 412. 7 Ihid., 11, 53.

112 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 In the thirteenth century many tenements were seized into the king’s hands for violation of this rule, and occasional examples appear in the escheator’s rolls of the period under study. The instances are few for the reason that during the reign of Henry III the vast majority of the serjeanties were arrented, that is, their value was determined and they were converted into other tenures, probably in most cases into socage. The king’s supply of roses, sore sparrow hawks, gilt spurs, etc., was in this way diminished; but the revenues of the exchequer were increased, and the tenants gained the right to dispose of their lands. Next in importance to the wardships, marriages and reliefs which fell to the king from the deaths of tenants-in-chief were the revenues derived from the ecclesiastical holdings which became vacant by the death or translation of archbishops, bishops, abbots, and priors. When one of these offices became vacant the escheator took seisin in the name of the king of all revenues which were not of the spirituality. Lands which were held in pure and perpetual alms were probably not subject to seizure, but the escheators seem to have had difficulty in distinguishing between temporalties that were subject to seizures and spiritualities that

were not. Revenues from this source were possibly not a great deal smaller than those derived from wardship. Vacancies probably occurred more frequently in the case of the spiritual than of the lay lords for the former were often old men at the time of their appointment, or else had been promoted from one office to another. The vacancies, however, did not on the average last so long as the wardships. ‘There is no evidence

in this period that the king kept such offices vacant in order to enjoy the revenues for a longer period. The next most important source of casual revenue that passed through the escheators’ hands was the forfeiture of the lands and chattels of great lords who were on the losing side in the struggles for political power. The issues of the lands of the Despensers, of Edmund, Earl of Kent, and of several other great nobles figure prominently on the escheators’ rolls of this period. The issues derived from the forfeitures of ordinary felons occasionally appear on the escheators’ accounts, but they yielded little

in actual revenue. Possibly the sheriffs still responded for these as a general rule. The largest number of individual items found on the escheator’s accounts resulted from the alienations without license by tenants-in-chief

of parts of their holdings into mortmain. The efforts of escheators to enforce the restraints on alienation defined by the statutes of Edward I’s reign probably occupied a considerable part of their time. The total revenue from this sort of business was not inconsiderable although

The Escheator 113 the individual items were usually quite small. The tenants-in-chief who violated the statutes were for the most part not the great lords, but the

minor tenants. The purpose of the alienations may have been to acquire cash, to consolidate holdings or to evade the incidents of wardship

and marriage. Some small items of revenue accrued to the exchequer and were administered by the escheator under the title of purprestures. ‘These seem to have included not only encroachments on the roads and royal demesnes

but also enclosures of common. The income from the royal demesne was not as a rule administered by the escheators. When revenues from this source appear on the escheators’ accounts, it is usually because the lands have been resumed into the king’s hands, because of a purpresture, or because of the death of a tenant who had been granted a portion of the royal demesne for the term of his life. The lands of idiots and lunatics could be taken into the king’s hands for safe-keeping, but it is doubtful if this right was frequently exercised.! There were no other sources of revenue, so far as appears from the escheators’ accounts, which were understood in the fourteenth century to fall within the broad definition of the term escheator and in the adminis-

tration of which the escheator was ex officio concerned. No items of wreck of the sea or treasure trove have been found on the escheators’ accounts. ‘These were administered by the coroners and probably found their way into the exchequer through the agency of the sheriffs.2 To recapitulate, the revenues with which the escheators were concerned were those derived from (1) the feudal incidents of wardship, marriage and relief, (2) church property during vacancy, (3) forfeitures, (4) violations of the restraints on alienation by tenants-in-chief or nto mortmain, (5) escheats by reason of the failure of heir or abandonment by the tenant, (6) purprestures and (7) reversions to the right of the king of portions of the royal demesne. 2. Brier History oF THE OFrrice or ESCHEATOR

By 1327 the office of escheator had behind it a century of experiment and development. It was foreshadowed in the latter part of Henry II’s reign when escheats from several counties were placed together in the

rolls and separate accounts were made of them.’ The practice at that 1 Maitland was not right in thinking this was a valuable addition to the royal revenues. (F. W. Maitland, Collected Papers, p. 186). Only two or three examples of this type of seizure appear on the escheators’ accounts for the period. They are for very small accounts and may have been kept in trusts. 2 Statute of Westminster, 1, Stats. of Realm, 1, 28. 3'T. Madox, History and Antiquities of the Exchequer (London, 1769), 1, 299.

114 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 time was that the itinerant justices should enquire concerning the escheats that had fallen to the king since their last appearance in the county

and should determine their value from the testimony of sworn Jurors. From the information thus obtained the sheriffs were charged to answer for the issues at the exchequer at Michaelmas and Easter.1. The objections to this method of administering the casual revenues are not difficult to infer. No doubt a considerable lapse of time frequently occurred between the escheat to the king of a parcel of land and its discovery by the justices. The time of the justices was consumed by trivial matters hardly worth their attention. Further delay was occasioned at the exchequer in hearing the accounts encumbered by a large number of items of casual revenue. It is probable that the exchequer lost an appreciable amount of revenue from the escheats. This loss might arise either from the failure of itinerant justices in discovering the escheats, of the local juries in evaluating them, or of the sheriffs in exploiting them. By consolidating the escheats from several counties and making particular accounts of them, time was saved at the exchequer. In the reign of Richard I other changes were made. In 1189 John Marshall, brother of William Marshall, was made custodian and receiver of all escheats in England. He was, however, soon removed from the office and there is no evidence that the office itself survived his incumbency.” In the latter part of the reign Hugh Bardolf and William of Ste. Mére Eglise were regularly employed for the profits of the smaller escheats.’ It is uncertain just when the itinerant justices were relieved of the duty

of holding inquisitions concerning escheats and wardships. It is not unlikely that the Great Charter made this chance possible since by Article

2 the law relating to reliefs and wardships was made precise, thus preparing the way for the development of a bureaucratic system. At any rate, in 1217 three officials, Nicholas de Limsey, Amfed de Deme and James Skiddimore, clerk, were appointed to tallage the king’s demesnes in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Southampton. They were also to inquire along with the sheriffs, ‘concerning all our escheats, what they are, from whom they are descended, and by what reason they are our escheats and from what time, and how much they are worth per annum.’ ‘The results of the inquiries were to be recorded separately by the tallagers and the sheriffs and transmitted to the young king’s guardian, William Marshall. 1 “Tdem vicecomes reddit compotum de firma proprestuarum et excaetarum, scilicit de X libris de hoc et XX libris de illo et ita deinceps sicut ex rotulo perlustrantium iudicum ante conceptum est.” (Dialogus de Scaccario, ed. Hughes, Crump and Johnson, Oxford ed., 1912), p. 132. 2 Benedict of Peterborough, ed. W. Stubbs, Rolls Series, London, 1867, 11, 91.

3 Madox, op. cit., p. 299 and note n.

The Escheator 115 The tallagers were to have the custody of the escheats and to permit no one to lay hands upon them without special order.! In 1232 occurred the ‘ministerial crisis’ which resulted in Peter des Roches, Peter of Rivaux and Matthew Paris’s hated Poitevins superseding Hubert de Burgh and the ‘native English’ party. The criticisms of the foreigners in the great St. Albans chronicler are no longer taken at

face value. It has been shown that 1232 was a year of reforms at the exchequer.” It was also the year which saw the office of escheator definitely established. On 4 February 1232 Fulk Baignard and Roger Fitz Osbert were appointed to keep the king’s wards and escheats in the county

of Norfolk and to answer for the issues at the exchequer. Under the same date, thirty-three other pairs of escheators were appointed. With the exception of the palatinates of Durham and Chester, Westmorland was the only county not named in the list. On 16 July 1232, Peter de Rivaux was given general supervision for life of all escheats and wardships of the king, answering for their issues at the exchequer.’ The new method of administering the escheats probably increased the revenues, but the wardrobe rather than the exchequer may have been the recipient of the great part of the issues. In the calendar of liberate rolls are a rather large number of writs of computate, ordering the exchequer to credit keepers of wardships and vacant benefices with sums, often of considerable size, paid into the wardrobe. Thus on 2 January 1333, William Rufus and Bernard of Grimesby were credited with £300 paid into the wardrobe at Worcester from the issues of their escheatry.® William de Haverhill, the keeper of the archbishopric of Canterbury, was a large contributor to the wardrobe, paying in on 21 February 1233, £100; on 6 April, £600; and on 3 July, £400. In all £1100 was paid in for the half year.6 The new policy of administering the escheats was not

popular. The parliament that met at Westminster in February 1234 complained bitterly of the disposal of wardships and marriages to foreigners. The clergy were in sympathy with the barons, and threatened not only the foreigners, but the king himself, with excommunication.’ The result seems to have been that the king sacrificed his unpopular 1 “Escaetas — in manum nostram capiatis et teneatis prohibentes, ex parte nostre, ne quis alius manum .imponat absque speciali mandato nostro’ (Patent Rolls, 1216-1226, Rolls Series, London, 1901, pp. 170-171).

2 Mabel H. Mills, ‘Experiments in Exchequer Procedure,’ Trans. R.H.S., 4th ser., vit (1925). 3’ Close Rolls, 1231-1234, Rolls Series, London, 1902-1911, p.129. ‘ O.P.R., 1225-1232, 491. 5 Cal. Lib. Rolls, 1226-1240, 193. ® Cal, Lib. Rolls, 1226-1240, 201, 207, 227. 7 Matt. Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. H. R. Luard (Rolls Series, London, 1872-1888), 111, 269-271.

116 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 minister, Peter de Rivaux, but maintained the reforms that had been introduced. On 7 May 1234 Peter was ordered to give up his office and surrender accounts of all issues of wardships and other custodies from the time he received the keepership.! On 6 June 1234 two men of less prominence, William and Richard de la Lade, were appointed to succeed him in the counties south of Trent.? It was only after the party of Rivaux had returned to power that appointment was made of an escheator for the northern counties. Roger

de Essex, appomted 1 February 1236, was the first escheator ultra Trentam. At about this same time the Trent became the titular boundary for the divisions of the forest administration. In neither case, however, was the Trent an actual boundary, but rather a convenient geographical phrase.*

In 1275 an important change was made in the management of the revenues derived from the royal demesne. The office of escheator north and south of Trent was for a time discontinued, the sheriffs being charged with the administration of wards and escheats, and in the place of the escheatorship the office of steward of the royal demesnes north and south

of the Trent was created. An order of 3 November 1275 directed the escheators north and south of Trent to deliver the office of the escheatry to the sheriffs of the several counties, retaining in their own hands, how-

ever, all the king’s demesnes and other lands remaining to him in fee and inheritance. The various sheriffs were likewise to be commanded to receive and exercise the office in their respective bailiwicks. For Lon-

don the writ was directed to the mayor and sheriffs of that city. In the counties of Rutland, Cornwall and Worcester the office was delivered to

the sheriffs of Northampton, Devon and Gloucester. North of the Trent the sheriff of Lancaster was charged with the office in Westmoreland, Cumberland and Lancaster.®

On 10 November 1275 the appointment of Thomas de Normanville and Richard de Holebrook was made to the stewardship of the king’s demesnes in two groups of counties.6 They were to keep and value not only the lands belonging to the king in fee and inheritance, which were lately answered for by the escheators, but all the king’s castles and demesnes which at that time were in the custody of the sheriffs and other 1 Close Rolls, 1231-1284, 419. 2 C.P.R., 1232-1247, 54. 3 Ibid., 25.

4G. J. Turner, ‘Justices of the Forest South of Trent,’ E.H.R., xvuit (1903), 112-113; S. T. Gibson, ‘The Escheatries, 1827-1341,’ E.H.R., xxxvi (1921), 218-225. 5 C.F.R., 1, 65. § Ibid.

The Escheator 117 keepers. The sheriffs of the various counties were commanded to provide the stewards with juries who should make inquisitions at certain days and places touching the lands, fees, and advowsons belonging to the king in their counties and, where there had been alienations of royal demesne, by whom the lands had been alienated.1 On 13 November 1275 three stewards, with grants of £50 yearly each, were appointed to administer the royal demesnes in three more or less equal groups of counties. The first group, under Ralph de Sandwich, included Surrey, Sussex, Southampton, Wilts, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, Salop, Stafford, Oxford, and Berks. The second group, under Thomas de Normanville, comprised York,

Northumberland, Cumberland, Kent, Nottingham and Derby. The third, under Richard de Holebrook, included Essex, Herts, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincoln, Hunts, Cambridge, Bucks, Beds, Northampton, Rut-

land, Warwick, Leicester, and Middlesex.2 It will be noted that the Trent is disregarded as a boundary and that Durham, Lancaster and Cornwall are omitted. Thomas de Normanville, rather curiously, had Kent with his group of northern counties.’ Simultaneously with these changes several alterations were made in the personnel of the sheriffs. On 7 November substitutions were made in Essex and Hertford, Surrey and Sussex, Norfolk and Suffolk, Hereford

and Lincoln. In Warwick and Leicester, William Hemelyn was appointed after two other sheriffs, William Morteyn and Osbert de Bereford* had been commissioned.

What was the intent of these changes? It seems that an effort was being made to classify more systematically the different types of revenue,

to secure a more adequate supervision of the profits derived from the king’s demesne lands, and possibly to effect a reduction in the number of local officials. The office of escheator was not amalgamated with that of sheriff. After 1275 writs were directed to the individual officials, either as sheriff or escheator according to the nature of the business to be trans-

acted. The form employed is ‘order to the sheriff of Essex, escheator of that county, to take into the king’s hands the lands of his late tenantin-chief.’ The two offices were thought of as distinct, but were exercised

by the same person. Since the time of Henry II the casual revenue, accruing from the profits of the king’s visitorial courts, had greatly increased. ‘The other great branch of the casual revenues was that darived 1C.F.R., 3, 56. 2 C.P.R. 1272-1278, 112.

8G. J. Turner, ‘Some Thirteenth Century Statutes,’ Law Magazine and Review, 4th series, xxt (1896), 311-313. 4 C.F.R., 1, 57.

118 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 from wardships. All of this unfixed revenue was now to be answered for at the exchequer by the sheriffs. The division of labor between steward and sheriff just described does not appear to have lasted long, however great may have been its theoretical advantages. As early as 7 February 1276 Richard de Holebrook was ordered to take into the king’s hands the lands of a deceased tenantin-chief who was greatly in the king’s debt.’ After this date writs were

frequently addressed to the stewards to perform similar tasks.?, The sheriffs continued, however, to act as escheators, and sometimes were directed to sheriffs and stewards together.’ In October and November 1278 many changes were again made in the

personnel of the sheriffs. Nineteen sheriffs, having charge of twentynine counties, were replaced.’ On 21 August 1279 the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk was ordered to attend to the office of escheator in those counties under Richard de Holebrook, answering for the issues of his bailiwick by view of the steward. This order definitely reconstituted the escheatorship and reduced the sheriff to the rank of sub-escheator. On 4 February 1281 a writ was addressed to Thomas de Normanville as escheator beyond the Trent. After this date he was consistently addressed as escheator in the writs on the fine rolls except in a writ of 20 May 1281

in which he was called steward north of the Trent. Normanville received all the writs relating to escheats north of the Trent; south of the Trent they continued to go to the sheriffs of the several counties. On 24 February 1283 Henry de Bray was appointed escheator south of Trent. All sheriffs were ordered to deliver to him the receipts of wardships, escheats, and all other things belonging to the office received since the pre-

ceding Michaelmas. By 1283, it appears, the two escheatorships north and south of Trent were again reconstituted in name. ‘The experiment started in 1275 was gradually abandoned, the stewards resuming in practice all the functions of the old escheators before they were so named in writs.

Did the sheriffs south of the Trent continue to act as sub-escheators after the order to surrender their offices in 1283? Probably they did

not, although the chancery writs give little information about subescheators. There is, however, a mandate from Henry de Bray to 1 C.F.R., 1, 77. 2 Ihid., passim. 3 [bid., 1, 80. 4 Ibid., 1, 116.

5 [bid., 1, 158. | 8 Tbid., 1, 180.

The Escheator 119 Thomas de Saunford, his sub-escheator in Devon, dated 12 May 1283.1

The sheriff of Devon at that time was Thomas de Pin.? On 4 August 1287 the sheriff of Gloucester was ordered to permit the executors of a will to have free administration and a similar order was sent to the escheator south of Trent or his sub-escheator in Gloucester.? This seems to indicate that in the south the offices of sheriff and of sub-escheator were distinct.

The document called the Statute of the Exchequer,* which has been shown to be a bona fide statute passed by a parliament held at Westminster in the Octaves of St. Michael 1275,5 is mainly concerned with the changes just noted. A comparison of its clauses with the provisions establishes the date of the statute beyond question. The sheriffs were to perform the offices of the escheators in their tourns to the least possible

grievance of the people. The office of the stewards was to value the wards and escheats which should be put to farm by the sheriffs with the counsel of the stewards, or as the statute terms them, ‘the three worthy men.’ The stewards were also to keep the demesnes of the king and have power to bail (i.e., to put to farm) small manors and demesnes of the king to the people of the same place or to others according to their discretion.®

After the return to the policy of two escheators in Edward I’s reign no further experiments were tried in the machinery of the office until the Despensers came into power in 1322. The changes effected by the court party of Edward II resulted in a regrouping of the counties to form eight local escheatries in place of two great escheatries north and south of the Trent.’ Upon the accession of Edward III the baronial party® soon reversed the policy of the Despensers and a return was made again to the customary practice of the two escheatries south and north of the Trent. On 2 July 1332, the eight local escheatries were revived. ‘They lasted until the end of 1335, when escheators south and north of Trent were named. 1 Cal. Ing., u, No. 448. 2 1 October 1280 — 138 May 1286. Lists of Sheriffs (London, 1898), p. 34. 3 C.F.R., 1, 239. 4 Stats. of the Realm, 1, 197, 198.

*G. J. Turner, ‘Some Thirteenth Century Statutes,’ Law Magazine and Review, 4th series, xx, 300-818.

®° The statute also made provision in regard to the method of account for the collectors of custom

and the keeper of the king’s wardrobe, and instituted a reform of the procedure. ‘ This change is discussed by T. F. Tout in his Place of Edward II (Manchester, 1914), p. 361. ® The charges between 1327 and 1341 are described by Gibson, E.H.R., xxvi (1921), 218-225, and

by Tout, Chapters, 1, 9-11, 49-50.

120 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 In 1340 parliament forced Edward III to return again to the system of eight local escheators, who were to be appointed for one year only by the

chancellor, treasurer and chief baron of the exchequer.! Finally in November 1341 the escheatries were regrouped to coincide with the shrievalties, an arrangement which was afterward the regular practice.” This last change was virtually a return to Edward I’s plan of 1275 with the omission of the office of steward. In the first appointment in 1341 the sheriffs without exception were chosen as escheators in their shires.’ Within a few years the office of escheator seems again to have been separated from the shrievalties, but the counties appear not to have been grouped into escheatorships under superior escheators. The later history of the office has not been studied in detail. Mr. S. T. Gibson, who has studied these changes between 1323 and 1341, finds the explanation in the rivalry between court and baronial

parties. The barons seem in 1327 to have been satisfied with the two great escheatorships, since they nullified the reforms of the Despensers. In 1340, however, the positions were reversed and it was the barons who were clamoring for the local escheatries. The policy of the barons was in large measure merely obstructive. Perhaps by 1340 the authorship of the reforms of 1323 had been forgotten and the benefits alone were remembered. Other small changes in the system of administering escheats occurred

in this period. By a charter of 6 March 1327 Edward III granted that the mayor of London should exercise the office of escheator within the liberties of the city,® and in 1332 a similar grant was made to the burgesses of Newcastle.6 The two mayors accounted at the exchequer for the issues

of their escheatries. The returns were usually quite small. In 1334 a special escheatry was made of the liberty of Holdernesse in Yorkshire.

The escheator of this franchise, Simon de Grimesby, accounted at the chamber rather than at the exchequer.’ 38. DutTIEs oF THE ESCHEATOR IN SEIZING ESCHEATS

The duties of the escheator were to take into the king’s hands the lands which may be generically described as escheats, to discover their true value by inquisition and to collect the revenues arising from the lands 1 For all these changes see Gibson, E.H.R., xxxvi (1921), 219-220. For the special position of Ralph de Middelnye see above, p. 26, n. 5. 2 Gibson, loc. cit. 220, 3 Ihid.

4 Ibid. See also Tout, op. cit., p. 30. 5 Historical Charters of London, ed. W. de Grey Birch, p. 55. 6 C.F.R., tv, 330. 7 Ibid., 330; cf. Tout, Chapters 1v, 226.

The Escheator 121 until he was commanded to deliver them. A number of functions at-

tached to the office in connection with the delivery of lands. The escheator took the proofs of age of heirs and heiresses desiring to sue their

inheritances out of the hands of the king. He made assignments of dower to widows and partitions of inheritances among heiresses. Wardships that had been assigned to custodians were resumed into the king’s hands by the escheator before being delivered to heirs or to other custodians. He made formal ‘livery of seisin’ of lands to heirs and ecclesiastical officials who had successfully prosecuted their rights before the king or in his courts. But before putting them in possession of their lands the escheator was frequently required to take the fealty of heirs desiring to postpone their homages and have them furnish adequate security that they would pay their reliefs at the exchequer. Finally, since the division

of labor was not complete among the king’s officials, the individual escheators were liable to be called upon to perform any task for which their superiors, the exchequer, the council, or the king deemed them the suitable agents. The main uses made of the office of the escheator by the central government are not hard to discover. It is more difficult to portray in full detail the various processes in the administration of the escheats. In this section the work of the escheator in seizing and disposing of lands will be described. The following section will deal with the method of accounting and with the revenues derived from the various types of escheats while they remained in the keeping of the escheator.

The problems to be dealt with are in part qualitative and in part quantitative. The attempt will be made to determine as precisely as possible what the duties of the escheators were and how efficiently they performed their tasks both from the standpoint of the central government and from that .of the king’s subjects. There will be a further assay to discover how much work the escheator had to do. Readers familiar with the Calendars of Inquisitions Post Mortem will remember that attached to each inquisition that was returned into chancery there is usually a writ in response to which the inquest was made. These writs were almost always recorded on the fine rolls in the form of an

order addressed to the escheator to take into the king’s hands the lands of the deceased tenant-in-chief. In the Calendars of Inquisitions the date of the writ is given and the date or dates on which inquests of the tenant lands were held. The date of the tenant’s death is not as a rule given, but in some of the inquisitions this information appears. The following table has been compiled to illustrate the amount of time that elapsed between the tenant’s death and the issuance of the writ to the escheator, and between the date of the writ and the escheator’s inquests.

122 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 TENANT Date or DeatH Date or Writ Dare oF | REFERENCE INQUISITION Cal. Ing.

1. Joan, wife of Wm. 31 Mar., 1327 29 May, 1327 9, 12 June, 1827 P.M.,VII, 42 Rosalyn

2. Ralph de Hemen- 16 May, 1328 2 May, 1328 31 May, 1328 “ “140

hale (sic)

3. George Meriet 5 Nov., 1328 6 Nov., 1328 21 Nov., 17 Dec., “ “150 1328

4. John de Morle 7 June, 1329 18 Aug., 1329 26 Aug., 1329 “ “205

feld Apr., 1329

5. Roger de Hunting- 29 Dec., 1328 10 Feb., 1329 23 Mar., 18, 29 “ “219

6. Walter de Nevill Sat. after St Peter 4 Aug., 1329 9 Aug., 1329 “ “ 230 ad Vincula (1 Aug.) 1329

7%. Ralph de Beaupre SS Peter & Paul 24 July, 1329 7, 15 Aug., 1829 “ “ 232 (29 June) 1329

8. Edmund Peverel 10 Apr. (bis) 24 Mar., 1331 Various dates “ “356

12 Mar., 1331 8 Apr.-l Aug., 1331

9. Henry de Keligren Sun. after Epiph- 4 Feb., 1331 15 Apr., 1331 “ “877 any (6 Jap.) 1830 (5 Edw. ITI) (5 Edw. IIT) (3 Edw. II)

10. Thomas de Saun- 13 Apr., 1332 8 May, 1332 20 May, 1332 “ “409 derville

11. Joan de Clerbek 12 Sept., 1332 14 Sept., 1332 21 Sept., 8 Oct., “ “All 1332

12. Wm. Florence of 30 Aug., 1332 10 Sept., 1332 17 Dec., 1332 “ “419 Carleton

1332 1332

13. Philip de Welle 19 Feb., 27 Feb., 24 Mar., 1332 6, 10, 13 Apr. “ “421 14. Henry Husee Fri. before St Peter 23 Feb., 1332 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Mar., “ “468

in Cathedra 1332 (22 Feb.), 1332

15. Hugh de Keleby 16 May, 13833 5 June, 1333 8 June, 1333 “ “549 The promptness with which the work was done is rather surprising, and is a testimony to the efficiency not only of the escheator’s office but also

of the king’s post. It should be observed, however, that though the cases recorded in this table are not exceptional, it would not be difficult to find a large number of instances of delays of several months in the making of inquisitions. The chronology in the case of Ralph de Hemenhale (No. 2) is puz-

zling. The writ attached to the inquisition carried the date of 2 May, while the inquisition shows that he did not die until 16 May. Are we to understand that the chancery issued a writ of diem clausit before the days of the tenant had actually closed, or was the writ ante-dated at the time it was issued? ‘The precise significance of the dates on chancery writs is

The Escheator 123 not at all clear. If these two dates are irreconcilable, it is more probable that Ralph died on 16 May than that the writ was issued on 2 May. But it is not improbable that the chancery sometimes issued orders to seize before the death of the tenant. If Ralph had been for some time at the point of death, a relative may have procured the writ in the expectation of his demise.

The case of Ralph de Hemenhale is but one example of the apparent incompatibility of the dates. While less striking, the dates recorded for George Meriet (No. 3), Walter de Nevill (No. 6), Joan de Clerbek (No. 11), and Henry Husee (No. 14) illustrate the same problem, for the margin

of time between the recorded date of the death and the date of the writ

is but a day or two. In these cases it is probable that the writs were ante-dated or that someone had a special interest in procuring the writ. The dates on the escheators’ accounts are normally for the period between the death of the tenant and the date of the order to deliver. In the above table it has been found that the escheator answers for the lands of John de Morle (No. 4) from 7 June to Michaelmas;} for those of Ralph

de Beaupre (No. 7) from 29 June to Michaelmas;? for those of Henry Husee (No. 14) from 21 February to 16 March;? and those of Joan, wife of William Rosalyn (No. 1) from 31 March to 25 April. It should be noted that in this last case the lands are represented as having been delivered from the escheator’s hands before the date of the writ ordering him to make inquisition. How shall we explain this chronology? ‘Ten-

tatively the following is suggested. The tenant died on 31 March. Suit for recovery of the lands was instituted on 25 April. A writ ordering

an inquisition was issued under the date of 29 May. ‘The inquisition was made on 9 June. The lands were delivered with issues since 25 April, when suit for recovery was first instituted. It may be that there was a writ of livery dated 25 April and that the inquisition held 9 June pursuant to the writ of 29 May proved the king had suffered no loss. The following table has been compiled from the writs on the fine roll for 1327 ordering the escheator to seize and deliver lands of deceased tenants-in-chief and from the dates found on Trussell’s enrolled accounts for the first year of Edward III.

It will be noted that the escheator usually answers for the lands for a short period before the date of the order to seize, but that the date of the order to deliver, when given, is identical with the terminal date on the

escheator’s accounts. The dates on the escheator’s accounts do not 1 Escheators’ Accts., No. 2, m. 34. 2 Ibid., m. 38.

3 Jbid.,m.11. A part of this estate was delivered on 6 March. * Tbid., m. 3.

124 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 DatTE OF DatE OF DaTES ON ORDER TO ORDER TO EscHEATOR’S


C.F.R. C.F.R., No. 2,

IV IV mm. 1-4

1. Henry Dyne 25 July, p.59 9 Aug. p.61 20 July—9 Aug.

2. Nicholas Pershute 11 Feb., p. 10 26 Feb.—-29 May 13 Mar., p. 26

3. Rich. de Playz 14 Aug,, p. 61 14 Aug.—23 Aug.

4, Edmund Passelwe 27 Mar., p. 32 1 Mar. Nothing in chief

5. Simon Avenyng 11 June, p. 48 6 June— Mich. Remains in hands of king

6. Geoffrey Bat 19 Sept., p. 63 10 Sept.—Mich. Remains in hands of king

7. Philip de Beche 16 Feb., p. 13 6 Mar.—Mich. Remains in hands

7 Mar., p. 25 of king

8. William le Latimer 2Mar.,p.23 13Apr.,p.34 26 Feb.-13 Apr.

9, William de Putton 20 Apr., p. 37 17 Apr.-25 May 4 May, p. 39

10. Avelina, wife of John 7 May, p. 41 27 Apr.—4 Oct. Gifford

11. John de Merriet 27 Feb., p. 22 20 Feb.-11 July 27 Mar., p. 33

12. John de Nodariis 8 May, p. 41 4 May-8 May

13. John de Huntecomb 7 Apr., p. 34 20 Mar.-7 Apr. 14. W. de Husee 30 Apr., p.38 27 May, p.44 20 Apr.-27 May 15. John le Chamberlain 20Sept.,p.63 24 Nov.,p.70 10 Sept. Del. with issues 16. Henry de Marynton 13 Mar.,p.26 25 May, p.43 6 Mar.—25 May 7 Apr., p. 34

17. Agnes de Seint Pierre 7May,p.41 3June,p.47 24 Apr.—3 June 18. Henry de Notyngham 8Mar.,p.25 10June,p.46 26 Feb.—end of

16 May, p. 43 Easter

19. N. Wychard 18 Oct., p. 66 13 Aug.—18 Oct. 20. Ed. de Plescy 4 May,p.38 16June,p.48 20 Apr.—16 June 21. M. Radbergh 7 Apr., p. 34 1 Apr.-15 May

22. N. Tuchet 10 Feb., p. 9 10 Mar.—Mich. 10 Mar., p. 35

23. R. de Elmerugge 10 Feb., p.10 23 Mar., p.32 26 Feb.—23 Mar.

24. J. Daniel 2Mar.,p.25 13 July, p. 58 20 Nov., 132613 July

25. J. Dabernoun 20 Nov., p. 69 5 Oct.-13 Dec. (Remains)

26. T. de Lyons 2Oct.,p.65 31 Oct., p.68 21 Sept.—31 Oct.

record when he took seisin and delivered the lands but rather the period of his responsibility for the issues. It appears that he answered for the issues from the time the tenant died, no matter when seisin was actually taken in the king’s name, until the date of the writ ordering him to deliver

the lands. Whatever issues he collected after the date of the writ of livery were delivered along with the lands.

The Escheator 125 When this table is examined and the preceding one from the Calendar of Inquisitions, certain questions naturally arise. When did the escheator

actually take seisin of the tenant’s lands? Did he wait for the writ before making the formal seisin and then collect the issues from the date of the tenant’s death, or did he take seisin ex officio immediately after

the death of the tenant? In other words what was the nature of the writ ordering the escheator to take seis? Did it set the machinery in motion, or was it a validation of the escheator’s ex officio act of taking

seisin? The question also arises as to who procured the writ out of chancery.

It must be confessed that no certain answer can be given to these questions. The hypothesis that appears to be most plausible is that the information as to the death of the tenant was rather frequently supplied to the chancery either by relatives of the deceased or by someone seeking to purchase the wardship. The king’s right of primer seisin produced a sort of interregnum between the death of the tenant and the time when

the escheator actually took seisin. If the heir, even when he had attained his majority, took seisin before the escheator, he was subject to a

fine. But the responsibility of the escheator, and consequently of the king, for the estate began only after seisin had been taken. To avoid the danger of waste it was to the advantage of those with a personal interest in the inheritance that the escheator charge himself with the responsibility by taking formal seisin. It should not be assumed that the chancery acted solely upon the information of the friends of the heir, but rather that the order to seize was issued, whatever the source of information. It would not be surprising if this came sometimes from the office of the escheator, sometimes perhaps from common rumor. In taking seisin of the lands of deceased tenants-in-chief it is clear that the escheator sometimes acted ex officio and sometimes not until after

the receipt of the writ. There can be no doubt that it was his duty to seize the lands into the hands of the king as soon as he learned of the tenant’s death, but this information must often come in the first instance

from the chancery. The death of a tenant who held lands in several counties would certainly have been unknown to some of the sub-escheators until they were informed by the writ. On the other hand, the death of a local resident would have been known to the sub-escheator before it was known to the chancery, and he would ordinarily take the 1 After the death of Sir Robert de Tateshale the elder, in 1272, the clerk of Sir Robert de Tateshale the younger came and took seisin of certain manors, holding the profits to the use of his lord until the escheator took seisin for the king (Cal. Ing., 1, 4). Later Sir Robert made a fine of 130 marks for his trespass in entering certain lands pertaining to him by the death of his father (C.F.R., 1, 16). Robert

was twenty-four years old at the death of his father (Cal. Inq., 11, 4). :

126 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 lands into the hands of the king without waiting for the writ. It is not unlikely that the sub-escheator sometimes sent the information of a tenant’s death into the central office and that the writ that followed was in the nature of a validation of the ex officio seizure, but it is impossible

to believe that this was the usual procedure. In the twenty-six cases cited in the above table there were seven in which two writs were sent. The only possible explanation of this fact is that one or more of the subescheators had failed, or were believed to have failed, to take the lands of the deceased tenant into the hands of the king even after the despatch of the first writ. It is unlikely that the escheator after taking lands into the hands of the king ez officio, proceeded at once to hold an inquisition. The inquisitions are almost always held in response to a writ. The forms of the

writ are various. Perhaps the most common is the diem clausit extremum. ‘This form was probably issued by the chancery in the belief that the escheator had not yet taken seisin of the lands, and possibly

sometimes as a validation of a seizure made by the escheator. The forms plenius certiorari and ad melius wnquirendum were issued probably

at the instance of someone interested in the inheritance and to correct a former inquisition. Sometimes the complaint is that nothing is held in chief; again it is that the escheator has failed to include certain lands belonging to the estate in a former inquisition. The picture of what actually happened when a tenant-in-chief died is nowhere clearly drawn. It is unfortunate that there is not a Dialogus de Scaccario for the years 1327-1337. The puzzle must be assembled from pieces picked up here and there. That the information upon which the escheators acted in making seizures was at times supplied by the writ, appears from the fact that at the periods of account the escheators were sometimes asked to respond for escheats of which they professed to have no knowledge. Thus, in the account of William Trussell from Michaelmas to 2 July 1332, the escheator was unable to answer for the lands of William de Hokelton because the writ, dated 21 January, ‘never came to the escheator nor were the lands ever seized.” A similar answer was given in the same account concerning the lands of three other tenants. In 1335 the escheator, Robert Selyman, was unable to answer for the issues of the

lands of Philip of Dover which the king ordered seized by a writ, dated 20 February, for the writ was delivered to the escheator on 28 May and he delivered it on 31 May to William de Northo, the incoming escheator.?

Two inquisitions were made of the lands of John de la Beche on 29 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 6. 2 Ihid., m. 75.

The Escheator 127 July and 24 October 1328.1. From one in Northamptonshire it is clear

that an acre of land descended to John by hereditary right upon the death of his brother Philip, after whose death it had been seized into the hands of the king by a writ of diem clausit extremum. John died before his right had been prosecuted against the king. According to the Surrey

inquisition John inherited twelve acres of meadow from his brother Philip, ‘but immediately after the said Philip’s death the king’s escheator took the meadow into the king’s hand, and so held it, until the said John had prosecuted his seisin in the king’s court; this obtained, the said John

enfeoffed thereof his brother Nicholas de la Beche, who similarly enfeoffed Robert de Dumbleton, who now holds it.’ This reads as if the escheator in one case acted ex officio and in the other by order. The inference is that the Beches lived in Surrey and that the escheator in Surrey,

knowing of the death of the tenant, acted ex officio. ‘The escheator in Northampton probably did not know of the death until he received the writ.

An order was issued on 12 February 1327 to seize the lands of John Gifford of Brymesfeld. Gifford was possessed of many manors, principally in Gloucester, Wilts, and Oxfordshire. Various inquisitions were made during February, March, and April. On 22 December 1327 an order was sent to the escheator at the instance of John Mautravers, to whom the wardship had been granted, listing several manors ‘whereof no mention was made in the inquisitions lately taken after his death, and which lands have not yet been taken into the king’s hands or that of his father, but are occupied by other persons, and the said escheator is commanded to make inquisition accordingly.” Similarly it is recorded in regard to Juliana de Leyburn that, ‘Whereas by a previous inquisition it was found that Juliana did not hold any lands or tenements in chief

... the king has been given to understand that she held... in chief.” The person supplying the information was probably a prospective purchaser of the wardship. In 1332 record was made of a man and his wife praying for the restitu-

tion of the wardship of Joan, daughter of William Coumbe, which had been taken into the king’s hand by a writ ‘at the prosecution of certain who asserted that the same William de Coumbe had died within the year

last past and had held of the king in chief.” The inquisition showed William died in 1326. It would be interesting to know who were the certain ones who procured the writ.‘ 1 Cal. Ing. vu, 153. 2 [bid., 78. 3 Ibid., 80.

4 C.F .R., tv, 279; Cal. Ing. vu, $41.

128 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 The escheator sometimes returns a writ of diem clausit with the notation that the tenant is still alive. So of Walter le Fate: ‘Idem Walterus superstes est’;} and of John le Butler.?. A collation to a deanery was revoked

because made in error in the belief that it was void, whereas the dean ‘has appeared before the king in good health.’? It is probable that the chancery acquired misinformation such as this from expectant heirs, or persons seeking wardships or ecclesiastical preferments.

These examples indicate that the writs sometimes served to set in motion the machinery of the escheator’s office and that they were frequently procured by interested persons. Evidence will now be offered that the escheators also acted on their own authority in making seizures. In the escheators’ accounts two formulas are commonly employed. One states that the lands have been seized into the king’s hands by writ of the king, and the other that they have been taken into the king’s hands by the escheator ex officio suo. The first formula is more frequently used with respect to the lands of deceased tenants-in-chief and the second in cases of alienations without license, but this distinction is not universally true. A third formula appears in the account of John de Peyto in 1333,

and in some other accounts. In all the seizures of lands of deceased tenants-in-chief for which writs are not cited the formula is not ez officio

suo, but quo die primo constabat dicto escaetorit de morte dictr X .4

The ex officio seizures were so made, one may suppose, because the sub-escheators in the counties were in a position to learn of the existence of escheats before the information reached the central government. In 1328 the escheator seized ex officio certain manors which had been granted

by Edward II to Otto de Grandeston for the term of his life. The lands were seized on 11 May, ‘for then first came rumors to England of his death.”> In 1334 the escheator seized ex officio the temporalities in England of the Abbey of St Catherine of Rouen upon hearing of the abbot’s death.®

The escheator was probably personally responsible for these ea officio seizures and an action might lie against him for one that was flagrantly unjust. On 10 December 1332 the escheator Gilbert de la Drede seized

ex officio suo a tenement alienated without license by Walter Stell. Matthew Broun, who became escheator in Gilbert’s place on 16 Decem-

ber, refused to accept the land. Gilbert held it until 14 July, when he 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 34d. 2 Ibid., m. 29. 3 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 144. 4 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 62. 5 Ibid., No. 2, m. 32. § [bid., m. 59d.

The Escheator 129 removed the king’s hand by virtue of a writ, dated 14 July, which stated

that the alienee had paid a fine for the alienation.! It is probable that Matthew Broun thought the seizure should not have been made and refused to assume any responsibility for it. An attempt to deprive the king of a wardship and how it was thwarted

by an ex officio seizure appears in the following inquisition, from the latter part of Henry III’s reign. According to the jury Walter Biset died in Scotland. Just before his death he sent a messenger to York with letters patent ordering his bailiff to enfeoff his nephew with his manor, which was done. The nephew put it about that his uncle was in good health, but soon rumors came from Scotland that he had died and the escheators seized the manor ‘and they still hold it.” That the escheators enjoyed a discretionary power to seize lands into the king’s hands is clear. An unusual case is that of an escheator refusing

to seize a tenement because it would be contrary to the king’s interest to do so. In 1332 William de Northo declined to take into the king’s hand one acre of land which Gilbert de Franke alienated to Richard le Whyte and Richard afterwards alienated to Andrew de Medested because

if it had been taken into the king’s hand it would always remain there absque deliberatione and the lord king would not have the custody of the _ land of Andrew, worth 200 marks a year, and the marriage of Andrew’s heir? A case somewhat similar to this is found on the escheator’s accounts for 13830. The escheator seized ex officio two tenements alienated by two

archbishops of Canterbury. An inquisition was then made by order of the king and this showed that the tenements were let for an annual rent which exceeded their true value. For this reason the escheator was ordered not to meddle further. Elsewhere in this same account reference 1s made by the escheator to a statute recently made at Westminster forbidding the alienation by abbots, priors, keepers of hospitals, and other

religious of lands given them by the king and his predecessors.’ It is interesting to note that alienation out of, as well as into, mortmain was forbidden.

The legal restraints on alienation were probably greater than the statute book reveals and these were responsible for most of the escheator’s ex officio seizures. For instance John Denays paid 6s. 8d. and Nicholas le Piper paid 8d. for having acquired lands without license from a mesne 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 49. 2 Cal. Ing., I, 251. 3 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 54. 4 [bid., m. 32d. > [hid., No. 2, m. 28.

130 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 tenant.!. The escheator seized two acres of Jand into the hands of the king by reason of an acquisition which the prior of Lewes made from David Ode his serf (nativus) without license of the king.2 The same prior

paid 2s. and 3s. for making two other acquisitions from serfs without license.2 However, in 1329, a tenement seized ex officio as an acquisition of the abbot of Reading was restored to the abbot because it was acquired from his villein.‘ The escheator, William Trussell, seized lands acquired by a tenant of

the abbot of Osney, asserting the tenant to be a villein. The next escheator, Simon de Bereford, found by inquisition that the tenant was ‘a free man and of free condition,’ but that he held a certain villeinage from the abbot. The hand of the king was removed.’ ‘The escheator’s seizure may have been made on the ground that the statute of mortmain had been violated, following the theory that the property of the serf is the property of the lord. The king also restored certain tenements that had been seized by Trus-

sell as alienations of William de Carleton, tenant-in-chief. The reason given shows the persistent influence of local custom. It was said that an inquisition which the king caused to be made by the bailiff of the manor of Cokham showed that, ‘the tenants of the aforesaid manor were accustomed to alienate and acquire their tenements from the demesnes of the aforesaid manor by their own free will without the license of the king and his progenitors from the time to which contrary memory goes not back.”

That the discretionary powers exercised by the escheators in seizing lands into the king’s hand were unpopular with the subjects 1s illustrated by an incident of Edward I’s reign. In 1293 the bishop of Winchester protested in parliament that the escheator, Malcolm de Harlegh, auctoritate sua propria, absque aliquo mandato Domini Regis seu thesaur[arti] aut Baronum de Scaccario sibi directo, seized his fair into the king’s hand. Harlegh admitted the charge. He said he was the king’s minister

and, having learned from certain faithful ones of those parts that the bishop and his men conducted the fair beyond the limits of the charter, he seized the fair into the king’s hand. The king restored the fair to the bishop with a warning to abide by the charter. There is no hint of a reproof to the escheator.’ 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 3 and m. 2. 2 Thid., m. 3. 3 Ibid., m. 3. 4 [bid., m. 33. 5 [hid., m. 1d. 6 Ibid., m. 28d. 7 Rot. Parl., 1, 976.

The Escheator 131 The duties of the escheators with respect to delivering lands out of the king’s hands were probably more onerous than those related to taking seisin of the lands. Before an heir could obtain possession of his lands

he had to prove that he was‘of age. Juries had to be found who could testify that they remembered the date of the heir’s birth and give proof, of a sort, in support of their testimony. The partitions of estates among heiresses sometimes involved the making of several extents, as the heiresses successively proved themselves of age. Whether or not the heir was of age on the death of the tenant, extents were frequently made, and usually by the escheators, to determine the amount of the widow's dower. If the heir was of age, the exchequer might require information

from the escheator before fixing the amount of the relief. When lands were assigned to custodians, extents were often required to determine the amounts due at the exchequer by the custodians; and when these lands were delivered to the heirs, further extents might be necessary to guard

against waste by the custodians. Permissions to escape the restraints on alienations by tenants-in-chief or into mortmain and permissions to widows to marry whom they wished frequently involved the making of inquisitions ad quod damnum by the escheators.

In taking the proof of age the escheator employed a jury composed almost always of twelve men, the youngest of whom was rarely under forty.! Was their testimony taken individually or in the presence of one another? The returns give no answer to the query, but they do not all agree as to the age of the heir. The testimony is given under oath and the reasons of the individual jurors for their knowledge of the age of the heir are given along with their own names and ages. Custodians and executors are frequently said to be present, either in person or by attorney.’

The testimony of the jurors frequently reveals the social class from

which they were drawn. One juror gave the heiress in her cradle a gold ring in which was set a precious stone that he greatly valued.’ Several remember the date of the birth because they associate it with a trip to the continent.’ We read frequently that it was the year ‘he took his journey to Santiago.”> One was twenty years of age when the heir 1 In one proof of age there were only nine jurors, the rector of the church who baptized the heir and eight others (Cal. Inqg., vu, 90). In another case, Stotus de Stotevill, who was born abroad, was allowed to do homage and receive his lands on the testimony of Ralph, Count of Eu(C.C.R. 1330-13838,

459). The proof of age at times may have been givenin chancery. Probably no proofs of age were required when the heir was obviously of age. 2 Cal. Ing., Vil, passim. 3 Ibid., 245. ‘ Ibid., 165, 168, 169. 5 Ibid., 164, 246, 249.

132 The English Government at Work, 1827-1836 was born and was at that time ‘in the schools at Horyngham.” Several of the jurors in one case were friends of the heir’s father.2. In general it may be said that in many cases the jurors were drawn from the same class as the heir. But some were of the lower class. One was a servant of the late heir’s father.2 Another was a kinsman of the child’s nurse;! while one testifies that his daughter was wet nurse for the heir.® The procedure and the amount of work involved in the making of par-

titions among heiresses will be illustrated by the case of Theobald de Verdun. This tenant left four heiresses, Joan, Elizabeth, Margery and Isabel. The three eldest were married respectively to Thomas de Furnivall, Bartholomew de Burghersh, and William le Blount. The first partition was made 7 September, 1319, at the petition of Thomas and Joan, Joan having proved her age. In 1327 Elizabeth and Margery, having proved themselves of age, obtained a new partition, alleging the former one defective. When Isabel came of age in 1332, she and her husband, Henry de Ferrars, claimed that an insufficient amount of land had been assigned as the king’s part in the earlier partitions and a new set of extents was made by the escheator.6 The wardship of the lands of Theobald, still in the king’s hands in February 1328, was assigned to custodians. The lands in Salop, which curiously are listed among the new escheats, were assigned to William le Blount, the husband of Margery. “Those in Stafford were granted to Thomas de Furnivall, the husband of Joan. These, also, were listed among the new escheats.’ The lands of Theobald were extensive, and while one cannot say definitely

how much of the escheator’s time was consumed in each partition, it will not be far wrong to estimate each partition as a good month’s work.

Dower was assigned in the presence of the heir or his attorneys.® Difficult cases were settled in the common law courts or in chancery. Reference is made to a suit of dower in the king’s bench in 1331.° The question of the distinction between lands held in ‘marriage’ and in ‘frank marriage’ came before the justices in Edward I’s reign. ‘They decided that in the former, service was done, and in the latter it was not.1° A new assignment was made by the chancellor on the complaint of Robert de 1 Cal. Ing., vit, 250. 2 Tbid., 251. 3 Tbid., 247. 4 Tbid., 251.

5 [bid., 247. 6 Jbid., 389.

7 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 30. § Cal. Ing., vul, 92 and passim. 9 Tbid., 243.

10 Year Book 31 Edward I, p. 389 (Rolls Series).

The Escheator 133 Umfravill that the escheator’s assignment left him a castle and no lands to support it.!_ A curious case of the partitioning of the capital messuage itself in an assignment of dower occurred in this period. The widow’s portion included: ‘firstly, the high chamber in the (capital) messuage,

situated across the hall on the east side, and thence from the western ~ corner of the said chamber towards the hall as far as the small stable, ete. This partition was made in spite of the fact that it was a large estate of well over 1,000 acres. The legal right of the heir to full possession of the capital messuage within forty days was perhaps not prosecuted as a general rule, especially when the capital messuage was the only suitable dwelling. The escheators’ accounts in this period do not record the issues derived

from reliefs, which were probably paid by the heir in person at the exchequer. However, the exchequer relied largely on the information supplied by the escheator in estimating the amount of the relief. When the escheator was ordered to deliver lands he was usually commanded to take security for the payment of relief. In 1332 the exchequer seems to have undertaken a survey of the reliefs, probably with a view to bringing its records up to date. Writs were despatched to the escheators under the seal of the treasurer, Robert de Ayleston, ‘with reference to the reliefs to be returned to us and also for what lands and holdings, where each one is held and from whom, by what service, how and in what way,’ and ordering the escheators, ‘to report to the treasurer and barons of the exchequer from time to time concerning the securities of this kind henceforth to be made before you."* The evidence of the memoranda rolls of this year indicates that many of the payments for relief were overdue and that the obligations of the tenant with respect to the relief were not always easy to fix. When manors were held as a knight’s fee, or a fraction there-

of, the schedule seems to have been the same as in the Great Charter, £5 for a knight’s fee, 50s. for half a knight’s fee, etc.’ In the case of the lands of Simon de Eschyngham, valued at £10 6d., it was claimed that, although the manor was held by the service of two knights’ fees, they were not feoda militaria but parva feoda Moriton., and Simon petitioned for a reduction of the relief.6 The escheators, it appears, were employed 1 Cal. Ing., vu, 390. 2 Ihid., 179. 3 In the reign of Edward I the escheator sometimes answered for reliefs and for the sale of small wardships, and received allowances for expenses in providing for the heirs (E 136%, mm. 3-5; E 136 1/14). None of these items appears on the accounts for our period. 4 K.R.M.LR., No. 109, m. 277. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 49d., 75.

6 Jid., m. 15. For the small fees of Mortain see Pollock and Maitland, Hist. Eng. Law, 1, 257.

134 The English Government at Work, 1327-13386 to assess the reliefs, but the sheriffs were called upon to distrain for nonpayment. The exchequer did not accept the extent made by the escheator if there

was reason to suppose that it was incorrect. William de Perton was attached to respond for his relief, having done homage on 5 July 1330. He came by attorney and asserted that he held the manor of Perton by serjeanty. When the true value could not be determined from the rolls or from the record of the serjeanties arrented by Robert Passelewe in the reign of Henry III, the escheator in Stafford was ordered to make an extent and deliver it at York on the morrow of St John the Baptist. William came on that day, but since the escheator did not return the writ, the matter was postponed to the morrow of Michaelmas. On that day William came by attorney and the escheator returned an extent taken in his presence on 25 September 1332 by the oath of twelve jurors. This extent gave the annual value as £6 8s. However, ‘because it seemed to the court that the sum was insufficient for the charging of the aforesaid William, the rolls and memoranda of the exchequer were scrutinized on behalf of the king. It was found among the certifications de securitatibus releviorum of the present king on the rolls of William Trussell, late

escheator beyond the Trent, at York, that John de Perton held the manor of Perton by serjeanty ut supra. And that this manor had a yearly value of £9 4s. 4d. and that Edmund de Penne and Walter de Boffri of the county of Stafford were mainpernors for the relief of the said Wil-

liam at that time.’ Upon the disclosure of these facts William was charged with his proper relief.1_ The following inferences may be made from this case. (1) The returns of one escheator were checked against those of another in estimating reliefs. (2) When the exchequer moved from Westminster to York, the escheators’ accounts were transported

along with other records. (3) When the exchequer was at York, the escheator south of Trent, William Trussell, was described as the escheator beyond Trent.

To gain an idea of the amount of work done by the escheators it is necessary to consider the procedure followed in making assignments of

wardships and forferted lands to custodians. The actual assignments were made by the exchequer, frequently pursuant to the king’s writ of privy seal, but possibly in many cases on the authority of the treasurer and barons of the exchequer.’ 1..T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 32d. 2 It was provided in the Walton Ordinances of 1338, that warrants for issues were to be made only

under the privy seal. According to Tout ‘the effect of the section was to put both chancery and exchequer into Jeading strings’ (Chapters, 111, '71). If this was the purpose of the ordinance, assignments of lands to custodians as well as issues of cash were probably reserved to the privy seal.

The Escheator 135 The inquisitions post mortem were not, strictly speaking, extents, but were simply surveys recording the amounts of land held, and the location and tenure of each unit of the estate. The inquisition post mortem did

not determine the value of the estate. The extent on the other hand detailed all the items of income, and from what sources they were derived. The making of an extent was consequently a much more laborious

task than that of the inquisition post mortem. It is significant of the difference between the two that the inquisition post mortem was returned

into chancery, or the department of records, while the extent was returned to the exchequer, the office concerned directly with the revenues arising from the lands. It is not improbable that copies of the inquisition

found their way into the exchequer and that the extents were also returned into chancery; but writs for inquisitions as a rule issue from the chancery; writs of extent from the exchequer. An example or two will suffice to illustrate the procedure in making

assignments. According to the memoranda of the exchequer for 1333 assignment was made to Robert de Walkfare of a manor which was part of the inheritance of the minor heir of Lawrence de Hastings. A writ of the king authorized by the privy seal and dated 7 June, 1333, commanded the exchequer to issue letters patent in favor of Robert, extent of the manor to be returned to the exchequer and in the chancery of the

king. In this case the extent was returned to the chancery by the escheator and was then sent to the exchequer under the seal of master Henry de Cliff, keeper of the rolls of the chancery. The extent revealed

that the manor was worth £14 8s. 103d. a year. Accordingly the exchequer, on 25 June 1333, issued letters patent assigning the manor to Robert de Walkfare to hold from 8 June 1323 to the legitimate age of the heir, by the payment of £14 8s. 103d. annually into the exchequer, half at Easter and half at Michaelmas.! The custodies were frequently delivered to the keepers before the ex-

tents were actually made. The following example illustrates the procedure. By a writ of 11 July 1330 Robert de Aspale was appointed keeper of the manors of John de Aspale in Cambridge and Kent.? On 22 October 1332, more than two years after the date of assignment, the escheator, William de Northo, returned to the exchequer the extent of the manor in Kent made in his presence at Rochester, 7 September 1332, by the oath

of Thomas de Carter, Benedict Mann and others, whose names were noted in the extent. The manor was worth 78s. 9d. a year, and the barons having viewed the extent decided that Robert should be charged in the 1L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 10d. 2 C.F.R., Iv, 184.

136 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 king’s favor with this sum annually from 11 July 1330. On 24 February 1333 the escheator, John de Blomvill, delivered the extent of the Cambridge manor, which was made at Balsham on 23 January 1333. This was valued at £10 9s. 14d. and Robert was charged with that sum also from 11 July 1330. The memoranda rolls for 1333 contain a record of about forty custodies which had been assigned by the exchequer to individuals on terms of paying at the exchequer the value of the extent. Many of the assignments were made in the reign of Edward II and a few in Edward I’s time. Possibly some of them had been delivered from the hands of the custodians, but full settlement with the exchequer had not been made by

these. The extents had in most cases been returned by the escheator, but Thomas Deyvill and Adam Hoperton were employed to survey the lands of Robert de Clifford and Roger de Clifford.2, Robert de Beverly and Thomas de Donecastre are also mentioned as surveyors of forfeited lands in Yorkshire, but the escheator, William Erneys, assisted them.’ The value of the extents was frequently quite large. The lands of Roger de Clifford were extended at about £350 a year,’ those of John de Mowbray in the Isle of Axholm at about £175.5 Many others were extended at from £10 to £100. It would be very difficult to determine with any nicety the average annual income from the escheats that were assigned to custodians, but it 1s probable that their value exceeded several fold the income yielded by the Jands that remained in the custody of the escheators. It is important to remember, however, that a good portion of the escheator’s time was spent in making extents of these lands and that these extents were essential to the safeguarding of this branch of the revenues. The chief use made of the escheats seems to have been not to reward favorites, but to pay individuals for real services. There were few grants of wardships for which the recipient did not render the true value to the exchequer. In the reigns of Edward I and Edward II the king’s financial operations frequently entailed the pledging of all the revenues derived

from the escheats as security for loans contracted, and a somewhat elaborate system was set up, whereby the king’s creditor viewed the wardships and marriages assessed in the exchequer and either accepted or re-

jected each item as part payment of the king’s debt. The impression is that a sort of auction was sometimes held with anyone who wished, 1L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 20d. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 109, mm. 160 and 163. 8 [iid., m. 163. 4 Iiid., m. 160; L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 44. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 131.

The Escheator 137 perhaps in many cases heirs or relatives, bidding against the creditor for possession of the wardship.1 It must have been possible to make a profit from a wardship, even when

the custodian was required to pay the value of the extent at the exchequer. The source of the profit is hard to determine. Possibly as a rule the extents undervalued the estates, or it may be that custodians practiced extortion on the tenants. At the time of the Black Death the purchasers of wardships seem to have suffered a loss, and the chancery records for 1349 and 1350 reveal a frequent scaling down of the payments due at the exchequer from custodians. The loss of the exchequer was ordinarily about one third of the former schedule. Special favors were sometimes conferred in the royal grants. In 1327 the grant of a manor was confirmed at the rent of 20 marks, although the tenants of the manor offered to pay £50.2, One rather curious use made of the income from the escheats was to reward the individual who brought news to the king of the birth of a child. Instances of this practice have been observed in every reign from Henry III to Edward III. The royal largesse for this type of service is sometimes quite astounding. Edward III granted 500 marks to Catherine de Monte Acuto for the news of the birth of a son; 200 marks was paid in money and the rest probably from the escheats.? In terms of present day values this grant would be equivalent to at least three or four thousand pounds. The king’s subjects also gave rewards of this sort, although not on such

a regal scale. A juror in a proof of age cited as evidence that he remembered the date of the heir’s birth the fact that he brought the news to the child’s father, Nicholas de Kyriel, and that Nicholas gave him a robe in two parts with four ornaments. Another juror announced the birth of John de Mowbray to the earl of Lancaster, who gave him twenty shillings.®

The grants of wardships and forfeited lands were usually recorded on the patent roll, but the value is not as arule given. In 1327twenty-nine such grants were recorded, of which thirteen were of forfeited lands. In one case the grant was made for a fine of 10 marks. In the other cases the payments were not recorded, and the custodian probably paid the value of the extent in semi-annual installments to the exchequer. 1 C.P.R. 1292-1301, 326, 399; C.P.R. 1301-1307, 46, 136, 187, 443; C.P.R. 1307-1313, 74, 76, 78, 79, 376, 381, 509, 512. These references are to grants of all or part of the revenues derived from the escheatries to the king’s creditors. The recipients were for the most part nobles, great and lesser, who had contributed to the expenses of the wars or to the maintenance of the king’s household. Some of the grantees were merchants and bankers. 2 C.P.R. 1827-1330, 94. °F. Devon, Issues of the Exchequer (London, 1837), p. 144.

* Cal. Ing., vu, 249. 5 Ibid., 250.

138 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 The administration of the lands of vacant bishoprics, abbeys, and priorles was an important part of the escheators’ duties in the time of Henry III and Edward I; but by 1327 the work of the escheator in this field had been somewhat restricted. This had been effected in two ways: first by the practice of leasing the temporalities during the vacancy to the ecclesiastical bodies most concerned, and second by the appointment of commissioners ad hoc. An example of the first practice, taken from the period, will illustrate the procedure followed. In 1332 the king, ‘with the assent of the prelates, earls, barons, and other magnates of the realm’ granted

the custody of the abbey of Glastonbury, saving knights’ fees and advowsons, in all future voidances to the prior and convent, who were to pay 1000 marks if the voidance should last for a year and pro rata for a

longer or shorter voidance. It was granted further that ‘no sheriff, escheator, bailiff, or other minister of the king shall intermeddle with the custody of the abbey or its goods during a voidance, except that at the beginning of a voidance the escheator or other minister shall take a simple

seisin in the name of the king’s lordship within the gates only of said abbey, and shall immediately depart without taking away anything, so that he shall not stay there for more than one day for the purpose of taking the said seisin.”4

The saving clause regarding knight’s fees and advowsons found in this and similar charters probably meant that the casual revenues accruing to the abbey from wardships and voidances of churches of which the abbey

possessed the advowson, were not included in the bargain, doubtless because of the difficulty of estimating their value. The simple seisin, sumplicem setsinam, which the escheators took, no doubt followed the old formula of grasping the door-latch or taking a piece of turf in the presence of witnesses as a symbol of the king’s being in possession. The payment of the 1000 marks was made directly to the exchequer and is not found on the escheators’ accounts. At the conclusion of the escheator’s account at Michaelmas 1327 there are some additional accounts. It is noted in regard to the vacancy of the

abbey of Bec Herlewyn that the prior had made fine for 300 marks for

the temporalities. The priory of Prittlewell had been taken into the king’s hands by the escheator, ex officio, because Brother Jacob, prior there, had become prior of Lewes. ‘The issues had, however, been restored by the king’s order pending the settlement of the suit between the priories appealed to the Holy See. Nothing was returned from the vacant abbey of St Albans, because the convents had the keeping of the tem1 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 426.

The Escheator 139 poralities by a charter of Edward I. The vacant bishopric of Exeter was delivered by letters patent to William de Hardene and Robert de Bilkemore. Similarly, the bishopric of Worcester was delivered to the keepers, William de Leicestre, clerk, and John de Hampton. However, returns

are made for two vacant abbeys. That of the Holy Trinity of Caen ylelded £58 19s. 74d., less 27s. 6d. for expenses, and the abbey of St James of Colchester produced £11 5s. 43d. less 10s. for expenses.! One duty which pertained to the office of escheator, but about which the records afford only scant evidence, was the making of inquisitions

ad quod damnum. It has been observed that a large proportion of the escheator’s ex officio seizures were of lands alienated without license by tenants-in-chief or into mortmain. But license to make these alienations was frequently sought in advance. The escheator was probably the official who made the inquisition ad quod damnum, that is, as to what loss the king would suffer from the alienation, and from this information the amount of the fine was fixed. On the Calendar of Patent Rolls for 1327, sixty-nine licenses or pardons for alienations by tenants-in-chief were re-

corded. Fines were recorded for forty-four of these. The results of an analysis of the sixty-nine writs may be summarized as follows:

£ os. d.

value of fines recorded 2 6 8

22 were permissions to tenants-in-chief to alienate

value of fines recorded 19 38 4 value of fines recorded 97 10 0O value of fines recorded 79 6 8

20 were pardons for alienations without license

23 were permissions to create joint tenements or entails 4 were pardons for creating joint tenements or entails

The creation of joint tenements of husband and wife was of frequent

occurrence. The advantage to the tenant was that the incident of wardship did not ensue for tenements jointly held until after the death of both husband and wife. ‘The assessment of the fine must have been determined by the value of the tenement and the ages of the husband,

wive and expectant heirs. It is possible that many such inquisitions ad quod damnum were made in the chancery itself, but probably the escheators more frequently supplied the necessary information. On the Calendar of Patent Rolls for 1327 record is made of sixty-four

licenses or pardons for alienations into mortmain. Only five of these were pardons. ‘The others were licenses obtained in advance of the alienation. In fourteen cases the proviso was made that the lands ac1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 4d.

140 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 quired should not be tenements held in chief. Fines were recorded in seventeen cases, ylelding a total of £51 13s. 4d. One license to make a purpresture was granted after an inquisition ad quod damnum, but the amount of the fine was not recorded.! The results of a study of the Calendar of Patent Rolls for 1327 are tabulated below. It is unsafe to generalize concerning the value of the issues, since the evidence is incomplete. It is probably safe to assume that in most of the cases of disposals or alienations the escheators were called upon to supply information, and this gives an idea of the quantity of the work of this type done by the escheators.

£ os. d. 69 licenses or pardons for alienations of tenements held in chief

44 record fines of total value 221 6 8 17 record fines of total value 51 13 4

64 licenses or pardons for alienations into mortmain

1 records fine of value 6 13 4

29 grants of wardships or forfeited lands

2 record fines of total value 68 13 8

14 disposals of marriages of heirs

3 record fines of total value 2 6 8

6 permissions to widows to marry whom they will

1 permission to make a purpresture


IN THE Ktno’s Hanps

In the preceding section it was noted that a large part of the escheator’s time was spent in seizing and surveying estates which passed quickly out

of his hands. This section will be concerned with the duties of the escheator with respect to the lands that remained for a time in his custody. The principal source of information for this part of the escheator’s work is

the escheator’s enrolled accounts, and it may be well to begin with a description of these records and the mode of accounting. When the enrolled accounts of the escheators during the period 13271337 are examined, the first impression is that the system is working smoothly and regularly, and has probably been long since reduced to routine. At the head of each account is the commission of the escheator accounting, which states that he has been appointed by the king and holds office during the pleasure of the king, that he 1s bound to account at the exchequer for the issues of his office, and that he is to take for his services the customary fee. 1 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 5.

The Escheator 141 The returns are divided into new and old escheats. The new escheats are the seizures made by the escheator since his last account, and these seizures are recorded even if they have been delivered with issues before the term of the account. The old escheats are the lands and rents which he had received from his predecessor or for which he had accounted previously. In one instance, however, the lands which are included in the new

escheats at an Easter account were also answered for under the new escheats at the succeeding Michaelmas term, indicating that the sheriff’s method of accounting for half the year at Easter and the whole year at Michaelmas had influenced the practices of the escheators’ accounts.} On the other hand it may be noted that in the account of Simon de Bereford from 13 December to Michaelmas, 2 Edward III, the new escheats of Trussell’s account in the period Michaelmas to 13 December in the same year were listed among the old escheats.? Although the enrolled accounts do not as a rule indicate that accounts were submitted at Easter, but rather that the division between new and old escheats was made at the Michaelmas term, there is other evidence to show that the escheators did appear at the exchequer at Easter. An order to the eight district escheators recorded on the fine roll under date of 11 August 1326, explains a procedure which the king and council had initiated. ‘The proffers of the escheators were to be made twice annually, on the morrow of Michaelmas and at the close of Easter. At each term the escheator should submit a roll of all inquisitions and extents made in the past half year. Should an escheator be removed or die, he or his executor should send to the exchequer all inquisitions not before delivered by him. The treasurer and barons were ordered to survey the rolls of inquisitions and extents and ‘extract relevant information therefrom for the greater charging of the escheators on their accounts and of those who are to give satisfaction for their reliefs, and if the court deem such inquisitions and extents suspicious, the treasurer and barons shall

cause enquiry to be made on the defects as diligently and straitly as possible, the defects to be redressed and the trespassers punished as is more fully contained in the said ordinance.” The evidence of a memoranda roll of 1333 indicates that the escheators accounted at Easter and Michaelmas of that year in conformity with the terms of the ordinance. The following table indicates the result of the proffers in 1333.4 1 Account of John de Blomville, Suffolk, 2 July - Mich., 6 Ed. III (Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 43). 2 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 29. 3 C .F.R., 111, 405-406.

4 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 4.

142 The English Government at Work, 1327-13386 EScHEATOR

OR MicHAELMAS TERM, 1332.1 Easter Term, 1333.? ATTORNEY

John de Louthro Brought 5 marks paid by Brought 100s. by Nicholas de Radwell _ tally, 18 Nov.

Wm. Erneys Brought 100s. by tally 6 Oct. Brought nothing except writs. Showed

in person four writs for diverse payments and says that this sum exceeds amount he received which sum extends to £8 14s. as contained in a certain schedule among the petitions of this term.

John de Blomvill Brought £10 Brought £36 in person Easter acct. completed by John de Risshedene or John de Westbrok

Wm. de Northo Brought 40s. Brought 100s. by 1 tally, 30 Apr. in person

Henry de Gulden Brought £8 Brought £4 60s. 8d. by 1 tally, 14 Apr. John de Westbrok att’y for Michaelmas Henry de Carlton att’y for Easter

Robert Selyman Brought £18 Apparently did not come (John de Westbrok, att’y) at Michaelmas

Roger de Chaundos Brought 20 m. Brought 40s. by 1 tally, 16 Apr. John de Peyto succeeded Chaundos 4 Feb., 13333

Matthew Broun succeeded Brought £4 Brought 100s. paid by 1 tally, levied

by Gilbert de Ledrede 15 Apr. 4 Feb., 13334

The mayor of London came at Easter, but brought nothing. The mayor of Newcastle did not come — excused.

These are the memoranda of the accounts presented at the terms of Michaelmas 1332 and Easter 1333, and it appears that the escheators were regular in attendance. Robert Selyman was the only escheator who failed

to appear at the Easter term. The sums brought to the Easter term of 1L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 4. 2 Ibid., m. 7. 5 C.F.R., IV, 346. 4 Ibid.

The Escheator 143 the exchequer were not appreciably different in size from those brought at the Michaelmas term, and in most cases only small amounts of cash were turned in. ‘The memoranda indicate that the escheators frequently paid out moneys to royal creditors before the term of account. In Trussell’s account for the period Michaelmas to 13 December 1327, it is stated that he has delivered all the lands and tenements in his keep-

ing to Simon de Bereford and that an indenture between the two has been deposited in the treasury.1. But Trussell did not complete his account on this occasion. A memoranda roll of 7 Edward III shows that he had a day of account for the Michaelmas term of that year for one roll of originalia of 1 Edward III and another roll of 4 Edward III. He came and rendered account to the end of the term, but, not being able to account in full, was adjourned until the morrow of Hilary. On that day he came by attorney and again wasin account (fuit an compotum) until the end of term and again was adjourned to Easter. Afterwards he was

adjourned to Trinity, to Michaelmas and on into the following year.’ From Trussell’s enrolled accounts it appears that he was not entirely quit of his early accounts as late as 14 Edward ITI.’ The following entries present further evidence of the delays that some-

times occurred in completing the escheators’ accounts. Nicholas de Stapleton, relative and heir of Gilbert de Stapleton, who died while serving as escheator beyond the Trent in 1320, was summoned for Michael-

mas 1333 to complete Gilbert’s account. However, because John de Louthre failed to take certain extents without which the account could not be rendered, Nicholas was granted respite until the next term for the £21 18s. 63d. which was owed.* Matthew Broun made his proffer at the Michaelmas term, 7 Edward ITI, but left the court without leave and without paying what he owed, contrary to the proclamation made in court. On 11 July following he came and made fine with the king of half a mark for his contempt. Hugh de Longedon late sub-escheator in Lincoln was

granted respite from Michaelmas to Hilary for £13 6s. 8d., the balance of his account.6 When Hugh failed to appear on the day set, a writ was sent to the sheriff of Lincoln to summon him for the close of Easter.’ The sheriff of Somerset and Dorset was ordered to attach John

de Westbrok, the attorney who made a proffer of £8 for Henry de 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 5. 2 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 81d. 3 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 16. 4 K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 191. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 58. 6 K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 208. 7L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 86.

144 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 Gulden, and the sheriff of Northumberland was ordered to distrain Nicholas de Radewell, the attorney for John de Louthre.! The final closing of the escheator’s accounts and the payment of his arrears to the exchequer was frequently a matter of years. The credit machinery seems also to have been invoked by the exchequer in the settle-

ment of surpluses due to the escheators when they paid out more than they collected. This appears from the following excerpt from the memoranda roll: ‘Simon de Swanland came before the barons 19 April, 7 Edward IIT, and assigned to William de Hedersete 60s. 10d. which Simon has as

surplus on his account of the issues of his escheatry, as contained in the

great roll of 4 Edward III... and Simon wishes and grants on behalf of himself, his heirs, and executors, that the aforesaid 60s. 10d. be allowed to the aforesaid William on that which he owes here.”?

After various items described on the enrolled accounts there appears frequently the phrase, ‘as contained in the roll of particulars.” What was the nature and content of these rolls, and what relation do they bear to the enrolled accounts? One would expect them to be a more detailed account of the revenues derived from the escheats, but an examination of some

samples of them proved to be disappointing. The roll of particulars of William de Northo, escheator in Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Middlesex for the two terms 2 July to Michaelmas, 6 Edward III, and Michaelmas to Michaelmas, 7 Edward III, gives items which for the most part are identical with those found on the enrolled accounts. They contain no more detail and reveal nothing new in regard to the work of the escheator.?

It is probable that the roll of particulars was made up in the escheator’s office by his own staff of clerks from a view of the sub-escheators’ accounts. When the escheator came in person or by attorney before the exchequer, he had his rolls of particulars, and these were viewed by the exchequer and transcribed to the enrolled accounts.

It may prove of some interest to analyze the returns made by the escheators for a definite period in order to see what were the sources of the revenue, the distribution by counties, and the number and size of the individual items. In Trussell’s account for the thirty-one counties of his escheatorship south of the Trent, covering the period from 26 February to Michaelmas 1327, there are 293 items of old escheats, for which issues

are reported. It is stated in the escheator’s account why the lands are are in the king’s hands, and from the accompanying table may be seen the distribution of the various items. 1 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 108. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 146. Simon de Swanland’s escheatry was the city of London. 3 The roll of particulars for this period is found on Esch. Accts., 2, m. 28. The reference for the enrolled accounts is Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 54.

The Escheator 145 Old Escheats. 26 Feb.—Mich., I Ed. 0

Issues Number and Why seized £distribution os. d. of items

1. Alienation of tenants-in-chief 138 2 114 102items 23 counties

2. Wardships 125 1 114 £‘'75items 25counties counties 3. Mortmain 7 14° 8 52 items 17 4. Forfeitures 43 8 38 22 items 14 counties 5. No heir appears to sue out inheritance 5 3 8 13 items 8 counties 6. Purprestures 1 8 1 12 items 6 counties 7. Reversions to right of king Q2 14 1 6 items 5 counties 8. Voidances of churches 94 12 7% 5items 4 counties?

9. Escheats failure of heir 13 0 8 items 38 counties 10. Cause unknown 9 8 3 items 2 counties

Total 294 8 11 293 items

One striking feature of this table is the large proportion of items of intrinsically small value which were in the king’s hands by reason of the restraints on alienation. Alienations by tenants-in-chief and into mortmain account for 154 of the total number of 293 items in the escheator’s account. The largest return for any single item of these is for 20s., and the total from this source amounts to only £20 17s. 23d., while the total sum of the old escheats was £294 8s. lid. It will be remembered, however, that this sum is In no sense a measure of the value to the king of the escheator’s work, for the alienation by a tenant-in-chief of a single

tenement of small value might at the same subsequent time deprive the king of a valuable wardship. The wardships appear to have been the most valuable source of revenues administered by the escheator. Here again the small size of the individual items is noticeable. Except for the rent of £20, derived from the rent of one manor in Wiltshire, and £14 from the sale of crops of a manor in Somerset, the items are all less than £10 and average very much less than that. It is obvious that the large wardships did not remain long in the hands of the escheator, but were assigned to various individuals.

There appears with fair frequency a phrase to the effect that no heir has appeared to claim the inheritance of a deceased tenant-in-chief. Thirteen such cases occur in this portion of the escheator’s account. These items should be associated with the wardships rather than with the escheats for failure of heir, for in most cases the heir eventually appears

and claims the estate. There are few clear-cut cases of escheat for failures of heir. Only three such cases are in this portion of the account 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, mm. 1-4. 2 All but 13s. 4d. from Cluny’s property.

146 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 and two of the three are the lands of bastards. Since bastards could have no heir except from their own bodies, they probably furnished the greatest number of cases of persons dying without heir. The purprestures are all of small value. The largest single item is for 10s. for an encroachment upon an abandoned leper’s tenement in Surrey.} Surrey furnishes six of the twelve cases of purpresture answered for in this

section of the account. Two individuals pay 12d. and 1d. for encroachments upon the soil of the king. The abbot of Waverley is charged

with 6d. for an encroachment upon the royal road. The prior of St Mary’s of Southwark paid 4d. for enclosing one fourth of a rood of com-

mon pasture without license, and one Simon of Paris rendered 4d. for erecting a shed for shoeing horses.

In contrast with the purprestures the forfeitures are occasionally of large value. For example, the escheator answers for £33 16s. 7d. from the issues of the lands of the earl of Arundel in Oxfordshire. There are, however, quite a number of small items from tenements forfeited by the Jews.” One interesting item is of 8s. which accrued from a tenement formerly of Lawrence Gyselyngham, “who departed from his allegiance.’ This is perhaps a case of emigration rather than of treason, for deserters to the Scots are usually described as enemies of the king.

Church property during vacancies did not usually remain long in the custody of the escheator. However, in this particular period the manors in the king’s hands by the voidance of Cluny furnished £94 12s. 73d., or almost one third of the revenues derived from the old escheats. Occasionally an item is in the king’s hands ‘as the right of the king.’ Probably in most cases this represents a portion of the royal demesne

which had been granted to a tenant for life and taken again into the king’s hands upon the tenant’s death. ‘Three items appear for which the escheator returns in his account that they are in the king’s hands, but

the cause is unknown. Considering the vast number of one and two acre tenements passed on by indenture from one escheator to another, it is surprising that there were not more such items. The following table represents an analysis of the issues of the new escheats. The new escheats which were seized but delivered with all issues before the account was rendered, are not included in the table. The most striking contrast between the new and the old escheats for this period is in the distribution of the sources of revenue. In seven of the thirty-one counties the escheator’s account states simply that there 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 1. 2 These are listed among the old escheats at the beginning of this period, and perhaps had been in the custody of the escheators since the reign of Edward I.

The Escheator 147 were no new escheats. In one other county the escheator reports seizures made by order, but the issues were all delivered, also by order, before the

time of accounting. Sixty-nine items of new escheats were reported, New Escheats, 21 Feb.—Mich. 1 Edward IT!

Issues Number and

Why seized £ os. d. distribution of items Wardships 1387 12 43 50 items, 20 counties Forfeitures 54 7 4 14 items, 5 counties Alienations of tenants-in-chief ll 7 2 items, 2 counties

Mortmain 831ll 1item No heir appears item Reversion to king Q 4 1 item Purprestures None Vacant church property None

193 5 2 69 items of which 50 were wardships of a total value of £137 12s. 33d. The most valuable were the Gifford lands in Gloucester and Wiltshire and the lands

of John de Merriet in Bedford, Dorset, and Gloucester. These two estates account for almost three fourths of the total value of the wardships answered for by the escheator. ‘Twenty of the fifty wardships are said to remain in the hands of the king, and consequently will appear in the old escheats in the next account. It is interesting to note that none of the twenty had yielded issues valued at as much as £2, and their total amounted to only £8 14s. 73d. The most valuable wardships passed out of the king’s hands before the account was rendered. In many cases, of course, the lands were delivered to heirs who had proved themselves of

age. |

A rather large proportion of the lands seized by reason of the death of a tenant-in-chief were not, strictly speaking, wardships, for the heir was In many cases already of age. ‘The escheator answered for the issues, however, until the heir had proved his age and sued the lands out of the king’s hands. More than twenty of the fifty items, labelled wardships in the table of new escheats above, were delivered by the escheator to the heir upon receipt of a writ, which showed that the heir had proved his

age and done homage or fealty. These remained in the escheators’ hands on the average for six or eight weeks. Two others were delivered by writ to the widows to hold during the minority of the heir, paying the

true value to the exchequer. Four deliveries of lands to widows as dower were recorded. Four wardships were delivered to custodians.

In all of the cases in which the lands were delivered to heirs, who 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, mm. 1-4.

148 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 presumably were of age when the preceding tenant died, the escheator reported some issues from the estate while it was in his hands. It is prob-

able that these belonged of right to the king, but there is a possibility that these issues were deducted from the amount of the relief owed by the heir upon recovery of his lands. The records do not make the point clear.

The following table will illustrate the distribution of the issues of the old and new escheats by counties. Account of William Trussell, 26 Feb—Mich., 1327}

County Old Escheats New Escheats Sum

£ 4s. 4d.4£4&4 os. d.7£5os. d. Sussex 1 8 Il Surrey4°6 T 6 0436 38 3 71128 97 7% Kent 93

Middlesex 1 6 none 1 6 London No issues because mayor answers since 11 March

Wilts 294 Ill 67 56 2 2a 4807 13 68 Southampton 8 54 10 93 Oxford 35 19 4 2 18 Il 388 18 84 Berks 69 8 4 (None ut dicit) 69 8 Beds 5713 673710 FT=64 13 1112 O Bucks 18 8 8 Cornwall10 3 156TH None 3818 15 6 7%} Devon 2 8 0 90 2 Somerset 21 18 6 4 14 6 2 13 O Dorset 18610O104 3 YT 3213 4 ll 131 33 Norfolk 2 10 O Suffolk 9 9 3} None 9 9 33 Cambridge 3141217O41893615 5 15 64 Huntingdon Essex 13 Q 6 4121 49 10 14 21512 103 Hertford None 48 Warwick 38 15 56 15 10 4 i1 Leicester 2 13 5None 3 3 5 06 87% Nottingham 8 6 6 Lincoln 11 19 1 10 10 12 9 11 Northampton 8 8 7 6 4 9 14 13 4 Rutland 13 11 43 None 138411443 Gloucester 3 10 80 14 Worcester 50 1438Q 6%G10 Hereford 0 7 O 2 Salop 7 18 2 None 7 18 4d 2

Total 501 16 2t Expenses 13 10 Owes 488 5 59

Stafford 0 6 8 0 9 O 15 8

1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, mm. 1—4d.

2 Should be £39 3d.

3 Should be £5 16s. 73d. Mistake in MS: 53 +63 totaled as 106.

The Escheator 149 Perhaps the most significant fact to be observed in the county distribution is the extraordinary concentration of the items of escheats because

of alienation of tenants-in-chief in the eastern and midland counties. Of the 102 such items recorded in the old escheats 33 are to be found on

the Norfolk account. Bucks is second with 8 items. Berks yielded 7, while Suffolk and Essex record 6 each. The evidence is rather tenuous, but one cannot escape wondering if Norfolk was the scene of a consider-

able enclosure movement at this period. ‘The alienations were all of small parcels of land, and the purpose was perhaps to consolidate holdings. The large sum of the old escheats from Berks was derived almost entirely from the lands of the abbey of Cluny vacant at the time. The

two large sums of new escheats from Wiltshire and Gloucester were derived principally from the wardship of the heir of John Gifford of Brymmesfeld. In Wiltshire some £17 were also reported from lands forfeited by the Despensers. The total of the returns made by William Trussell in the period 26 Feb. to Michaelmas in the first year of Edward III amounted to a little more than £500. The following table gives the returns for several subsequent

terms for the purpose of comparison. They are all smaller than the first year, but this should not be interpreted as meaning that the revenues were less carefully guarded. The escheators’ accounts do not show the returns from the larger wardships farmed out by the exchequer, whose custodians accounted in person at the exchequer. The fact that Trussell accounted for a larger amount can probably best be interpreted as meaning either that the exchequer was not so efficient in finding buyers for these, or that in the first period of the revolution Mortimer was not suf-

ficiently sure of his ground to farm them out. This account is also heavily weighted by the issues of the Cluniac lands. Sums of Later Periods for Escheats South of Trent

Term Escheators Issues £ os. d.

Mich.-13 Dec., 1327 Trussell! 15 1 4 13 Dec.—Mich. 1328 Bereford? 294 8 4 Mich.—Mich. 1329 Bereford? 300 12 113

Mich. 1329-24 Oct., 1330 Sub-escheators Incomplete returns

23 Oct., 1330-17 Jan., 1331 Selyman! 9 14 103 17 Jan., 1831-—Mich. 1331 Trussell5 3857 4 44 Total year 5: 366 19 8

Mich. 1331-2 July, 1332 Trussellé 252 1 13 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 6. 2 Ibid., m. 30. 3 Ihid., m. 35. 4 Ibid., mm. 41-42. 5 [bid., mm. 7-10. § Tbid., mm. 6, 11, 12, 13.

150 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 An interesting feature of this table is the slight variation in the amounts returned by the escheators. Year by year the sums total between £300 and £400. The period of the revolution of 1330 during which Bereford was executed and the sub-escheators presented their ac-

counts at the exchequer in person, interrupts the continuity, because their returns apparently were not all recorded on the enrolled accounts. But after 1330 the even tenor is resumed and very few signs of the disorder are discernible on the escheators’ accounts. Where a period of account does not include an Easter or Michaelmas term, the returns are

, small, for the escheators made most of their collections at those times. Even the new escheats produce little, and the escheator frequently states in regard to these that ‘no terms of payment occurred.’ This fact is interesting in another connection, for it seems to acquit the exchequer of the desire to practice extortion on the tenants of deceased tenants-inchief. It proves nothing with regard to the practices of the escheators, but their superiors certainly did not expect them to wring the last farthing

from the estates which fell into the king’s hands. The escheator took the place of the deceased tenant and collected the usual payments from his tenants, most of which were due at Easter and Michaelmas. On 2 July 1332, a return was made to the plan instituted by the Despensers in 1322 of splitting into seven regional escheatries the large

escheatorship south of the Trent. The returns made by the various Summary 7 Edward III

County Groups Old Escheats New Escheats Sum

£ os. d. £ os. d. £ os. d. Warwick, Leicester, Notts, Derby and

Lancaster! 200 2 9 12 O T 382 3 4

Stafford? ll 6 11 19 54 12 6 4¢

Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford, Salop,

Lincoln, Northants., Rutland® 17 8 7% 2 8 8 19 17 33 Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Hunting-

don, Essex, Hertford 28 13 2 60 17 + 89 10)

Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset5 138 4 Ii 11 2 5 2 T 4

Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Middlesex® 18 5 ll 6 16 34 2 2 23

Oxford, Wiltshire, Berks, Beds, Bucks’ 32 9 64 57 %T 9 89 17 33 York, Cumberland, § Westmorland, Northumberland. omitted

Sums 141 11 92 151 12 22 293 4 03 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 58.

2 Ibid., mm. 53, 62. 3 Ibid., mm. 49, 55. 4 Ibid., mm. 43, 60. 5 Ihid., mm. 48, 57. 6 Tbid., m. 54. 7 Ihid., mm. 47-48,

The Escheator 151 regional escheators for the period between Michaelmas 1332 and Michaelmas 1333, have been assembled to see if this new policy contemplated any

radical change in the administration of the escheats. The results as shown in the table above indicate a negative answer to the query. From the evidence of the accounts, no difference in the mode of account-

ing of the escheators can be discerned between the two escheatorships, north and south of Trent. The division was traditional and perhaps illogical. When it was made early in Henry III’s reign, it may have repre-

sented a political reality. The attempts in 1323, 1332, and 1340 to divide the two escheatorships into more nearly equal groups of counties may have been connected with partisan politics, but there is no conclusive evidence on the point. However this may be, the escheators’ accounts indicate that the northern escheatry was conducted along the same lines as the southern, and produced, proportionately, about the same amounts of revenue. The following table gives the issues reported by Simon de Grimesby from the escheats north of the Trent in 1327: Escheats North of Trent Simon de Grimesby,! 4 Feb.—Mich., 1 Ed. ITI

County Old Escheats New Escheats Sum

£ os. d. £ os. d. £ os. d.

York 39 19 723 1193210 40 144102 Northumberland no issues 98 Cumberland 1 138 @Q no issues 1 14 #5 Westmorland 1 9103 10none none191179 102 10 Nottingham 19 17

Derby 1 104 94 none 1 10 10 Lancaster 4 none 4 4 Sum 72 14 gt 1 3 10 14 15 43

The account roll gives a summary by counties, which is found in the third column. These do not check with the sums arrived at by adding the items listed in the body of the account. The discrepancy is less than one pound, and it is possible that the writer’s arithmetic or reading of the figures may be at fault. A few small errors have been found in the accounts, but they are generally quite accurate. In the old escheats from York, £34 10s. 64d. were derived from ward-

ships. Six small sums were reported from forfeitures occasioned by desertions to the Scots. Several manors of Ralph, baron of Greystoke, were reported as yielding little because of the drought and the devastations of the Scots. About fifty items of old escheats were reported. There were six new escheats yielding issues. Five of these were ward1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, mm. 65, 25.

152 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 ships. In Northumberland the effect of the depredations of the Scots was far more serious. In vill after vill no issues were reported from tene-

ments in the king’s hands. The lands lay wasted and uncultivated because the tenants had fled for fear of the Scots. Sixty-six items of old escheats were reported. Only fifteen of these yielded any issues whatever. About one third of them were in the king’s hands because the

tenants had deserted to the Scots. Four new escheats fell in. These were all wardships, but yielded no issues. In Cumberland also, the effect

of the Scottish raids was marked. Of fourteen items of old escheats, seven had been seized because the tenants deserted to the Scots. ‘The issues were small by reason of the devastation. In Westmorland the same conditions prevailed. In the succeeding terms of account the issues from the escheats north of Trent were reported as follows.

Term Issues£Escheator Reference s. d. Esch. Accts.

Mich.-16 Aug., 2 Ed. III 68 5 5 §. de Grimesby No. 2 m. 68

16 Aug.—Mich., 2 Ed. III 15 6 8 Bolingbroke =m. 23d.

Mich.—Mich., 3 Ed. IIT 73 1 5 Bolingbroke m. 25

Mich.—Mich.,—24 Oct., 4 Ed. Il 645 11 4 Bolingbroke m. 27 24 Oct., 4 Ed. III,—4 Nov., 5 Ed. III 58 8 + J. de Houghton m. 46d.

III 107 2 9 J. de Louthre m. 50

4 Nov., 5 Ed. ITI,-2 and 23 July, 6 Ed.

The large sum reported in the fourth year was occasioned by the forfeiture of Thomas Wake of Liddell, an adherent of Edmund, earl of Kent, which yielded £559 7s. 93d.

The payments into the treasury and allowances of the escheator for that term were as follows: Payments into the Treasury

From the regular escheats............ 000.0 ec eee eee eee ke 20

From the land of Thomas Wake.......................-.4300


To Henry de Percy by writ of the King............................ 100m.

£ ss. d.

Residue of the issues of Thomas Wake’s lands delivered by order...... 192 14 53

To the escheator for his fee at the rate of £40 a year................ 42 12 8 Surplus from the third year............0. 00 cee eee eee eee teeeee % 16 11 Expenses in custody of Thomas Wake’s lands....................... 5 Excused from paying annual rent of Margaret de Folio in county York

by writ of king ordering barons to acquit him..................... 17 83

To Robert de Clypston, keeper of manor and park for year at the rate of

Yd. a day for him and assistants................00eeeeeeeeeeeees 12 1 9

To Henry de Wytheton, chaplain at Clypston for the fourth year....... 26 «8 To the same chaplain for extra serviceS...........0 cee eee ee eee ees 40

The Escheator 153 The escheator had a surplus of 58s. 93d., which was allocated to Robert de Jorce, sheriff of Nottingham, by assignment of the escheator. It appears from the account of the expenses of the following year that the escheator again paid out more than he received, and the deficit was ordered to be paid by the executor of Robert de Nottingham.' The items of the expenses were as follows:

£ s. d.

To Robert de Clypston, keeper of the king’s manor of Clypston, 376

CAYS.. ccc cee cee e reese tesessesecessesees 10 18 9

To Henry de Wytheton, chaplain in the manor, 376 days.............. 68 1 For repairs of the manor. Witnessed by an indenture between John de

Houghton and Robert de Clypston............ 0.0.00 cece ee eeceeee 9 TT 5 To the escheator for his accustomed fee at the rate of £40 perannum.... 41 4 13

Surplus (deficit)... 0... cc cee cece eee e ee ececeeecee 4 43 In each of the first five years, the escheator accounted in the old escheats of Nottingham for £6 10s. from the king’s manor of Clypston. He paid regularly more than £10 a year in wages to the keeper of the manor and his assistants and occasionally he paid out considerable sums

to keep the manor in repair. It would seem that the manor did not pay expenses. It is possible, however, that the king and his entourage consumed the profits in entertainment. One interesting point in Houghton’s account appears in the returns from Cumberland. Several tenements in that county were held by the tenure of making certain payments at the exchequer of Carlisle. Upon the death of the tenants, the tenements were seized ex officio by the escheator. If they could be farmed for more than the sum due at the exchequer at Carlisle, the escheator answered for the difference to the exchequer at Westminster. Otherwise he answered for nothing.? This indicates that the escheators were expected to make all payments due from lands while they were in the king’s hands and that the exchequer at Carlisle was considered exactly as another lord would have been to whom payments were due from lands of a minor in the king’s hands. Probably when the heirs received the lands, they continued to pay the old farm to the exchequer at Carlisle, even if this was less than the true value of the lands. The sharp rise in the issues reported in Louther’s account was due in

part to a wardship in York of the value of £20. But it seems that Northumberland and Cumberland had recovered somewhat from the Scottish raids. There are still some lands reported as lying waste and uncultivated, but the number is considerably smaller than in the first two 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 46d. 2 Ibid., m. 45d.

154 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 years. Some new escheats continue to fall in because of desertion or adherence to the Scots, but the records do not make clear whether these were recent desertions or only recent convictions of past treasons. The accounts for this term give the folllowing number of items of forfeitures for adhering to the Scots.! All of these seizures were made ex officio:

Old Escheats York 9

New Escheats York 2 (1 pardoned) Old Escheats Northumb. 14 New Escheats Northumb. 13

Old Escheats 6 New Escheats Cumb. Cumb. Q

The escheators did not deliver seisin of lands either to heirs or to custodians without an order. Disposal of the larger escheats to custodians was made by the king or by the exchequer. The function of the escheator with respect to the lands that remained in the hands of the king was not as a rule that of a steward supervising the actual agricultural operations of sowing, harvesting, and the like. In the case of a good many of the smaller escheats the income was probably in the nature of a fixed rent, payable most frequently at Easter and Michaelmas. When these tenements fell into the king’s hands by the death of the former owner, the escheator probably collected the usual rents from the existing occupier. In some cases the escheator may have had to find renters for the lands.

It is not clear what disposition was made of the lands seized for the

violations of the restraints on alienation. It is probable that the escheator placed a valuation upon the tenement in the form of an annual rent payable either by the alienor or the alienee until the lands were delivered from the king’s hands by pardon or the payment of a fine. That the escheator was for the most part a collector of rents and not a steward appears from a study of the escheators’ accounts, where it is easy to find a great number of tenements from which the same issues arise year after year. When the escheator delivers his office to a suc-

cessor between Michaelmas and Easter and renders account for that portion of the year, the phrase frequently recurs that there were no issues from such and such a tenement, for no terms of payment fell in. In the account of William Trussell from Michaelmas to 13 December 1327, in a good many counties, it is stated that all of the old and new escheats had

been placed at farm. But when Simon de Bereford accounted the following Michaelmas, the issues of the old escheats were nearly always identical with the sums reported by Trussell at Michaelmas 1327. A 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 50.

The Escheator 155 vast number of these small escheats remained technically in the king’s hands, producing the same issues year after year. It is clear, however, that the escheators farmed them out and collected the rents. The farmers were not analogous to the custodians of the larger wardships, for the exchequer continued to hold the escheators responsible. These small escheats produced a certain amount of revenue, but the chief value of this branch of the escheators’ work was in the time saved to the exchequer in disposing of the escheats. In exceptional cases large estates remained for several months in the hands of the escheator. When this occurred, allowance was made on the

escheator’s account for expenses incurred in administering the lands. The allowances for expenses are usually small; some of the escheators

claimed none at all. An expense account, which is larger than the average, will be given by way of illustration. Expenses of William Trussell, Michaelmas~2 July 5-6 Edward IIT!

11 reeve, reeve, Suffolk 12 Huntingdon 12 £ os. d.

Rent to earl of Hereford from lands in Essex 18 To a constable of Wigmore castle at rate of 6 d. a day 4 17

To a keeper of the park there at rate of 13 d. a day 2 8 6

To a person acting in place of the bedell attached to the court there 15 4

For a millstone bought for a mill pertaining to the castle 6 68

Wages of a constable keeping the castle of Kentles and the priory of Men-

kelith, for 194 days at 4d. a day, and a janitor there taking 14 d. a day 4 19 Wages of a keeper of a park and chase of Edmund de Mortimer in Salop for 24 days at 13 d. a day until they were delivered by writ of the king to a custodian, and to another park-keeper in Stafford taking a bushel

of grain, price 6 d. per week, for 24 weeks 18 8 To 3 reeves in 8 manors in Salop 5 For a millstone for the mill of Cloebury in Salop 6 66

Sum 15 16 8

It will be observed that nearly all of Trussell’s expenses were incurred

in administering one great wardship, that of Edmund Mortimer. No allowance is made for administering the small escheats. The lands of Mortimer constituted the only important wardship that remained for long in the escheator’s hands in this term, with the exception of one manor of

John de Bensted, which was recorded as a rent with £10 a year.’ It seems clear that the escheats which required much supervision were farmed out by the exchequer and not left in the escheator’s hands to be exploited by hired reeves. 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 6. 2 Listed among the old escheats in Wiltshire, Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 11.

156 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 5. PERSONNEL

The statute of 1340, which marked the return to the county group system throws some light on the character and condition of the men who had served as escheators. It states that,“Whereas some time there have been no more but two Escheators in England, that is to say, one Escheator on

this side Trent and another beyond, whereby the King and the People were worse served than in the time when there were divers Escheators, and of less Estate; it is assented and accorded, That from henceforth there shall be as many Escheators assigned, as were in the time when the King

that now is did take the Governance of this Realm upon. him; and that the same Escheators be chosen by the Chancellor, Treasurer and the Chief

Baron of the Exchequer, taking to them the Chief Justices of the one Bench and the other, if they be present, in manner as is afore said of Sheriffs; and that no Excheator tarry in his Office above a year.”

Three individuals held the office of escheator south of Trent in this period. They were William Trussell, Simon de Bereford, and Robert Selyman. From the evidence of writs directed to them and assigning

them to various duties it appears that all three were highly trusted officials. Trussell was a member of various diplomatic missions to the Continent. In 1332 the king acknowledged a debt of £60 to the society of the Bardi of Florence for funds advanced by them to Trussell in going on the king’s service to the court of France and to the court of Rome.? On 16 September 1330 he was given power to treat with the king of Aragon concerning a marriage between Peter, that king’s eldest son, and Eleanor,

sister of Edward III. This commission was, however, later vacated.® In 1334 he served on a similar mission to the court of Castile. In 1335 he was sent to the low countries to negotiate alliances. Two commissions were assigned to him in 1336, to treat with the king of France relative to a crusade and with David Bruce for a truce and final peace. Both of these were vacated,® but in 1337 he was granted a safe conduct to France to treat with the king of France concerning Aquitaine.’ Trussell was also appointed at various times on commissions of oyer

and terminer. Some of these no doubt were humdrum matters of

routine, but that of 15 February 1331, to investigate the oppressions of the king’s ministers, was probably important, and is evidence that he enjoyed the confidence of the king.® Neither Trussell’s accounts nor the chancery calendars reveal what fee 1 Stats. of Realm, 1, 288. 2 C.P.R. 1330-1334, 255.

3 Ibid., 7. 4 C.P.R., 1334-1338, 28. 5 Ibid., 189. 6 Ibid., 301, 303. 7 Ibid., 421, 423. 8 C.P.R. 1880-1334, 188; for other commissions see ibid., 62, 182, 135, 386, 44.5.

The Escheator 157 he received as escheator south of Trent. In 1332 he received the grant of a wardship and marriage.! In 1333 he was granted the custody of Beaumareys castle for life,? and in the following year he was granted the manor of Bricebury in the town of Kempston in satisfaction of 40 marks due him at the exchequer.’ Simon de Bereford came from a distinguished family of jurists and royal officials and was closely associated with the cause of Mortimer and

Isabella. On 12 July 1330 he was appointed ‘to survey the array of

knights and other men...assembled by proclamation to resist the king’s rebels. By letters patent of 8 May of the same year he was granted two manors and 50 marks yearly from the escheats ‘to stay always with the king with twenty men at arms in time of war.’ Bereford’s fortunes fell with those of Mortimer, and his forfeited lands and chattels

were granted to various individuals. A part of his goods was given to Queen Philippa.’ Robert Selyman was less of a politico than Trussell and Bereford and more the type of hard-working and trusted official. Most of his assignments, outside his work as escheator, seem to have been as commissioner of the peace,’ of oyer and terminer,’ and justice of assize.1° In 1332 he was

assessor and tallager in Wilts and Southampton." In 1335 he was appointed to collect £120 in lieu of eighty hobelers from the men of Wilts, and in 1337 he was associated with the bishop of Salisbury to inform the men of Wilts, assembled at Salisbury, of the decisions of the king’s council relative to the defence of the realm.’ Most of his activities were confined to the counties of Southampton and Wilts, but in his escheator’s account for 1334 he was allowed £10 on his annual fee of £20 conceded to him while he was one of the justices for taking assizes in divers counties of the realm.” 1 C.P.R. 1330-133}, 365. 2 Tind., 480.

3 Ibid., 512. Trussell is noticed in the Dictionary of National Biography where additional biographical details may be found. 4 See D.N.B. and C.P.R. 1327-1330, 2, 125, 196, where he is granted manors of Hugh le Despenser for good service to Queen Isabella. 5 O.P.R. 1327-1330, 564. 6 C.C.R. Jan. 18, 1331. 7 C.P.R. 1330-1334, 34; see also zbid., 31, 57, 81, 241, 533. 8 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 90, 567; C.P.R. 1330-1334, 126, 183, 197, 286, 294. 9 C.P.R. 1330-1334, 237, 584; C.P.R. 1334-1338, 70. 10 (.P.R. 1334-1338, 72. 1 C.P.R. 1330-133}, 313.

2 (.P.R. 1834-1338, 503. 13 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 59. In the same place he is allowed 20 marks for his fee in the office of the escheatry, but this was while he was escheator of a group of counties. I have not found his fee as escheator south of Trent.

158 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 The escheators north of Trent do not figure so prominently in the records as do those south of Trent. Simon of Grimesby was a justice of gaol delivery in Lincoln in 1327,! and served on various commissions of

oyer and terminer.? He was tax assessor and collector in Lincoln in 1332. John de Bolingbroke likewise acted in similar capacities. He acted as attorney for John D’Arcy while he was abroad as diplomat and justiciar of Ireland.’ John de Houton was attached to the wardrobe in 1327 as aclerk of the keeper. John Moryn was a knight and the son of the sheriff of Warwick and Leicester.’

William de Northo may be taken as a typical representative of the escheators of groups of counties. As the statute of 1340 says, these men were of less estate than Trussell and Bereford. Northo served as knight of the shire for Sussex.* In the subsidy of 1332 for Sussex he was taxed only 7s. 1d.° He was one of the collectors of the twentieth in Sussex in 1327,!° and of the scutage of Scotland in 1328, 1331, and 1333 in Surrey

and Sussex.

The fee of Thomas de Saunford, one of the escheators north of Trent in the reign of Henry ITI, was 60 marks a year." In the account of John de Bolingbroke for 4 Edward III he was allowed the same amount for his

fee as escheator.“ In the commissions to other escheators north of Trent at the head of their accounts they are always said to take the usual fee. The fee of the three keepers whose duties were gradually merged into those of the escheator after 1275 was £50 a year each." It is possible that Trussell and Bereford served without fixed fee, but they were well rewarded with royal favors. The escheators of the groups of counties usually received £10 a year as a fee, though some of them received 20


The statute of 1340 which vested the appointment of the escheators in the treasurer, chancellor, and chief barons was probaby a new departure. 1 O.P.R. 1327-1330, 95. 2 O.P.R. 1330-1334, 130, 133, 143, 354. 3 Ibid., 357. ‘ C.P.R. 1327-1330, 60, 10; C.P.R. 1830-1334, 358. 5 O.P.R. 1330-1334, 381, 507, 514. 6 F. Devon, Issues of the Exchequer, p. 139. 7 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 373; C.P.R. 1330-1333, 483. 8 See writ to the sheriff for his expenses, 22 Feb. 1329 (C.C.R. 1327-1330, 527). 9 Sussex Subsidies, ed. W. Hudson (London, 1902), pp. 279, 281. 10 Tbid., p. 109.

1 .T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 67. 2 C.P.R. 1247-1258, 112. 13 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 27. 4 C.P.R, 1272-1281, p. 112. 16 Esch. Accts., No. 2, mm. 45, 48, 49, 53, 54, 56, 62, 69, 74, 77; also C.F.R., 1v, 317-318, 393, 456.

The Escheator 159 The ordinances of 1311 decreed that the king should appoint escheators north and south of Trent with the assent of the barons in parliament, and, ‘if it is necessary to appoint before parliament meets he shall appoint by the advice of those whom he shall have with him until parliament meets.”! Probably the king exercised the real power in the choice of escheators when it pleased him to do so. The rolls of parliament of the fourteenth century and on into the fifteenth disclose repeated attempts on the part of parliament to have escheators removed annually and chosen from substantial men in the counties, holding land to the amount of £207 or more in fee, but the rule concerning annual tenure was sometimes set aside in specific instances. The sub-escheators were the appointees of the escheators and normally

rendered accounts to them. On one occasion during this period the for-

feiture of Simon de Bereford, escheator south of the Trent, made it necessary for the sub-escheators to render their accounts directly to the

exchequer. The commissions which are recorded at the head of their enrolled accounts show clearly that the sub-escheators were appointed at the discretion of Simon. The following is a typical commission, heading a sub-escheator’s account. ‘Account of Hugh de Cokeseye to whom Simon de Bereford, escheator of the king this side the Trent, committed the office of the escheatry in the counties of Worcester and Hereford with the march of Wales pertaining to the said county of Hereford, by letters

patent of the said Simon, dated the tenth day of January in the first year, to be held during the pleasure of the same Simon, so that for the issues thence arising from the thirteenth day of December last he should account to the same Simon for the benefit (ad opus) of the king.” Richard de Pensax was appointed escheator by Simon de Bereford on

17 May 1330. This was apparently a reappointment, as it is said that ‘for the period before Easter Richard accounted elsewhere to Simon for the issues, as he says.”> The exchequer did not rely upon the unsupported word of the sub-escheators regarding their accounts previously rendered to Bereford. We learn from the records of the Hilary term of 1331 that Lawrence de Rustiton and Richard de Thornton, clerks and late deputies to Simon de Bereford, were ordered to bring into court on 25 February, for delibery to the treasury, all rools of particulars of sub-escheators’ 1 Rot. Parl., 1, 282b. 2 Rot. Parl., u, 168b., 229a., 335a.; ui, 24b., 44b., 159b., 201b., 339a., vi, 156b. $ Simon was hanged and drawn along with Roger de Mortimer and due allowance was made by the exchequer to the sheriffs of London for the expenses incurred about this business (18 Jan. 1331; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 109). This unfortunate termination of the escheator’s career has supplied us with some useful information with regarded to the nature of the sub-escheator’s office. 4 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 36. 5 Ihid., m. 68.

160 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 accounts rendered to Simon. On 28 February Lawrence came and delivered seventeen rolls of such accounts for 2 Edward III, twenty-two rolls for 3 Edward III, and four rolls for 4 Edward III. These remained in the keeping of the king’s remembrancer. During the Easter term of 1332 an account was exacted from Robert de Shawes for the time he was sub-escheator under Simon de Bereford. He claimed to have accounted to Simon and to have departed quit, in evidence of which he vouched the rolls of his account delivered by Lawrence de Rustiton. A view of the rolls showed his statement to be correct.?, But the exchequer did not finally allow Robert to go sine die until an inquisition had been taken to see that he had fully charged himself with the issues of his office during his term.’ In 1332, a writ authorized by the council was directed to the escheator

to take into the king’s hand the goods and chattels of Ralph Wylhols of Pegrave, sub-escheator in Norfolk and Suffolk and to keep them until the king be satisfied of the debts wherein Ralph was bound to the king, as well of issues of the escheatry as from other causes.* It is clear that the exchequer could hold responsible for the issues either the escheator or his sub-escheators in the various counties. ‘The escheator regularly caused the sub-escheators to give security by a recognition

in chancery. An exchequer document’ records memoranda of the subescheators south of Trent who accounted and made security by recognition in chancery to the escheator, Simon de Bereford. A typical entry is that of William Marchys, sub-escheator in Essex and Hertford and later in Salop and Stafford, who made security for £100.§ After the forfeiture of Bereford the exchequer may have assigned special commissioners to check the accounts of all the sub-escheators. A delay in the case of Essex and Hertford caused the following entry to be made on the memoranda rolls: ‘Order to Thomas Gobioun and John Faber. Since we have assigned you by letters patent to inquire by oath

of good and lawful men of the county of Essex how much William Marchys, late sub-escheator in the said county from Easter 2 Edward ITI

to the end of Michaelmas following and Gilbert de Burgh in the said county of Essex and of Hertford from 3 May, 4 Edward III to 23 October following levied or were able to levy for our business during their term of 1K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 174, Rec. Hilary term 5 Edward III. 2K.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 213d. 3 Itid., Recorda, Hilary term. 4 CLF.R., tv, 325.

5 K.R. Esch. Accts., 2/6. 6 “Idem recognovit se debere Simoni de Bereford’ C. li in cancellaria VII die Maii anno secundo’ (Ibid.).

The Escheator 161 office and since the inquisition has not been returned, it is ordered that the inquisition together with the rolls be at the exchequer on the morrow of the Purification of the Virgin Mary under your seals, and this under penalty of £20 from your lands.”! A similar order was directed to John de Cambridge to certify the amount John Umfrey raised or should have raised in Cambridge and Huntingdon while acting as sub-escheator under Simon de Bereford from 13 December, 1 Edward III, to Michaelmas, 2 Edward III.2. There is no evidence that special commissioners were ap-

pointed for all the counties, but it should be noted that these entries would not have appeared had it not been for the delay in returning the inquisitions. That the exchequer normally dealt with the escheator and not with the sub-escheators appears from the following entries on the memoranda roll. Gilbert de Ledred, escheator in Lincoln, Northampton and Rutland, had

a day to account on the quindene of John the Baptist by writ of great distraint. On that day he asked for a later date, saying that his sub-

escheators had not yet accounted with him. Day was given on the morrow of Michaelmas, and he was told in the meantime to account with

his sub-escheators, if it were convenient.2 Matthew Broun, another escheator of a group of counties was respited for the same reason.* In the reign of Edward I Richard de Clifford, escheator south of Trent, after receiving the accounts of his subescheators, had them acknowledge

before the treasurer and barons that they owed the arrears of their accounts to the king. However, the exchequer continued to hold Clifford responsible until he obtained a writ from the king to the treasurer and barons ordering them, ‘if the sub-escheators and bailiffs acknowledged the arrears as aforesaid and have whereof the arrears may be levied, to cause Richard to be discharged of the arrears and cause the sub-escheators and bailiffs to be charged there with.5 Did the sub-escheators come up to London with their rolls and moneys or did the escheator travel through the counties to survey their accounts?

The former seems the more probable arrangement. In the case of Richard de Clifford, just noted, it seems likely that the escheator after hearing the accounts of the sub-escheators had them appear either individually or in a group before the exchequer and acknowledge the arrears of their accounts. Further evidence of the existence of a central office for receiving the issues collected by the sub-escheators appears from a 1K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 292 d., Mich., 7 Edward III. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 7, Easter, 5 Edward ITI. > K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 227. 4 Tbhid.

5 C.C.R. 1279-1288, 26.

162 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 complaint made by Hugh de Longden, sub-escheator of Simon de Bereford in Lincoln. Hugh claimed that he had paid out £13 6s. 8d. of the issues of his escheatry to Simon at London on 13 June 4 Edward III, in the presence of John de Westbrok, Simon’s clerk, for which payment he received a certain indenture which should have been among the writs of Simon. Since Simon died before rendering account and the indenture was not found among his writs, the exchequer was holding Hugh responsi-

ble for the £13 6s. 8d. The king came to the aid of Hugh saying in a writ directed to the barons, ‘we are unwilling that Hugh should suffer injury in this matter; we order, therefore, that you cause the said Hugh and Richard de Thornton, then receiver of the aforesaid Simon, to appear before you at the exchequer and that you investigate diligently by examination of them, or by inquisition, or by any other lawful means, and if it shall appear that Hugh paid out the said money, he shall have due allowance on his account.’ The sub-escheators are found acting ex officio, by order of the escheator, and by order sent directly from some higher branch of the government. Numerous examples of each form of action could be cited. A few will suffice to illustrate the varieties of practice. Hugh de Cokeseye reports in his account that he seized ez officio suo the lands of John de Northgaves,

of Hereford, late tenant-in-chief of the king, on 3 October 1329, and farmed the lands for 19s. a year to be paid at Easter and Michaelmas. He also levied 38s. from the same lands because he found by an inquisition, also made ex officio, that the tenant had died about two years before,

that is 10 December 1327.2 The same sub-escheator, having learned from an inquisition made ex officio that Thomas of Adam formerly held a manor in chief of the king and had alienated it without license, took the manor ez officio into the hands of the king. He did not, however, answer for any issues from the manor because of an order from Simon de Bereford

containing a writ of the king in which it was stated that the manor was not held of the king in chief.* In the first of these cases the sub-escheator not only made a seizure on his own authority but also levied a fine for a previous period and farmed out the wardship without any authorization

from the escheator or the exchequer. In the second case he made a seizure and held an inquisition ex officio, but delivered the lands with the issues upon receiving an order from the escheator enclosing the royal writ. The manor of Leithelade in Gloucester was taken into the king’s hand by virtue of an order of Simon de Bereford containing a writ of the king

which ordered the seizure of the lands and chattels of Edmund, ear] of 1 K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 41; dated 80 Dec. 6 Edward III from Beverley. 2 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 36. 3 Ind.

The Escheator 163 Kent. Another writ from the escheator to the sub-escheator directed that the manor be delivered to Geoffrey de Mortimer by virtue of the king’s gift.1 Writs ordering seizures to be made were frequently addressed to the escheator, or his sub-escheator in county,” and occasiondirectly to the sub-escheator.? In the calendars of inquisition post mortem of the time of Edward I an inquisition is reported to have been made by one sub-escheator by virtue of a mandate from a sub-escheator in

- another county.’ It is difficult to determine the class of people from which the subescheators were drawn. Were they of the civil service type, clerks in the

royal service, or did they belong to the class of substantial country gentry, or were they drawn from the class of small farmers? The question

is important for upon it depends the question of how far the process of centralization in the administration of wardships was carried. From the standpoint of the escheated it was no doubt a matter of major importance whether the sub-escheators were local people of consequence with loyalties rooted in their bailiwicks, or petty politicians on the make with prospects of promotion dependent upon the zeal with which they prosecuted the royal rights. The names of the sub-escheators rarely appear in the calendars of the chancery rolls or in the enrolled accounts of the escheator, but fortunately there is an exchequer document’ which gives a list of sub-escheators who accounted and gave security for good conduct to Simon de Bereford. The fifteen sub-escheators and twenty-seven counties and the March of Wales mentioned in the document were:

1. Robert de Shawes (1) Essex and Hertford, then (2) Southampton and Wilts

2. Adam de Hagham Surrey and Middlesex 3. William Marchys (1) Essex and Hertford (2) Salop and Stafford

4. Richard Pensax (1) Warwich and Leicester (2) Nottingham and Derby

5. John Umfrey Cambridge and Huntington

6. John de Rothewell Nottingham and Derby 7. Robert de Holewell (1) Surrey (2) Sussex and Kent (3) Norfolk and Suffolk

8. Gilbert de Burgh Norfolk and Suffolk

9. Thomas de Haydene Devon and Cornwall 1 Esch. Accts., No. 2, m. 37. 2 C.F.R., 11, 75, 123, 283, 333; C.F.R., 1v, 492. 3 O.F.R., 1, 3; C.F.R., m1, 61; C.F.R., rv, 148.

4 Cal. Ing., u, No. 524. 5 K.R. Esch. Accts., 2/6.

164 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 10. Gilbert de Berewyk Somerset and Dorset 11. Thomas de Pernycote Sussex 12. Richard de Harsfeld Gloucester 13. William de Kaynton Salop and Stafford, and March of Wales

14. William de Kirkeley Bedford and Buckingham

15. Gilbert de Dedham Essex and Hertford

The memorandum concerning William Marchys shows that he was sub-escheator in the counties of Essex and Hereford from the feast of Faster in the year two to the feast of Saint Michael next following and in the

counties of Salop and Stafford from Easter, year three, to Michaelmas next, for which terms he accounted to the escheator. From Michaelmas, year three, to the Easter following, that is, after the execution of Bereford, he accounted at the exchequer. It is also stated that he acknowledged in the chancery on 7 May in the year two that he owed £100 to Simon de Bereford. ‘The document indicates in a similar way the terms of the other sub-escheators and their acknowledgment of the £100 security to Simon de Bereford.

From the fact that the sub-escheators were not infrequently shifted from one bailiwick to another it might seem probable that they were king’s clerks of the civil service type, but in the close rolls there are details with regard to the individual sub-escheators which seem to place some of them definitely among the well-to-do landowners.! Adam de Hagham acknowledged in May 1328 that he owed Simon de

Bereford £100 to be levied in default of payment from his lands and chattels in Middlesex.2 In January 1331 he made a similar acknowledg-

ment to William Trussell.2 Since Adam was able to make his own security and apparently continued as sub-escheator under Trussell after the forfeiture of Bereford, it may be assumed that he was a substantial landowner in Middlesex and in no way implicated in the partisan politics of the time. Richard de Pensax placed in security for the £100 he owed to Simon de

Bereford his lands and chattels in Nottingham.* In November 1329 he bought the wardship and marriage of the heir of Robert Pontrel of Preste-

vold.= John Umfrey had lands and chattels in Cambridgeshire. John 1 Robert de Shawes in August 1328 was one of the pledges for Joan, wife of Thomas de Grymstede who gave £40 a year for her husband’s lands (C.F.R., tv, 449). In May 1335 Robert himself undertook to give £7 3s. 9d., a year for the wardship of the lands of John de Albiniaco in Southampton (C.F.R., tv, 101). 2 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 388. 3 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 180. 4 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 383. 5 C.F.R., tv, 153. € O.C.R. 1327-1330, 384.

The Escheator 165 de Rothewell, however, who acted as sub-escheator in Nottingham and Derby placed in security his lands and chattels in Stafford. He seems at one time to have been under the suspicion of desertion to the Scots, for the sheriff of Stafford was ordered to attach him and his brother and bring them before the king at York.2- Robert de Holewell, who acted as subescheator in Surrey, then Sussex and Kent, and finally in Norfolk and Suffolk, pledged to Simon de Bereford, in 1328, his lands in Kent.? In 1330 he bought the wardship and marriage of the heir of Thomas Lovel of Norfolk paying £11 a year for the wardship and £20 for the marriage.‘ In 1331 he continued as sub-escheator under William Trussell, pledging

his lands and goods in Norfolk for the £100 security.’ When the escheatries were broken up into groups of counties he became escheator in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Huntington, Essex and Hertford. Gilbert de Burgh of Ipswich pledged lands and chattels in Suffolk.’ Gilbert de Berwyk had £300 in goods and chattels in Wiltshire,’ in 1334 became sheriff of the county, and in 1336 was one of the collectors of the subsidy.?°

Thomas de Haydene may have been the same as a king’s clerk of that name who in 1327 was appointed sheriff of Carmarthen." These examples are perhaps sufficient to indicate the class from which

the sub-escheators were drawn. The requirement of £100 security in lands and goods from sub-escheators places them definitely among the substantial landowners, or, failing that, as having influential friends in the

counties in which they acted. With the clue of the £100 security it may also be possible to identify as sub-escheators with a reasonable degree

of assurance a great many names recorded in the close rolls. The securities made to Simon de Bereford in May 1328 by various sub-escheators were dated from Northampton.” A series of such acknowledgments to William Trussell were dated from Westminster in March 1327%8 and again in January 1331," at both of which times Trussell was escheator 1 0.0.R. 1327-1330, 388. 2 Ibid., 157. 3 Ibid., 385.

‘ O.F.R., tv, 195, 197. 5 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 481. 8 C.F.R., tv, 423, Nov. 7, 1334. 7 C.C.R. 1827-1330, 385. 8 0.0.R., 1830-1333, 343.

9 C.F.R., tv, 421. He had been keeper of various manors of Queen Isabella in Wilts., and of Devizes castle (C.F.R., tv, 213, 214). 10 CLF .R., tv, 481.

1 CF.R., Iv, 13. 2 C.C.R, 1327-1330, 385. 18 C.C0.R. 1327-1330, 98.

“ C.C.R. 1330-1333, 77, 180, 181.

166 The English Government at Work, 1327-1836 south of Trent. These were also made at the time and place of parliament. The fact that several of Simon de Bereford’s sub-escheators were continued in office by William Trussell is good evidence that politics had little to do with their appointments. Was the office of sub-escheator a valuable one, or was it a burdensome

duty to be escaped if possible? In the time of Henry III there are numerous instances of individuals procuring letters close exempting them

from serving on inquisitions or as escheator. In the period under consideration no evidence has come to light which would indicate that a fixed fee was paid the sub-escheator as in the case of the main escheators. The method of accounting seems to have been quite strict, but there were

no doubt opportunities for the sub-escheators to recoup themselves for the burdens of the office. For one thing, it was possible for them to buy valuable wardships; and, if they were of a dishonest turn, they could obtain bribes for appraising the estates that fell into the king’s hands at less than the actual value. It must, also, have been extremely difficult to check up on the less flagrant forms of waste of the tenants’ chattels. From the evidence encountered it would seem that the central government only rarely found cause for complaint against the escheators either of fraud or inefficiency. A memoranda roll of 1333 records an example of

an attempt to defraud the exchequer and the manner of its detection. On 5 February 1331 Robert de Sapy, knight, came before the barons of

the exchequer and charged that Richard de Welles, sub-escheator of Robert Selyman, on account of favor for William Mangeant, had extended

the lands of Simon de Aston at 39s., and because of this the lands had been assigned to William for 50s. until the heir should come of age. Furthermore, according to an inquisition taken in the presence of the escheator and returned into chancery, the heir was twenty years of age. Robert de Sapy asserted that the lands were worth 20 marks, or 266s. 8d.,

annually and that the heir was only seventeen years of age, and asked that the farm be turned over to him. ‘The sub-escheator was brought before the barons on the morrow of Michaelmas, and upon being questioned said that he did not remember making such an extent. He was committed to the Fleet on 31 October and there apparently he remained until 3 November 1332, when he made fine with the king for 100s.!. The fine rolls show that Robert de Sapy was granted the wardship of the lands of Simon de Aston on 5 February 1331, for 20 marks a year.” Another case of fraud on the part of the escheator is recorded on the fine roll for 1326. In this case the escheator, John Walwayn, returned an 1 K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 102 d. 2 C.F.R., tv, 231.

The Escheator 167 inquisition showing that nothing was held in chief by Richard de Porteseye. Thomas de Saunford, who acquired this land without license from Richard’s sister, later acknowledged before the king and council that the lands were held in chief and that the inquisition was taken to the king’s deception.! Collusion between escheators and prospective purchasers of wardships may have been far more common than the records indicate.

It is interesting to note that Robert de Sapy was not an agent of the central government, but merely another of the king’s subjects. Probably the most effective contro] exercised by the exchequer over the escheators was gained by reference to previous records of extents, for it is difficult to suppose that a Robert de Sapy would have volunteered in the majority of cases to protect the government from fraud. In 1346 a statute was passed which provided that justices assigned to

take assizes should have commissions sufficient to inquire in their sessions of sheriffs, escheators, and other ministers who took gifts, rewards, and other profits of the people for executing their office. The chancellor and treasurer were also charged with hearing the complaints of all who wished to complain so that speedy remedy be made.? This continued reliance upon the ordinary processes of the common law and upon what we might almost denominate as the force of public opinion indicates that the government was still far removed from true bureaucracy.

The evidence of complaints against the escheators has been found mainly in records dating from before and after the decade with which this study is especially concerned. The types of complaints are, however, similar in the early and later periods. The escheators were undoubtedly

guilty at times of wasting the lands in their keeping,’ of extortionate practices on the tenants, of seizing lands into the king’s hands for insufficient cause, of making false or incomplete extents by reason of bribes or favor. But the impression remains that the escheators were reason-

ably honest and efficient agents in administering the law relating to escheats. The law itself does not seem to have been considered unduly burdensome, and it is probable that the lands of the king’s wards were at least as safely kept as those of the minor heirs of socage tenants whose nearest relatives administered their estates. 1 C.F.R., wi, 415. 2 Stats. of Realm, 1, 305.

3 See a statute of 1340. (Stats. of Realm, 1, 285.)




A Edward III’sfor accession the great ancient customshad had organized half a century, whileorthe petty customs notbeen yet come into existence. In 1275 Edward I instituted the first regular customs duty on all exports of wool, woolfells and leather. In 1303 he entered into a special arrangement with the alien merchants, the Carta Mercatoria, by which in return for certain privileges they agreed to pay the king extra duties, including a higher rate on wool, woolfells and leather. In 1347 another set of customs was levied on other things besides wool and cloth, the new or petty customs proper, so called for centuries. With these were amalgamated those of 1303, both exports and 1mports being liable.?

The rates at which these customs were levied were constant through

the centuries. The ancient customs were levied at the rate of 6s. 8d. on a sack of wool or 300 woolfells, and of 13s. 4d. on the last of leather.’ Woolfells were the untanned skins with the wool still attached to them. The new custom of 1303, charged on alien merchandise, whether exported or imported, was levied at the following rates: 2s. on each dol or tun (252 gallons) of wine;

an additional 3s. 4d. on a sack of wool or 300 woodfells and 6s. 8d. on a last of leather; 1s. to 2s. on each length of cloth, according to grade; 1 A thorough examination of the customs revenue and organization in the second half of the fourteenth century was undertaken by me at the request of the late Professor Manly and the late Professor Rickard of the University of Chicago as part of the investigation into the life and works of

Geoffrey Chaucer engaged in by them with the aid of a grant from the General Education Board. Some of the general statements with regard to organization are based on knowledge so acquired, the evidence for which is no longer in my possession, though permission was given for general use to be made of it. 2 C.F.R., tv, 47; N.S. B. Gras, The Early English Customs, p. 61. The term alien is used instead of foreigner, since in the middle ages the latter often meant a stranger from a different part of England,


The Collectors of Customs 169 1s. on a quintal of wax;

an ad valorum duty on goods sold avoirdupois, fine cloth, animals, corn and general merchandise, namely 3d. on every £1 of value.

The first and last were later known as tunnage and poundage, while the wine duty at an early stage became attached to the earlier prisage and was collected by the king’s butler. The wool custom was added to the ancient custom, but only for the wool of alien merchants. ‘The remainder were known as the new, or sometimes the petty, customs in our period.’

These customs were collected without further authorization, but it became the practice for parliament to make additional levies called subsidies, a practice which was in its infancy in 1327-1336, the first one, on wool, having been granted in 1322. In our period the first was in 1327, the staple ordinance of Edward II’s reign being placed in abeyance in return for it.2. Another subsidy was granted in 1332 at the rate of 6s. 8d. on wool and woolfells, and 13s. 4d. on the last of leather in the case of natives, and of 10s. and 20s. in that of aliens, but this was revoked the following year with the consent of the council and the merchants.’ There were others during this period. The administration of the customs was based on the principal ports, the others being grouped as creeks of their more important neighbors.

Though occasional slight modifications are found, the customs ports once established remained the basis of the organization for centuries. Working round the coast from the northeast, they were Newcastle-onTyne, Kingston-on-Hull (the modern Hull), St Botulph’s (Boston), King’s Lynn, Yarmouth, Ipswich, London, Sandwich, Chichester, Southampton, Bristol.4 Connected with these were the staple towns, essentially trading centers for foreign merchants, where they bought and sold their goods and

settled their debts. The staple towns were Newcastle, York, Lincoln, Norwich, London, Winchester, Exeter and Bristol. 2. THE OFFICIALS

The officials at each port were two collectors, a controller, a searcher, and an official called a tronager and pesager, or more usually a tronager. 1 [ have to thank Miss Wretts Smith for the relation of the dol to the tun and gallon. For the Carta Mercatoria, see the Charter Roll, 31 Edward I, m. 19, No. 44. Gras failed to find the original, but it has been printed in Rymer’s Foedera, u1, Pt. ii, 747, from the inspeximus of 8 Aug., 2 Edw. III,

and elsewhere. 2 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 98-99, 169; C.F.R., tv, 54-55. 3 0.C.R. 1333-1337, 60-61; C.F.R., tv, 342, 353-354, 404. * Enrolled Customs Accounts, No. 8 for the ancient customs, and No. 9 for the new customs, give

the summaries of the accounts as presented in the exchequer. They are arranged in chronological order under each port. The Customs Accounts (E. 122), are the originals from which these enrolments were compiled. 5 See below, pp. 189-191, for further information about the staple.

170 The English Government at Work, 1327-1236 Sometimes special collectors and the controller were appointed to collect the petty custom of 1303 and the subsidy. As collectors, controller, searcher and tronager all received commissions from the king, in the form of letters patent from chancery or exchequer, the collectors were first among equals rather than heads over subordinates. ‘There were in addition lesser people in each department, except that of the controller.! Collectors

These were chosen by the burgesses from their own body, the controller representing the king.2, The method by which the burgesses made their selection and reported it to Westminster is known in the ports of Boston, Rochester and Sandwich.

At Boston at the beginning of August, 1328, the king was informed that a collector was unable to perform his duties. On the 7th two commissioners were appointed to enquire, by the oath of the best informed prob et legales homines, which of the burgesses was the most suitable and

fittest for the work. The sheriff was to select the probt homines and instruct them to attend at the time and place chosen by the commissioners. On the 15th the commissioners wrote from York, asking him to summon eighteen men for the 17th at Boston. On this day twelve men were chosen jurors, including Richard Thousandepound. ‘They found that John de Tumby of Boston was the best and most sufficient man. The king’s privy seal warrant, bearing the date of the 24th, was followed

by the issue of letters patent under the great seal. For this the new official would have to pay the customary fee to the hanaper, since the letters patent were entered on the fine roll.2 Tumby already had some knowledge of the work, for he had been in office until April 1327. He took over his duties on the 27th. Thus it took less than a month for the town to inform the king of the need for a new collector, for the election, the issue of the commission and for the new collector to take over.*

At Rochester the exchequer was informed in Easter term that both collectors of the new customs were impotent and insufficient. The bailiffs and probit homines were instructed to cause two probiores et 1 This was common practice throughout the fourteenth century. Exact references have not always been possible, as the material on which statements are based has been handed to the late Professor Manly and reference to it was not possible for the purpose of this paper. 2 The original instructions in 1275 laid down that ‘in each county in the largest town where there is a port two men shall be chosen to keep one piece of a seal, and one who shall be appointed by the king shall have another piece, and they shall be sworn’ (C.F.R., 1, 47). 3 Cal. Ing. Misc., 13807-1349, No. 1049; Chancery Inq. Misc., file 109, No. 17; Chancery Warrants (C. 81), file 156, No. 2044; C.F.R., Iv, 102. ‘ Enr. Customs Accts., No. 8, mm. 24-24d, for his term of office. He went out on 10 June 1331.

The Collectors of Customs 171 legales homines to be chosen (quod facerent eligi), picking them from among the more discreet men for whom they would be answerable, and returning their names to the barons of the exchequer by the day after the close of Easter. The bailiffs, as usual, made their return on the back of the writ:—‘We have elected (elegimus) Roger de Suthwyk and Gilbert Geldewyne collectors and receivers of the new custom in the port of Rochester, for whom we wish to reply according to the tenure of this writ, and we send them to you to do that which is enjoined on them by you. Gilbert and Roger, appearing in person at the exchequer on the appointed day, were duly admitted and received their commissions.’ When Gilbert died in 10 Edward III, the mayor and bailiffs of the city were again instructed to cause a suitable, circumspect and sufficient man to be elected, and returned Reginald Perewych as their choice. The court of exchequer agreed, and a commission was issued. In both cases the commission appears to have been issued under the exchequer seal by the treasurer, not the chancellor.2, At Bristol in 1328 the order was received to elect a collector of old and new customs to fill the place of a dead man.?

The precise meaning of eligere opens an old controversy. A little light is thrown on the subject below. At Sandwich the earliest Enrolled Customs Accounts regularly state that the chancery had written to the mayor and commune instructing them to elect (eligere) a collector. Now from at least 1300 the custom of the town, a Cinque Port, was to choose all its officers in the common assembly of freemen. The jurats, sitting on the four benches, led the freemen in calling the names of their candidates until one name predominated. This surely is election in the modern sense, not selection by the few. There is no reason to suppose that customs officials were chosen otherwise than in accordance with this well

established custom.‘ Had other towns democratic elections? They may have been peculiar to the Cinque Ports, but mayors, jurats, and common assemblies were normal elsewhere, and elections may have been, too. 1 The bailiff and probi homines of Rochester were enjoined quod habita deliberacione inter vos duos de probioribus et legaliortbus hominibus eiusdem civitatis quos ad offictum predictum excercendum ‘pro

commodo nostro discretiores inueneritis et pro quibus in euentu respondere volueritis eligi faciatis (K.R.MR., No. 106, m. 299). 2 L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 45d; K.R.M.R., No. 106, mm. 193, 299. The whole evidence for the two cases is entered here. Details of the form of the commission are given below. 3 L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 82. * William Boys, Collections for the History of Sandwich (Canterbury, 1792), p. 429: ‘Responsio com-

munitatis,’ from the original Custumal of Sandwich. Though usually ascribed to the fifteenth century, a careful study of the internal evidence which I made some time ago, shows clearly that the text was compiled in its present form in 1301, only occasional glosses and some records being added later. This entry is part of the original 1801 Custumal. The present copy was, however, written in the fifteenth century.

172 The English Government at Work, 13827-1336 The evidence given in the cases of Boston, Rochester and Sandwich, when read in conjunction with the original instruction in 1275 for the appointment of collectors ¢nd controller strongly suggests that this was the case. The instruction says that ‘in each county in the largest town where there is a port two men shall be chosen to keep one piece of a seal and one who shall be appointed by the king shall have another piece, and they shall be sworn to answer to the king.’ This indicates that, though the king appointed the controller, in the port two men were to be chosen

collectors (to keep one piece of the seal).! | The collectors were usually well-known merchants. In London at the end of the fourteenth century Nicholas Brembre, William Walworth and

Richard Lyons, all celebrated citizens, acted for long periods. In our ten years well-known city merchants were normally chosen. The results of the appointments at Newcastle, Sandwich and Southampton have been examined in order to ascertain the standing of these officials there. At Newcastle-on-Tyne, John Denton was at different times collector of lay subsidies in the borough and in Northumberland, also mayor and escheator in the borough.” Robert de Tughale, was replaced in 1333, because the king required his services at Berwick-on-T'weed, where he was sheriff in 1335, while Richard Acton and Denton in 1335 had new appointments as collectors of customs, so that they should not be removed during good behavior or without the king’s special order.* Acton was lord of the manor of Whytyngton. His son Richard married the daughter of Richard de Emeldon who was mayor in 1333.4 Thus at Newcastle the

evidence is rather that of general standing than of definite merchant status. At Sandwich the collectors were chosen from the prominent freemen. Thomas Espiloun, Nicholas Chaumpeneys, and William Loverick, the collectors in our period, all came from leading families, the members of which frequently held high municipal offices. Chaumpeneys was twice mayor, twice bailiff for the port at Yarmouth fair. ‘Thomas and Nicholas Espiloun held the collectorship of customs between them for nearly forty

years, Nicholas being four times mayor. William and John Loverick were both mayors, while Richard and William were bailiffs to Yarmouth. The Lovericks specialized in service in the fleet of the Cinque Ports during the Hundred Years War.*® 1 C.F.R., 1, 47.

2 C.F.R., 1, 875, 481, 482; C.P.R. 1330-1334, 516; 1334-1338, 336. 3 C.F.R., tv, 372; C.P.R. 1334-1338, 125, for Tughale; C.F.R., tv, 451, for Acton and Denton. ‘ O.P.R. 1330-1334, 395, 516. 5 This statement for Sandwich is based on Boys, History of Sandwich, pp. 416-425, and on material collected for an unpublished history of the town.

The Collectors of Customs 173 At Southampton Thomas de Bynedon, the chief collector of the period, was a king’s merchant and a burgess. He was collector of lay subsidies

in Hampshire, married the daughter of a small tenant-in-chief, and owned at least two ships, trading with Gascony and bringing over salt for the king and the earl of Kent. Hugh Sampson and Gerrard Elys, two other collectors, were deputies of the king’s butler in Southampton, while Geoffrey Howels (Hogheles), Nichols de Moundelard, and John de Baux,

were certainly burgesses, the last being bailiff of the town. Howells, keeper of the priory of St Denys by Southampton, was also a king’s clerk, and keeper of one half of the seal for the recognizances for debts.!_ Here

the evidence is more definite than at Newcastle, but not so good as at Sandwich or in London. But clearly, the collectors were prominent burgesses, well-known in the district. They needed an efficient knowledge of the work in the port, of merchants exporting and importing there. They were selected by local authorities because of their knowledge and

trustworthiness but they were not so eminent as to be chosen by the chancery or exchequer at Westminster without local assistance. The commissions of the collectors of ancient and new customs differ considerably. For the ancient customs it was enough to state that they

were to collect the customs on wool, woolfells and leather, with the rates to be charged. For the new customs it was normal to recite a large part of the Carta mercatoria, as well as the rates of all the commodities, before coming to the actual appointment itself. The appointments for the London ancient customs may now be exam-

ined in greater detail, in order to ascertain the conditions. The first commission of the reign (1327) laid down that the new collectors were (1) to collect the custom on wool, woolfells and hides, (2) to keep the cocket

seal, and (3) to answer at the exchequer for the money they received. This was the normal form throughout the century. The appointment was during the king’s pleasure, and was issued under a privy seal warrant. In 1330 when John de la Pole replaced Thomas Perle, his warrant was authorized ‘by the king.’ In 1331 king and council issued orders for the appointment of new collectors in thirteen ports including London.

Four years later (1335) John de Grantham’s letters omitted the usual clause that he was to hold office during the king’s pleasure, while those of John de Causton later in the summer were issued ‘by the council.’ In the ten years 28 January 1327 to 28 January 1337 the thirteen London appointments (one being a reissue to the same man, Thomas Swanlond, 1 O.F.R., wv, 59, 85, 361, 507; C.P.R. 1327-1330, 133, 212, 310; 1330-1334, 23, 52, 77, 166, 218, 509; 1334-1338, 298; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 142, 256.

, 174. The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 in 1335) were distributed among eight men. These changes were greater than was normal for this port.!

At the new customs, the London collectors were also frequently changed. On 13 October 1327 John de Aspale and John de Pulteney were chosen, the privy seal warrant being issued at the instance of the earl of Kent, an unusual procedure, suggesting that Kent had intervened in some way between city and crown. It is unthinkable that, if a place like Rochester had the right of nomination, the city of London did not enjoy the same privilege. Augustine Waleys, a prominent person, supplanted Aspale on 11 May 1330, and a year later a new commission was issued to Pulteneye and John de Causton. Thus the latter became collector of ancient customs with Grantham and of the new with Pulteney, both appointments being made on the same day. On 18 October 1331 William Turk began his seven years term of office, and on 26 January, 1332, Augustine Waleys joined him. These two were still acting in 1336,

Waleys having received a life commission on 31 May 1335. Such life appointments were rare and were looked on with grave suspicion.’ The collectors of ancient customs were usually appointed by letters

patent under the great seal, issued from the chancery. They were normally enrolled, not on the patent roll, but on the fine roll, suggesting that the recipients were expected to pay fees for them. But in the case of the new customs, it was a common practice for the commissions to be issued by the treasurer under the exchequer seal. These were entered on the lord treasurer’s remembrancer’s memoranda roll, the warrants being ‘by the treasurer’ who also witnessed the letters. Duplicate entries were not made on the patent or fine roll. General commissions were issued on 12 May 1331 for the change of collectors of both customs in thirteen ports, and again on 18 May 1334, when the administration of the customs was moved to the eight staple towns. This administration at the staple towns was abandoned after six months.‘ Examples of warrants for letters patent may now be quoted. In 1327 at Newcastle the collectors’ warrants were made by the king at the instance of the queen, the only case of the type found in this period. Again, the treasurer having given information of a vacancy, the letters patent were issued by the chancery. Commissions issued by the chancery were 1 C.F.R., rv, 1-2, 66, 79, 134, 197, 202, 260, 353, 365, 404, 445, 456. The ancient customs collectors’

appointments are normally found on the fine and not the patent rolls. 2 Fine Roll, No. 127, m. 4; C.F.R., 1v, 66, '79, 176, 260, 281, 297, 447.

3L.T.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 9d.; No. 107, mm. 9, 65. An example on the K.R.M.R. is No. 107, m. 7, for Bristol, for both ancient and new customs. The Latin of the two phrases is per ipsum thesaurarivum and teste thesaurario.

4 C.F.R., rv, 260, 404.

The Collectors of Customs 175 usually warranted by a bill of the treasurer, by the king, by the king and council, or by the council. All these instances belong to the first year of the reign. For Hartlepool in the next year, it was by bill of the exchequer, and at Ipswich by the chancellor with the assent of the treasurer.!

The nominees were summoned to appear before the barons of the exchequer to take oath to carry out their duties well and faithfully (de bene et fideliter se habendo 1n officio suo), and to receive their commissions.

If for some reason they could not come in person to Westminster, the letters patent were sent to one or more well-known local men with instructions to hand over the letters of appointment after administering the oath. Thus in 6 Edward III a new collector was chosen for both customs at Lynn, took the oath in the exchequer, and found three Norfolk manucaptors to answer for him, after which instructions were sent to the

other collector to admit him.* In 9 Edward II] Thomas Coynte, the outgoing collector for the ports of Cornwall, recently released from the Fleet prison, was entrusted with the new commissions sent to the sheriff, who had instructions to summon the new collectors, receive their oaths and hand over their commissions. At Bristol the abbots of Kynesham and of St Augustine’s, Bristol, were chosen for this work; while at Sandwich the abbot of Augustine’s Canterbury and the reeve of Wingham had similar instructions.? In London (1327) the old collectors received orders

to hand over the rolls, memoranda and other appurtenances of their office by indenture between them and their successors, enumerating item

by item the records, seals, furniture and other articles transferred.‘ Once formalities were completed, new officers began work. By comparing the date of letters patent with that of accounts, it becomes clear that only a few days elapsed in most cases.

Of the remuneration nothing is known. Clearly, even in the middle ages, wealthy merchants would not give up their time unless there was adequate compensation. Possibly it was easier to export and import merchandise. Other merchants most probably paid fees to them. The regular allowance which appears in the accounts was for office expenses,

and any balance would be inadequate as salary.> For example in the port of London they had £40 a year for their misae and expenses, their clerks, parchment, ink and other minute necessities. The only mention 1 Fine Roll, No. 127, passim for 1 Edward ITI. 2 L.T.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 8d. 3 Ibid., No. 107, mm. 9, 12, 12d, 65. 4 Fine Roll, No. 127, m. 4. 5 Enrolled Customs Accts., No. 8, under the various ports each year. The new customs on No. 9 have no such allowance, since one organization covered both customs.

176 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 of a salary for a collector during the whole fourteenth century was that made to Hugh Sampson, collector of new customs at Southampton, who had £10 for his fee during pleasure.1. This was granted with the assent of the council, thus showing it was not ‘of course.’ The Controller

The controller represented the king and saw that the accounts were properly kept, checking and witnessing them. This officer was found in most English administrative offices at this date: he controlled his superior

officer. His accounts were to those of the collectors at the customs, as

the chancellor’s roll was to the pipe roll at the exchequer. He was appointed by letters patent under the great seal, usually warranted by a privy seal writ, and Had to take an oath:? The general lines of his appointment were parallel to the collector’s, but there was no local election, for he was the king’s representative, while the collectors were those of

the merchants. His appointment was entered on the patent, not the fine roll. Normally he held office during the king’s pleasure. There were life appointments in London and at Yarmouth in 1328, the former being revoked by parliament two years later, while at Boston in 1336 the ap-

pointment was during good behavior.? The conditions of his patent define his qualifications and his relations to other officers. Normally he controlled both customs, and held the second half of the cocket or cus-

toms seal, the main part being in the hands of the collectors. Most significant of all, he wrote his controlment roll with his own hand, not employing a deputy. The evidence that he did so and kept his account himself lies chiefly in the fact that (1) the earliest controllers were de-

scribed as clerks; (2) the condition that he should do so appeared in every appointment from Edward I’s time onwards well into the fifteenth century; and (3) the controller had no staff. The prohibition of deputies was strictly enforced, rare exceptions being made in special circumstances or when the king wanted to employ the particular controller elsewhere. The status of the controller was markedly different from that of the col-

lectors. By 1327 it was usual to appoint laymen who could read and write. In May 1332 orders were issued by the king and council for the removal of these officials and for the appointment of ‘lettered controllers who were free from suspicion.’ The controllers came from less influential burgess families than the col1 L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 37d. 2 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 3, 33, 36, 57; 1330-1334, 36, 119, 377; 1334-1338, 501. 3 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 235, 239; 1330-1334, 33; L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 46; C.P.R. 1334-1338, 322, 501.

* Ibid. 1327-1330, 38, 36, 57; 1330-1334, 877; 1334-1338, 501.

The Collectors of Customs 177 lectors.!. John de Say became controller in London on 28 January 1327, and at the same time Geoffrey de Say was made crier of the king’s bench.’ At Yarmouth (1328) the controller was a king’s yeoman, at Kingston-onHull (1327) a yeoman of the king’s chamber, at Ipswich, a nominee of Thomas Wake, the king’s kinsman.2 At Newcastle John son of William de Emeldon, the controller, was a clerk. Incidentally Richard de Emeldon, the mayor, was a connection of collector Acton.* In 1327 at Boston mandates were sent (a) to the collector to deliver the cocket seal by indenture and (b) to the out-going controller to hand over his office with the rolls, memoranda and other appurtenances. A month later the collectors received the very unusual instruction to admit a deputy controller, since the controller had to be absent on the king’s affairs. This controller was a king’s clerk.®

The salary or vadia varied with the importance of the port. John de Secford, appointed for life at Yarmouth in 1327, was to have the customary vadia for that port. The treasurer and barons of the exchequer agreed later that he was to receive five marks a year by the hands of the collectors, and issued a mandate to them to pay him this from the time of

his appointment. At Southampton the customary rate was £5 a year, while at Boston it was 6d. a day (£9 Qs. 6d. a year),’ an unusual method

of payment. London was the best paid post with £10 a year.? The vadia appear regularly in the accounts, any change being noted in the memoranda rolls. The Tronager

The tronager was responsible for weighing wool and other heavy goods

on a trone or beam, and lead and less bulky goods on scales. His appointment was by letters patent, usually warranted by a privy seal writ, though, as in the case of the controller, other forms of authorization are found.’ He was usually a layman, probably of about the same class as the controller, but not literate, for the work required no knowledge of reading, writing, or the use of the abacus. At Boston a clerk was chosen in 1327, 1C.C.R., 1330-1333, 467. These generalizations are based on a study of the customs during the thirteenth, fourteenth and to a lesser extent the fifteenth centuries. 2 O.P.R. 1327-1330, 3. 3 Ibid., 6, 33, 36, 235, 300. 4 Thnd., 184.

5 Ihid., 57, 93.

6 L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 46. 7 Ibid., mm. 148, 150, 155d.

8 Enr. Customs Accts., No. 8, mm. 2-7, expense section of each account. The rate for any port can be ascertained from the parallel section in its accounts in this roll which contains all the enrolled ancient customs accounts for this period, the new customs being entered on the next roll. 9 (.P.R. 1327-1330, 6, 7, 36.

178 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 but this was rare. At Newcastle the same man was both controller and tronager, but this could hardly have been satisfactory, for it destroyed the check on the collectors. In 1331 the situation at London and Newcastle, possibly elsewhere, was bad: at the first port the mayor had orders to cause a lawful man to be chosen and appointed, and to notify the exchequer, as it was well-known that the king had suffered great damage, because the wool had not been weighed diligently and lawfully before being sent over seas, while at the second, the old weigher was removed, and another free from suspicion appointed. Weighers, so ran the order in both cases, were to be elected by the communities of the ports (.e. the communitas of the borough), until enquiries had been made into the fraud and negligence of these officers. In the end the Newcastle tronager was found good and faithful, not having received either bribes or ransoms.! In London again in 1332 Richard de Pateshull, king’s yeoman, was given ‘the office of the pesage of wools’; five months later he received

a life appointment, which was disputed in May, when an earlier grant to Walter de Cheshunt, procured through Mortimer and revoked by parliament, was revived during good behavior.’ The phrasing of an order to the mayor and bailiffs of Kingston-onHull describes the office accurately as the office of the pesage of lead and of small goods sold by avoirdupois and of the tronage of wools. This was when, in an exchequer enquiry, they took oath that the controller of

Edward II had conducted himself faithfully. This appointment at Kingston was made by the council, confirming Edward IJ’s life appointment.? In 1327 a king’s yeoman and usher of his chamber, was given the reversion of this office in London, while Cheshunt himself is described as king’s yeoman.’ In London, the tronager working on the Woolwharf, must not be confused with the tronager at St Mary’s Woolchurch Haw; the latter was a

city official having no connection with the customs.’ In London too, the merchants paid the tronager a regular fee for weighing their woolsacks; at Newcastle there was a yearly salary of £1 6s. 8d., while at Boston the pay was 3d. a day or £4 11s. 3d.a year. There were considerable variations in the method of payment.’ The office of tronager thus remains slightly nebulous. 1 O.P.R. 1330-1334, 318, 467. 2 Ibid., 334, 402, 436. 3 0.C.R. 1330-1333, 257. * O.P.R. 1327-1330, 201, 266. ® Archaeologia, UXxx111 (1933), pp. 308-309.

6 L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 176d; zbid., No. 105, m. 150.

The Collectors of Customs 179 The Searcher

This official was appointed in the same way as the controller and tronager, and seems to have come from roughly the same class. His work and qualifications were, however, different: he had to have a thorough knowledge of the sea, of ships and sailors, with courage to face storms and angry crews, with skill in discovering smuggled cargo, however cleverly concealed.1. Smuggling was rife. The searcher rendered independent accounts to the exchequer for goods seized from smugglers.’ The Subordinate Staff

The subordinate staff is less easy to trace. The controller alone had no assistant, except very occasionally a deputy by special permission of

the crown in quite exceptional circumstances. The total absence of references to any clerk is a proof that he did actually write the rolls with his own hand. In contrast the collectors had both clerks and attorneys. In London the allowance of £40 a year for expenses usually mentions the clerks’ wages, and a similar entry 1s found at Boston and

Hull. The attorneys at the exchequer were not so common in these years as they were later in the century, but attorneys acted for the collectors at Southampton, Yarmouth and Lynn.* On the London Wool-

wharf, at the official customs house, there was an official known as the sergeant of the customs of wools who was appointed by letters patent, and probably held the same office as the later keeper of the customs

house.® If so, he was the resident officer, for though the controller in London had to be regularly on the spot, he was not obliged to live on the wharf.®

Packers and porters were also at work. At Boston two packers were engaged on raising and binding (levantibus et ligantibus) the merchants’

wool. This probably implies that they inspected it to see that it was all wool of the declared quality and then repacked it for export. Their wages were a penny a day each.’ In London the collectors employed a boatman for guarding the waters of Thames: he was their servant, not 1 Vivid details are to be found in the fifteenth century in the Southampton searcher’s records. See MS. List Supplementary to Lists and Indexes xxxv, Public Record Office. 2 Evidence for the two preceding centuries shows that his work must have been much the same then. 3 Enr. Customs Accts., No. 8, mm. 2, 25, 29. * [bid., No. 8, mm. 10; L.T.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 159d and No. 104, m. 163 for Lynn. 5 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 368; 1330-1334, 30, 380, 396. 6 Life Records of Chaucer, Pt. iv, ‘Enrollments and documents’, ed. R. E. G. Kirk (Chaucer Soc.,

1900), Nos. 81, 82. Chaucer’s specific right to act by deputy is mentioned only in 1384 and 1885

(ibid., Nos. 174, 177). 7 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 150.

180 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 that of the searchers.!. By 1340 there were at least twelve porters employed on the Woolwharf.? These meagre details are all that isknown of the subordinate staff, but they are sufficient to show that such a staff existed.

3. Tur Customs HovuskE anp Quay

Neither the customs houses nor the quays ever described in any fourteenth century record, but it has been possible to reconstruct the main features of the London houses and quay at the end of the century and, using this evidence in conjunction with the scraps which have survived from our period, to suggest the main features of both house and quay.2 The Woolwharf, the London customs wharf, was situated on the north bank of the Thames, about half way between the Tower and Lon-

don Bridge, with Thames Street to the north of it. The site had been used for this purpose from 1318 at least, and probably from the beginning (1275). As early as 1304 the rent of the house was £3, at which figure it remained until a second house, for the petty customs, was added in 1365. The house was probably a two storied building with cellars underneath, the tronage hall being on the ground floor, the counting house above it.

This was the arrangement when Chircheman rebuilt and enlarged the premises in 1382-1383. The Woolwharf seems to have been about 70 feet deep from street to river bank with a frontage of 60 feet, the main length of the house running down from street to river, the cellars probably being below ground on the street side, but with only a few steps down to the wharf, as is the case today. They were used for storing merchandise waiting to be customed. A house was hired at Boston in the same way as in London, and a trone was bought for it in 1333, while at Hull the rent was £1 a year.’

The furniture for the custom house appears in the first customs accounts and fits in well with the plan suggested above. In the London tronage hall there were both a large and a small trone, and probably balances for weighing goods avoirdupois. The trones had ropes and weights, and were checked by the standard weighing beam of London.° A counter would be needed for use as an abacus, when calculations had to be made, such as the sum of the total cargo, after individual merchants’

shipments had been ascertained. Canvas and thread were bought for 1 Enr. Customs Accts., No. 8, m. 3. 2 Extents and Inquisitions 11/1, No. 31. 3 See my paper in Archaeologia, LxxxitI, pp. 307-325, ‘The London Customs House during the Middle Ages.’

4 Enr. Customs Accts., No. 8, mm. 25, 29. 5 C.C.R. 1830-1333, 525; 1333-1337, 225.

The Collectors of Customs 181 the woolsacks, and in 1340 an order was issued that each sack was to contain 26 stones of 14 pounds, that the canvas and tied corners were not to be included in the weight when the wool was customed.! In the counting house (compotortum) there were two chests for storing

rolls and tallies. When the merchants paid their customs, the money was received in dishes and weighed on the balances, being later stored in

a chest. The letters were kept in pixes and hampers. ‘There was more than one abacus. Such an exchequer (or abacus) was repaired about 1297 and soon afterwards a second was bought, while a third appeared in the accounts for 1310. One of the three may have been in use in the tronage hall. Benches are mentioned; ink and parchment were bought by the collectors each year.?. The collectors kept one half of the cocket (customs) seal, the controller the other half. Elaborate precautions were taken against its wrongful use. The only items of furniture known to be in existence to-day are the matrices of the seals for some ports, but none of them is definitely known to have been in actual use in these ten years.°

4. THe Work at THE Customs House The sheep had to be clipped in the summer, the wool collected by farmers, monasteries, landowners, or middlemen and sold to the merchant exporters. This took time and the summer was well advanced before the

first consignment of new wool reached the ports. After being brought into the tronage hall, it was examined by the packers, repacked in canvas

sacks, and weighed on the trone. Then it could be laded on the ships. The sheriffs in London, other town officials elsewhere, watched jealously

that local rights were not infringed. Thus in January 1334-1335 the mayor of London heard a case against the sheriffs who had seized 20 sarplars of wool on the Woolwharf.4 Their defense was that, though no merchandise ought to be bought and sold by foreigners within the city for resale, one Hall of Bridgenorth had sold this wool on the wharf to a merchant of Bruges. As the wool was lying on the wharf they seized it. The merchants claimed that it belonged to Thomas Perle, a well-known citizen.

Four years later there was a full enquiry into a case of smuggling. Wool was collected at Curtis’s wharf by night, careful arrangements were made with porters for its carriage there, and for loading it after dark on 1 Stats. of Realm, 1, 289, 368.

2 See the Enrolled Customs Accts. 3 Enr. Customs Accts., No. 1, m. 25, and elsewhere on this roll; ibid., No. 2, m. 1; Original Customs Accounts 68/3, m. 3, for the furniture. The seals are in the British Museum: see W. de Gray Birch, Catalogue of Seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London, 1889). * Cal. Letter Books, London, Book E, p. 262.

182 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 hakeboats from Sluys, the intention being to smuggle it into Flanders without paying customs. The enquiry was begun on the Woolwharf, and twelve porters from the customs quay were later summoned to Westminster to give evidence.1 No ship could sail until its captain received a license under the cocket

seal. These letters, written by the controller,” set forth the amount of wool belonging to each exporter. The form of the cockets varied, sometimes they were issued in the collectors’ names, sometimes as royal letters patent. Though no cocket letters have been found for this period, there are cognate letters for the first two years; they are receipts for a mutuum on wool for the ports of Newcastle, Hull, Boston and London, and are in the form of royal letters patent. They begin, “Edwardus dei gratia etc. omnibus ad quos presentes littere peruenerint salutem,’ and end, ‘In cuius rei testimonium sigillum nostrum quod dicitur coket, quo predicti collectores utuntur ibidem presentibus est appensum’ with the dating clause. At Hull the collector’s half of the seal was used .and the wording was altered accordingly. At Boston it was specifically mentioned that these letters under the cocket were letters patent, and at Sandwich in 34-35 Edward I the Enrolled Customs Accounts speak of litteras patentes de coketto in the case of the formal licences.’ It 1s puzzling that cocket licences appear to have been in the form of indentures between customs officials and merchants, bearing the double faced cocket

seal pendant from a tab of parchment. This form seems a direct contradiction of the fact that they were letters patent, and that the cocket was the king’s seal. The collectors kept one half for production at the exchequer if required; the master took the other half with him to prove to the searcher, or to the collectors of other ports, that the customs had been duly paid. It was from these letters that the collectors and controller made up their accounts.* Collectors and controller had to be present when cocket letters were sealed, for the former held one half of the matrix under seal of the controller, and the controller the other half under seal of the collectors, unless the controller’s half seal was temporarily in the hands of foreign 1 Extents and Inquisitions, 11/1, No. 31. A third inquisition, taken about a year later, found that the customs on another shipment had been duly paid by Thomas Perle. Cal. Ing. Misc., 1807-1349, No. 1762. 2 Enr. Customs Accts., No. 1, m. 24d., for Lynn, 32-35 Edw. I, where a clerk was paid for writing

the customs rolls and cocket: he was clearly the controller, since no controller was paid and it was customary at this date to refer to the controller merely as a clerk. Ibid., m. 25d., where Albricus the controller was paid 15s. 4d. for writing the cockets of both customs in the port of London. 3 Original Customs Accounts, 158/1, and Enr. Customs Accts., No. 1, m. 20. 4 Evidence had been found, though not for this period, that the accounts were not made up until a block of cockets had been collected.

The Collectors of Customs 183 merchants, by the king’s orders as security for a loan. In this case the customs could not be paid without the lenders’ knowledge, and they collected the money as soon as the collectors received it. The cocket seals were round in shape, one half having four pins sticking out at right angles to the engraved face, the other four holes into which these fitted in a fixed order. When both halves were in position with a lump of warmed wax between them, only reasonable pressure was required to make that lump into a double faced seal. Thus obverse and reverse always bore the same

relations to each other. Every port’s seal was individual to it, though most of them bore the three leopards of England.'! In 1336 the king issued orders that the London seal was to be kept in a safe place in the

city under lock and under the seals of the mayor and four citizens. Similar orders were issued elsewhere.2 This was to stop exports until the king issued new orders. Details of the weight of wool shipped by each merchant, with the names

of merchants, master and ship, are entered in the original customs accounts. An example of a typical entry is given below: In the ship of Henry atte Welde, cleared 5 February 5 Edw. ITI.

Merchant Weight Method of Customs packing charged

Thomas de Brutford 1 sack, 18 nails 2 sarplars 12s. 10 d. The same 8 woolfells 4 sarplars 1%s. 943d. Nicholas atte Zerdet 5 sacks, 34 nails 6 sarplars 387s. 8d.

Henry Russel 6 sacks, 4 nails 7 sarplars lls. 64d.

There: were twelve merchants sending consignments on this ship, the number per ship varying in this roll from two to twenty.’ At the end of each shipment is entered the total number of sacks of wool, of woolfells,

or the quantity of leather, with the sum paid in customs. When a merchant sent both wool and skins on the same ship they were entered separately, as shown in Brutford’s case. The sarplars were the bundles in which the wool was packed, the sack and nail the weight, the sack con-

sisting of 26 stones of fourteen pounds. The nail or clove appears to have been about half a stone, though there is some doubt about this.‘ 1 A comparison of these seals shows slight variations in tail, claws and mane from port to port; as is shown by the matrices in the British Museum, and the wax seals in the Original Customs Accounts in the Public Record Office. 2 C.C.R. 13838-1337, 700.

3 Orig. Customs Accis., E. 187, Nos. $ and 4, for Southampton, 4-5 Edward III. The year date is not usually given for each entry, but on the other hand the name of the ship and place of origin frequently is.

* The accounts seém to make it over fifty to the sack, and this suggests that it was probably 7 pounds in weight: Stats. of Realm, 1,289. This statute also laid down that all wool had to be cocketted in the owner’s name.

184 The English Government at Work, 1327-13386 Each merchant paid tronage fees on every sack of wool, and 2d. for each issue of a cocket letter to him, that is, 2d. for every separate shipment he made. The dates of export can be tabulated to show seasonal variations and

the quantities of wool and woolfells sent out at each period of three months. But a warning is necessary with regard to all customs statistics. The Cinque Ports, or at least the freemen of Sandwich, the only port for which satisfactory proof is available, were entirely exempted from the payment of all customs, and it is possible that there may have been other privileged exporters elsewhere.1 This means that for at least one port the customs accounts are totally inadequate as a criterion of trade, and all the more so as aliens could be admitted as freemen there, a privilege of which the Italian merchants certainly availed themselves, as may be proved by the town records of the fifteenth century. The tables given below are for Newcastle-on-Tyne and run from October to October. Accounts for a complete year are difficult to get in this period and no good ones have been found for any port for two concurrent years. 7-8 Edward III

Seasonal variations of trade Newcastle-on-

Date ShipsSacksWool Leather Stones Woolfells Lasts Dacre Tyne?

Oct.totoMarch Dec. 10 5 180 0 1750 3 17 Jan. 284 20 6000 33 16

Aprilto to Sept. June r(11Q15 —1— July 5016 13600 2020 6 33 1180 27 13,370 37 39

These ships, sailing from Newcastle, belonged to both English and foreign ports. Twelve were Newcastle’s own ships, three came from Hull, 4 from Yarmouth, 1 from London, 7 from Sluys, 1 from Neuport, 1 from Dordrecht, and three from small places. Another similar table may be given for London shortly before the se-

lected period (i.e., for 18-19 Edward II), no account for our ten years being found there.® 1 For example, when special permission was given to export free, as in the case of the German merchant for 48 sacks at Kingston in 1327 (C.C.R. 1327-1330, 158). This was a fairly common practice.

2 Original Customs Accts., 105/14. The stones and dacres in the totals have not been added to the sacks and lasts, as no certain relation has been established in either case. 3 This is the nearest London account available (Orig. Custom Accts., 69/11-18). The dates are not quite as shown, but are in the second quarter to 4 April, in the third from then to 22 June, and in the fourth from then to the end of September. The totals are those given in the rolls, and there is an error of 50 sacks since part of the roll is missing for the last quarter.

The Collectors of Customs 185

Date Ships Wool Woolfells Leather 1325 Sacks Claves Skins Oct. to Dec. 39 2054 10 154

Jan. to March 46 2042 26 4311 April to June 56 2042 10 2071

no leather

July to Sept. 86 6039 ? 2016 227 12,177 46+? 8552

The main shipment of wool in both cases is in July to September, of woolfells in January to March after the autumn slaughter of beasts. The most valuable individual shipment was on 30 October when over £67 was paid in customs, but the usual payments vary from £15 to £30. The lowest was 3s. 54d. on 13 December, but this last ship was probably carrying passengers, or general merchandise, and the wool was only an incidental. The stage at which the actual payments were made by the merchants is not certain, but as the collectors at times brought cases to the exchequer in which merchants had not paid their customs, it seems probable that they did not pay immediately on the issue of the cocket. In May 1328 orders were sent from the chancery to the collectors at Ipswich that they were not to take any customs, old or new, without the view and testimony of the controller, so that he could ‘enrol the money received by them,’ and charge them with it. The king had heard that they received the old custom in his presence, but took new custom when he was absent,

so that he was unable to enrol the money. Now the statute of the exchequer laid down that the collectors at the two annual terms, Michaelmas and Easter, had to pay into the exchequer such moneys as they had received and had to account yearly for all parcels received, and to answer for every ship where it was charged, and how much it carried, and whose the wools were and for every other charge on which customs were due, and for all moneys received.2. The statutory need for making a return obliged the collectors and controller to keep office accounts. ‘The earliest ledger of this kind is for Richard II’s reign, but there is in our period at least one set of rolls where both the office copy (or more probably a tidy copy of it presented at the exchequer) and the exchequer copy of the same particulars are still in existence. This set of four rolls is among the Southampton original custom accounts, 4-5 Edward ITI, the only set found for this period with both rolls indented in the old form.’ Nos. 3 and 1, for the ancient and new customs respectively, are the collectors’ halves from 1 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 281. Stats. of Realm, 1, 197%a. ® Original Customs Accts., 137/1—4.

186 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 which the enrolments were made at the exchequer (as is shown by the long line right down the middle of them). The controller’s half of neither account has survived. But of special interest in the present connection are the other two accounts, Nos. 2 and 4, again for the ancient and new customs, which are not so marked, showing that they were not used for the enrolment. The first set 1s marked probatur, the second only ezaminatur. Also this second set has been filed together at some time. From normal exchequer procedure, it is probable that the second set was the tidy copy of the collectors’ own rolls brought up by them for the exchequer to see, but later taken back to their office. They are one stage nearer to the customs office rolls than is usually found. ‘They are in fact, except for differences noted here, duplicates of the rolls left for enrolment.

No. 2 is marked franscriptum, which strengthens the inference.! This second pair are pointed at the heads, while the first are square, again sug-

gesting by their format a difference of origins and purpose. How the second set finally came into exchequer custody is not known. All four rolls conform to an old method of accounting which disappeared

about the beginning of Edward III’s reign. In this old form both the controller’s and collectors’ parts of the account were originally parts of

the same roll of parchment, sewed together and ruled before being written. They were later cut down the middle of the roll with a curved line like that of an indenture, the line curves differing slightly in such a way that it is still possible today to join the rolls and fit the two halves, membrane by membrane, curve by curve and line by line of the original ruling, as they were before the rolls were cut. Thus the exchequer could check the rolls of collectors and controller without question in the same way as it checked two halves of a tally. Possibly the two halves of the rolls were not separated until after the collectors’ clerks and the controller

had both written their accounts on them. An entry is not necessarily on the same line in both accounts, but the order is the same and only a few lines separate the two. Thus by examining these rolls we have learned something of the method of making up the set of rolls at the cus-

toms house and of their presentation in the exchequer. Later the rolls ceased to be indented, and cannot be proved to have ever formed part of the same membrane of parchment. It is difficult to ascertain the precise volume of trade passing through 1 Similar sets exist for the previous reign, EK. 122/186/11-14, for 3-4 Edward II, showing both collectors’ and controller’s halves, and E. 122/69/11-13, for 18-19 Edward II, but these are collectors’ and controller’s halves of an indenture. 2 For examples of this type see note 1. One set was examined by Mr Hilary Jenkinson and myself some years ago, and we fitted the rulings line by line, all the curves dovetailing with quite remarkable precision.

The Collectors of Customs 187 the ports, but some idea of it may be obtained from examining the enrolled customs accounts. In the year 1334-1335 (Michaelmas, 8 Edward III incip’ to Michaelmas 9 Edward III inctp’) in the port of London! 13,498 sacks of wool were customed by native and alien merchants jointly

to which must be added a certain amount of privileged exports and a larger amount of smuggled wool. There were also 5016 woolfells and one

last of leather. This brought in £4499 9s. 24d. without the cocket fees and £4518 4s. 34d. with them. The tronage fees were the perquisite of the tronager in this port. To this were added arrears from the last account and the proceeds of a subsidy which brought the total up to over £8446. The collectors paid over £5000 into the exchequer by sixteen tallies, some of which were for assignments. For the rest, £666 13s. 4d. was paid out to John de Hanonia, who had been granted an annuity on customs which he received regularly on the production of his warrants

to the customs collectors. Other annuity holders were Otto, lord de Kuyk (£250) and Thomas de Louth, an Irish judge (£20), while another £53 6s. 8d. was handed over as gifts on the king’s orders. In each case the recipient had to give the collectors a receipt, usually in the form of his letters patent with his seal attached. Later another £2110 was paid to the exchequer in 5 tallies. The collectors had allowance by royal writ for nearly £74 which they had been overcharged on a previous subsidy; for nearly £23, because the king had made a special grant to the bishop . of Ely that he was to be free of subsidy in all English ports; and for £29 due from John of Pulteney, mayor of London, because he had exported the wool in question before the subsidy was enforcible. This required a special warrant from the chancery. The expenses at the customs house itself amounted to £55, namely £40 to the two collectors for their salaries and expenses, and for their clerks, parchment, ink, and other small necessities; £2 for the wages of the boatman guarding the waters of the Thames against smuggling; £3 for the hire of the customs house; and £10 for the controller, who had to give them his letters patent of receipt as usual. The result was that the crown owed the collectors twelve guineas.?. If an account covered only part of a year, payments were generally pro rata. At Sandwich two years before, the wool export by non-freemen was just over 250 sacks, with 1005 woolfells, and 6 dacres 7 skins of leather. Here the tronage fees of 1d. a sack as well as the cocket fee of 2d. a merchant paid over to the crown, 52 merchants shipping wool, woolfells and leather. The total for the wool custom was £86 9s. 1id., and when arrears and the 1 Enr. Customs Accounts, No. 8, m. 3. ? Details of shillings and pence have been omitted.

188 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 new custom were added the total came to £193 3s. 33d. The collectors were paid at the rate of 5 marks (£3 6s. 8d.) a year, the controller being allowed only 7s. 73d. for his fee. The amount paid to the exchequer was £188 3s. 4d. These two ports, London and Sandwich, offer a contrast in the value of the customs collected, and one from which wrong inferences might be drawn, if it were not known that all freemen of the latter exported and imported ail their mechandise free, while London merchants regularly paid these royal dues.? Some idea may be given of the volume of trade in the 12 leading ports, taken from the accounts for the year Michaelmas to Michaelmas 1331-

1332 (5-6 Edward III, ending). One or two small ports have been omitted. TABLE oF Export TRADE FoR ONE YEAR, 1331-1332

Mer- Wool Wool-

chants sacks fells Leather Customs

£ ss. d.

Boston 501 — 146 —— 2880 13Ill8 Bristol? 12 Q4 — 5 lasts 11 18 Chichester 93 Q75 10086 — 105 12 52

Ipswich 71 265 — — 95 12 5% London 2681031 1294120 239 8357 4327181211 83 Lynn 195 Q Newcastle 374 1883 27385 32 686 17 44 Kingston (Hull) 1103. —- 8021 8021 3 2689 1 93

Southampton 446 3752 474.59 21 13825 6 2}

Sandwich?37 52235 2501260 1005——81864 954I Melcombe Yarmouth 166 944 106 1 318 7 11% Totals 3318 29621 95727 72 12966 15 114 With these figures the survey of the work at the customs house itself ends, except for the note that the new customs had not yet reached a position of importance. The administration of them follows the main lines of the ancient or wool customs so closely that it is unnecessary to enter into further detail beyond observing that they were levied on imports as well as exports. 1 Enrolled Customs Accounts 8, m. 22. 2 The proof of this may be found in an examination of the Sandwich and London accounts by any person who knows the names of the leading merchants in both. In London the citizens are regularly

found paying customs; in Sandwich it is so rare for a local name to appear as to make it almost certain that the bearer was notafreeman. Ihave tested this from personal knowledge of the freemen in both ports. 8 Enrolled Customs Accounts 8. Fractions of sacks and lasts omitted. Bristol and Sandwich both had a fraction of a last of leather.

The Collectors of Customs 189 5. THE STAPLE

The relations of customs and staple are somewhat confusing in these ten years. On 1 May 1327 the king sent Edward II’s ordinances of the staple to the mayor of London for proclamation:! thus the English wool staple was established at Newcastle-on-Tyne, York, Lincoln, Norwich,

London, Winchester, Exeter, and Bristol, and for tin at Lostwithiel, Truro and Ashburton. But the staples were rather an organization for mercantile purposes than for the collection of customs. Here all aliens were to buy their wool and tin, pay the customs, and have their merchandise sealed with the cocket seal, after which they could export it. English, Irish and Welsh merchants wishing to sell these commodities else-

where had first to dwell in the staple towns for forty days. On 30 April, that is the day before the ordinance was sent to the mayor, the collectors of customs in London had been told to see that English, Welsh and Irish merchants complied with the residence rule and obeyed the ordinances. But five months later (23 September) the king, in exchange for a loan, declared the ordinances to be in abeyance until Christmas next, and they seem to have remained in abeyance for some years. The staple actually influenced the collection of the customs only for about fifteen months, the staple towns during that period being the seats of customs administra-

tion instead of the ports. This was from 30 January, 7 Edward III to June or July, 8 Edward III. The dates vary slightly in the different ports.”

The enrolled customs accounts show that the wool custom was collected regularly at the ports except during this short period, when the trones and cocket seals were called in. New arrangements were made at the staple towns, and nominally new officials were appointed for the collection and controlment of the customs there, but in nearly all cases the

same men were reappointed. Though the order laid down that both ancient and new customs were to be administered in the staples, the accounts have no entries for the new customs, and there is no indication that any change of administration occurred in this branch. In the accounts for the ancient customs the new form is headed with the

words ‘Pretextu ordinacionis de stapula,’ the name of the port in the margin being changed to that of the staple town, as for example from Southampton to Winchester. In London there was no such change, for both port and staple were there. The ordinance establishing this new 1 O.P.R. 1327-1330, 98-99, 169; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 78; L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 166d. 2 Enrolled Customs Accounts 8, under each port; K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 9, for writ to collectors at

Southampton to establish the Winchester staple on 30 January, 7 Edw. III. Also zbed., roll 9, for petty customs, where there is no change at all.

190 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 system was issued on 16 December 1332,' and by it new collectors, controllers and tronagers were to be appointed, new cocket seals were to be issued, the old being returned for safe custody to the exchequer, and new trones were to be made and checked by the standard in London before

being sent to the staples. Orders were sent out that the new officers were to be chosen (elegz) without delay, and the exchequer was to inform ‘us’, 1.e. the king in chancery, so that the commissions could be issued. A date was fixed for the collectors to bring up the seals, the orders were issued concerning the making of five new seals for the ancient customs at Lincoln, Norwich, Winchester, Shrewsbury and Carmarthen, the last two being for Wales; and for six new seals for the new customs at York, Lincoln, Norwich, Winchester, Shrewsbury and Carmarthen. Either the order for the other staple towns was made elsewhere or was not issued. In the same way four new trones were to be made for Norwich, Lincoln,

Winchester and Shrewsbury, of which the two for Norwich and Winchester were proved before John de Preston, mayor of London, and Willi-

am de Everdon, a baron of the exchequer, at the London Guildhall, the weights being tested to see that they were correct by the standard of London. This was done on 24 February and 4 March respectively. The two for Lincoln and Shrewsbury were similarly tested on 11 March before

the mayor and Thomas de Blaston, another exchequer baron. In the case of the cocket seals, those for Lincoln were sent under the exchequer seal to the collectors of the ancient customs, who were sworn in by the

treasurer at Lincoln itself, the collectors being told to retain their half and hand the other over to the controller, who was also sworn by the treasurer. ‘Trone and seals had been delivered to William de Brokesly, one of the remembrancers of the exchequer, the day after the trone had been tested at the Guildhall (12 March). Similar details are available elsewhere.” In the case of the half seals in the custody of the Bardi, arrangements were made for collecting them direct from their agents. The new seals for Winchester were delivered to the controller to carry to the old collectors, who had orders by exchequer writ to receive the oaths from and deliver their commissions to their successors together with their

half of the cocket seal. In the case of Kingston-on-Hull the new seal was to be handed to the collectors at York and the controller’s half of the old seal, which the Bardi held, was to be delivered to the chancery at the same time as the collectors’ half.

There are indications that the merchants refused to use the staple 1 O.C.R. 1330-1333, 525. 2? K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 128, 128d.

’K.R.M.RB., No. 109, m. 9; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 18.

The Collectors of Customs 191 towns. An enquiry was held concerning breaches of the ordinance in Lincolnshire. At Grantham the jurors found that the wool bought in

the neighborhood, in abbeys, priories, fairs and markets, had been brought to the staple and the ordinance had been observed. At Lincoln certain men had collected and bought wool in the West Riding of the county and carted it to Gainsborough and thence by water to the north. Also a merchant of the Bardi had bought wool from Louth Park Abbey, receiving it at the priory, as he had been doing for about a year before the ordinance, and similarly from Ormsby Priory, while a German merchant bought some from another priory. But they all carried the wool to the staple at Lincoln, and no merchant had bought or sold contrary to the ordinance. These two enquiries, by the very fact that they were necessary, suggest that the ordinances were being evaded in some dis-

tricts. This was especially the case at Great Yarmouth where both bailiffs and merchants were resisting the order for transfer to Norwich.’

This may explain why the parliament of York petitioned the king to abolish the ordinance. ‘The order for the restoration of the old customs ports was issued on 18 May 1334 and the exchequer recalled the new seals and trones and reissued those of the customs ports.? Similar arrangements were made for the transfer of seals and trones as before, but on this occasion outsiders were chiefly responsible for the handing over ceremony: thus at Sandwich Peter Barde, the king’s bailiff, handed over the new commission and seals to the collectors, receiving them himself from the chamberlains of the exchequer. The seals and trones which had been in use at Lincoln and Shrewsbury remained in the custody of the king’s

remembrancer for a time, but were handed over to the exchequer of receipt on 4 March, 9 Edward III.* This long explanation has been given in order to clarify a puzzling episode in the administration of the customs at this date and one which is liable to lead to considerable confusion, if it is not fully understood. To sum up, the normal administration at the customs houses in the ports — the collectors, controller, tronager and searcher have been seen at work in their local office at the customs house. They have collected the customs, weighed the wool and seen that smuggling has been suppressed as far as possible. It now remains to follow the collectors and

controller to the exchequer at Westminster, to see (1) how they paid over the money or had orders to expend it locally, and (2) how they had their accounts audited. 1 Extents and Inquisitions, bundle 10, No. 4; C.C.R. 13383-1337, 99, 102. 2 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 225, 302.

3 K.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 161d.

192 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 6. AT THE EXCHEQUER

The Payments to the Exchequer of Receipts

From the collector’s point of view, these payments were expenses: from the exchequer’s, they were receipts of revenue. They fall into four divisions: (1) payments direct to the exchequer; (2) assignments, chiefly to the Poles and Bardi; (3) local payments of annuities on direct orders from the chancery, and (4) expenses at the customs house itself, for salaries, rent, and cost of materials (parchment, ink, a new trone, an abacus or other needs). On the whole (4) followed established precedent each

year, unless some replacement became necessary, a rare event except during the staple period (1333-1336). The collectors made more or less frequent payments into the exchequer. According to the receipt roll for Michaelmas term, 5-6 Edward ITI, there were sixty payments for all the ports together for both customs as follows:

London 265Kingston Q Boston Lynn 2 Bristol 1 Melcombe Q Chichester 6 Newcastle 3

Exeter Q Rochester 3 1 Fowey 1 Sandwich Hartlepool 5 Scarborough 1

46 —

— Brought forward 46

Total 60

Of these Boston made the largest individual payment, £1500 on 16 December, London the next with £1368 11s. 03d. on 9 October and Kingston the third with £1000 on 11 October. Rochester’s single payment was only £1 10s. Od. Of these receipts, under £1000 was actually paid into the exchequer in cash, as is shown by comparing the issue roll with the receipt roll day by day. The rest was in the form of assignments of which the Bardi had over £6000 and other people about £500.! Of

the direct payments little need be said. The collectors either came in person or sent a responsible agent with the money, and received a tally in exchange in the usual way.

The assignments are more difficult. They were chiefly to the Bardi and Poles, both of which groups of bankers at different times lent money to the king for his household expenses and for other purposes. Thus in 5 Edward III (1330-1331) the king wrote to the controller of both customs at Boston that in order to meet his debts for money received in the wardrobe, he had assigned the Bardi 1500 marks on the port of Boston 1 Receipt Roll, No. 302; Issue Roll, No. 260.

The Collectors of Customs 193 and granted them the custody of ‘the other half’ of the cocket seal. He was to hand this over to them or to their attorney, Paul Gany, until the assignment was paid off. The letter was sent to the controller

because ‘the other half’ of the seal was his half, that being the part usually handed over in exchange for a loan.1. This year the exchequer asked the collectors to certify what money had been paid by assignment while they were in office.?. In some cases the creditors were allowed to have an official called a customer to oversee the collection, who received 6d. a day. Usually the chancery letters, notifying the collectors of an assignment on their receipts, gave the cause for which the debt had been

contracted, as shown by Professor Willard. The money was paid to the attorney of the Bardi as it was received, and when convenient a report was made to the exchequer that £x had been paid over, the evidence submitted being the king’s writ of assignment and the letters patent of the Bardi or other recipient. When the exchequer had examined these and passed them, a tally was made out for the amount.’ But sometimes the tally was made out first and handed to the creditor before he received the money. In these circumstances he would present it at the customs for payment and hand it over to the collector only when he received the

money. In the second half of the century this became the normal form.®

Thus the assignments in this period were chiefly to the Bardi and Pole merchants, many being for loans to the household.’ In the case of repayments for household loans, the money was paid by the collectors to the keeper of the wardrobe ‘by the hands of the Bardi’; that is, it was credited as paid to the keeper, but in fact received by the creditor. ‘The form of a London entry may be quoted as an example. On the receipt roll for 6 Edward III, Michaelmas term, under 9 October is this entry:° ‘London. From John de Grantham and John de Causton collectors of the ancient custom in the port of London: £1368 11s. 04d. 1 K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 337d. Kingston, Newcastle and Hartlepool had similar orders, the attorney’s name being given in each case. 2 Tbid., m. 351d.

3K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 162; C.P.R. 1330-1334, 345-346, 435. 4 J. F. Willard, Parliamentary Taxes on Personal Property (Cambridge, Mass., 1934), pp. 233-234. The customs assignments follow the same lines as he has outlined and so need not be elaborated here. 6 K.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 332, 353, 353d, being examples at Southampton, Yarmouth and Newcastle, and other ports, the names of the attorneys being given in some cases. Ibid., No. 109, m. 276

for the Bardi on the London and Hull customs, being an assignment to pay off money lent to the king’s household. Jbid., No. 112, m. 260 for the Bardi on the London customs. 6 K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 35. 7 For example C.C.R. 1327-1330, 312, 344-345, 353-354, 401, 472; 1330-1333, 280, 413-414. 8 Receipt Roll, No. 302; Issue Roll, No. 260.

194 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 of the same issues’ and nine entries below a similar entry for £211 8s. 113d., making two payments (for which two tallies were issued), totalling £1580. There is nothing to show that they were not payments direct to the exchequer. But on the corresponding issue roll the position is cleared up, for under the same date there appears in the margin ‘Gard’ Item Garton’ and in the body of the roll the entry: “To Master Thomas de Garton keeper of the king’s wardrobe in two tallies made on this day to

John de Grantham and John de Causton, collectors of ancient customs in the port of London, containing £1580 of the same issues, and delivered

to Peter Reyner, one of the merchants of the society of the Bardi of Florence, in payment of the loan which these merchants delivered lately to the said keeper of the wardrobe for the expenses of the king’s household, as appears by eight letters patent received from the same keeper, witnessing to the said money, which remain, cancelled, in the hanaper of this term by writ of great seal among the mandates of Easter term, 4

Edw. III and by writ of liberate as above stated £1580.’ A note in lighter ink in the right hand margin adds ‘He has accounted concerning these sums from the wardrobe as shown above.’ ‘This refers to the fact that the sum was added to the total for which the keeper of the wardrobe answered in his account. The annuities and other special payment, such as gifts, were not paid in the same way as loans. In the case of regular annual payments like annuities, the exchequer issued a general instruction to the collectors that the annuity was to be paid to such a person, but the person concerned had also to produce a second writ, showing that payment was actually due for that particular term, or half year. A.B. then received his money direct at the custom house and gave a receipt for it either in the form of a letter patent or of an indenture between himself and the collectors. In London in this period such annuities were payable to John de Hanonia and to Otto, lord of Cuijk (Kuyk) in North Brabant, at the two usual terms of

Easter and Michaelmas. Both of them employed the Bardi to collect for them. When it came to the audit, the collectors had to submit the order for each particular payment and the recipient’s receipt, after which they received a writ of allocate from the chancery, which they presented at the exchequer to clear this item in their account.! The audit at the upper exchequer

The first stage in every audit was ‘the view’ of the account which at

this date was no longer necessarily taken at Easter. The customs 1C.C.R. 1327-1330, 247, 344-345, 351-354, 472; K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 15-17; Enrolled Customs Accounts 8, under the expenses accounts in London for these years. This is common form.

The Collectors of Customs 195 ‘view’ could be heard at any time at the exchequer’s discretion. It was a rough estimate of the collectors’ receipts and expenditure to ascertain the approximate position. Thus in 1336-1337 the king’s remembrancer entered on his roll mandates issued to collectors at nine ports, ordering them to be at the exchequer in person (or one of them) on the morrow of the Crucifixion with their rolls of ‘particulars of account’ for the period from Easter, in order to make the views of their accounts and hear and

execute orders given to them on the king’s behalf. The penalty for disobedience was £40. This writ was issued by warrant of the king’s council and was dated 12 December, the actual letter enrolled being that

for Ipswich. When Yarmouth failed to appear, the collectors received instructions as before (stcut alias) to send the copies of their rolls of particulars under their seals with all haste to the exchequer. The wording strongly suggests that the king’s business, or some other sound reason, prevented Yarmouth’s appearance on this occasion. On the other hand, Southampton’s failure led to an order to the sheriff to distrain the collectors to appear at the Purification, 2 February, and to send their names

to the exchequer by 14 January. The others apparently all came.!| In 1331-1332 the Southampton collectors at their view charged themselves with £x according to a schedule which they handed into the exchequer, and which was then filed among the bills of the current term. An original ‘view’ has been found for the ancient customs at Bristol, Michaelmas to Christmas, 5 Edward III, but unfortunately it contains only the customs on 6 ships and gives no details of expenditure.?. Another fuller view exists for Richard II’s reign, but originals as brought in by the collectors are rare, and there are no regular enrolments.’ This account of the view

lacks precision, because the actual procedure is far from clear in the records of this, or of any period in the fourteenth century. The final audit

The final audit of the customs accounts did not differ from that of any other foreign account. The normal procedure opened with the appointment of a definite day for the audit, and the sheriffs were instructed to distrain collectors and controllers to appear at the exchequer on that day.

Collectors were allowed to appoint attorneys for this purpose, but the controller had to appear in person, permission for an attorney being given only in very exceptional circumstances. For example, John de Pulteney,

collector of the new customs at London, had a licence from the barons 1 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 277d. Some of the mandates were warranted by the treasurer 2 Original Customs Accounts, 212/10. 3 L.T.R.M.R., No. 104, mm. 149d, 166d.

196 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 of the exchequer to appoint Thomas de Keldesike to render account as far as ‘the sum,’ but the collector had to appear, as usual, for the final stage, that is, for making the sum, or total. Similar appointments of attorneys, though less common than they were a few years later, are found in this period.!’ The collectors brought with them a roll of particulars, otherwise a roll giving in detail all receipts from the customs during the period under review. The controller brought the duplicate, made up from his office roll (or ledger).2. The two particulars were compared by the baron and clerk of the exchequer appointed to take the audit item by item, and when a section, and finally the whole, had been checked,

it was marked ‘proved’ (probatur).? Once this stage was finished the controller’s part of the audit was completed. ‘The collectors alone were responsible for proof of expenditure, whether it was the payment of cash to the exchequer, or by order or royal writ, and the production of vouchers showing receipt by the recipient, generally in the form of indentures or

letters patent. The tallies, showing payments to the exchequer, were compared with the duplicates (stocks), kept in the exchequer, and then

allowed as correct. The writs were similarly checked up and the vouchers, proving the payment of the money, were examined. When the auditing baron was satisfied that the collectors had fulfilled the order in

the writ and that their receipts were in order, a bill or chit was issued to the chancery on receipt of which a formal writ of allowance of the items

was made out, and returned to the exchequer. Once this was received, that item could be entered on the expense side of the account. When a set of tallies or of approved expenditure had been passed, it was entered on ‘the account,’ and a balance was struck between receipts and expendi-

ture. This ‘account’ was thus a summary of the rolls of particulars with the details of payments (a) into the exchequer by tally (including the

assignment tallies), (b) of local expenditure ordered by writ, and (c) of the allowed payments of office expenses, including salaries. When this ‘account’ was complete it was forwarded to the clerk and controller of the pipe for enrolment on the enrolled customs accounts. ‘These were kept

in duplicate’ like their ancestors, the pipe and chancellor’s rolls. This was the normal procedure for all foreign accounts.

The usual summons for audit was accompanied by an order to the 1K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 164d; No. 107, m. 252d; No. 108, m. 303; No. 113, m. 194 by the treasurer’s

letter among the bills of this term. 2 Described above, p. 177.

3 Original Customs Accounts, 105/14 for Newcastle, 7 Edw. III, shows ‘probatur’ against each ship’s total sum and value of goods, the custom being given in left hand margin. It is as usual by view and testimony of the controller. No. '7/4 for the new customs at Boston, 7 Edw. III, shows the probatur’ at the end only. 4 See Enrolled Customs Accts., Roll 30, for examples of these duplicates.

The Collectors of Customs 197 sheriff to distrain the collectors’ Jands to ensure their attendance, and

that of the controller to witness the accuracy of the account. The sheriff also had to make a return of the controller’s name. It was not unusual for the sheriff to take no action and to fail to return the writ, with the note of action taken, to the exchequer.! Some examples of actual procedure may now be quoted. ‘Thomas Espilon, collector of both ancient

and new customs at Sandwich, was told to appear on the morrow of Michaelmas (30 September) to render account with Nicholas Chaumpneys, the other collector. He came by his attorney Stephen Espilon, who was prepared to represent both collectors. Stephen delivered the rolls of particulars, showing custom receipts amounting to £145 19s. 113d.

He paid in £140 in five exchequer tallies, and explained that the controller, William Motoun, was detained at Sandwich, being so infirm

that he could not come to witness the account, in accordance with the duties of his office, as was proved by trustworthy witnesses. As a result a very unusual arrangement was made by which the bailiff of Sandwich, Peter Barde, was to take Motoun’s oath that his controlment roll (of particulars) was truly made and the collectors fully charged by these rolls. The bailiff was then to receive the controlment rolls from him under his (Motoun’s) seal and send them under his (the bailiff’s) seal with a certificate that these orders had been fully carried out. This was to be done by the morrow of 8. Hilary and Espilon received a respite

for the remaining £5 19s. 114d., still owing, until this date, when he came and accounted.2 This case is interesting because it gives definite evidence that the controller’s duty was to witness on oath that his controlment roll was accurate and that all the money received from the customs had been entered in the collectors’ rolls. This obligation is generally stated in the controller’s appointment, but direct evidence of actual performance of these duties at a particular audit is seldom found. Often the collectors did not pass the auditors without encountering difficulties. At Southampton one collector, John de Vaux, died, and his son accounted for him with the other collector, John de Vyenne. At the

end of the audit they owed £24 15s. 1ljd., so young Vaux was committed to the marshal’s care to be held as a prisoner. Two days later Vyenne proved that he was not responsible by producing the elder Vaux’s letter patent acknowledging that he had received the money between 23 November and 18 December, 4 Edw. III, and binding himself

to acquit Vyenne against the king and his ministers, pledging all his goods of all kind to meet this liability. This deed had been sealed at Southampton on 19 December, 4 Edw. III. The younger Vaux ad1 K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 299, 301; No. 112, m. 275. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 194.

198 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 mitted the debt, and both of them found pledges to pay £5 yearly, and so Vaux was released from the custody of the marshal.! Again two London collectors, Becoigne and Coroner had their account

(for Christmas 1328 to 22 April 1329) viewed in Hilary term 1329 and appeared for the audit in Michaelmas term. ‘They had received on the current account £1215 1s. 74d. and owed £8 5s. 4d. from that for Christmas 1327 to Christmas 1328, making a debt of £1223 7s. Od. As the exchequer was not satisfied with the state of the account, Coroner was placed in the marshal’s custody on 9 February 1330. They produced tallies which with the customary office expenses cleared £536 18s. 8id. Then they placed on view £266 13s. 4d. for which they had no tallies but the king’s writ, ordering them to pay John de Hanonia an annuity of 1000 marks, together with John’s three letters, showing the receipt of this amount, and the chancery’s writ to the exchequer (allocate), instructing

them to allow this payment in their accounts. Similarly they proved payment of £407 odd to the Pole brothers in repayment of their loan to the king’s household, but in this case the proof was not by letters patent of receipt, but by indentures drawn up between the collectors and the Poles, since the latter would themselves also have to prove receipt of the money in order to clear their accounts with the wardrobe and exchequer. When the collectors had reduced the debt to £8 15s. 93d. Becoigne ap-

peared in the exchequer court on 7 March and acquitted Coroner of liability, on which the latter was freed from custody. Meanwhile, the sheriffs of London on the exchequer’s billa or order (per billam hutus scaccarit) had distrained £18 13s. worth of goods and chattels belonging to Becoigne. This billa on its return to the exchequer was filed among the writs executed for the king in that term. It would be endorsed with the sheriff’s reply. Now on 7 March the sheriffs had orders to retain goods and chattels to the value of £8 15s. 92d. still owing, and bring it to the exchequer. The sheriff was to pay this in at his Easter proffer of money, returning any other goods and chattels to Becoigne. At the close of Easter the sheriffs returned this second writ to the exchequer endorsed with the return that they had levied the money as required and

charged themselves with it at the next account. Later, on the great (pipe) roll, the £8 15s. 93d. is duly entered in their account.’ John de Preston, collector at Ipswich, made the unhappy discovery after his account had been passed that he had accidentally omitted £19 1K.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 333. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 265; L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 22, 144, Status and Views of Accounts; cf. also the Southampton audit on Roll 102, m. 153.

The Collectors of Customs 199 which he had received as customs and which he had paid out to Reymund

Arnold, three indentures being drawn up between them. Probably Arnold was pressing him to clear this money in order to prove payment in his own account to the exchequer, though this is not stated. The exchequer took the view that Preston had broken his oath to charge himself fully in his account with all his receipts, so the barons committed him to the Fleet prison, a more drastic punishment than delivery to the marshal’s custody. On payment of a fine he was later set free.'

At Southampton Hugh Sampson, the collector, got into trouble for under-charging himself, but the controller, too, was in this case considered culpable, because he had not properly controlled the particulars, and both

were committed to the Fleet. Sampson was Jet off with a fine, but the controller had to furnish manucaptors who undertook to bring him daily to the exchequer, until he made a fine. Both fines were 20s.’ Further details are available concerning committal to the Fleet prison for arrears of account amounting to £1540 which in 5 Edw. III was still owed by William de Hedersete,? one of the London collectors, for 17 Edward IJ. His lands at North Mymmes had been seized, and leased to Thomas de Swanlond by letters patent, as was shown on the originalia

roll of 4 Edward III. Hedersete petitioned the king and council in parliament, at whose instance under date of 15 October a writ issued to the treasurer and barons, showing that his lands had been wasted and

destroyed and he himself imprisoned, and ordering his release. His lands, the writ went on, were to be restored to him, on condition that he

acted as farmer, and paid as much as the lessor had paid to the exchequer, and that on failure to do so he surrendered himself to the exchequer in person, his lands being again taken into the king’s hands. His three manucaptors were Sir Simon of Hethersett in Norfolk, and two Londoners, all of whom appeared on 17 October when the keeper of the

Fleet brought Hedersete himself before the treasurer and barons. He was released, the manucaptors undertaking to bring him to the exchequer to be reimprisoned if he broke the conditions. He also had letters patent of the exchequer restoring his lands, and Swanlond had orders to deliver them up.‘ The procedure by which allowance was claimed for sums paid out for 1 L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 22, 69d. 2 L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 35d, 40d. 3 On 20 Jan. 1331, Hedersete’s appointment as keeper of the seal of recognisances in London was revoked, because he was under arrest on the charge of retaining a large sum received as collector of customs, as above, C.P.R. 1330-1334, 48. * L.T.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 57d. On m. 165 is an example of livery to the exchequer marshal instead of imprisonment in the Fleet.

200 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 the king was a matter of routine, and entries showing the procedure are

common on the memoranda rolls. The accountant petitioned for his allowances and in difficult cases the evidence finally came before the treasurer and barons.’ In all cases except a few customary allowances for rent, wages and necessaries, the king’s writ ordering the expenditure and the letters of receipt of the recipients had to be produced.’ If the accountants withdrew from the court before they received licence

from the treasurer and barons to do so, they were either fined or imprisoned, according to the seriousness of the offence. ‘hus the Sandwich collectors were fined 40d. on one oceasion.? If the sheriff, or in cer-

tain cases the coroner for him, failed to obey a precept to distrain the collector’s lands or goods, or to attach him and bring him to the exchequer, he might have to appear in person himself to hear the treasurer’s

and barons’ judgment on his failure to carry out orders.‘ The sheriff might also have to inquire about the possessions left behind by a deceased

collector. Thus when Geoffrey de Drayton, the collector at Yarmouth, died about 8 Edward III, before he had had his accounts audited, the sheriff had orders to enquire by the oath of men of the bailiwick as to what goods and chattels he had on the day of his death, and into whose hands they had passed. He was to take them in the king’s name and guard them

safely, reporting at Easter what steps he had taken. ‘This order was delivered at the exchequer to the sheriff’s clerk to take to his master.5 We have now followed the collectors not only through the audit of their accounts, but also through all the subsequent misfortunes which befell them, if through any cause they erred from the straight and narrow way which the exchequer laid down. It is not necessary to stress the payments into the receipt and the audit at the upper exchequer in fuller detail, for with only slight variations due to the circumstances of their office, these were identical with those at the wardrobe, as described by Professor Tout® and at the exchequer as shown by Professor Willard.’ In the same way the controller’s functions were parallel to those of the chancellor’s clerk (later the controller of the pipe), in the pipe roll accounts, and those of the controller of the wardrobe in relation to the wardrobe accounts. 1L.T.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 161d. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 232; No. 107, m. 287d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 31; and examples given under the exchequer of receipt section. 3 L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 70d. 4 L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 122, where both sheriff and coroner were guilty. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 139d. 6 Tout, Chapters, see references in index, VI, 427. 7J. F. Willard, Parliamentary Taxes on Personal Property, chaps. 9-12.




HE salient feature of the history of the taxes imposed by parliament on the moveable property of lay persons in the first ten years of the

reign of Edward III is the stabilization of the tax in 1334. From that time till the seventeenth century the levy known as ‘fifteenths and tenths’ was fixed in amount for each of the territorial divisions on which it was

assessed. Exemptions might be granted to meet particular cases of hardship, and the incidence of the tax within the area affected might vary

from year to year. It was not, apparently, a fixed charge on particular pieces of ground, as was the Land Tax of 1798, which (unless redeemed) remains in force to this day. Before 1334 it was necessary to assess each tax as it was granted, and it will appear that the ultimate stabilization of the assessment was, in some measure at least, due to the abuses arising

from its recurrent adjustment. As we have seen in our own times, the variation of taxes gives rise to persistent ‘lobbying,’ and in the fourteenth century direct corruption was less easy to check than it is nowadays. With the granting of these taxes we have no immediate concern: that

was one of the functions of parliament.” In the subsequent process of assessment and collection, with which we have to do, the first step was the drafting of the commissions to assessors and collectors and of the 1 This section was to have been written by Dr. Willard, who had it all planned and ready to put on paper at the time of his death. He had, of course, collected all the necessary material when writing his exhaustive monograph on Parliamentary Taxes on Personal Property, 1290 to 1834 (Cambridge, Mass., 1934). In the absence of any written draft, the present writer has thought it best to abstract from that work those portions which seemed to him essential to the treatment of the more limited period covered by this volume. He can make no claim to original research, though he has ventured to modify Dr. Willard’s conclusions in at least one instance, and has endeavoured (not always successfully) to supply confirmatory references where these given by Dr. Willard fall uutside the limit 1327 to 1837. He cannot hope to make good the loss of the original section, and offers this makeshift as a feeble tribute to the memory of his dead friend. 2See Willard, Parl. Taxes, pp. 18-18.


202 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 instructions which they were to observe. The commissions were in Latin in the form of letters patent under the great seal, and had to be engrossed, sealed, and entered on the rolls of the chancery (patent rolls), before delivery to their holders. The instructions or ‘forms’ which accompanied them were in French and bore no date.2- The commissions in 1327 and 1332 and some of those for 1334 were warranted ‘By King and Council’. The remaining commissions of 1334 are warranted simply ‘By the King,” and thus show no indication of their origin. This precedent was followed in the commissions for the two grants made in 1336,

which are all “By K.’"> We may fairly, I think, assume that both the commissions and the ‘forms’ were settled by the council sitting in the exchequer, a phrase which usually implies that the details were regulated

by exchequer officials, but that the authority enforcing them was not purely departmental. The same considerations apply to the choice of the commissioners. In 1332 several supplementary appointments, due to the inability to serve of the persons originally chosen, were made by the exchequer. These are warranted ‘By K. and C.’’ These supplementary appointments do not appear on the chancery rolls, and the reasons for them are not stated in the commissions. The dates of the commissions in 1327 correspond with that on which parliament ended, and thus follow the rule usually observed in statutes.’ In 1332 and 1334 they are within a week of that date, and may probably be attributed to a continuing session of the council after parliament had dispersed.® Similarly, in 1336 the commissions for levying the fifteenth

and tenth to finance the war against the Scots in the parliament which met on 11 March, are dated 7 April;!° and for that granted by the parliament of 23 September on 16 October.4 1 See Sir H. C. Maxwell-Lyte, Historical Notes on the Use of the Great Seal of England (London, 1926),

pp. 223-399. 2 T have not been able to verify Dr. Willard’s statement (op. cit., p. 33) that the ‘forms’ issued under the seal of the exchequer. I think that they were probably attached to the commissions by the double tag which bore the great seal. 3 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 172 (1327); C.P.R. 1330-1334, 357-358 (1832); C.P.R., 1334-1338, 40 (1884). 4 Thid.

5 C.F.R. 1327-1337, 480, 504. § See Willard, Parl. Taxes, pp. 33-35.

7L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 8. These commissions were for Gloucestershire, Essex, Middlesex, Somerset, and Devon, and bear dates from 24 October to 5 November, 1332. 8 (.P.R. 1327-1330, 172; Stubbs, C.H.E., 11, 388. The date is 23 September. ® Baldwin, The King’s Council in England during the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1913), pp. 310-311. 10 CLF .R. 13827-1337, 480.

1 Tbid., 504.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 203 The principle, familiar in modern taxation, that the assessors who ‘raise the charge’ should not be the same persons as the collectors who account for it, was not observed before 1334.! The practice in 1327 and 1332 was that two men (usually laymen, and often ‘knights’)? were appointed as principal taxers and collectors in each county or smaller division accounting separately, and were almost invariably residents or at least landholders within their districts.2 London ranked as a county, and Yorkshire and Lincolnshire were divided into ‘ridings’ and ‘trithings’ respectively, which formed separate divisions.’ York had been raised to

the same position in 1319, and Newcastle-on-T'yne and Huntingdon gained it in 1334.5 The taxers and collectors were assisted by a clerk appointed by themselves, who had no official status. In 1334, as a consequence of abuses, special steps were taken to secure

honest assessment. A leading ecclesiastic in the county, an abbot or prior, the dean of a cathedral, or the dean or provost of a collegiate church was appointed in each division, and his colleague in the assessment was a civil servant, a ‘king’s clerk,’ who was not, however, responsible for the collection.®

Most of the lay ‘taxers’ had previous administrative experience as commissioners of one kind or another, or as members of parliament. Of the chief taxers appointed in 1327 at least twenty-five had been returned to parliaments during the reign of Edward II, and eight were returned to the

parliament granting the tax.’ In 1332 the corresponding numbers were seventeen and ten.’ In 1327 about twenty per cent had had previous experience as taxers, and in 1332 about twenty-nine per cent.°® Before the taxers and collectors could begin their work it was necessary for them to be sworn in and receive their commissions and instructions.

They were liable to penalties if they failed to appear.!° The oath was 1 Willard, Parl. Tazes, p. 39. 2 In a few cases they are described as ‘serjeants’ (servientes). They were clearly the country gentry

who were qualified to serve as ‘knights of the shire’ and to record the judgments of the county court. 3 Willard, op. cit., p. 42. ‘See Willard in E.H.R., xxvii (1918), 517-521; xxrx (1914), 317-821; xxx (1915), 69-74. 5 C.P.R. 1334-1338, 40. 6 Ihid., 38-40. 7C.P.R. 1327-1330, 172-173; Return Members Parliament, 1, 78-79. 8 C.P.R. 13830-1334, 357-358; Return Members Parliament, 1, 98-99.

° Willard, Parl. Taxes, pp. 34-44. I have not attempted similar statistics for 1836. But a glance at the list shows that a considerable proportion of the collectors had acted before, and most had some administrative experience. See C.F.R. 1327-1337, 480, 504. 10 Willard, Parl. Taxes, p. 46.

204 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 usually taken in the exchequer before the treasurer and barons,! but in 1334 the ‘king’s clerks’ appointed to assist the chief taxers were directed to take the oaths of their colleagues.?. In special cases the oaths might be taken by commission in the country.® The oath was a simple one. The taxers pledged themselves to assess goods of the men of the realm well and faithfully and to collect the tax according to the instructions given them, without fear or favor, to take nothing except the tax due, and to report to the treasurer and barons.‘ The commissions and ‘forms’ were then handed to them with a writ of aid to the sheriff ordering him to assist them in their work. This, though technically a ‘writ close,’ is enrolled on the patent or fine roll as being subsidiary to the commission. Some time, of course, elapsed between the issue of the commissions, or rather the date from which they were valid, and the actual receipt of the commissions and instructions by the collectors.5

The sheriff and the other chief men of the county had a general instruc-

tion (under the commission) to assist the assessors and collectors. This assistance is not particularly specified, but it appears to have included bringing the persons to be dealt with before the taxers, providing safe transport for the money collected, and conveying the rolls and other documents to the exchequer.’ When it was thought necessary to expedite the collection, or to guard against corrupt practices on the part of the chief taxers, civil servants, described as king’s clerks or simply clerks, might be sent into the country to supervise the work of the taxers. Thus in 1327-1328 we find several officers of the exchequer so employed, 72. Adam de Herewynton, chancellor; Robert de Nottingham, baron; Roger de Gildesburgh, Richard de Glatton, and William de Bath, auditors of foreign accounts; William de Brokelesby, one of the remembrancers; and William de Stowe, engrosser of the great roll. These were appointed about two months after the date of the first commissions to the taxers. In 1332 Roger de Gildesburgh, Ambrose de Newburgh, Thomas de 1 Willard, Parl. Taxes, 504. 2 O.P.R. 1334-1338, 38.

3 Willard, op. cit., p. 47. In 1334 the king’s clerks appointed to act with the chief commissioners were directed to receive the oaths of their colleagues (C.P.R. 1334-1338, 38). 4 Examples of the oath in print may be found in Parl. Writs, 1, 63, 105. 5 See Willard, ‘The Dating and Delivery of Letters Patent and Writs in the Fourteenth Century,’ Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, x (1932), 1-11. 6 Examples of writs of aid occur in Parl. Writs, 1, 54, 107-108. See also Morris, above, p. 69. 7 Willard, Parl. Taxes, pp. 51-52. § K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 6.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 205 Blaston, baron, Richard de Glatton, and William de Bath were similarly

appointed.!' In that year the certificate of William de Bath, who was acting in Dorset, was accepted by the exchequer as a substitute for the original rolls of the taxation.2, These appointments do not seem to have much accelerated the collection, or completely prevented frauds, but we may safely conclude that they were necessary to secure the carrying out of the business.®

, The normal process of assessment, as laid down in 1307 and continued without variation until 1334, was as follows. ‘The chief taxers summoned before them the ‘best men’ from each city, borough, or vill within liberties or without, and selected four or six or more as sub-assessors in each district. These made the assessment by the oath of a jury in each township, and recorded the value of the moveables owned by each person taxed as

at Michaelmas last past. The results were written in an indented roll, one part of which was delivered to the chief taxers sealed with the seals

of the sub-taxers. The other part was sealed by the chief taxers, to be retained by the sub-taxers and used for the collection of the tax.‘ In 1334 no form was issued, as the commissions themselves contained - all the necessary instructions.> In this case the sum chargeable on each district was fixed by a process of bargaining between the chief taxers and the commonalty of the district; provided always that the sum fixed should not be smaller than that assessed in the tax of 1332,° as specified in the summaries of that assessment supplied to the chief taxers to guide them

in their proceedings.’ The amounts thus fixed were recorded by the chief taxers in an indenture, one part of which was sent to the exchequer, while the other was kept by the chief assessor (the abbot or prior) for the

purpose of collecting the tax. If no agreement could be reached, the chief taxers were to assess the moveables themselves. It is clear that in some instances (e.g. Kent and some parts of Wiltshire) this was done with

the help of sub-assessors as in 1332.9 The reason for this procedure in 17,.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 4d. 2 Idem, m. 160. 3 Willard, Parl. Taxes, p. 53. 4 Parl. Writs, 11, pt. 11, 15; Rot. Parl. 11, 426, 447. 5 O.P.R. 1334-1338, 38.

6 K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 321. (An exchequer writ dated 23 February, 9 Edward 11.) 7 In one instance, Kent, the original rolls were handed over (K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 131d). The wages of the clerks who made the summaries are noted on the Issue Roll, No. 279, under the dates 3 and 18 November.

8 Exchequer writs for the immediate return of these indentures, dated 23 February 1335, are in K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 321. ° Lay Subsidies, 123/12; 196/10.

206 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 Kent was the presence of exempt classes, v22. the men of the Cinque Ports

and the moneyers. It was easier to value all the properties separately at the same time than to make a gross valuation with a subsequent revaluation of the exempt goods to determine the deduction to be made.’ The same difficulty must have been felt in Sussex, but there is no evidence that the same course was followed there.’ The taxation of the goods of the sub-taxers was before 1334 done by the chief taxers, whose own property was in turn assessed by the treasurer and barons of the exchequer.? In 1336 there was no necessity for a form, since the tax was levied in

accordance with the agreed assessments of 1334. In Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmorland, however, which had paid no tax in 1334 because of their impoverishment by the invasions of the Scots, and in the case of a part of Cambridgeshire which had suffered from floods, the form of 1332 was re-issued.* We have a good deal of information about the local assessments of the taxes of 1327 and 1332 because the king’s remembrancer of the exchequer was, under the ordinance of 1323,° the official custodian of the ‘county rolls’ (i.e. the duplicate summaries of assessment for the whole county), and a large number of these have been preserved. ‘They show that there

were never fewer than four sub-taxers for any district, though there might be more. Nor was there any rigid rule as to the sub-divisions to be taken as units of taxation. The number of ‘sworn men’ employed as local assessors varied with the size of the district, but two seem to have been usual for each vill, and the same number might suffice for a group of three, four, or five vills. The hundreds and the large towns usually had more. The ‘sworn men’ can usually be identified, when not named, because their names are written at the end of the list and assessed at a round sum, such as a shilling or eighteen pence.° It is clear that the chief taxers were able to interpret their instructions,

in such matters as the unit of assessment and the number of sub-taxers

to each, according to the local conditions. Thus, in a loosely settled 1 Willard, Parl. Tazes, p. 58. 2 Lay Subsidy, 189/7. 3 J. A. C. Vincent, Lancashire Lay Subsidies (Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society, xxvi1), I, 177-178. 4 C.F.R. 1827-1337, 487. 5 Red Book of the Exchequer, 111, 866.

6 Willard, op. cit., pp. 61-62; Suffolk Green Books, xvi (Bedford, 1832), Hast Anglian, Ser. 3, x-xi1 (Cambridge, 1327); Assoc. Archit. Soc., xx, p. 20 (Leicester, 1327); Sujfolk Green Books, 1x (Suffolk, 1827); Worc. Hist. Soc., A.D. 1896 (Worcester, 1827); Lay Subsidy, 242/64 (Bucks, 1-14 Edward III); Cumberland Lay Subsidy (Cumberland, 1332); Dugdale Soc., v1 (Warwick, 1332).

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 207 county such as Shropshire the vill might be the unit, or a group of two or three vills, while in Surrey, Kent, or Sussex, where the hundreds are small, the hundred or half-hundred was adopted. Nor was the practice necessarily the same in 1332 as in 1327.1 There was still a large amount of elasticity left in the machinery of government. The local rolls of assessment made up by the sub-taxers (as distinct from the ‘county rolls’) have not, as a rule, survived, since they were not delivered into the exchequer, being only needed as between the chief taxers and the sub-taxers. A few of them seem to have come in from time to time, probably as the result of investigations into irregularities, and a very few have been preserved locally.2,_ None have been discovered

for the tax of 1334, as the method of collective bargaining then adopted

presumably made them unnecessary.? They are of two types. One‘ merely records the total assessment on each person and the amount due according to the quota. The other, most of the examples of which are before our period, give full details of the property assessed.5 This was

mainly grain and live stock in the country, stock in trade, household goods, and articles of luxury in towns. 2. EXEMPTIONS FROM ASSESSMENT AND CONVENTIONAL ASSESSMENT

The principle governing the assessment of moveable goods seems to have been that of ‘saving the contenement’ of the taxpaper. This principle is familiar as a proviso for moderating amercements. It means that nothing must be taken from a man which will deprive him of his position in the social order, still less what will deprive him of his livelihood. The knight must keep the insignia of his rank, the artisan or the farmer the tools of his trade, nor must either of them be left without food to keep him through the winter. The same rule seems to have been followed in determining which goods were and which were not subject to assessment.®

Some goods, the military equipment of the country gentry, their Jewels

and clothing, their more costly dishes and cups; and the robes, beds, 1 Willard, Parl. Taxes, pp. 62-64; W. G. D. Fletcher, The Shropshire Lay Subsidy Roll of I Edward ITI (Shropshire Arch. Soc. 1907); Surrey Record Soc. xv111 (1832); Hasted, History of Kent (ed. H. H. Drake, 1886), 286; Sussex Record Soc., x, 109 ff., 316-317; Somerset Record Soc., 111, 79-281; and other references given by Willard, loc. cit. 2 Willard, op. cit., p. 67. A large number relating to the tax of 1332 in Yorkshire are preserved among

the Lay Subsidies, 202/16, 202/19. 3 Willard, op. cit., p. 68. 4 E.g., Lay Subsidy, 107/14 (Waltham Cross, 1327). 5 Willard, op. cit., pp. 66-67. 6 Idem, pp. 73-86, and ‘The Assessment of Lay Subsidies, 1290-1332,’ in Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1917, pp. 281-292.

208 The English Government at Work, 13827-1236 rings and cups of the richer burgesses, are explicitly excluded in the instructions. The detailed schedules which survive attest by their omissions the application of the same principle to poorer folks. A special provision was made to prevent payments in kind due from a villein to his lord and not yet handed over from being taxed twice over.’ The poor were further protected by the fixing of a taxable minimum. This in 1327 was ten shillings.2 It gave a minimum charge of sixpence. In 1332 the minimum for the country was ten shillings, in towns and ancient demesne, six, the minimum charges thus being eightpence and a little over sevenpence respectively.? In 1334 no minimum was fixed, as

the method of assessment by bargain made it unnecessary. The appearance in Sussex in 1332 of charges below the minimum is due to the confusion already mentioned as to villein rents, which involved the making of deductions from the original charges.* Moreover a considerable number of persons enjoyed exemption from these taxes. Wales, and the palatinates of Chester and Durham neither

sent representatives to parliament nor paid the taxes granted there. It seems probable that the Northumberland liberties of the bishop of Durham in Tynedale and Hexhamshire were reckoned as belonging to the palatinate.’ It does not appear that any other liberties were exempt. Again, certain classes of persons received exemption on the principle that they rendered some kind of equivalent service. Of these the most important class was the clergy, who paid tenths on their spiritualities. Any property of theirs which was covered by the “Taxation of Pope Nicholas’ of 1291 was exempt from lay taxation. Thus, in 1328, the abbot of Thornton obtained the remission of a charge of 18s. 6d. levied in

1322 on his lands at Preston in Holderness (Yorkshire) on the ground that these were annexed to his spiritualities and had been included in the

assessment for clerical tenths. The personal possessions of the clergy and property acquired by them in their corporate capacity subsequently to the ecclesiastical taxation of 1291 was regularly assessed to lay taxes.’ In many cases this property does not appear in the rolls under their ecclesiastical titles, but under their personal names or those of their farmers or bailiffs, and is thus difficult to identify.® 1 This disappears after 1319, but the difficulty seems to have persisted. See Willard, Parl. Taxes, pp. 78, 89. 2 Rot. Parl., 1, 426. 3 Idem, u, 447. 4 Willard, op. cit., p. 89. 5 Idem, pp. 29-30.

° K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 120; L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 25. 7 Willard, op. cit., p. 106. 8 Idem, pp. 107-108.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 209 The men of the Cinque Ports were exempt under letters patent of 28 April, 1298,! renewed on 25 February, 1327,” on the ground of their service

and their special contributions to the maintenance of the fleet. The first letters provided ‘that they be quit of all tallages and aids payable from their own ships and the gear of the ships.’ The second directed that from their goods within and without the liberty they should contribute to the maintenance of the fleet, but that these goods ‘whether without or within the liberty, which are taxed for the maintenance of the fleet and the service aforesaid, are in no wise to be taxed, for tallages or any other burdens whatever, with the goods of men not of the said ports.’ It is clear that before 1327 they did in fact contribute to parliamentary taxes, but not afterwards.? This exemption, as has already been mentioned,’ made it impossible to assess the tax of 1334 in Kent by the simple process of bargaining adopted in other counties. The moneyers of the king’s mints of London and Canterbury were also exempted, presumably on the principle of equivalent service. They did certainly, on occasion, make voluntary grants assessed and collected by the warden (or keeper) of the mint.6 Their claim to exemption rested on

letters patent of 5 December, 1281, confirmed by similar letters of 1 March, 1309.6

Workers in the tin mines of Devon and Cornwall were exempted from ordinary taxation under their charter of 1305.7 They were exempt only

when actually employed in the mines. This led to some trouble after 1334, when the total sums due from the local units had been fixed, because

the ‘stannary men’ were migratory, and the exemption of their property

in the district mto which they might happen to have moved threw a heavier burden on the other residents. It was thus necessary to list them on the tax roll, and to determine their status by inquisition. ® A special exemption was, by the ‘form’ of the taxation granted to lepers residing in a hospital of which the master was himself a leper.® If, however, the master was sound (i.e. free from leprosy) their goods were to be taxed. This may possibly indicate a decline in leprosy in England since the twelfth century and the conversion of leper hospitals, for want of pa1 C.P.R. 1292-1301, 348; 1327-1330, 24; K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 129. 2 C.P.R. 1327-1330, 24. 3 Willard, op cit., pp. 115-116. 4 Above, pp. 205-206. 5 See C.C.R. 1333-1337, 549-550.

° L.T.R.M.R., No. 89, m.40; C.P.R. 1307-1313, p. 152. 7G. R. Lewis, The Stannaries: A Study of the English Tin Miner (Boston, 1908), pp. 39, 239-241. 8 See the lists of stannary men in Lay Subsidies, 95/13, 95/14, 95/17, 95/29. For the inquisitions see Lay Subsidies, 95/12, 95/22. See also Exannual Roll, No. 4, mm. 24 ff. 9 Rot. Parl., 11, 447.

210 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 tients, into sinecure benefices. The rule was not enforced in the case of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, to which many leper hospitals belonged. They secured their exemption from clerical tenths ‘and other tallages to the king’ by a writ of 1319. The order petitioned the king in parliament on the same point in 1333.1 The officers of the exchequer were directed to certify to the chancery whether the order had in fact been exempt, and returned that it had been excused since 11 Edward HII. A new writ then issued ordering the treasurer and barons to discharge the

order of all taxes past and future.” The hospital of Bolton, in Northumberland, founded for a master, three chaplains, and thirteen lepers, was excused from the levy of the tenth and fifteenth of 1332, because of its losses in the Scotch wars, and as a favor to its master, Thomas de Baum-

burgh, a king’s clerk.? Some other hospitals, of royal foundation, such as God’s House, Dover,‘ Ospringe, Kent,’ St. Leonard’s, Derby, and St. John without the East Gate of Oxford’ were all exempted on the ground that payment of the tax would of necessity curtail their almsgiving. A few religious houses also received temporary exemption from lay taxes on their property acquired since 1291 on the ground of poverty or for special reasons. Thus, for instance, the goods on the manors given to Westminster Abbey for the yearly celebration of the anniversary of Queen

Eleanor had a special exemption. The Charterhouses of Witham and Hinton, in Somerset,® the chapels of St. Mary in the manor of Semer, Yorks,!° and St. Peter, Kirby Bellers, Leicestershire,“ and St. Bartholomew’s hospital, Smithfield,!? also enjoyed permanent exemption. But many houses had only temporalities annexed to spiritualities, and thus were not within the scope of lay taxes, and it is not always possible to determine whether individual cases of exemption by writ were actual exemptions from the tax or mere corrections of mistakes in assessment.” 1K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 120. 2 C.0.R. 1333-1387, 44. 3 (.P.R. 1330-1334, 368. 1 0.0.R. 1327-1330, 255; 1333-1337, 352. 5 C.C.R. 1330-13383, 520; 1833-1337, 275. The exemption was made permanent in 1388 (C.ChA.R., Iv,

444). ® C.C.R. 1330-1338, 520. 7 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 513; 1333-1337, 285. 8 O.C.R. 13338-1337, 371. Cf. K.R.M.R., No. 106 (4 Edward ITI), m. 132. The latter refers to posses-

sions (temporalities) annexed to spiritualities and is cited to illustrate the different types of holdings by an abbey. 9 O.P.R. 1307-1313, 207; 1317-1321, 192. 10 (.P.R. 1327-1330, 482.

O.P.R. 1317-1321, 340. 122 K.R.M.R., No. 109 (7 Edward ITI), m.142.

13 Willard’s reference to the permanent statutory exemption of the Premonstratensians (Parl. Taxes, p. 125) is due to a misunderstanding. The ‘Statute’ of 30 Edw. I forbade the collection by foreign abbeys from their cells in England. See C.C.R. 1296-1302, 576.

The Collectors of Lay Tazes 211 Property in the king’s hands, even when held in wardship or for some other temporary cause, was exempt from taxation.! So was property on the demesne manors held by the queen or the eldest son of the king.?

The method of assessment by an agreed composition for the tax due, which was so generally employed in 1334, was adopted occasionally at earlier dates in the case of particular cities, boroughs, and religious houses.

These were said to ‘fine’ for exemption from the tax, that is to say they paid an agreed sum in order to escape from the inconvenience of assessment. It is clear that, in some cases at least, the fine was larger than the amount for which they were legally liable.2 This plan had the additional

advantage for the exchequer that the fine was likely to be paid more promptly, and was not subject to deduction on account of payments not recoverable from individual taxpayers. ‘The plan does not seem to have commended itself to the exchequer as a general rule, though it was tried in 1301 and 1319 as a means of raising money in advance of the assessment. In 1334, as we have seen, it was applied generally and made the basis of future taxation.‘ In some cases the initiative certainly came from the towns or other bod-

ies concerned. Thus in 1332 Thomas de Walton and four others appeared before the treasurer and compounded for the fifteenth of the vill of Wigston, Leicestershire, for £8. When the composition fell due and was not paid, the sheriff was ordered to levy on the lands of these five for the amount. Melton Mowbray and certain other places made like compositions.> Bristol compounded for its tenth through its mayor, Hugh de

Langbrigg, for £200. Hugh made a recognizance in chancery for the sum. A fiert factas was issued from the exchequer for the second half of this payment. Richard de Emeldon, mayor of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and his brother William, parson of Bothal, made a like recognizance for £200 on behalf of Newcastle.’ Special terms were also accorded to particular communities where the 1 Willard, Parl. Tazes, pp. 127-128; see also C.Ch.R., iii, 467. 2 Willard, op. cit., pp. 128-129. Queen Isabella’s goods were exempted in 1332 (L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 14, m.16d). 3 Willard, op. cit., pp. 130-131. Taunton fined for the twelfth of 1319 on a valuation of £200, but was assessed for the twentieth of 1327 on £143 (K.R.M.R., No. 93, m.107, ‘item Somerset’; Somerset Record Soc., 111, 274); Stafford on £244 in 1319, £220 in 1827, £134 in 1332 (K.R.M.R., No. 90, m. 145; Wm. Salt Archaeol. Soc., vit, 214; x, 81). * See Willard, op. cit., pp. 131-137. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 109, mm. 120d, 294, 299. ® C.C.R. 1330-1333, 601; C.P.R. 1330-1334, $37; L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 29, 294; Receipt Roll

No. 308 (7 Edward III, Mich.), 8 March. 7 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 81; C.P.R. 1330-1334, 395.

212 The English Government at Work, 1327-1236 tax was felt to be unduly oppressive and temporary relief appeared reasonable. This happened in the northern counties on more than one occasion in the latter part of the reign of Edward IT owing to the incursions of the Scots. For example, in 1334 Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmorland were not assessed and did not pay. Consequently in 1336,

there being no schedule of compositions to determine the amounts due, it was necessary to issue a special commission to the chief taxers with the form of 1332 attached.1 Besides all these more or less general exemptions, particular persons

were exempted on the ground of poverty or of past services. Such grants, though frequent in the early years of Edward II, are comparatively rare in our period.” Some of these grants were confirmed by Edward III, and their terms more precisely stated. Thus Oliver de Burdigala’s grant of 1309 was reiterated in 1327 as ‘exemption for life . . . from tenths, twelfths and other quota of moveables when any such be granted to the king.” Alice la Palmere was granted immunity from the twentieth and all aids and taxes as long as she was engaged in the construction of a

bridge over the Trent near Nottingham. This too was a renewal of an earlier grant.4 John Selling, who had received exemption from Edward II, was still excused in 1336.5 A case occurs in the previous reign in which

a foreigner, John Vanne, on being admitted a citizen of London, renounced his exemption and swore to contribute with the other citizens.° Selling’s case seems to show that the practice of accepting a composition

for the tax of any given unit did not cancel such grants of immunity within that district. The assessments of such persons must therefore have been allowed as deductions from the agreed total.’ There is a good deal of evidence that the valuation of moveable goods

was to a certain extent conventional. Thus, where detailed valuations survive, we find in some places a tendency to fix a normal price for each kind of animal on a farm without regard to their individual values, and also a general habit of valuing corn and other produce below the market

price. There is also a growing tendency towards taxation at round figures. ‘There was an obvious advantage in assessing the value at a sum which was easily divisible by the denominator of the quota fraction. But 1 O.F.R. 1327-1337, 487. 2 Willard, op. cit., pp. 120. 3 O.P.R. 1307-1313, 301; 1327-1330, 196. 4 O.P.R. 1307-1313, 194; 1327-1330, 188; C.C.R. 1307-1313, 270. 5 Pipe Roll, No. 183, Kent. 6 Cal. Letter Books, London, Bk. E., p. 16. 7 They were allowed as deductions from the agreed total charges in 1336 and 1337. See. L.P.R. Enr. Acc., Subsidies, No. 14, mm. 20-23.

8 E.g. Lay Subsidy, 149/10 (1332). See also Willard, op. cit., 188-141.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 213 the practice varied from district to district and from year to year.!_ This simplification had become almost universal by 1327.2, Where it was not adopted, it is not surprising to find mistakes in the arithmetic of the subtaxers. We may reasonably guess that in a large number of cases they found it easier to make a scale of values proportionate to the number of pence in the ultimate tax charges and value each property at the nearest sum on the scale.®

Other errors arose from the failure of the taxers to take due note of individual exemptions, or from their confusing spiritualities with temporalities.4 It was also possible, in the case of the goods of travelling merchants, for the same property to be assessed in two places. A London merchant, for example, might have moveable goods for sale in the country

which were properly assessable in London. On the other hand, goods found on lands and tenements which he might possess in the country were assessable in the vills in which they were found.°

Such errors as these were naturally brought to the notice of the exchequer by the complaints of the persons affected, but there was also a more or less thorough scrutiny of the county rolls on the part of the ex-

chequer itself. In 1332 the returns from Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, Herts, and Notts were considered inadequate, and the collectors were given new days to appear and present amended accounts.§ The returns were not only inadequate in amount, but it appeared that several vills which should, as boroughs or ancient demesne, have paid the tenth, had

been assessed only to the fifteenth. In Huntingdon also, where only £407 3s. 104d. appeared on the rolls, though from previous taxations more than £500 might have been expected, the rolls were returned for correction,’ but in the end the collectors were chargeable only with £407 3s. 8d. Before quitting the subject of the county rolls, a word may be said as

to the light which they cast on the state of society in general. It is abundantly clear that, except for the exemptions already described, the tax reached all classes. The rolls seldom give much information as to the social status of the taxpayers. In 1327, in Shropshire, even the earl of March is listed without his title.° The names and amounts are often the 1 Willard, op. cit., pp. 141-148, and examples there quoted. * Idem, p. 148. 3 Idem, p. 148. 4 Idem, p. 152. 5 Idem, pp. 154-155. ‘ K.R.M.R., No. 109, mm. 212d, 213, 214. 7L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 100. § L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 8, m. 2. * Shropshire Archaeol. and Nat. Hist. Soc., Trans., 2nd Series, tv, 291 (in Stanton Lacy).

Q14 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 only guide to the importance of the persons mentioned. Thus the great landowners in Warwickshire in 1332 are found to possess goods to amounts between one fourth and one thirteenth of the total assessment of the vills in which they hold land. There were cases in other counties where they held as much as half, but as a rule the proportion was much lower.!__ Their

tenants taken together had much more property than they had. The goods of villeins and serfs, if above the taxable minimum, were at this period treated on the same footing as those of technically free men.? Very occasionally a group of villeins® or socage tenants‘ is described as such, but as a rule no distinction of grade is made between taxpayers. The proportion of women taxpayers to men is lowest in the more sparsely settled border counties and largest in the counties of the interior and of the

eastern coast. Many of them have trade names, and may have been actively engaged in industry, though that is not a certain conclusion.> It is unfortunately impossible to make use of the tax rolls for the purpose of estimating the population, since this involves a knowledge of the proportion of poor, religious and their dependents, and dependent women and children to the actual taxpayers, a proportion which we have no means of guessing.® 3. THE COLLECTION OF THE SUBSIDIES

The day appointed for the return of the rolls of taxation was also that on which the first half was due to be paid into the receipt of the exchequer. This was usually about three months from the issue of the commissions. Thus, in 1327 the commissions were dated 23 September and 12 October,

and the dates for payment were 3 February and 25 June following.’ In 1332 the corresponding dates were 16 September, 3 February and 15 June,® and in 1334, 4 October, 30 September and 16 February.? Two grants were made in 1336. The first of these, granted in the Mid-Lent parliament for defense against the Scots, was raised under commissions

dated 7 April, the due dates being Midsummer (24 June) and St. Matthew’s day (21 September).!° The second, granted in the St. Matthew’s morrow parliament, under commissions dated 16 October, was 1 Willard, op. cit., pp. 163-164. 2 Idem, pp. 166-167. 8 Surrey Record Soc., xvii, 48-44, 49, 52, 53. 4 Cumberland Lay Subsidy, pp. 65-66. 5 Willard, op. cit., p. 169. 6 Idem, pp. 174-182. ™ Rot. Parl., ii, 425; C.P.R. 1327-1330, 172. 8 Foedera (16 Sept. 1332). 9 O.P.R. 1334-1338, 38. 10 C.F.R. 1327-1337, 480.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes Q15 payable at Candlemas (2 February) and Midsummer.’ The dates fixed for Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland, which had not paid in 1334 and consequently required a new assessment, were Lammas (1 August) and All Hallows (1 November).? Those dates seem to indicate a deliberate avoidance of the usual exchequer terms of Easter and Michaelmas, when the sheriffs were commanded to make their proffers and to

account. The collectors, however, like the sheriffs, were often unpunctual in their appearance. As, before 1334, the chief taxers were also the chief collectors, it seems

fairly certain that the sub-taxers were also the sub-collectors. Thus. in 1332 the two men charged by John de Midhurst with embezzling part of the tax collected in the soke of Winchester are called subtaxatores.’ Again, Simon de Pokethorp, one of the sub-taxers at Skerne, Yorks, delivered the roll of assessment of the tenth there, and said that the taxatores had collected 35s. 6d. Martin de Skyren, the other sub-taxer, who was absent in Norfolk, had the acquittance for that sum.

It is also clear that the chief taxers did not invariably act together. Frequently only one of them appeared at the exchequer. ‘Thus, in 1333, William Michel, one of the chief taxers for Kesteven in Lincolnshire, reached the exchequer on 3 February and said that Brian de Hertheby, the other taxer and collector, did not come because he had remained in Kesteven to assess the vills not yet assessed.> In a case of malversation in connection with the same tax, it appeared that Anketin Salvayn, one of the chief collectors in the East Riding of Yorkshire in whose joint names the receipts to the sub-collectors were couched,® had taken no part in the assessment or collection, his colleague, Thomas de Boulton, being solely responsible.’ The chief taxers did not make a second tour of their districts to receive

the money collected, but had it brought to them at one or more of the principal towns. Thus in 1332 the tax collected at Stratford-on-Avon was paid over at Warwick.® In the East Riding of Yorkshire money was received at Beverley, Howden, Kingstcn-on-Hull, York, Pocklington, New Malton, and Winteringham.® The sub-collectors did not have far to go to pay in their quota. 1 C.F .R. 1327-1337, 504.

het” 487. ‘The Cambridgeshire terms were Lammas and St Matthew’s day for the flooded 3 K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 159, 160. 4 Lay Subsidy, 149/10. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 86, m. 114d. 6 Lay Subsidy, 202/16. 7K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 143 ff.

8 Dugdale Soc., v1, 96. * Lay Subsidy, 202/16.

216 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 Payment by the sub-collectors to the chief taxers, like that by the latter to the exchequer, seems usually to have been made in two instalments. But cases occur both of payment in one sum and in more than two instalments. A memorandum book of the Shropshire collector for 1334 gives examples of all these variations... As we have seen, acquittances were given by the chief taxers for these sums received. It is possible that in some cases tallies were given for instalments and exchanged for an acquittance when the whole sum was paid, but we have no evidence for this period, nor was the practice necessarily uniform.’ The money collected was stored in a safe place till a convenient opportunity could be found for its transmission to the exchequer. A religious house in the county town or elsewhere was often the most convenient place of deposit. In 1333, when a Scotch expedition was preparing, the abbot

of St. Mary’s, York, was appointed receiver of the fifteenth and tenth for the counties of Nottingham and Derby and the six northern coun-

ties. This was a purely temporary measure to provide for the payment of troops before the exchequer was definitely transferred to York

to open on 1 June. Between the abbot’s appointment on 27 January and that date he had received £2800 from the fifteenth and tenth and £6028 6s. 8d. from other sources, and for this service he received an allowance of 10 marks (£6 13s. 4d.) for expenses.° There is no evidence of serious opposition to the work of collection; though in 1327, John de Ormesby, a chief taxer of the twentieth, was set

upon when he went to Great Yarmouth to select sub-taxers,’ and we know of one instance where a man called Robert Heved, distrained upon for the tax of 1332, rescued his goods and went to gaol for the trespass.’ Nor does it seem that the convoys of treasure to Westminster were ever molested by bands of robbers. The collectors received allowances at the exchequer for their expenses. No salaries seem to have been paid, and the allowances are so low that the collectors must have been out of pocket unless they had other sources

of profit. These allowances appear in the final, or ‘enrolled’ account, which, after stating the total charge and the sums received against it an thesauro, shows the deductions allowed for exemptions or other irrecover1 Willard, Parl. Tazes, p. 191. 2 Ibid., p. 192. 3 Ibid., pp. 193-194. 4 O.P.R. 13830-1334, 395. See also J. F. Willard, ‘The Crown and its Creditors, 1327-1333,’ in

E.H.R., xu (1927), 12-19. 5 Pipe Roll, 177, m. 52 ® C.P.R. 1827-1330, 286. 7 O.P.R. 1334-1388, 108.

8 Willard, Parl. Tazes. v. 196.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes Q17 able amounts and the deduction for expenses, and then strikes a balance.

In most cases the allowance for expenses was, by this time, fixed at a round sum. For example, in Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Surrey, and Wiltshire, the allowances were as follows:!

shire shire

Berkshire Gloucester- Lancashire Oxford- Surrey Wiltshire

£ os. d. £ os. d. £ os. d. £ os. d. £ os. d. £ os. d.

1327 10 0 QO 10 0 90 5 0 0 12 0 90 613 4 12 0 0

1332 12 0 0 16 0 0 613 4 13 6 8 8 0 0 16 0 0O

1334 incomplete 27 13 10 1113 4 21 6 8 10 0 O _ incomplete

1336(a) 12 0 0 16 0 0 5 6 8 _ incomplete 613 4 10 0 0O

1336(b) 12 0 0 16 0 0 5 6 8 10 0 90 613 4 10 0 0

It is estimated that the total of the allowances at the exchequer, as distinguished from what the collectors may have received locally, amounted for the fifteenth and tenth of 1332 to about 1.2% of the total charge, and for that of 1334 to about 1.4%.? We can feel no doubt that part of the expense of collection must have been met locally, but it is not easy to say positively. It seems certain that taxers and collectors were authorized to claim what ecclesiastical law terms ‘procurations,’ i.e. their board and lodging while carrying out their

duties, and it is at least possible that in some cases a money payment was made as a compensation for this.2 Thus, at the Merton College, Oxford, manor of Cuxham, the account for 1332-1333 says ‘In the expenses of the taxers of the lord king who came for several days, 2s."* At

Cheddington, another Merton manor, Peter de Welle, taxer of the fifteenth, was given ‘four bushels of wheat to have his favour.’ This contribution may have consisted of ‘procurations,’ but looks suspiciously like

a bribe.’ At Leicester in 1334, when special precautions were taken against corruption, the king’s clerk employed as assessor supped with the mayor and received a pair of hose as a present.®

Again, it is practically certain that the sub-taxers had the privilege of favorable assessment, though this, as coming out of the king’s pocket, cannot be regarded as a local contribution. Mere chance cannot explain the frequency with which sub-taxers were assessed at a round figure. Moreover, the same men were charged less, in many cases, when they were acting as sub-taxers in 1332, than they paid when not so employed 1 Willard, op. cit., pp. 203-205. For 1836 see Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 14, mm. 20-23. 2 Willard, loc. cit. 3 Willard, op. cit., p. 206.

4 Merton Coll. MSS. No. 5857. 5 Idem, No. 5564. 6 Bateson, Records of the Borough of Leicester, u1, 8.

218 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 in 1327, although the rate of the tax was higher in the latter year.!_ So, too, men who were collectors in 1327 and not in 1332 pay in the latter year at a rate far higher than the slight increase in the tax can justify. There are other cases where the minimum charge seems to have been demanded of the sub-taxers, whatever their property might amount to.? These methods of remuneration, though not expressly provided for, were clearly generally regarded as legitimate. Less so, perhaps, were the customary fees or ‘courtesies’ exacted both for the assessment in the several vills and for the receipt of the rolls by the clerks of the chief taxers.

These might be regarded either as customary gifts or as extortion; and

for that reason they sometimes come to light in inquiries as to malpractices. ‘Thus in 1335 the Worcestershire collectors charged with extortion, which they denied, admitted having received sums of 12d., 18d., or 2s. given by the townships out of courtesy (curialitate). The exchequer proceeded against them to recover certain sums which they had ‘concealed,’ but took no notice of these small payments.? Local accounts mention similar payments. The Cuxham account already quoted mentions a ‘gift to the taxers’ of 3s. 3d. in addition to the payment for expenses. The practice of exacting a fee for receiving the rolls is expressly forbidden in the instructions for collecting the twentieth of 1327, but not before.4 As we find one of the collectors in 1334 accused of taking a shilling for a receipt,’ we may probably conclude that the fee for receiving the rolls had been the usual practice, and was only now definitely forbidden.®

There is, however, definite evidence of corruption. In one case among others relating to the tax of 1332 we have clear evidence of the embezzlement by Thomas de Boulton, a chief taxer in Yorkshire, of part of the money which he had collected. The receipts which he gave in the townships’ were brought into the exchequer and compared with the county roll. He was found to have embezzled nearly nine per cent of the amount received.? Similar embezzlements were proved in Worcestershire, where the names of certain vills had been omitted entirely from the county roll.?° The total here was, however, only about three per cent.1!_ There were 1 Willard, op. cit., pp. 207-210; Sussex Record Soc., x, 183-173, 244-287. 2 Willard, loc. cit. 3 K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 133; No. 112, m. 104. 4 Rot. Parl., 11, 427.

5 John de Langetoft, in Herts (Assize Roll, No. 337, m. 4). 6 Willard, op. cit., p. 214. 7 Lay Subsidies, 202/16, 202/19. 8 Lay Subsidy, 202/18. 9 K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 143-146; Willard, op. cit., p. 215. 10 K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 104. 11 Willard, loc. cit.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 219 also charges of undervaluation and of the taxation of non-taxable property, but Dr. Willard quotes no instances for this period. That such malpractices were common is sufficiently proved by the instructions for 1327 and by the commissions issued in 1335 for inquiry into the actions of the taxers and collectors of the tax of 1332.1 In this case the inquiry was a secret one, and the commissioners had power to compound with collectors who acknowledged their misdeeds. The others were to be sent to the exchequer for trial. ‘The procedure was much the same in these cases as in other cases arising from petitions, personal complaints,’

information given by sub-taxers, or the discoveries made by subsequent collectors. The accused persons were attached to answer on a certain day,‘ and, if necessary, brought into court by the usual process. They often confessed and made fine for their trespass with restitution of the sums held back.’ If they denied the charge, officers were sent into the county to collect evidence against them,‘ and it is to this process that we owe the documents already referred to. It seems that local juries might also be summoned. But in most cases the charges were dealt with by itinerant commissioners appointed at the instance of ‘the council,’ i.e. the exchequer itself reinforced by such members of the council as might be summoned.’ These commissioners summoned juries and compounded with the offenders or punished them as the case demanded.* The main object was to recover the money, and compositions were accepted not only from individual offenders but also from groups of officers, or jurors, collectively.? It is not certain whether these sums were invariably recovered, but some probably became ‘desperate debts.” They were certainly not usually paid at once in full.°

4. Tur Frnau AccouNntTING We have now dealt with the assessment and collection of the taxes, and the next step is to describe their payment into the exchequer and the acquittance of the collectors. 'We must not assume that these steps do not

overlap. Thus, the first payment and the presentation of the county rolls by one chief taxer may coincide in time with the collection of part of the tax by the other. We can only describe the process in its logical sequence. 1 C.P.R. 13834-1338, 201-202.

2 K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 159. $ K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 104, 143. ‘K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 183; No. 112, mm. 104, 143. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 104; C.P.R. 1334-1838, 175. § Willard, Parl. Tazes, p. 225. 7 Ibid., pp. 226-227. 8 Ibid., pp. 227-228. 9 Ibid. 1 C.C.R. 13830-1333, 268 (Warwickshire); K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 121 (Gloucestershire).

220 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 The collectors, then, bringing up the first or any other instalment of the tax, will not necessarily produce it in cash. Assignments upon them may have been made under the seal of the exchequer,! accompanied or not by a tally,? by letters patent or writs under the great seal,* or by wardrobe debentures accompanied by writs of privy seal.* The process of assignment was not materially different from that used in respect of other crown debtors, though it is possible that the collectors, being sometimes inexperienced in exchequer practice, had difficulties in complying with the demands of the crown. In 1328, for example, the collectors of the twentieth in the West Riding of Yorkshire refused to honor letters close under the great seal directing payments to Richard de la Pole® because ‘he failed to produce tallies of the receipt of the exchequer for the money.” A writ was accordingly sent to the treasurer and chamberlains to order the tallies

to be cut. It seems at least possible that the collectors, though familiar with orders under the exchequer seal and with exchequer tallies, had doubts whether a writ under the chancery seal would be good at the exchequer. ‘The important thing, from the point of view of the exchequer, was to be sure that the money had been paid. So, when the collectors of the same twentieth for Leicestershire came into the exchequer and produced a writ of privy seal dated 17 April, 1328, directing them to take all the money they had levied to Northampton for the use of the wardrobe, they were refused allowance until they should produce evidence that the money had actually been so paid in.” There was also the possibility that the collectors might not have enough money in hand to meet the assignment, and we find the Bardi, in 1337, obtaining letters patent ordering

immediate (statim) payment at the exchequer of certain sums included in an assignment on a tenth and a fifteenth and tenth but found to be 1r-

recoverable.?® ,

Writs under the seal of the exchequer were the usual form of assignment. While the assignments under the great seal in 1328, to take the most favorable instance, numbered 29 and amounted to £4800, those un-

der the seal of the exchequer on the same twentieth numbered 75 and amounted to £18,000.° The assignments for the same year under the privy seal cannot be estimated accurately, but were probably much 1 Willard, op. cit., p. 233. For the forms see Surrey Record Soc., xvi1, App. xliv. 2 Willard, op. cit., pp. 235-241. 8 Idem, pp. 241-246. 4 Idem, pp. 246-249. 5 C.C.R. 1327-1330, 269. 8 Tbid., 277.

7L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 109. 8 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 8. ° Willard, op. cit., p. 242.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 221 smaller and less numerous.! As the total yield of the twentieth was £25,438,2 it will be seen that the collectors cannot have brought much cash up to Westminster in 1328.

In 1332-1333, on the other hand, the collectors brought in about £23,000 in cash and only about £5500 in vouchers.’ In this year preparations were being made for war with Scotland, and cash was doubtless being accumulated for the payment of troops. The proceedings of the collectors of taxes at the exchequer differed in no important point from those of other crown debtors. They presented their cash and vouchers at the lower exchequer, and received tallies for them with which to make their account at the upper exchequer.* They

appeared there with their tallies, whether arising from assignments or from cash, their county rolls, and any vouchers not already allowed by the lower exchequer and converted into tallies,>5 and made their ‘view of account’ which would show how far they had succeeded in collecting

the first instalment of the tax and how much was outstanding. They were often late in appearing. Thus, in 1328 the first half of the twentieth

was due on 3 February, but the only collectors who appeared in that month were those for Dorset, Herts, Middlesex, and the city of Lincoln. And although the second payment was due on 25 June, an inquiry held in July showed that only five groups of collectors, those for the North Riding of Yorkshire, Holland and Kesteven in Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, and

Wiltshire, had wound up their accounts.’ Those for Cornwall, Dorset, and Rutland, were within sight of the end; those for Berkshire, Leicestershire, and Lindsey in Lincolnshire, had passed through their ‘view of account’; but the rolls of fifteen groups had not yet been brought in, though

some of these had made substantial payments on account. The dates of receipt noted on the backs of some of the county rolls are: Suffolk, 5 May, 1329; Sussex, 15 February, 1329; Staffordshire, 9 May, 1329; Shrop-

shire (which had the same sheriff), 9 May, 1329; Essex, 8 November, 1330.8

The fifteenth and tenth of 1332 was more promptly accounted for. A writ was sent out, dated 7 January, 1333, reminding the collectors of the date on which the rolls were due,® and twenty-six groups appeared during 1 Willard, Parl. Taxes, p. 236. 2 Ibid., p. 345. 3 Ibid., pp. 261-263. 4 [bid., pp. 250-275. 5 [bid., pp. 277-284. 6 Tbid., p. 276.

’ Rot. Parl., u1, 425; L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, mm. 1-2, 26-26d, 99, 99d. 8 Suffolk Green Books, tx, 222; Sussex Record Soc., x, 222; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc., vit, 255; Shropshire

Arch. & Nat. Hist. Soc., 2 Ser. 1, 24; Lay Subsidy, 107/13. §K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 293.

222 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 Hilary term, though only those for Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Wiltshire, brought in their rolls. Writs were issued on 8 February directing the sheriffs to distrain the negligent collectors to bring in their rolls.2_ The collectors for Norfolk and Suffolk, who appeared on 11 March and 12 March respectively, were amerced at the rate of 100s. each. The Somerset rolls were not handed in till 3 May,‘ and those for Sussex and Berkshire on 7 May and 12 May respectively. It was not essential that both collectors should appear, but in 1333, out of twentyseven counties or parts of counties listed, eighteen sent up both collectors to the ‘view,’ four sent one, while five sent only deputies.° For the ‘view of account’ it was necessary for one or both collectors to be present in the exchequer in person or by an attorney, and to have with

them the rolls of the taxation and tallies for the amount, or very nearly the amount, due on the first instalment. It was not necessary, however, that all vouchers should have been converted into tallies. The object of the view was practical and it was unnecessary to insist on legal forms.’ An example of the procedure may be taken from the view of the account of the twentieth of 1327 for Bedfordshire :®

‘View of account of Peter de Lorenz and Henry de la Legh, taxers and collectors of the twentieth in the county of Bedford, who have charged themselves by their rolls, delivered here on the eleventh day of July this year by Simon de Lorenz, with £482 7s. $d. Of which they have paid by three tallies, the last of which was levied the same eleventh day of July,

£400. And they owe £82 7s. 4d. For the payment of this sum they have a day, the octaves of Michaelmas, since that sum, so they say, still remains to be collected from various villata in the county. On the same day they are to account. Later they paid £46 by a tally levied the eight-

eenth of August. The sum of £24 was assigned to the merchants of the Bardi, in part payment of debts owed them by the king, and a tally was levied on the same eighteenth of August. And they owe £12 7s. $d. For this sum they were granted a respite for their expenses until they should come on the octaves of Hilary to account. On which day the said taxers did not come to account. They were therefore distrained at the 1...T.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 160-162. See also K.R.M.R., No. 109, mm. 212-213. 2K.R.M.R., No. 109, mm. 293-294. 3 Ibid., m. 127. 4 Lay Subsidy, 169/6. 5 Sussex Record Soc., X, 334; Lay Subsidy, 73/7. 6 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 160-162. 7 Willard, Parl. Taxes, pp. 285-286. § L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 106d.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 223 suit of the king’s remembrancer, which matter does not concern this remembrancer.”!

If the rolls were found defective there was no view, as appears by the following memorandum:? ‘On the fourth day of February, 1333, William le Moigne and John de

Waldeshef, taxers and collectors of the tenth and fifteenth in the county of Huntingdon, appeared at the exchequer and delivered their rolls of the particulars of the tenth and fifteenth of which the sum total is £407 3s. 103d., as appears fully in the same rolls, which are in the keeping of the other remembrancer. Of this sum they paid the king at the exchequer £203 11s. 11d. by one tally levied the fourth day of February. Which sum extends to one half of the sum total.’ As, however, a scrutiny of the rolls showed a smaller charge than had been raised under Edward IT, the exchequer gave them back to the collectors to be emended. It is to be noted that the record is not described as a view of account and that it shows that the county rolls were carefully scrutinized at the exchequer. Collectors who were late were brought to book by writs urging them to make haste, or if these failed, by the ordinary process of the exchequer.’ Their excuses for non-appearance are various. In 1332 some had failed to complete their rolls because certain abbots and other religious had produced writs under the great seal exempting the rents and services of their villeins, which were inconsistent with the instructions given.* On other occasions the slackness of the sub-taxers or of the sheriffs and local officials

or even (in 1322) the danger of the roads, had prevented the due production at the exchequer of the money or rolls.5 The ultimate resort of the exchequer, when no valid excuse was offered, was distraint, attachment, or fiert facias.® A special commission might even be issued, as for instance that given 12 July, 11 Edward ITI, to Philip de Chetwynd and Reginald de Fukerham to seize all the lands and goods of Philip de Somervill and

Robert Hambury, and to produce Philip and Robert at the exchequer without delay to make their account for the fifteenth and tenth granted at Westminster and their view of account for that granted at Nottingham.’ As we have seen, amercement might result, or imprisonment 1 L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 106d. 2 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 160. $ Willard, Parl. Taxes, p. 296. 4 L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 160d.-—161. 5 Willard, op. cit., p. 295.

§ Ibid., pp. 298-300. 7K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 11d.

224 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 might be used as a means of compelling obedience.! As in the case of other accountants, a day was given for the audit, or a respite might be allowed while uncertain points were being investigated. The final account differed little, if at all, from that of any other ‘foreign’

accountant. Outstanding sums were paid, or vouchers for them put in, and tallies obtained, and the account was then audited by the auditor baron and his ‘clerk,’ and any questions still unsettled could be dealt with on their report in full exchequer, where the collectors either received their quittance or stood charged with a balance which it was left for the sheriff to recover from them in due course.®

Both collectors usually appeared at the final account, either in person or by attorney. Of the forty-one groups of collectors of the twentieth of 1327 twenty-three appeared by both collectors in person, eight by one collector only (who presumably acted as attorney for the other), six by one collector and one attorney, three by two attorneys, and one by one attorney only, the other collector not being represented.* The formula recording the appointment of an attorney had remained unchanged from early in the reign of Edward II, and was as follows: ‘Devon, Nicholas de Kirkham, a collector of the fifteenth granted to

Edward, father of the present king, in the parliament at Lincoln, the twenty-ninth year [1301], puts in his place Richard de Cornwall to render

account to the king of the aforesaid fifteenth. By Master J. de Everdon.” Attorneys were usually appointed before one of the barons or an officer (e.g. the king’s remembrancer or the engrosser) deputed by him. They might also be appointed 2n pais (i.e. out of court) by commission.® The method of compelling attendance at the final account was the same

as that at the view. From 1334 onwards the auditors recorded their finding in a formal account or ‘compotus’ showing the final charge on the collectors, and this was completed in full exchequer by the addition of the credits due for cash and vouchers brought in and by a final striking of the balance or acquittal of the collectors as the case might be.’ Certain instances in 1334 and 1335 show that these allowances in full exchequer were made on the auditors’ report.® 1 Willard, op. cit., p. 302. 2 Ihid., pp. 303-307. 3 Ibid., pp. 339-340. 4L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 14, mm. 15-16.

5 K.R.M.R., No. 82, m. 77. / 6 Willard, op. cit., pp. 309-312. ’ Ibid., pp. 321-335. § Ibid., p. 316.

The Collectors of Lay Taxes 225 The final settlement was recorded on the roll of the lord treasurer’s remembrancer and a summarized report of the whole account was made up as part of the great roll or pipe roll, though it eventually came to be filed separately, first as the series known as the foreign roll and ultimately

in a separate series of enrolled accounts (subsidies). After 1334 the account thus enrolled was copied word for word as far as the end of the charge on the collectors from the compotus already described.1. The general form was as follows: “The account of Peter de Loryng, one of the taxers and collectors of the

aforesaid twentieth granted by the laity in the county of Bedford, by himself and Henry de la Legh, the other taxer and collector of the same twentieth, by two writs patent of the king. “They render account of £469 6s. 103d. of the twentieth of moveable goods of the earls, barons, and other men of the community of the whole county aforesaid, as is contained in the roll of parcels which they have de-

livered in the treasury. And of £12 9s. 44d. of the like twentieth of moveable goods of burgesses and others of the borough of Bedford within the same county, as is contained in the same place. Sum, £481 16s. 23d. ‘In the treasury £470 in five tallies. And to the same collectors for their mises and expenses £12. And they owe £8 0s. 3d. ‘They render account of the same debt. They have paid it in the treasury.

‘And they are quit.” The first section of the account named the taxers and collectors in full, described the tax collected, and named the county or other district concerned. The second stated the charge on the collectors, i.e., the sum receivable by them, deducting (in some cases) the amount pardoned by virtue of the instructions or by general writs. The third stated the sums | accounted for by the collectors, either in cash or vouchers, or as allowed by writs of supersedeas, or as expenses. The balance was either accounted

for at once, or transferred to the county account in the great roll for collection by the sheriff.* If the balance due was large, it might be necessary to require security

from the collectors for its payment.‘ In other cases the sum due might be assigned to a creditor, who was left to recover it from the collectors.® Defaulting collectors were committed to the custody of the marshal of the 1 Willard, op. cit., pp. 320-321. 2 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 14, m. 15d. 3 Willard, op. cit., pp. 319-320. 4 L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 127 (Norfolk). 5 Ibid. and m. 116d. (Hereford).

226 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 exchequer, and eventually, if they failed to make arrangements for payment within a few days, to the Fleet prison.! As a rule, the accounts were cleared within a year and a few months of the appointment of the collectors. Thus, of the collectors of the twentieth of 1327, nine groups accounted in 2 Edward III, twenty-one in 3 Edward III, two in 4 Edward ITI, and one in 15 Edward IIJ.2. On the other

hand the account might be long deferred. Henry de Threlkeld and Robert Lengleys, collectors of the twentieth and fifteenth of 1313 in West-

morland, never sent in any rolls at all because of the disturbed state of

the county due to the war with Scotland. The matter dragged on till both collectors were dead. Finally in 1332 two men were sent to West-

morland to inquire. They found that Bruce’s army had so disturbed the county in 1313 that no assessment could then be made; and the exchequer released the executors and sons of the deceased collectors from their hability.® As the liability of the collectors was fixed at a definite sum by the audit

and final account, the arrears could be, and were collected by the sheriff by means of the usual process of the exchequer.‘

The total yield of the taxes, up to the date when the total became fixed, was as follows: 1327 (twentieth), £25,438 2s. 34d.; 1332 (fifteenth and tenth) £34,295 17s. 24d.; 1334 (fifteenth and tenth) £37,429 18s. 04d. From these figures must be deducted about 2% for expenses and about

13% for exemptions and uncollected balances. The expenses of administration, 1.e. office expenses, messengers, legal process, and so forth, cannot be put at even a conjectural figure.’ 1 Willard, Parl. Taxes, pp. 332-333.

2 The audits are in L.T.R.M.R., Nos. 100-102, That for London in No. 113, Easter, m. 7d. 3 L.T.R.M.R., No. 86, m. 178; K.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 243d. 4 Willard, op. cit., pp. 336-337. 5 Ibid., pp. 345-847.




DWARD III presented to the English clergy four requests for subK sidies during the first decade of his reign. Three were granted and one was refused. The first was placed before the clergy who came to the parliament summoned to meet at Lincoln on 15 September 1327.1. The clergy from the province of York declined to reply, because they were not compelled to appear or to answer outside their province. The clergy

of Canterbury wished to deliberate their response in convocation.? A week later the archbishop of York summoned a provincial council to con-

vene at York on 12 October. On the next day he announced that the clergy of his diocese had conceded a tenth of their ecclesiastical goods and

of their temporalities annexed to spiritualities, according to the most recent valuation, for the defense of the church and the realm.* It was to be paid in equal portions on 2 February and 24 June 1328. The grant

was dependent upon several conditions. The agents of the king, the queen or the magnates were to seize no clerical property without the con-

sent of the owners. If the pope should grant to the king any portion of the goods of the clergy within the year, the clerical subsidy was to be superseded. ‘The ecclesiastical benefices and property already destroyed by the Scots, not previously assessed anew since the destruction, and any which might be damaged while the tenth was current, were to be given

a revised valuation. The tax, moreover, was to be collected by those 1 Writs of summons issued 7 August (Foedera, Record Commission ed., 816-869, ii, 712; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 216). The writs for payment of expenses were issued 23 September (C.C.R. 1827-1330, 225).

2 Historical Papers and Letters from the Northern Registers, ed. J. Raine (Rolls Series, London, 1873), p. 345. 3 Knighton, Chronicon, ed. J. R. Lumby (Rolls Series, London, 1889-1895), 1, 446. * Northern Registers, pp. 344-346, 349, 350.


228 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 deputed for the purpose by the bishops... Though the archbishop was careful to specify that the concession was made by the clergy of his diocese alone, the bishops and clergy of Durham and Carlisle had been cited to attend the assembly where the tenth was voted, and the officials of the exchequer chose to regard the grant as the act of convocation.?. Accordingly they sent writs of collection to the bishops of Durham and Carlisle. Both replied that the tax had not been granted in their dioceses and refused to appoint collectors. Since no receipts from these dioceses were

recorded by the exchequer, it may be concluded that the view of the bishops prevailed. The clergy of the province of Canterbury were summoned to hold their synod in the church of the abbey of Leicester on

4 November.* On that day they granted to the king a tenth of their ecclesiastical goods and benefices to be paid one-half on 12 May and one-

half on 1 November 1328.5 This concession was also subject to conditions,® but the only one of which I have found record was that the collectors should be appointed by the diocesans.’ Strained relations with France caused the king to ask for a second sub-

sidy in 1330. The request was placed before the clergy attending a parliament which met at Winchester on 11 March. They declined to act because the archbishop was absent and because they preferred to discuss the question in a separate clerical assembly. The king consequently ordered the archbishop of Canterbury to hold a convocation of his province on 16 April. When the clergy assembled at Lambeth in answer to an archiepiscopal summons issued in accordance with the royal mandate, two of the royal officials set forth the king’s needs.* The clergy refused to pay a subsidy for four reasons.1° It was commonly said that the pope had already burdened the clergy for this cause more than they could easily

support. This rumor had a solid foundation in fact. On 3 January John XXII had commanded the English clergy to pay for four years a tenth which was to be divided equally between himself and the king, 1L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16. 2L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16; K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 182. 3 K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 247. 4D—D. Wilkins, Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae, (London, 1737), 11, £38.

5 Knighton, Chronicon, 1, 447; ‘Annales Paulini’ in Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II, ed. W. Stubbs (Rolls Series, London, 1882-1883), 1, 338; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16; L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 19. 6 Ann. Paulini, p. 348.

7L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16. 8 Register of Ralph of Shrewsbury, ed. T. S. Holmes (Somerset Record Soc., London, 1896), p. 32; Foedera, 11, 783; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 180. ° Foedera, 11, 787; Ann. Paulini, p. 348.

10 Stated in Ann. Paulina, p. 348.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 229 though the bull had not been published in England when convocation met.!_ Good precedent existed for a refusal to pay concurrent subsidies.’ Laymen had recently granted a subsidy apparently sufficient for the pur-

pose. A canon of the council of the Lateran forbade the clergy under such circumstances to burden the church for the same purpose. The clergy had recently denied a papal request for a voluntary subsidy, assigning as a reason the oppressions suffered by the English church. The king had collected the tenth granted by them at Leicester in 1327 without

regard for the contingent conditions, although his representatives had promised to fulfil them.

The third attempt of the king to obtain a clerical subsidy was begun in 1333. On 13 September he addressed writs to the archbishops of Canterbury and York directing them to convoke their respective convocations on 15 November to discuss the concession of a subsidy to be applied to the heavy expenses incurred in the recent war with the Scots.*’ The date was repeatedly postponed,°* and it was not until 19 September 1334 that the clergy of the province of Canterbury met in provincial council at St

Paul’s to consider the request. There they authorized the payment to the king of a tenth of their ecclesiastical goods and benefices for the de-

fense of the kingdom.’ It was to be paid in two equal portions on 2 February and 25 June 1335, and to be collected by those deputed for the purpose by the bishops.* On 19 October the northern convocation took similar action. Its only departures from the example of Canterbury were 1 Literae Cantuarienses, ed. J.B. Sheppard (Rolls Series, London, 1887-1889), 1, 322-333; K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 122d; Brit. Mus. Cottonian MS., Vesp. E XXI, fol. 77d. 2 W. E. Lunt, ‘Collectors’ Accounts,’ E.H.R., xxx1 (1916), 103-105. 3 A canon enacted by the third Lateran council of 1179 and subsequently modified by the fourth Lateran council of 1215 (Corpus Juris Canonici, Decretal. Gregor. 1x, lib. iii, tit. xlix, c.iv, vil). On

the interpretation of these canons see, Lunt, ‘Consent of the English Lower Clergy to Taxation, 1166-1216,’ Facts and Factors in Economic History by former students of Edwin F. Gay (Cambridge, 1932), pp. 66-68, 84-86; ‘Vita Edwardi Secundi,’ Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward IT, II, 225. 4 O.C.R. 1333-1337, 178. 5 [bid., 177, 184, 314, 316, 320; Foedera, 11, 871, 887, 891.

6 This is the date given in the writ of summons (Wilkins, Concilia, 11, 575, 576; Cottonian MS., Vesp. E XXI, fol. 100d, 101). It is also the date assigned for the opening by two chroniclers (Ann. Paulini, p. 362; Adam Murimuth, Continuatio Chronicarum, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series, London, 1889, pp. 72, 73). The bishop of Bath and Wells, who was in London, appointed proctors on 21 September to represent him in convocation on 26 September (Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 177). The officials of the exchequer placed the date of the grant on 15 September (L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 18). 7 John de Grandisson, bishop of Exeter, said that the tenth was granted because the resources of laymen were not sufficient to meet the need (Register of John de Grandisson, ed. F. C. HingstonRandolph, London, 1894—1899, 11, '789).

8 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 18.

230 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 to fix 24 June as the date for the second payment and to make the grant dependent upon the conditions which had been attached to that of 1327.1 The bishop of Carlisle consulted the bishop of Durham about the possibility of again relieving their clergy from the payment of the tenth,? but on this occasion his effort was without success.? The next appeal of Edward III for clerical aid was considered by the clergy in 1336. On 11 March the convocation of Canterbury, meeting at St Paul’s in London, voted a tenth of their ecclesiastical goods and benefices for the defense of the kingdom.* A few days later the king informed the archbishop of York of this action and asked him to seek from his clergy a similar grant.5 By writs issued on 5 April the archbishop summoned his provincial council,’ which, on 6 May, followed the example

set by Canterbury.’ Before the year was out both convocations met again to debate further financial assistance to the king. The convocation of Canterbury, summoned by archiepiscopal writs of 26 August,® met at

Leicester. On 30 September it conceded a second tenth.® The convocation of York, on 21 October, did likewise.!° The two tenths were to run successively, the first payment of each year becoming due on 2 February, and the second on 24 June.

Both tenths were subject to conditions. The convocation of York specified that no royal agent should occupy or enter the premises of the clergy of the northern province or take any of their goods for the royal household without their consent. Both convocations declared that the sexennial tenth imposed by John X XIT in 1333 must be revoked in order to make their grants operative. The royal and the papal tenths were not to be levied concurrently. If the revocation should be made, whatever had been collected, or was due but uncollected at the time, was to be assigned to the king in place of the biennial tenth which they were imposing upon themselves.% By revocation the clergy meant more than the mere suspension of the collection of any unexpired remainder of the sexennial tenth. Suspension would have given them no right to dispose of the pro1.,.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 19. ? Historical Manuscripts Commission, Ninth Report, app., p. 187. 3L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 19. 4 Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 331; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 20; Wilkins, Concilia, 11, 581. 5 Foedera,, 11, 935; C.C.R. 1333-18387, 660.

6 Historical Manuscripts Commission, Ninth Report, app., p. 187; Wilkins, Concilia, 11, 583, 584. 7L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 22; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 176. 8 Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 271; Wilkins, Concilia, 11, 582.

9 Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 331; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 20. 10 1,,.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 22; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 176. 1 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 176. 2 Ihid.; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 20, 22; Adam Murimuth, Continuatio, p. 78.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 231 ceeds collected before it became effective.1 Only if the papal mandate imposing the sexennial tenth should be revoked entirely, would the money

collected under the mandate revert to the original payers and become theirs to do with as they chose. The condition with regard to the sexennial tenth was fulfilled. This tenth was imposed originally by John XXII, on 26 July 1333, to finance a crusade appointed to begin on 1 August 1336. Payments were to be made twice a year on the same dates as those later established by the English clergy for the biennial subsidy. Each bishop was to collect the tenth in his diocese, and the proceeds of the first two years he was to keep on deposit in his cathedral church for the use of residents of his diocese who should go on the crusade.2. For some reason the English clergy de-

ferred the execution of the mandate. They were entitled to some delay by the terms of the bull, which authorized postponement if the tenth should run concurrently with another papal tenth. In such case, moreover, the tenth was to be levied only for enough years in addition to the years of the current tenth to make a total of six. Since a quadrennial tenth was being collected in England when the bull was issued,‘ a tenth was due from the English clergy for only two additional years. The quadrennial tenth came to an end, however, in 1334, and still the mandate of 1333 did

not become operative. On 31 January 1335 Benedict XII ordered its observance,® but the English bishops did not appoint deputy collectors until December 1335.6 Thus the two years of the sexennial tenth owed by the English clergy began to be collected in 1336,’ the same year that the two convocations granted the biennial tenth to the king. On 18 December 1336, the pope revoked the bull of 1333, and ordered the bishops to restore the funds collected to those who had paid them. On 21 March 1337, the archbishop of Canterbury announced the revocation and ordered his suffragans to proceed with the levy of the biennial tenth granted to 1 For a precedent see Lunt, ‘Consent of the English Lower Clergy to Taxation during the Reign of

Henry III,’ Persecution and Liberty: Essays in Honor of George Lincoln Burr (New York, 1931), p. 143. 2 Calendar of Papal Registers, Letters (London, 1895), 11, 369; K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 161, 161d. 3 Cal. Pap. Regs., Letters, 11, 369; K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 161, 161d. 4 Above, pp. 228-229.

5 Cal. Pap. Regs., Letters, 11, 523; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 161d. What appears to have been the executory letter of this Bull was not issued by the archbishop of Canterbury until 2 September (Reg. of Grandisson, 11, 802).

6 14 and 20 December (Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 251; British Museum, Royal Appendix 88, fol. 6). 7 On 21 April 1336 the dean and chapter of Exeter had received the proceeds of the first instalment only (Reg. of Grandisson, 11, 811). 8 Benoit XII (Lettres Closes, Patentes et Curiales se rapportant ala France, ed. G. Daumet, Nos. 251,

252; Cal. Pap. Regs., Letters, 1, 534). Adam Murimuth says erroneously that the pope expected what had previously been collected to be delivered to him (Continuatio Chronicarum, p. 78).

232 The English Government at Work, 1327-1236 the king in 1336.1. A few days later the royal writs of collection began to

be issued.2, Although the papal revocation was dated before the third payment of half a tenth was due on the sexennial tenth, it was not executed in England until after 2 February 1337. Consequently, when the grant of the biennial tenth actually became effective, the taxpayers had to pay only one more half-tenth in order to complete their quotas. 2. APPOINTMENT OF THE COLLECTORS

The writs of collection were issued under the great seal to each bishop or guardian of the spiritualities of a bishopric. Those for the first tenth, which were dated 28 November 1327,° and those for the second, which were dated 24 October 1334, were alike in form. The writ recited the terms of the grant made by the convocation of which the bishop was a member and ordered him to depute suitable men for levying and collecting the tenth in his diocese and for answering for the proceeds to the king at the dates established by convocation for payment of the tenth by the

taxpayers to the collectors. It also required the bishop to notify the treasurer and barons of the exchequer of the names of his appointees without delay.‘ Variations from the practice and form followed in these writs appeared

in those ordering the collection of the tenth granted in 1336. For this tenth two sets of writs were issued. Those of the first set, which bore the date 1 April 1337,5 stated the terms of the grant, announced that Benedict XII had revoked the sexennial tenth, and commanded the bishops to depute fit collectors of what remained to be collected of the biennial tenth authorized by the convocations. The deputies were to answer to the king both for the sums levied and for those still to be levied. The writs of the second series, which were issued on 4 June,® repeated the

order to appoint deputies, but limited their responsibility for deliveries to the exchequer to that portion of the biennial tenth which remained to be collected. The duty of delivering and accounting for the portion of the tenth due before 4 June was assigned in these writs to the deputies 1 Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 301. The king had news of the revocation as early as 22 February (C.C.R. 1337-1339, 17). 2 On 1 April (Reg. of Shrewsbury, pp. 331, 332; K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 176, 176d).

3 The writ to the bishop of Hereford was dated 24 December. ‘4 L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 19; K.R.M.R., No. 104, mm. 132, 184; K.R.M.R., No. 111, mm. 156, 155d; Foedera, 11, 897; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 187; Salisbury Diocesan Registry, Reg. of Mortivall, 1, fol.

292; Lincoln Diocesan Registry, Reg. V (Burghersh), fol. 407, 411d, 486d; Worcester Diocesan Registry, Reg. of Montacute, pt. 2, fol. 8d. 5 Reg. of Shrewsbury, pp. 331, 332; Lincoln Diocesan Registry, Reg. V (Burghersh), fol. 549d; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 176. ’ K.R.M.R., No. 113, m, 279,

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 233 who had been the collectors of that portion, and a date was set in Trinity

term for the performance of the task. The bishops were instructed to certify to the exchequer the names of these deputies. List oF CoLLEcTORS!—PROVINCE OF CANTERBURY

DIOCESE 1327 1334 1336 St Asaph Ab. and con. of Aberconway Archd. of St Asaph and Archd. of St Asaph and rector of Llangadfan Richard de Oswaldestre, Matthew de Trefvawr and David Loyd, canons of St Asaph

Bangor Dean and ch. of Bangor Ab.andcon.of Aberconway Pr. of Priestholme (Penmon)

Bath and Ab. of Glastonbury Except archd. Taunton: Pr. of Bath

Wells Pr. of Bruton

Archd. Taunton: Pr. of Taunton

Canterbury Ab. and con. of Faversham Ab.andcon.of Faversham Ab. and con. of FavDeanery of Shoreham: Pr. ersham and con. of Rochester

Deaneries of Pagham, Southmalling, Croyden, Risborough, Bocking and

St Mary of the Arches, London: Pr. and con. of Leeds

Chichester Ab. and con. of Battle Pr. and con. of Boxgrave Ab. and con. of Battle Coventry and Archd. Chester: Ab. and Archds. Chester, Derby, Ab. and con. of Burton on

Lichfield con. of St Werburgh Shropshire and Stafford: Trent Archd. Coventry: Pr. and Ab. and con. of Burton

con. of Coventry on Trent

Archd. Derby: Ab. and con. Archd. of Coventry: Pr. of Pr. and con. of Kenil-

of Darley Kenilworth worth

Archd. Shropshire: Pr. and con. of St Peter, Shrews-


Archd. Stafford: Pr. and con. of Stone?

St Davids Archd. Brecknock: Pr. of Pr. of Brecknock Pr. of Brecknock Brecknock

Kidwelly marthen

Archd. Caermarthen: Pr. of Pr. of Caermarthen Pr. and con. of CaerArchd. Cardigan: Pr. of Ab. of St Dogmaels Ab. of St Dogmaels Cardigan

Archd. St David’s: Pr. of Pr. of Haverford Pr. of Haverford Pembroke } Compiled from L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16-20d; K.R.M.R., No. 104, mm. 132,

247; K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 155, 155d; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 176, 176d; L.T.R. M.R., No. 100, m. 19,

* For the first payment they answered to the bishop, who answered to the exchequer; for the second they answered to the exchequer (K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 32).

234 The English Government at Work, 1327-1836

DiocESE 1327 13834 1336

Ely Pr. of Ely Pr., sub-prior and sacris- Pr. and ch. of Ely tan of Ely

Exeter Archd. Cornwall: Pr. of Archds. Cornwall and Dean, treasurer and ch.

Launceston Barnstaple: Ab. of Hart- of Exeter land

Archd. Exeter and Barn- Archds. Exeter and Totstaple: Pr. of St Nicho- nes: Archd. of Totnes las’, Exeter

Archd. Totnes: Pr. of Plympton

Hereford Ab. of Dore Ab. and con. of Wigmore! _ Pr. of St Guthlac, Hereford

Lincoln Archds. Bedford, Bucking- Ab. of Eynsham Ab. and con. of Osney

ham, Oxford, Northamp- and pr. and con. of

ton, and deanery of Hert- Daventry ford, except deanery of Rutland: Ab. of Osney

Archds. Leicester, Lincoln Ab. of Bardney Pr. of St Katherine’s

and Stowe and deanery of without Lincoln

Rutland: Pr. and con. of St Katherine’s without Lincoln

Llandaff Pr. of Ewenny Bishop of Llandaff, princi- Bishop of Llandaff

Ab. of Tintern pal; rectors of NewtonNottage and Bryngwyn, deputies

London Archds. Colchester and Es- Pr. and con. of St Barthol- Pr. and con. of St Barsex: Ab. and con. of Wal- omew’s, Smithfield tholomew’s, Smithfield den Archds. London and Middlesex: Pr. and con. of St Bartholomew’s, Smithfield

Norwich Pr. and con. of Norwich Pr. of Norwich Pr. and con. of Norwich Rochester Pr. and ch. of Rochester Pr. and ch. of Rochester = Pr. and con. of Rochester

Salisbury Archds. Berks and Wilts: Ab. and con. of Reading Ab. and con. of Reading Ab. and con. of Reading

Archds. Dorset and Salis- Ab.andcon.ofSherborne Ab. of Sherborne

bury: Ab. and con. of Cerne

Winchester Archd. Surrey: Ab. andcon. Ab. of Waverley Ab. and con. of Waverley of Chertsey

Archd. Winchester: Ab. and Pr. and ch. of Winchester con. of Hyde

1 The prior and convent of Wenlock were first appointed and subsequently superseded by the abbot and convent of Wigmore.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 235

DI0cESE 1327 1334 1336

Worcester Archd. Gloucester: Ab. and Pr. of Llanthony near Pr.and con. of Llanthony

con. of St Peter, Glou- Gloucester near Gloucester (first cester year) and ab. and con. of St Peter, Gloucester (second year)

Archd. Worcester: Pr. and Pr. of Great Malvern Pr. and ch. of Worcester con. of Great Malvern PROVINCE or YORK

Carlisle None Pr. of Carlisle Vicar of Edenhall and rector of Castle Carrock. The bishop of

Carlisle accounted to the exchequer.

Durham None Archd. Durham: Pr. and Pr. and con. of Durham con. of Durham

| Vicar of Church of St Archd. Northumberland:

Nicholas’, Newcastle on Tyne

York Except archd. Nottingham: Archds. Cleveland and Ab. and con. of St ab. and con. St Mary’s, York: Ab. and con. of St Mary’s, York

York Mary’s, York

Archd. Nottingham: Pr. of Archd. East Riding: Pr. Pr. and con. of Kirkham

Thurgarton and con. of Kirkham

Archd. Nottingham: Pr. Pr. and con. of Thurgar-

and con. of Thurgarton ton Archd. Richmond: Ab.and_ Ab. and con. of Jorvaulx, con. of Jorvaulx

The bishops generally notified the exchequer of the names of their appointees within a reasonable time after the issue of the writs of collection.!

When undue delays occurred, a second writ was sent to the dilatory bishops, ordering them to make their returns before a prescribed date.? The writs for the first tenth were answered much more slowly than those for the later subsidies. On 18 May 1328, six days after the first half of the tenth was due from the province of Canterbury, writs were addressed to seven bishops, directing them to inform the exchequer of their appointments within a fortnight after 11 June. All obeyed the second writ except the bishop of Lichfield, who did not certify the names of his deputies until Michaelmas. The bishop of Hereford, to whom no second writ was 1 For the returns see p. 233, n. 1 and Reg. of Shrewsbury, pp. 181, 234, 235.

2 K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 247; K.R.M.R., No. 111, mm. 155, 155d; Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 234. The second writ for the second tenth was dated 24 February 1335.

236 The English Government at Work, 1327-1836 addressed, did not make his return on the original writ until 25 January,

1329. The writs of collection for the second tenth were answered so much more promptly that second writs were dispatched to only three bishops, and those of 1 April 1337 had to be followed with no supplementary writs. Delays of the returns did not necessarily indicate that the negligent bishops had also failed to appoint their deputies. The collection of the tenth began on time in the dioceses of several of the bishops whose tardiness in the certification of their appointments caused the issue of second writs... Normally, however, the bishops appear to have com-

missioned their deputies at about the same time that they made their returns to the exchequer.’ The bishops selected their deputies mainly from the religious of their respective dioceses. Abbots and priors with or without their convents performed most of the work of collection. Probably one reason for their preference was the safety of the places for deposit of the money which the monks had at their disposal. Four bishops made themselves immediately responsible to the exchequer for the collection of one or another of the tenths in their respective dioceses, but they did not perform the actual labor. Though they certified themselves as collectors and accounted to the exchequer, they appointed deputies who dealt with the taxpayers. In all other instances the deputies appointed by the bishops were responsible directly to the exchequer. Two of these were deans and chapters, two were archdeacons, one was a rector, one was a vicar, and one was an archdeacon and three canons of the cathedral chapter serving jointly. All of the other deputies were drawn from the religious. Two of the deputies acted as collectors of all three tenths, eighteen of two, and forty-one of only one.’ The greater part of the deputies had had previous experience in the collection of similar taxes. Some of the bishops, indeed, chose their

deputies on account of their experience. Many of the deputies had served as collectors of subsidies granted to Edward II by the clergy,® and

about two-thirds of them had been deputy collectors of tenths granted to Edward II by the pope.® Often their experience extended back over a series of tenths.’ 1 Receipt Roll, No. 274, m. 9; No. 279, m. 6. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 155; Clerical Subsidy, 63/3, writ attached to m. 3; Reg. of Shrewsbury, . 332.

. 3 [,.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16-22d; K.R.M.R., No. 104, mm. 132, 247; K.R.M.R., No. 111, mm. 155, 155d; K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 176, 176d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 19. 4 Lichfield Diocesan Registry, Reg. of Northburgh, fol. 75d; Lincoln Diocesan Registry, Reg. V (Burghersh), fol. 407. 5 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 3—7d. § Tbid., mm. 1-2d, 8d—15d; Lambeth Palace Library, Reg. of Reynolds, fol. 226d. 7 E.g., Lunt, Papal Revenues in the Middle Ages, 1, 282; Regs. of John de Sandale and Rigaud de Asserio, ed. F. J. Baigent (London, 1897), pp. 45, 46, 52.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 237 The king raised objection to the appointments made by the bishops in only one instance. In 1334 the bishop of Hereford named the prior and convent of Wenlock as his deputy.!. The king protested the appointment, because the prior was alien and dative.” If the allegation was true,’ the prior could not hold property in his own right, enter into valid agree-

ments without the consent of the abbot of La Charité-sur-Loire, the French house upon which Wenlock was dependent, or be impleaded with-

out the abbot.4 Under such circumstances it would obviously be diffcult for the exchequer to hold the prior responsible. The king ordered the bishop to dismiss the prior and to appoint another in his stead. The bishop substituted the abbot and convent of Wigmore.® The incident indicates that the king kept a negative control of the appointments made by the bishops. The bishops commissioned their deputies by letters addressed to the appointees.® In sucha letter the bishop first recited the terms of the grant of the tenth, sometimes by quoting the writ of collection.’ He then deputed the addressee to levy and collect the tenth in accordance with the terms of the grant in the whole or a specified part of the diocese, conferring upon him for the purpose canonical powers of coercion. In a subsequent

clause he ordered the deputy, by virtue of the obedience owed to the bishop and sometimes under penalty of canonical distraint, to levy and

collect the tenth, at the dates established for its payment, from the classes of clergy and clerical property specified, or, as the bishop of Lichfield put it, ‘from any ecclesiastical persons from whom tenths of this kind

have customarily been collected and levied previously.’ At the same dates he was to pay the receipts to the exchequer. The bishop further required from the deputy within a brief interval of each date fixed for a payment a report of what he had done in the premises. It was to include 1K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 155. The date of the letters by which the bishop notified the exchequer of the appointment, as given there, was 10 January 1335. The king protested the appointment, however, by letters of 30 December 1334 (C.C.R. 13383-1337, 291). 2 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 291.

3 C. W. New classified Wenlock as a conventual priory (History of the Alien Priories in England. Menasha, Wis., 1916, p. 90). 4 New, op. cit., pp. 37-39. 5 After he had first named the prior of Leominster. Why this first substitution did not stand is not

apparent (K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 155; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 18d; Receipt Roll, No. 326, mm. 6, 11, 14; Receipt Roll, No. 329, m. 4). 6 The exchequer usually — though not invariably — noted the possession of such a commission by each deputy (L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16-22d). 7 Copies of commissions for the first tenth are dated 6 February 1328, for the second 6, 24 and 26

November 1334, and for the third, 19 April and 9 May 1337 (Lincoln Diocesan Registry, Reg. V (Burghersh), fol. 406d, 407, 412d, 486d, 487, 549d; Lichfield Diocesan Registry, Reg. of Northburgh, fol. 75d; Worcester Diocesan Registry, Reg. of Montacute, fol. 8d; Clerical Subsidy, 63/3, writ attached to m. 3; Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 332).

238 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 the names of taxpayers who had not paid their quotas and indication of the processes which the deputy had instituted against them. The power of canonical coercion delegated by the bishop might extend to excommunication, interdict, suspension and sequestration.! The exact extent of the responsibility of the deputies is not defined in contemporary documents beyond the shadow of a doubt. In the records of the exchequer and the chancery they are commonly designated as collectors.2, In these documents, however, a deputy is occasionally styled a sub-collector.2 This nomenclature implies that deputies acted merely as the agents of the bishops. The usage of the terms was loose. In a writ issued by the exchequer the abbot and convent of Dore were called collectors in one line and sub-collectors in another.4’ The designation, in the

record of an audit, of the abbot and convent of Aberconway as the collectors deputed by the bishop of St Asaph, the principal collector,® helps to

clarify the situation. The writs of collection ordered the bishops to depute collectors of the tenth, and the collectors nominated by the bishops were commonly described in the records of the exchequer as deputed by the bishops. Manifestly the ecclesiastics whom the bishop commissioned to collect the subsidies were his deputies, despite their designation as collectors. Though the deputies accounted to the exchequer, the responsibility of the bishops for the collection of the tenth did not cease when they

had made the appointments and notified the exchequer of them. The king sometimes ordered the bishops to report on the status of the collection of a subsidy in their respective dioceses,’ and in 1337 the sheriffs were ordered to distrain several bishops to have their collectors before the ex-

chequer for accounting, or to render the accounts themselves.? The bishops sometimes intervened to assist their deputies,’ to give them orders,’® or even to alter arrangements made by them.!! They also required their deputies to account to them as well as to the exchequer.” John de Grandisson, the bishop of Exeter, who was somewhat of a stickler 1 Reg. of Grandisson, 11, 790; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 101.

2 Passim in K.R.M.R., L.T.R.M.R., Receipt Rolls, and L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, cited above and below; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 269, 311, 312, 347, 354; C.P.R. 1327-1330, 254. 3 C.C.R. 1827-1330, 390, 539. 4 Reg. Thome de Charlton, ed. W. W. Capes (Hereford, 1913), p. 45.

5 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 17. 6 Jbid.. mm. 16—-22d; K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 182; K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 155; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 176. 7 C.C.R. 13827-1330, 390; Reg. of Grandisson, 1, 89, No. 7. * K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 279. 9 A.C. Heales, Records of Merton Priory (London, 1898), p. 228; Reg. of Grandisson, 11, 789, 790. 107|.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 18d—20, 21, 21d. 1 Eitterae Cantuarienses, 11, 78-80. 12 Above, p. 237; Heales, Records of Merton, p. 228.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 239 for legal forms, seems to have defined the true relationship of the deputies whom he had appointed to collect the tenth granted in 1334, when he told the clergy of his diocese that convocation had authorized each bishop to enforce payment of the tenth by himself and by the sub-collectors to be

appointed by him for this purpose.! The deputies ordinarily performed all the work of collecting the money and accounting for it to the exchequer.

Under normal circumstances responsibility was actually theirs. Yet their authority was only delegated to them by the bishops, who retained the ultimate responsibility. 3. THe Work oF COLLECTION

The first duty of the collectors was to notify the taxpayers of their obligations. This was customarily done by sending an announcement to the archdeacons within the collectorate and ordering them to make it known to the clergy subject to the tax within their respective jurisdictions. If there were clergy in the collectorate not subject to the jurisdiction of the archdeacons, such as a dean and chapter, additional notices were sent

to them. The one notice of the sort issued by the collectors of any of the three tenths, which I happen to have discovered, is of the latter type.’ Since its form is similar to that of several letters addressed to archdeacons for the same purpose by deputy collectors of papal tenths between 1303 and 1320, it may be assumed that the general practice of the collectors of the clerical subsidies granted between 1327 and 1336 was to inform the taxpayers of the imposition of the tax by similar means. This typical notice was addressed by the abbot of St Mary’s, York, to the chamberlain of the dean and chapter of York on 10 January 1335. It recited the commission by which the archbishop of York, on 24 November

1334, had ordered them to collect in the archdeaconries of York and Cleveland the tenth granted by the convocation of York on 19 October. The commission stated the nature of the income from which the tenth was to be paid and the dates at which the two equal payments of the tenth were to be rendered. The abbot ordered the chamberlain to publish the commission to the dean and chapter and to any other clergy sub-

ject to the tenth in the jurisdiction of the dean and chapter within the two archdeaconries, and to notify them to pay the amounts due on the prescribed dates under penalty of ecclesiastical censures. On 31 January 1 Reg. of Grandisson, 11, '789, 790.

2 Clerical Subsidy, 63/3, writ attached to end of m. 3.

3 Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, 18/5794, 72/12338; Salisbury Diocesan Registry, Register of Mortivall, 1, fol. 87d; The Liber Albus of the Priory of Worcester, ed. J. M. Wilson, Worcestershire Historical Society, p. 30, No. 464; p. 39, No. 586.

240 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 the chamberlain, who was ordered to certify the action taken by him upon the abbot’s mandate, replied that he had convoked the dean and chapter

and others of their jurisdiction and brought to their attention the contents of the abbot’s notice. If the abbot’s letter had been addressed to an archdeacon, it would have been promulgated by being read in a full meeting of the clergy of the archdeaconry.1 The taxpayers were required to render their payments to the collector at his residence or at such place as the collector might designate.2, When the king, on 15 November 1334, ordered the collectors of the recently granted tenth in several dioceses ‘to travel with all possible diligence in asking for and receiving the said tenth from the men of religion’ and to transmit the money to the exchequer with all possible speed,’ the procedure was manifestly exceptional. The king was in such need of money for a campaign in Scotland that he was seeking to anticipate from some

of the heaviest payers the amount of the tenth due from them by the terms of the grant on 2 February 1335. On 11 November he wrote to many monasteries requesting them to pay the tenth immediately.’ It was only to these taxpayers that the deputies were expected to go for the purpose of collecting the tenth. The reversal of the ordinary method of collection on this occasion was due to the exigencies of the king’s financial situation. When a taxpayer came to render his payment, the collector established the amount due by means of the valuation of clerical income which had been made in 1291 and 1292 for the tenth imposed on the clergy by Pope Nicholas IV. With a few exceptions the items charged by the exchequer

against the collectors, with which they in turn charged the taxpayers, were those found in the official copy of this valuation preserved in the royal treasury. This copy was made at the exchequer in 1294, when the king demanded from one of the principal collectors of the papal tenth for which the valuation had been compiled that the rolls of the valuation be sent to the exchequer to be used for the levy of the half granted by the clergy. ‘Transcriptions of these rolls were then supplied to the collectors 1 Such, at least, was the practice followed when a papal tenth was collected in 1820 (Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, 72/12338). 2¥F. R. Chapman, Sacrist Rolls of Ely (Cambridge, 1907), 1, 71, 82; Cartularium Monasteri de Rameseia, ed. W. H. Hart and P. A. Lyons (Rolls Series, London, 1884-1893), 11, 252. Though these examples constitute slender evidence for the period from 1328 to 1337, the custom was well established in the previous reign (J. C. Blomfield, Deanery of Bicester, London, 1882-1894, 11, 152; Liber Albus of Worcester, p. 89, No. 586; Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, 18/5794;

72/1238). 3 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 354, 355. 4 Ibid., 355-358. 5 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16—22d.

6 K.R.M.R., No. 68, m. 68d.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies Q41 of the half, who also employed them for the collection of a tenth granted

to the king in the next year. These transcripts, which were returned to the exchequer by the collectors, constituted the greater part of the copy of the valuation employed subsequently at the exchequer for the purpose of establishing the amounts owed by the collectors of clerical subsidies.1

By 1327 this valuation had been revised in many particulars. The most extensive change was due to a new valuation of the income of the clergy of the dioceses of Carlisle and Durham and of some places in the diocese of York made in 1318. The new assessment was rendered necessary by the devastation wrought by the Scots during invasions of these districts.2,_ Other individual items had been altered for a variety of reasons.®

During the first decade of the reign of Edward III changes continued to take place. For the levy of the first tenth a new valuation was made in a large part of the diocese of York. Much clerical property which had been laid waste by the Scots in this diocese had not been included in the new assessment of 1318. A large part of the destruction in Yorkshire, indeed, was done in 1322.4 The clergy of the diocese consequently made

their grant of 1327 dependent upon a revised valuation. The king, in accordance with this proviso, on 14 November 1327, ordered the archbishop of York to appoint trustworthy men to appraise clerical income in the archdeaconries of Cleveland and East Riding. On 22 December he made the mandate applicable to the whole diocese of York.6 The archbishop promptly named from the local clergy assessors for each of the archdeaconries of the diocese except Nottingham. They obtained 1 Clerical Subsidies, 67/2, 68/1-74. That this was the copy still used in the reign of Edward III is established by a reference to it made in the charge against the bishop of Lichfield for the tenth granted in 1327. Certain items in the charge were taken from a roll delivered in the treasury by John of Leicester, a canon of Kenilworth, in the name of the prior and convent, in the twenty-third year of the reign of Edward I, containing the assessment of certain benefices of small value. The roll

was attached to the roll of particulars of the assessment of the archdeaconries of Coventry and Stafford (K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 183). Without doubt this roll is now Clerical Subsidy, 68/4. In the memoranda roll the return is said to have been made 23 Edward I, but the scribe originally wrote “xxxlll’ and erased the first ‘x.’ The date 33 Edward I, given in the original roll, is correct, since the valuation of benefices assessed at 2 to 6 marks, which it contains, was made for the collection of a triennial tenth imposed by Boniface VIII in 1801 (W. E. Lunt, Valuation of Norwich, Oxford, 1926, p. 169, n. 5). ? Lunt, ‘Clerical Tenths,’ Haskins Anniversary Essays (New York, 1929), pp. 172, 173 3 E.g., Taxatio Ecclesiastica Angliae et Walliae auctoritate Nicholai IV (Record Com., London, 1802), pp. 37, 46, 65, 82, 101, 126, 127, 132, 206, 215, 253, 270, 277; Clerical Subsidy, 68/20; British Museum,

Harl. MS. 645, fol. 127d; Reg. Johannis de Pontissara, ed. C. Deedes (London, 1913-1914), 1, 197; J. Thorpe, Reg. Roffense (London, 1769), p. 389. *T. F. Tout, History of England, 1216-1377 (London, 1905), pp. 289, 290. 5 O.0.R. 1327-1330, 188. 6 Tiid., 191.

242 The English Government at Work, 1327-13836 information by the inquisition of residents of the various localities and made their returns to the archbishop during December, January and February.! In addition to these general writs, the king issued others in response to petitions of individual ecclesiastics asking for a revision of their assessments.?

The new valuation was used for the levy of all the clerical tenths granted between 1327 and 1336, though its employment for the first year of the biennial tenth, while it was still being levied by papal collectors in

accordance with a papal mandate, appears to have been of somewhat doubtful legality. It caused difficulties both for the taxpayers and for the collectors. In 1328 the abbot of Egleston sought remedy from the king because the collector, the abbot of St Mary’s, York, was attempting to exact the tenth from him, although the archbishop had certified in the new assessment that the goods of the petitioner had been so burned and

wasted by the Scots that they were insufficient for the support of the abbot and brothers, many of whom had been sent elsewhere, and that nothing had been found there to be assessed. On 6 August the king directed the treasurer and barons to view the certificate of the archbishop, and, if the abbot’s plea should there be confirmed, to discharge him from liability for the tenth.4 Though the abbot’s claim was substantiated by the archbishop’s return,® the officials of the exchequer did not obey the royal writ. Apparently the return was not accepted, for in 1333 the king, at the abbot’s petition, pardoned the abbot £3 due for his tenth.® In the assessment used by the collectors of the tenth granted in 1334, moreover, the income of the abbot of Egleston was valued at £30.7 Some other taxpayers experienced similar troubles,® and the collector himself had to petition the king to prevent the exchequer from charging him for the second tenth at the old rate.°® 1 The returns are preserved in Clerical Subsidy, 67/9, Nos. 21-25. The new valuation is printed in the Tazatio (pp. 322-329) from the copy used by the collectors of the subsidy granted in 1334 (Clerical Subsidy, 63/3). 2 Clerical Subsidy, 67/9, Nos. 1-20; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 280, 314, 325; Northern Registers, pp. 352354; Cartularium Abbatiae de Whiteby, ed. J. C. Atkinson, Surtees Society (Durham, 1879-1881), ui, 655; Cartularium de Gyseburne, ed. W. Brown, Surtees Society (Durham, 1889-1894), 11, 399. 3 The sums charged by the exchequer against the collectors leave no doubt of its use (L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 22, 22d). On its legality see C.C.R. 1333-1337, 720; Cal. Pap. Regs., Letters, u, 568. 4 C.C.R. 1327-1830, 314.

5 Clerical Subsidy, 67/9, No. 14d; Northern Registers, pp. 352-354. 6 K.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 11. 7 Clerical Subsidy, 63/3, m. 4d; Tazatio, p. 329. 8 K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 159; K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 40; K.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 132; L.T.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 22. °K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 118; K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 15; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 425.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 243 In addition to the general revision of the valuation for the diocese of York, several individual items in other dioceses were altered in the official copy of the valuation during the period between 1327 and 1336. In 1333 the assessment of the temporalities of the prior of Reigate was removed from the valuation, because it had been proved before the exchequer that the property so classified was subject to lay subsidies.1 A mistake in the copy of the valuation at the exchequer was the cause of a change made on complaint of the prior of Ware. He claimed to be taxed for the tenth on temporalities located in several places in the archdeaconry of Worces-

ter, which he did not actually possess. In response to this petition, the king, on 12 May 1329, ordered the treasurer and barons to investigate and, if they found the claim to be true, to allow it. They referred the question to the bishop of Worcester with instructions to determine the validity of the claim by inquisition. Since the bishop’s return verified the allegation of the prior, he was accorded a rebate of the amount charged

for the tenth granted in 1327 and for several previous tenths,? and the erroneous items in the roll were cancelled.? Such use of the inquisitory process for testing claims of alleged errors in the assessment was common.

Another method often employed to establish the truth was to search the rolls of the valuation and the rolls of the remembrancers in the exchequer.® When the alleged mistake was merely in the amount of the assessment of

an item, the issue was sometimes settled by inquiring of the papal collector in the kingdom the value given to the item in the copy of the valua-

tion employed for the levy of papal taxes. The parson of Boxley, for example, asserted that the exchequer demanded a tenth from him on a valuation of £40,”7 whereas he had always paid on a valuation of 40 marks.

Royal writs asked the archbishop of Canterbury, the abbot of St Augustine’s, Canterbury, who had served as the collector of papal tenths, and Bernard de Sistre, the papal collector in England, to certify the value given to the church in their copies of the valuation. Each certified an assessment of 40 marks. On 12 April 1338 a royal writ ordered the treasurer and barons to accept that figure, if an inspection of the returns should convince them of its accuracy.’ A part of the valuation deposited in the royal treasury had been checked with the papal copy of the valuation in 1 Taxatio p. 140.

? L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 47d; K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 151. § Taxatio, p. 227.

* E.g., K.R.M.R., No. 108, mm. 14, 173; K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 11d; Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 82. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 34d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 50. 6 E.g., Chancery Misc., Bundle 18, File 9, No. 6. 7It is assessed at £40 in the Tazatio, p. 3. 8 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 111.

Q44 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 1297,' and it seems to have been customary to incorporate in the former changes subsequently made in the latter, when the exchequer was informed of them.? Some changes were made necessary by transfers of property. In 1303,

the abbot and convent of St Mary’s, York, lost to the earl of Lincoln by judicial process the manor of Whitgift and the moor of Inklesmore.* In 1334 they petitioned the king in parliament to have the value of the income from these properties deducted from the total assessment of their temporalities and to be allowed to pay their past and future tenths on the reduced amount. The king, after full consultation in parliament, granted the petition. The treasurer and barons were accordingly instructed, by

writ of 2 March 1334, to deduct 100 marks from the total of £600 at which the temporalities stood assessed and to accept payment of tenths on the reduced sum. The writ was entered on the roll of the king’s remembrancer without comment.* A second copy of the writ, dated 26 May, evoked the explanation that the failure of the writ to specify when the property came into the hands of the earl of Lincoln prevented action being taken.’ Though a writ of 24 June supplied this deficiency,® the remembrancer recorded no action upon it. Not untila fourth writ, dated 14 July, came from the chancery, did the remembrancer note that the reduction had been allowed to the petitioners in their payment of the tenth granted in 1334.’ This allowance did not end the process. On 12 January 1335, a new writ commanded the treasurer and barons to make allowance to the abbot and convent on past as well as current tenths. On 20 August a further writ directed them to change the assessment in the rolls. On the last the remembrancer commented that the rolls had been examined and the assessment decreased from £600 to £533 6s. 8d.° Thus at last the court of exchequer gave grudging obedience to the court of parliament. The incident illustrates the delays which taxpayers not uncommonly suffered from the exchequer when they sought

to obtain a reduction of their assessments. Instances also occurred of 1 It is noted on one roll that it had been collated with the roll delivered to Geoffrey of Vezzano, who was then papal collector, and on another that the tenth had been paid to Geoffrey on the basis of the roll delivered to the exchequer (Clerical Subsidy, 68/37, 43).

2 Cal. Pap. Regs., Letters, 1, 395, 528, 542; C.P.R. 1338-1340, 8; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 66d; Taxatio, p. 264; V.C.H., Lincoln, 11, 189, 167. For a change in the papal copy not incorporated in the royal copy see Cal. Pap. Regs., Letters, 11, 581; Taxatio, p. 158. 3 K.R.M.R., No. 110, mm. 64d, 89.

4 K.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 64d; K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 45d; C.P.R. 1330-1824, 528.

5 K.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 77. |

6 Tbid., mm. 89, 162; K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 44. 7K.R.MLR., No. 111, m. 123. 8 C.C.R. 1333-1337, 288; K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 50. °K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 13, 114.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies Q45 the sale of manors which had been assessed among the temporalities annexed to spiritualities. This caused them to be taxed subsequently with lay subsidies — even when they were sold by one clerk to another — and to be removed from the valuation.!

The official record of the valuation preserved in the treasury with the emendations established by such processes as have been described, was not treated by the officials of the exchequer as an inviolable basis for computing the amounts due from the various collectors. They sometimes charged a collector with items which were listed in the valuation under another collectorate. The prebends of the chapter of Salisbury, for example, were entered in the valuation under the archdeaconry of Salisbury,? but the officials of the exchequer regularly charged the collector in the archdeaconries of Berks and Wilts with the tenth of such of the prebends as were actually located within his collectorate.? The collectors, however, could not serve their own convenience by arranging such

transfers among themselves, unless they had the sanction of the exchequer. On the few occasions when it was attempted, the collector who received the money from the taxpayer had to return it to him for delivery to the collector against whom the exchequer had charged it.4 Another difference between the amount of the valuation for a collectorate and the amount which the collector had to deliver to the exchequer from it, was caused by exemptions from the tenth. As matters of custom exemptions were given to the holder of a single benefice worth 6 marks or less’ and to revenues of vacant episcopal sees which were in the hands of the king.* Edward III, following precedents set by his father, relieved from the payment of all three tenths the cardinals,’ the order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem,’ three communities of religious® and a hospital.!° In 1337 he granted permanent exemption on his own account to a chapel 1C.C.R. 1333-1337, 365, 473, 571; C.C.R. 1337-1339, 422; K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 64, 87; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 43d; K.R.M.R., No. 115, verso of 3d m. of Communia for Hilary term and 7th m. from end of Communia for Easter term; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 21. 2 Taxatio, pp. 181, 182.

3L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16, 16d, 18d, 20, 21. 4 Interae Cantuarienses, 11, 82, 83, 96-98; K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 224.

6 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16-22d; K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 26; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 63, 131; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 61. 6 Pipe Roll, No. 173, m. 10d; Pipe Roll, No. 183, m. 16d; Harl. MS. 3720, fol. 8d. 7C.C.R. 1327-1330, 62, 282; C.C.R. 13837-1339, 187, 349; C.P.R. 1334-1338, 119; Foedera, 11, 694, 742, 772, 872, 909; L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 13d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 17d; K.R.M.R., No. 103, m. 66; K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 41; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 238d. 8 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 187; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 32, 44; C.C.R. 1337-1339, 34; K R.M.R., No. 109, m. 120.

9K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 38; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 93; Rot. Parl., 11, 86; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 265, 309.

10 KR. Writs, File 32, No. 6291; Pipe Roll 172, mm. 25d, 26d.

246 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 where a royal chantry had been instituted.!. As a matter of royal favor he pardoned several individual debtors what they owed for the part or the whole of one tenth.?, These included the pope, who was temporarily receiving the revenues of certain vacant benefices when one of the tenths was current.’

The exemptions often caused difficulties for the collectors. Those made by royal grant were certified to the exchequer by writs of the chancery,* and sometimes writs of notification were sent also to the collectors.®

Once the treasurer and barons had satisfied themselves by the examination of writs or rolls that the exemptions were valid and to what items of clerical income they applied, allowance of the sums involved was made to the collectors.6 Though this machinery was generally adequate to prevent mistakes when the exempted taxpayer was individually named, occasionally an exemption was overlooked or disregarded. The experience of the priors and brothers of Hinton and Witham with the tenth granted in 1334 provides an illustration. When the charge against the prior of Bruton, who was collector of this tax in the diocese of Bath and Wells, was compiled at the exchequer, the tenths assessed against the two Carthusian houses in the valuation were included,’ though these monasteries had received a grant of exemption from clerical subsidies in perpetuity

from Edward II. In 1335 the collector secured the deduction of this item from the amount charged against him by presenting at the exchequer a royal writ,? which ordered him to hold the priors of the two houses quit of the tenth charged against them.!®° The exchequer, however, merely transferred the charge from the collector to the taxpayers and attempted to levy it from the two priors by summonses of the exchequer. The demand was finally superseded only in response to a royal writ addressed to the exchequer on 12 February 1338." The greatest trouble arose from the grants which exempted the cardinals without specification of their names or of the incomes received by 1 O.0.R. 1337-1339, 205. 2 C.C.R. 1330-1333, 272, 354; C.C.R. 1333-1387, 372; C.P.R. 1334-1338, 112, 322, 536; Pipe Roll,

No. 175, m. 23d; K.R.M.R., No. 111, m. 63d; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 106; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 46d. 3 0.C.R. 1337-1339, 502. 4 E.g., C.C.R. 1330-1333, 187; C.C.R. 1333-1337, 32, 44; K.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 120.

5 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 106; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 93; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 8, m. 18. 6 L.T.R. Enr. Accts , Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16—22d. 7 Ibid., m. 18. 8 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 93. ° L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 18. 10 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 938.

1 Ibid.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies Q47 them. Since the officials of the exchequer ordinarily had no means of identifying such items, they were necessarily charged to the collectors. The collector usually discovered which benefices in his collectorate were held by cardinals and reported them to the exchequer when he accounted. If his statement was accepted, the tenth of such benefices would be deducted from his debt and charged in the great roll against the parsons of the benefices.2, Once a charge was so entered in the great roll, it was not cancelled until the exchequer received from the chancery an order to release a named cardinal from the specific debt. Apparently the cancellation of such debts did not take place until a cardinal took the initiative by asking for the application of the general exemption to his particular benefices. As a consequence debts of this type often ran for many years before the exchequer received the specific royal writs which were required

before the debts would be written off the great rolls. The collectors, however, seem to have been able to secure allowance in their accounts for such items without undue delay.* The benefices assessed at 6 marks or less were usually eliminated from the items charged against a collector when the charge was computed at the exchequer from the rolls of the valuation. Sometimes benefices of this description slipped by the calculators and appeared among the items

charged against a collector. Possibly they had been held by pluralists when immediately preceding tenths had been levied, but had since come into possession of incumbents who were without other benefices.* A collector who was charged with such a benefice had no option except to de-

mand the tenth. The taxpayer, however, could obtain a writ directing the treasurer and barons to supersede their demand, if inquiry should demonstrate that the holder’s only benefice was worth 6 marks or less.’ What was done by the exchequer in answer to a writ of this type, issued on 12 August 1337, at the behest of John, parson of Mile End, near Colchester, illustrates the customary procedure.® A scrutiny of the rolls of the valuation in the treasury confirmed John’s assertion that the bene-

fice was assessed at 6 marks. The exchequer then sent a writ to the bishop of London, ordering him to certify before 28 January 1338 whether 1 E.g., K.R.M.R., No. 118, m. 241; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 238d. 2 E.g., Pipe Roll, No. 183, m. 18d. 3 K.R.M.R., No. 165, m. 41; K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 147d; K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 159; K.R.M.R.,

No. 109, mm. 26, 41d, 71, 187; L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 18d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 108, m. 17; L.T.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 17d; Pipe Roll, No. 173, m. 12d; Pipe Roll, No. 183, m. 10.

‘Eg. K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241. 5 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16—22d. ® Such a case was recorded in the reign of Edward II (Tazatio, p. 198). 7K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 26; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 63, 131; Reg. of Grandisson, 1, 56, No. 126. § K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 131.

248 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 John held any other ecclesiastical benefice or whether the benefice of Mile End was annexed to any other. The bishop inquired of jurors worthy of

faith, who replied to both questions in the negative. When the bishop’s return was received at the exchequer, the officials turned to the account of the collector in the diocese of London, the prior of St Bartholomew’s, Smithfield, entered in the great roll of the tenth year, where the parson was charged with 8 shillings for each year of the biennial tenth, and cancelled the charge. The calculators of the charges against the collectors not only omitted some items found in the rolls of the valuation but they also added some not found there. In large part they were sums owed by the Hospitallers. Since the revenues of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem were exempt from the tenth for the levy of which the valuation of 1291 and 1292 was compiled,! they were in the main omitted from the valuation.2 In 1328 and 1335 a precedent established in 1318? was followed, and the Hospital-

lers were allowed to compound their tenths for £200 on each occasion.* Nevertheless, the collectors of these tenths as well as those of the biennial tenth were charged with the tenth of several churches of the order not

contained in the valuation.2 Though the king caused the bishops to certify to the exchequer the annual value of the spiritualities possessed by the order before the tenth granted in 1334 was levied,® the returns were not incorporated in the valuation’ and apparently were not used as

the basis of the charges against the collectors. Two churches of the Hospitallers were charged at the value given to them in a register of the bishop of Norwich, and another at the value given to it in the account of the collectors of a papal tenth levied in 1323 and 1324.8 The few items

additional to those found in the valuation which did not relate to the Hospitallers were derived from similar records. In one instance the officials of the exchequer charged a collector too much, because they failed

to recognize duplicate items in two sets of their own rolls for the same diocese. The bishop of Lichfield, who was the collector, discovered the error and secured its correction.?° 1 Bart. Cotton, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. R. Luard (Rolls Series, London, 1859), p. 184; Cotton MS. Cleop. E I, fol. 224. 2 A few were entered, probably by mistake (Tazatio, pp. 148, 158, 167, 285, 287). $ Lunt, ‘Clerical Tenths,’ Haskins Anniversary Essays, p. 172. 4K.R.MR., No. 112, mm. 28d, 40. 5 L..T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16—-22d. 6 Reg. of Shrewsbury, pp. 221, 222, 224, 237, 239; Reg. of Grandisson, 1, 50, No. 91; 51, No. 101.

7L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 18. Compare Reg. of Shrewsbury, pp. 224, 225, 239, 240, with Tazatio. See also V.C.H., Bedford, 1, 394. § L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 18. 9 Tbid., m. 16d.

10 Jbid., mm. 17d, 18d; K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 133.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 249 In a limited number of instances the amount due from a collector was established by means of a valuation which the collector himself delivered to the exchequer. For the new valuation made in the diocese of York, the exchequer accepted the rolls brought by the collectors both in 1328 and in 1335,1 though they may have been checked with the return of the assessment made by the archbishop which the exchequer had in its keeping. The rolls delivered by the collectors in 1335, however, became the official copy of the valuation used at the exchequer to calculate the charge against collectors of subsequent subsidies.2. The other collectors who paid

their accounts as computed on the basis of rolls of the valuation which they brought to the exchequer, were the bishop of Lichfield, the abbot and convent of Battle and the abbot and convent of Walden in 1328,? and the prior of Carlisle and the abbot of Bardney in 1335.4. The roll delivered by the bishop of Lichfield was the roll customarily kept in the royal treasury,® which he may have taken while he was treasurer in 1328.°

It was not uncommon, however, for the exchequer to supply collectors with copies of the official valuation.’ It is therefore probable that the rolls delivered to the exchequer by the other four collectors in 1328 and 1335 were copies of the rolls ordinarily kept in the treasury, or the originals themselves. Though the collectors of the three clerical subsidies granted between 1327 and 1336 were, with the few exceptions previously noted, responsible for the tenth as it was itemized in the rolls of the valuation deposited in the treasury, most of them probably used in the actual work of collection their own copies of the valuation, or copies obtained locally. The bishop of Lichfield, though he had possession of the roll of the valuation relating to his diocese which was customarily kept in the treasury, nevertheless used his own register of the valuation for the purpose of establishing the indebtedness of the taxpayers. The copy of the valuation which he employed was without much doubt a copy of the whole valuation for Eng1..T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16, 19. 2 [bid., mm. 22, 22d; Clerical Subsidy, 63/3; Taxatio, pp. 320-329. 3 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16d, 17d. 4 Ibid., mm. 19, 19d.

6 In the final audit, the bishop is charged with a sum ‘as contained in the roll of particulars which he delivered in the treasury’ (ibid., m. 17d). In a memorandum concerning his account made in 1329 he is charged with the same sum ‘according to the rolls of the assessment of those spiritualities and temporalities existing here at the exchequer in the treasury at the exchequer, by which rolls the collectors of such a tenth and of this tenth in this diocese had been charged’ (K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 133). The roll delivered by the bishop and the roll preserved in the treasury must, therefore, have been the same roll. 6 He was treasurer from 2 March to 20 May (Tout, Chapters, 111, 17, n. 4). ’ The practice is illustrated by a writ of 1336 (K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 34d). 8 K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 133.

250 The English Government at Work, 13827-1336 land and Wales which is still preserved in the Cathedral Library of Lichfield.1 It was probably written before 1297,? and it appears to have been

collated with the papal collector’s copy of the valuation. The portion relating to the diocese of Lichfield displays signs of much more usage than

the other portions of the manuscript. It also contains record of the alteration of items made at the exchequer during the fourteenth and later centuries, which is lacking in the part of the register relating to other dioceses. ‘The prior of Norwich, when he collected the second tenth, relied upon a valuation contained in a register of the bishop of Norwich.4 Many other bishops, and possibly all of them, possessed copies either of

the whole valuation or of the portions relating to their respective dioceses.> Since the collectors were the bishops’ deputies, these copies were

doubtless available for their use in case of need. Many religious communities, moreover, possessed copies of the valuation so far as it related to the districts in which their houses were located.6 Abbots and priors who, with or without their convents, acted frequently as collectors of royal or papal tenths from the clergy, generally had available copies of the valuation for their own collectorates.’. The abbot of Glastonbury, who acted as collector of the tenth granted in 1327, is stated in the accounts of the exchequer to have employed his own copy of the valuation,° and doubtless many another monastic collector of the three subsidies did likewise. 1Tt is known as Taxatio Pape Nicolat.

2 Errors in the valuation of the diocese of Hereford corrected by the exchequer in 1297 (Tazatio, p. 177) are not noted in this copy. It also lacks the new valuations made in the northern province in 1318 and 1328. 3 At the end of several quires occurs the notation, ‘eraminatur Lond’: e.g., fol. 90, 115, 135. 4 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 18. 6’ Canterbury, Lambeth Palace Library, MS. 1212, pp. 374-381; Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, Reg. K, fol. 119-121; Reg. M; Chichester, Muniments of the Bishop, Liber E, fol. 241-257d; Ely Episcopal Registry, MS. D. 5 (1); Exeter, Regs. of Walter Bronescombe and Peter Quivil, ed. F. C. Hingeston-Randolph (London, 1889), pp. 450-480; Hereford, British Museum, Addit. MS. 15688, fol. 93; Reg. Ricardi de Swinfield, ed. W. W. Capes (Hereford, 1909), pp. 283-286,

304; Lincoln, Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln, Press A, shelf 1, nos. 11, 13 (2); Llandaff, J. G. Evans, Text of the Book of Llan Dav (Oxford, 1893), pp. 322-331; St Asaph, Collectanea

Topographica et Genealogica (London, 1835), 11, 277; York, F. Drake, History of York (London, 1736), App., p. Ixxv.

6 E.g., Harl. MSS, 60, 112, fol. 192-197; Cottonian MSS, Nero D X, fol. 154-192; Galba E IV, fol. 83d—14d; Vesp. E XXII, fol. 121-144; Stowe MS. 924, fol. 37-46; Addit. MS. 14848, fol. 290— 300d; Brasenose College Library, MS. 21, fol. 8-42; Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, Reg. A, fol. 441d-451d; J, pp. 177, 178; K, fol. 119-121. 7E.g., Clerical Subsidy, 68/11; Tazatio, p. 8; British Museum, Addit. MS. 14848, fol. 290-300d; Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on the Manuscripts of Lord Middleton (London, 1911),

p. 253; Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, XYZ Study, E XIX, fol. 118-132; Coucher Book of Furness Abbey, ed. J. C. Atkinson (Manchester, 1886-1888), 1, 624-636. 8 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16d.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 251 The copies of the valuation used by the collectors must have corresponded closely with the official copy of the exchequer, since the collectors

were debited with amounts computed from the latter. In rare instances a difference between the two was decided in favor of the collector’s valua-

tion,! but ordinarily the decision was the other way. Many monastic taxpayers protected themselves against the possibility of discrepancies in the valuations of the collectors and against mistakes and dishonest practices of the collectors? by keeping a detailed record of the assessment of their own incomes. Indeed, the monastic cartulary which does not contain such a record is the exception rather than the rule. Some religious houses guarded still further against such possibilities by purchasing from the exchequer a certified copy of the valuation of their possessions.’ If a difference of opinion developed between a collector and a taxpayer with regard to the amount due, the taxpayer’s remedy, if he could not convert the collector to his point of view, was a petition to the king. If inquiry thereon established an error in the charge, made either by the collector or the exchequer, it would be corrected by the exchequer.*

When the collector received a payment, he issued an acquittance to the payer.’ It generally specified the date of the payment, the amount, and the temporalities and spiritualities on which the tax was paid. The acquittance was of value to the payer. ‘Through errors made by the collectors or the exchequer, payers were summoned not infrequently to make

payments which they had already rendered. If a payer could produce a receipt issued by the collector for the payment, the demand was superseded, though he might be required to display the document before the

exchequer.’ For an acquittance a collector usually charged a fee of a few pence.®

The collector used the fees received from the issue of acquittances to meet his expenses. The exchequer also contributed to his expenses by 1[.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3. 2 There were complaints of such practices in 13822 (Foedera, 11, 497). I have noted none in the period between 1327 and 1336. 3 C.P.R. 13834-13838, 492, 493. Others obtained certified copies from the collectors of papal taxes (Addit. MS. 35296, fol. 41, 42; Clerical Subsidy, 68/20; Chancery Misc., Bundle 18, File 9, No. 5). 4 Above, pp. 234-235; Winchester Diocesan Registry, Reg. of Woodlock, fol. 283d. 5C.C.R. 1830-1333, 183; 13383-1337, 354: Literae Cantuarienses, 11, 97, 98; Report on Various Collec-

tions (Historical Manuscripts Commission, 1901), 1, 860; Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury, Press rv, Box Al. 180 ye Smendar of Charters relating to Selborne, ed. W. D. Macray (Hamp. Rec. Soc., London, etc., 7 C.C.R. 13830-1338, 183; Reg. of Charlton, pp. 45, 46, 54, 58; Reg. of Shrewsbury, pp. 84, 209, 210, 214, 219. 8 Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Dean and Chapter of Wells, Historical Manuscripts Commission (London, 1907), 11, 3; Chapman, Sacrist Rolls of Ely, 11, '72, 82.

Q52 The English Government at Work, 13827-1336 remitting to him a small portion of the amount which he owed to the exchequer for the tenth.! The collector had to pay for the parchment, ink and wax which he used for writing acquittances and other documents, for messengers to carry notices and citations to the archdeacon, deans and other ecclesiastical officials in the collectorate, and for his own or his attorney’s expenses incurred while accounting to the exchequer. ‘The last

included fees for tallies, copies of the account, acquittances and other documents issued by the exchequer and sometimes by the chancery, and also gratuities to several officials, clerks and servants of the exchequer who took part in auditing his account and entering it upon the rolls. He might have to pay also for the service of scribes and of accountants whom

he hired to help or advise him, for the return of writs to the exchequer, for the carriage of money to the exchequer’ and for a few miscellaneous items. If any who owed the tenth failed to pay an instalment when it was due, the collector proceeded against them with ecclesiastical censures.4* Ex-

communication was the most common sentence. Communities might also be suspended and have their churches placed under interdict.2 A collector might also use sequestration,® but this step does not appear to have been taken commonly except by the bishop at the order of the king.’ If the debtor subsequently paid what he owed, the collector released him

from whatever sentence had been pronounced against him.® Often a bishop, acting on his own initiative,® or on the command of the king,’° added his censures to those of the collector. When the second tenth was levied, the king sometimes ordered a bishop to employ not only ecclesi1 Below, p. 270.

2 No accounts of expenses kept by any of the collectors of the three subsidies has come to my notice. The above statement is based on the account of a deputy collector of the triennial tenth imposed by Boniface VIII in 1301: Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, 72/12335. I have published part of this document in translation: Papal Revenues, 1, 295-297. In its last year this tenth was levied by the authority of the king and under his direction. The deputy collectors paid the proceeds directly to the exchequer, and their relations to the exchequer were virtually the same as those of the collectors of a clerical subsidy: Lunt, ‘Account of a Papal Collector,’ £.H.&., xxv (1913), 314. A monastic collector of clerical subsidies in the 15th century entered in the cartulary of his house the amount of the gratuity which ought to be paid to each clerk and servant of the exchequer in connection with the accounting (Nero D X, fol. 192d). 3 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16—22d. 4K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 214d, 215, 222, 224; K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 26d; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 101; Literae Cantuarienses, 11, 97, 172. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 101; Literae Cantuarienses, 11, 173. 6 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 101. 7 Below, p. 253. 8 Litterae Cantuarienses, 11, 172. For a formula see zbid., 80.

’ The bishop of Exeter pronounced severe sentences in 1335, apparently on his own initiative. At least, he did not mention any royal writ as the cause of his action (Reg. of Grandisson, 11, 789, 790). 10 Reg. of Charlton, p. 56.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 253 astical censures but also distraint to compel delinquent taxpayers named to him by the collector to pay what they owed, in order that the collector might have the money in hand at the date set for him to account to the exchequer.!. Such a method of hastening the receipt of the proceeds of a subsidy at the exchequer was exceptional. Its use on this occasion was doubtless due to the pressure for funds caused by the war with Scotland.” Ordinarily the king did not command distraint of the taxpayers until the collector’s account had been audited.’ The collectors of the first year of the biennial tenth acted under different authority and with powers slightly different from those which have been described, because this portion of the tenth was originally levied as

the sexennial tenth imposed by the pope. The bishops, acting upon a papal mandate instead of the decree of convocation executed by the king, appointed deputy collectors, who were without question deputies with only delegated authority.> The deputy received from the bishop virtually the same powers that the collector of a clerical subsidy was given, but his commission quoted the instructions contained in the papal mandate in place of those given in a royal writ of collection.6 The mandate ordered the tenth to be levied according to the customs observed in the collection of previous tenths.’ The customs, as far as the relations of the deputies to the taxpayers were concerned, varied little from the practices followed by the collectors of clerical subsidies during the first ten years of the reign of Edward III.® The papal instruction to employ the valuation made previously® left some doubt about the new valuation for the province of York, but the intervention of the king secured its use and Benedict XIT did not forbid it until after the sexennial tenth had been converted into the biennial tenth.t° Other changes in the copy of the valuation at the exchequer were also followed by the collectors of the papal tenth.! In one instance, when the papal collector in the diocese of Worcester ignored 1 Such a writ was addressed to the bishop of Hereford on behalf of the abbot of Wigmore on 24 August 1335 (Reg. of Charlton, p. 56). The abbot accounted to the exchequer at the next Michaelmas term (K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 229).

2 Other measures to hasten the payment of this tenth have been noted above, p. 240. 3 Below, pp. 272-273.

* Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 251; British Museum, Royal Appendix 88, fol. 6. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 161. ® Compare British Museum, Royal Appendix 88, fol. 6, with above, pp. 228-229. 7K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 161. § Compare the usages set forth above with those of the deputy collectors of papal tenths during the reign of Edward II (Lunt, ‘Clerical Tenths,’ Haskins Anniversary Essays, pp. 160-177). 9K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 161. 10 Cal. Pap. Regs., Letters, u, 568. 11 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 238d; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 20, 20d, 22. When these

collectors accounted to the king, they were charged according to the valuation at the exchequer.

254 The English Government at Work, 1827-1336 an alteration recently established in the copy at the exchequer, the king intervened with a writ ordering him to accept it.1 Items listed in one collectorate in the valuation and actually situated in another were transferred in the same manner as was customary in collecting clerical subsi-

dies.2 Even the exemptions were the same,’ though they were not granted in the papal letter. Indeed, the one exemption specified in the bull, that of the Hospitallers and other military orders,* was disregarded.°

The collectors of the sexennial tenth could enforce its payment by the same methods that were employed by the collectors of clerical subsidies.° If these methods failed, they could either invoke the secular arm or sum-

mon the debtor to appear before the pope.’ The former process would result in action by royal authority similar to that taken if the collector of a clerical subsidy reported a like case to the exchequer.® Collectors of clerical subsidies, however, had no resort to the papal court. ‘The disposal of the proceeds was also different. The collectors of the sexennial tenth accounted to the bishop, who deposited with the chapter of the cathedral church or in another safe place the sums which he received. The bishop had power to make deliveries therefrom to crusaders from his diocese, but, since there were no crusaders, the money was still on deposit when the sexennial tenth was converted to the biennial tenth. Thereafter the collectors of the sexennial tenth became responsible for the delivery to the exchequer of the sums so far collected. Whether they or the newly appointed collectors of the biennial tenth assumed the duty of collecting the arrears of the sexennial tenth is not made clear in the royal writs.° It was not a question of importance, because the bishops generally commissioned those who had been collectors of the sexennial tenth to collect the biennial tenth.’° 1 C.C.R. 1333-1387, 571. 2 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 20—20d. 3 Ibid.; Pipe Roll, No. 183, mm. 18d, 33. 4 An exemption was granted also to those who took part in the crusade: K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 161.

Since the crusade never took place, it was of no effect. 5 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 20, 20d; above, p. 239. It is possible, but not probable, that these variations from the papal mandate and from the practice in collecting papal tenths may

not have been made until the papal tenth had become a royal tenth. There are no traces in the records of the transfers of the sums of money which changes introduced at that late date would have necessitated. 6 Compare K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 161, and above, p. 252.

7K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 161, 161d. § Below, pp. 272-277. 9 K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 161, 161d; above, pp. 231-232. 10 K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 238, 239d; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 22; Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 251; British Museum, Royal Appendix 88, fol. 6. The diocese of Worcester appears to have been the only one in which there was a change (L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 20d; P.R.O., Llanthony Records, A 9, fol. 12d).

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 255 4. Tue CoLuectors’ DELIVERY OF THE FUNDS

The collectors of the clerical subsidies, unless otherwise instructed by royal order, made their payments of the collected sums to the exchequer of receipt. For each payment a tally was cut and given to the collector,’

who presented it for credit when he later accounted at the upper exchequer.2 According to the writs of collection the collectors became liable for deliveries at the exchequer on the same dates that payments were due to them from the taxpayers, but they were not expected actually to transfer the money on those days under ordinary circumstances. Though the exchequer usually began to record receipts from the collectors soon after the date when the first instalment of a tenth was due from the taxpayers,

it was likely to be approximately a year before its records displayed receipt of the bulk of the tenth. Even then some arrears would be left to be recovered either by summonses or compulsory processes upon the collectors, or by proceedings against the taxpayers.® The government sometimes set specific days when deliveries were to be made, but it was not the invariable practice to demand cash at the exchequer before the collectors were summoned to account. On 18 May 1328 a few bishops were directed to notify their deputies to have the money recently due for the first payment of the subsidy at the exchequer within a fortnight after Trinity,’ and in 1335 the collectors who received payments from the wealthy payers whom the king had requested to anticipate the established date of the first instalment, were ordered to transfer their receipts to the exchequer as soon as possible.> In 1337 the king commanded a large number of the deputies to bring the money due on 24 June to the exchequer within the next month. This procedure, which was probably dictated by the financial necessities of the impending war, was unusual, and it was followed by other exceptional measures. On 12 August several sheriffs were instructed to exact specified sums from collectors who had failed to observe these orders and to deliver the money to Richard de la Pole in London on 29 August. If a collector refused to pay on demand, the sheriff was to levy on the collector’s goods and to summon the collector to appear before king and council on 29 August to answer for contempt. If the sheriff was remiss in the execution of the 1C, H. Jenkinson, ‘Medieval Tallies,’ Archaeologia, uxx1v (1925), 297, 298. 2 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16—22d. 3 Below, pp. 272-277. 4 K.R.M.R., No. 104, m. 247; Salisbury Diocesan Registry, Reg. of Mortivall, 1, fol. 199. 5 Above, p. 240. 6 K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 279d, 281; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 27d, 29d, 32d, 50; K.R.M.R., No. 115, Brevia directa baronibus, Michaelmas term, m. 13; C.C.R. 1337-1339, 79-81.

256 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 writ, he was to be removed from office.1. The financial pressure of the war also produced stringent procedures against the collectors in the Welsh dioceses, who were always behindhand. After a process of distraint had been applied for several months to the collectors in the diocese of St

Asaph, who were the archdeacon and three canons of the cathedral chapter, the king sent a special agent to seek and receive from them all sums arising from the tenth. The agent was to have the money at York on the morrow of Easter 1338. If the collectors delayed delivery, he was to compel them to be present at York on that day to render their account for the tenth to the exchequer. All sheriffs were ordered to give aid to the agent on his demand.” During the Michaelmas term of 1337 the prior of Priestholme, collector in the diocese of Bangor, against whom a process of distraint had yielded no result, was ordered to bring all the money of the biennial tenth in his keeping to the exchequer under penalty of having his house taken into the hands of the king.’ The amount of time required to make the proceeds of the tenths available for use by the government may be determined approximately from the rolls of receipt kept by the exchequer of receipt. ‘The first instalment of the first tenth was due from the clery of York on 2 February 1328, and

from the clergy of Canterbury on 2 May. In the receipt rolls the first payment of the tenth credited to a collector was entered under the date of 15 February.* Such an entry does not necessarily indicate that the col-

lector had delivered the recorded sum to the exchequer. It may mean only that an assignment of the specified amount had been made on the funds of the tenth in the hands of the collector named.' It does demonstrate, however, that the proceeds of the tenth to the amount stated in the entry had become available for expenditure by the exchequer. From that date the receipts were recorded steadily until the end of July 1329.° During the next six months small sums continued to be credited to the collectors with some regularity, and three comparatively large ones were received. Thereafter odd items of receipt from the collectors continued

to be noted during the next seven years. The largest was for £13, and nearly half of them were accredited to the collectors in the poor and re-

, mote Welsh dioceses.’ 1 C.C.R. 1337-1339, 155.

2 The writ was dated 20 February 1338 (K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 8). A clause, authorizing the at-

tachment of the collectors, if they failed to deliver the money to the agent, is marked vacat and scratched. 3 K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 225, 282.

4 Receipt Roll, No. 274, m. 8. 5 Below, p. 258. § Receipt Roll, Nos. 278, 279, 281, 285, passim.

7 Ibid., No. 288, passim; Receipt Roll, No. 291, mm. 2, 8, 7-9; Receipt Roll, No. 295, mm. 3, 5; Receipt Roll, No. 296, mm. 2, 3, 5, 6; Receipt Roll, No. 302, mm. 6, 12; Receipt Roll, No. 323, mm. 2,

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 257 This slowness seems to have been due to the weakness of the government during the regency, for the proceeds of the two later tenths were delivered much more quickly. As a consequence of the royal request for

the anticipation by several monastic taxpayers of the date established for the render of the first half of the second tenth,! several collectors made

payments to the exchequer before 2 February 1335. By the end of the year the exchequer was in possession of most of the money yielded by the tenth. During 1336 sums which were generally small continued to be received occasionally, and in 1337 the receipts continued to be not only few

and small, but they also came solely from the collectors in the Welsh dioceses.2, The position with regard to the delivery of the third tenth to the exchequer was exceptional. When it became a royal tenth, a large part of it had already been assembled by papal collectors and was nominally in deposit. The king had already obtained actual possession of a large portion of the deposits by a complicated process which was in some

instances tantamount to seizure.2 After the sexennial tenth was converted to the biennial tenth, this money was credited to the collectors.* Most of the remainder was received between 2 May 1337 and Hilary

term 1338. Thereafter the entries of receipts became fewer, until, by 1339, they were being made only at long intervals.° 5. ASSIGNMENTS ON THE COLLECTORS®

The king often anticipated the deliveries of the collectors at the exchequer by means of assignments. A royal official who needed money for the conduct of the king’s business or a creditor of the crown was given an order upon the collector for a specified amount. He could then obtain

the money directly from the collector. The king thus utilized a portion 5; Receipt Roll, No. 326, m. 1; Receipt Roll, No. 332, mm. 8, 10; Receipt Roll, No. 335, m. 12; Receipt Roll, No. 341, m. 3. 1 Above, p. 240.

2 Receipt Roll, No. 323, mm. 8-13; Receipt Roll, No. 326, mm. 2, 6-14; Receipt Roll, No. 329, passim; Receipt Roll, No. 332, mm. 8, 4, 11; Receipt Roll, No. 335, mm, 2, 4-6; Recept Roll, No. 338, mm. 3-5; Receipt Roll, No. 341, mm. 1, 3; Receipt Roll, No. 343, m. 1. 3 Below, pp. 260-261. Little of this money passed through the exchequer in the ordinary course, because technically most of it was deposited with the Bardi. When five payments of it did come to the exchequer of receipt in November and December, 1336, the writers of the treasurer’s receipt roll seem to have been puzzled to know how to classify it (Receipt Roll, No. 335, m. 17). 4 Thid.; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 22, 22d; below, p. 262. * Receipt Rolls, No. 335, m. 14; No. 338, passim; No. 341, passim; No. 343, m. 1; No. 345, m. 1; No. 347, mm. 2, 6; No. 348, mm. 1-3, 5, 15. 6 For fuller information on many aspects of the procedure at the exchequer described in this section and the next, the reader is referred to J. F. Willard’s admirable study of Parliamentary Taxes on Personal Property, 1290 to 1334 (Cambridge, Mass., 1934). There are, however, significant differences in the procedure applied by the exchequer to the collectors of lay subsidies and the collectors of clerical subsidies. See particularly chs. 1xx—x11 of Willard’s work.

258 The English Government at Work, 13827-1336 of the proceeds of the subsidies while they were still in the hands of the collectors, before they arrived at the exchequer. The collector’s part in such a transaction varied somewhat with the manner in which the assignment was made. A common method was to issue a writ ordering the collector addressed to pay a specified sum to the

payee named in the writ and to receive from the payee a tally of the exchequer for that amount. The payee, after the issue of the writ, obtained a tally for the amount from the exchequer of receipt. The tally acknowledged payment at the exchequer by the collector of the amount specified in the writ. After the tally was cut, the amount was credited to the collector on the roll of receipt and debited to the payee on the roll of issue. ‘The payee then took the tally to the collector and received the money in exchange for the tally. The collector subsequently presented the tally at the exchequer for credit on his account for the tenth.2. The

application of the procedure may be illustrated. On 1 March 1328 a writ directed the abbot of St Mary’s, York, to deliver to John de Ros, steward of the household, £60 11s. 6d. from the issues of the tenth in return for a tally of the exchequer for that sum.? On the same day, in the exchequer of receipt, the tally was struck and the sum entered on the roll as received from the abbot for the tenth.‘ It was then recorded as issued to the wardrobe, whence the steward received his funds for purchasing supplies for the household, for in the wardrobe account of the same day the receipt of this sum from the treasurer and chamberlains, by means of a tally made to the abbot of St Mary’s, by the hand of John de Ros, was

noted.’ In the account of the abbot for the tenth this item is not distinguishable, because payments for which he had received seven tallies were credited in one sum.° In another type of writ of assignment, which was employed not infrequently, the collector was directed to render payment to the person named therein in return for his letter patent of acquittance. Before the collector could obtain credit for the sum on his account, ordinarily he had to submit the acquittance to the exchequer for validation and secure its exchange for a tally,’ but for several payments made to Queen Isabella by 1 C.C.R. 13827-13380, 390; L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 73.

2 For fuller details of the process see J. F. Willard, Introduction to Surrey Taxation Returns, Surrey Record Society, Pt. xvi, pp. xiv-xvi; C. H. Jenkinson, ‘Exchequer Tallies,’ Archaeologia, LXII (1911), 369-371; ‘Medieval Tallies,’ zbid., Exx1v (1925), 303-306.

3 L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, m. 74d. 4 Receipt Roll, No. 274, m. 9. 6 Exch. K. R. Accts., 383/8, fol. 3. 6 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16.

7L.T.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 138d; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 27d, 29d, 32d, 46d, 48d, 50, 238; K.R.M.R., No. 115, Brevia directa baronibus, Michaelmas term, m. 13; Willard, Surrey Taxation Returns, p. xv.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 259 collectors of the first tenth,! and for some of the money of the sexennial tenth taken by the king for the use of his wardrobe from collectors on his route to Scotland in the autumn of 1336,? the exchequer gave credit after verification of the letters of acquittance presented by the collectors, without demanding tallies.’ The process by which the exchequer authenticated such letters of acquittance sometimes caused collectors grave inconvenience. When a collector could produce only the writ of assignment and the payee’s letter of acquittance to vouch for a payment, the officials of the exchequer might require him to obtain from the chancery a writ instructing them to make allowance in his account for the letter of acquittance in question, before they would give to him either a tally or credit on his account for the pay-

ment.* Often this did not end the process. The exchequer might demand further that the letter of acquittance be acknowledged before the exchequer or the chancery by the payee who had issued it.5 This aspect of the procedure is well illustrated by an item in the account of the prior of Ely for the tenth granted in 1334. When his account was viewed at the exchequer in the Michaelmas session of 1335, he asked credit for 160 marks which he had paid to Theodoric de Colona, rector of the church of Long Melford, for the use of the rector’s brother, John, who was the king’s armorer. The prior produced as vouchers the royal writ directing him to issue the money to John and two acquittances from Theodoric. On 25 November John appeared before the barons of the exchequer and acknowledged the acquittances and the receipt of the money. The prior then received a tally which was credited to him as a payment of the tenth to the exchequer. This requirement of the presence of the payee might 1 0.C.R. 1327-1330, 347, 354; L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 127; K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 31, 215. 221d, 222, 225; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16d, 17. These assignments may have

been treated in an exceptional manner because the exchequer lacked control of the queen’s personal revenues (Tout, Chapters, 11, 21). 2 C.C.R. 1337-1339, 202, 231, 232; C.P.R. 1334-1338, 333-337; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 22d; Wardrobe, No. 2, m. 20; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 14d, 49d, 61d, 86d (or 88d), 211, 238d, 240; L.T.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 1389; Receipt Roll, No. 335, m. 17. Again the circumstances were exceptional. The king practically seized the money to which he had no legal right until the sexennial had been converted to the biennial tenth. A chronicler said that the king ‘cepit’ the money, and an official of the exchequer used the phrase: ‘cxl li. quas dominus rex percepit’ (‘Gesta Edwardi Tertii,’ Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II, ur, 128; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 240). 3 [ have noticed no mention of tallies in the records of the assignments to the queen and no trace

of the payments in the receipt rolls. Some of the collectors from whom the king took money in 1336 appear never to have received tallies, and others received tallies long after they had been given credit for the sums in their accounts. ‘ K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 14d, 211, 238, 240; L.T.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 139. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 215, 221d, 222; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 29d; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 18; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 290. The exchequer cut this bit of red tape in the case of a collector who presented a letter of acquittance after the death of the payee who had issued it (K.R.

M.R., No. 114, m. 27d). 6 K.R.M.LR., No. 112, m. 229d.

260 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 readily cause a collector a long delay. If the payee failed to appear in due course, the exchequer came to the help of the collector with a writ of distraint to compel his attendance. The writ was not always effective immediately, and meanwhile the collector could not discharge his debt to

the exchequer. It was under such circumstances that the abbot of Glastonbury, who was a collector of the tenth granted in 1327, waited

five years to obtain credit for £42 which he paid to Lawrence de la Barre, an attorney of Queen Isabella. A writ of distraint addressed to the sheriff failed to cause the attorney’s appearance, because he was a clerk without lay fee. On 7 May 1333 a writ to the bishop of Bath and Wells ordered him to distrain Lawrence by all his ecclesiastical benefices

to be before the barons of the exchequer at York on the fortnight of Trinity to acquit the abbot.! A large assignment on the proceeds of the first year of the biennial tenth was practically made while they still constituted the proceeds of the sexennial tenth, which belonged to the pope, though the actual legal assignment did not take place until the sexennial tenth had been superseded and the grants of the convocations making its proceeds part of the yield

of the biennial tenth had become effective. On 20 August 1336 the archbishop of Canterbury wrote to his suffragans, asking them to remove such amounts as they had deposited in their cathedral churches or other safe places awaiting the orders of the pope, and to deposit them with the

society of the Bardi at London. He explained that the arrangement would be useful to the king, who would be grateful.2 Some complied with the request. They received not only the letters obligatory of the Bardi,’ but also the acknowledgment of the king that the Bardi had received the sums on deposit at their risk and payable as the apostolic see should direct, and his promise that the depositors should be held harmless against the demands of the pope and of others for the deposits.*. Other bishops refused to transfer their deposits, fearing the heavy sentences pronounced by the pope on those who should convert the money to uses other than those for which it was intended.» The bishop of Exeter not only declined on this occasion, but even after the sexennial tenth had been revoked, he and his chapter refused to obey a royal writ ordering them 1 Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 217. A variation from these two methods of assignment occurred when a royal agent gave to a collector an indenture in return for the payment of an assignment (K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 86d). On the procedure see C. Johnson, ‘System of Account,’ Trans. Royal Hist. Soc., 4th Series, v1 (1923), 55, 56. 2 Reg. of Grandisson, 1, 295, 296; Reg. of Shrewsbury, p. 275.

3 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 238.

fol. 56. |

4 C.P.R. 1334-1338, 323, 416. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 161d; Reg. of Grandisson, 1, 296, 297; Bodleian Library, MS Ashmol. 794,

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 261 to assign £500 to the merchant, Anthony Bache. They gave as a reason

that the pope had not revoked the sexennial tenth. The king finally ordered the escheator to take £450 from the bishop, dean and chapter and give them to the merchant.! The escheator had to intervene also to secure the transfer to the Bardi of the funds deposited with the dean and chapter of Worcester.?, The statement of a chronicler implies, indeed,

that technical force was generally employed to secure the transfer.’ Though the bishops who heeded the royal request presented by the archbishop, or fulfilled it at the behest of the escheator, merely transferred their deposits from one depositary to another under the guarantee of the king, the money was intended to serve the Bardi as part payment of a debt owed to them by the king for money which they had advanced to meet the expenses of his wardrobe.* In 1337, presumably after the yield of the sexennial tenth had become part of the proceeds of the biennial tenth, the king granted to the society the fruits of the first year of the tenth in part payment of the debt.> The funds already received in deposit by them were converted to this payment.® Additional sums were provided by assignments on such of the returns from the first year of the biennial tenth as were still in the hands of the collectors.’ Other writs ordered the treasurer and barons to allow in the accounts of the collectors the letters patent of the Bardi acknowledging sums received from the collectors® or from the depositaries.? By this complicated process the king succeeded in using immediately for the expenses of his wardrobe a large portion of the money yielded by the sexennial tenth to which he acquired no legal right until long after he had spent it. 1 O.P.R. 1334-1338, 534, 587; C.C.R. 1337-1339, 172, 210; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 88d (or 86d); L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 21d. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 238.

3 fecit capt: Murimuth, Continuatio, p. '78. The technicality of the procedure is implied also in the correspondence of the dean and chapter of Lichfield on the subject. They refused the archbishop’s request, and, after the sheriff and another royal agent had broken open their chest in which the money was stored, they instructed two canons to obtain from the archbishop or the royal chancel-

lor a letter of indemnity which should contain no indication that they had consented openly or tacitly to the seizure (Bodleian Library, MS Ashmol. 794, fols. 56, 56d). 4 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 245; L.T.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 138d. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 79d. 6 Tbid., m. 238; L.T.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 138d.

7 C.C.R. 1337-1339, 50, 51; K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 241, 245; K.R.MLR., No. 114, m. 79d. Many of these assignments were subsequently revoked by orders to the collectors to disregard them and to pay into the treasury whatever money of the tenth they had on hand (K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 281; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 27d, 29d, 32d, 46d, 48d, 50; K.R.M.R., No. 115, Brevia directa baronibus, Michaelmas term, m. 13; C.C.R. 1337-1339, 79-81, 196). § K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 79d, 238; L.T.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 138d. * The prior of St Guthlac, Hereford, the collector in the diocese of Hereford, for example, was allowed the sum which he had deposited with the bishop, dean and chapter of Hereford, which they had transferred to the Bardi (K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 239d).

262 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 What portion of the proceeds of the tenths was thus anticipated by assignments cannot be determined with exactitude. Assignments appear in the accounts of the collectors for which the writs seem to be lacking,! and some of the writs of assignment were not carried out in full.2 The assignments paid by the collectors of the tenth granted in 1327, so far as I have discovered them, amounted to £9455 11s. 53d. Since the total charge against the collectors for this tenth was £18,766 8s. 103d.,4 and from this amount some reduction was subsequently made for exemptions not noted at the time when the charge was compiled, payment of more than one-half of the yield of the tenth was anticipated by assignments. The assignments on the proceeds of the tenth granted in 1334 were very much less. Those which have come to light amount to less than £1000.5

The income from the biennial tenth was assigned more liberally. The identified assignments which were carried out amounted to approximately a quarter of the total hability of the collectors for the tenth.® 6. Tur CoLLectors’ ACCOUNTS WITH THE EXCHEQUER

When a collector came to the upper exchequer to render his account, a preliminary view might be taken first and the audit postponed to a later

date,’ but the accounting ordinarily began with an audit. The record of the audit was entered upon the memoranda rolls of the remembrancers.

Usually the first item was a statement of the balance due from the collector without indication of the method by which the balance had been 1] have not found, for example, the writ of assignment by which the abbot of Glastonbury was ordered to pay £42 to Queen Isabella (above, p. 260). 2E.g., C.C.R. 1333-1337, 376; C.C.R. 1337-1339, 79-81. 3 Computed from the following: C.P.R. 1327-1330, 254; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 290, 312; K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 31, 214d, 215, 221d, 222, 225, 243, 243d, 245; K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 271; K.R.M.LR.,

No. 107, m. 291; L.T.R.M.R., No. 100, mm. 73, 74d, 74b recto; Exch. K.R. Accts., 383/8, fol. 3, 3d; 383/9, m. 1. These have been compared with the receipt rolls, but it is not always possible to be certain that the items check. One writ of assignment, for example, may have been paid by more than one tally. In the computation of assignments I omit those concerning the execution of which I have found no evidence. 4 Computed from L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16-17d.

5 Computed from K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 224, 228d, 229d, 230d, 233; L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, mm. 179, 185; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m.18. The total charged against the collectors

was £18,924 19s. 34d. |

6 Computed from C.P.R. 1334-1338, 333-837; C.C.R. 1337-1339, 154, 228; K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 241, 245; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 14d, 26d, 27d, 29d, 32d, 46d, 48d, 61d, 79d, 88d, 238-2394;

K.R.M.R., No. 115, Brevia directa baronibus, Michaelmas term, m. 13; L.T.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 139; L.T.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 138d; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 21d, 22d; Wardrobe, No. 2, m. 20; Cottonian MS Nero C VIII, fol. 190, 196. The complete charge against the collectors for the two years was £37,815 19s. 24d. 7K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 224, 225d. When the abbot of Kirkham was given an audit of his account for the first year of the biennial tenth, a view of his account for the second year was taken at the same time (L.T.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 139). 8 Unless views were taken which were not entered upon the memoranda rolls.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 263 obtained. Only occasionally was the debt recorded as owed by the collector at the beginning of the audit the same as the full amount originally charged against him.! The debit was followed by entries of payments, exonerations and allowances to be credited against it. These items ended the record in the rare instances when the credits equalled or exceeded the debit. Commonly the record continued with a statement of the decisions reached as to how the remainder owed by the collector should be collected and when it should be paid to the exchequer. Frequently the record concluded with a notation of the subsequent actions taken upon the decisions.? Thereafter a more comprehensive statement of the account was entered upon the roll which the officials of the exchequer called rotulus compotorum

de decimis.2 It is now classified in the Public Record Office as ‘Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer Enrolled Accounts, Subsidies, Aids, ete.”* In

this fuller summary the first item was the total charge against the collector, with an explanation of the manner of its computation. As a rule it was compiled from the detailed rolls of the valuation kept in the treasury.

Only rarely were other rolls of the valuation used for the calculation of the charge. If the total charge varied from the total of the particulars in the roll of the valuation, the items which had been deleted or added were specified.» The charge was followed by a complete list of the pay-

ments, exonerations and allowances credited to the collector. If the statement left the collector still in debt to the exchequer, as was the case more often than not, the remainder due was transferred to the great roll. The last entry in the roll of the accounts of tenths indicated the great roll and the county in the roll to which the transfer had been made. In the great roll the account was usually carried over from year to year until the collector was finally acquitted. The collectors came to render their accounts on days set by the excheq-

uer.6 A postponement might be secured for good reason.’ In 1329, for example, the abbot of Dore was given a respite because he was absent

from the kingdom on the king’s business.* If a collector offered an excuse which was not acceptable, he might subsequently be distrained to 1 E.g., K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 115d. 2 E.g., K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 291; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 236, 238. 3 Pipe Roll, No. 183, m. 16d. 4 The accounts for the three tenths are entered in roll No. 3, mm. 16-22d. These are duplicated, except one item, in No. 11, mm. 1-5d. 5 Above, pp. 243-246. ‘ K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 176, 176d, 223d, 224; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 225, 231d; K.R.M.R.,

No. 115, Communia, presentationes, attornati, dies dati et respectus, Hilary term, m. 1d; Reg. of Charlton, pp. 56, 57. 7K.R.MLR., No. 114, m. 225; C.C.R. 1337-1339, 133. 8 K.R.M.RB., No. 107, m. 291; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 539.

264 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 come.!_ If a collector who had not obtained permission to be late failed to appear at the designated time, a writ might be directed to the sheriff, ordering him to distrain the collector by all his lands and chattels to appear before the barons at the exchequer on a second prescribed date.” If the collector did not then appear, the sheriff produced whatever sum he had procured by distraint. If the sum was not regarded as sufficient, the sheriff was fined by the court of the exchequer. A typical case was that of the abbot of Walden, a collector of the first tenth. Apparently he had failed to obey an order to account on some day in Michaelmas term of 1328.3 In that term the sheriff of Essex, Richard de Perers, was ordered to distrain the abbot for the purpose of having him before the barons prepared to render his account on the morrow of St Hilary. Since the abbot did not come on that day, the sheriff answered for 40d. dis-

trained from the issues of his lands. The barons, having before them sufficient testimony that he could have answered for £100 of issues from the abbot’s lands, declared the unlucky sheriff in mercy and fined him 20s.

The audit of the abbot’s account finally took place at the next Easter term.> The procedure by distraint often was not immediately effective. In Michaelmas term of 1328 five writs of distraint naming days in the next Hilary term for the accounts of collectors resulted in the appearance of only two of them on the dates set. Two of the others accounted at the

following Easter term. In 1337 the prior of Durham was told to account on the morrow of Michaelmas. When he failed to come, a writ was sent to the sheriff of Northumberland ordering his distraint for appearance during the fortnight after Martinmas. Since the sheriff did not return the writ, a new one was issued on 18 November setting the date for the accounting of the collector on the morrow of St Hilary 1338. Failure of the sheriff to return this and subsequent writs of like kind caused the successive postponement of the date for the prior’s account to the week after the Purification, to the morrow of the close of Easter’ and finally to the morrow of St Hilary 1339.8 The delay of the prior of Durham was 1 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 279. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 131-132; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 224; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 231d, 289d, 290d; K.R.M.R., No. 115, Communia, presentationes, attornati, dies dati et respectus, Hilary

term, m. Id. Once a writ was directed to a bishop (K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 8). Presumably the collector possessed insufficient temporalities for purposes of distraint. A sheriff could not legally distrain upon most spiritualities (Statutes of the Realm, 1, 172; Ledger-Book of Vale Royal Abbey, Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society, Ixvii, p. 76). In Wales the justices of North and South Wales were addressed instead of the sheriffs. ’ The first accounts for this tenth were audited in that term (K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 214d, 215). 4K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 131, 131d. 5 Ibid., m. 221d. ‘ K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 131, 131d, 215, 215d, 221d, 225. 7 K.R.M.LR., No. 114, mm. 231d, 289d. § K.R.M.R., No. 115, Brevia retornabilia, Michaelmas term, dorse of last membrane.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 265 exceptionally long, but failures to return the writs of distraint on time were not uncommon.’

The collectors rarely accounted in person. Even the collectors of the sexennial tenth, who were ordered to appear personally,” generally appointed attorneys to act for them. An abbot or a prior who served as a collector customarily selected a monk of his house to act as his attorney,

though the custom was not without exception. The collector had to obtain permission from the exchequer to be represented by an attorney.‘ Once a collector or his attorney was before the upper exchequer for the

audit of his account, he was debited with the sum of the tenth of his collectorate computed in the manner previously described. He was credited with all payments made by him to the lower exchequer for which he could produce tallies, and with payments made by him to other payees on assignments for which he could produce tallies or other vouchers ac-

ceptable to the auditors.’ The credits might also include payments rendered directly to the exchequer of receipt by taxpayers in his collectorate.6 On the few occasions when such payments were made, if the

item of taxation was still charged to the collector, the payment was credited to the collector in the roll of receipt and the tally was issued in his name.’ Occasionally a collector received credit in his account for a sum owed to him by the king. Such an arrangement was merely a device to enable the collector to reimburse himself from the proceeds of the tenth for the amount of king’s indebtedness to him. Many collectors of each tenth secured the cancellation of some of the items of the tenth charged against them. Collectors who sought such exoneration sometimes presented to the exchequer of audit schedules listing the items and explaining why they should be discharged.® In some collectorates past precedents had established a customary list of such exonerations. In 1337 the prior and chapter of Norwich, in their account

for the first year of the biennial tenth, asked to be exonerated of £13 11s. 93d. of the total charged to them ‘for divers noted in a certain schedule ‘ K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 8, 225; K.R.M.R., No. 115, Communia, presentationes, attornati, dies dati et respectus, Hilary term, m. 1d. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 176. 3 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16—22d.

‘K.R.M.R., No. 113, mm. 219, 223, 223d, 224, 229; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 197d, 220; K.R.M.R., No. 115, Communia, presentationes, attornati, dies dati et respectus, Hilary term, m. 1d. 5 Above, pp. 257-260.

° L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16-20, 21, 21d, 22d; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 238d; Pipe Roll, No. 172, mm. 20, 21; Pipe Roll, No. 173, mm. 6d, 12d; Pipe Roll, No. 175, m. 38. ” Receipt Roll, No. 278, m. 5; Receipt Roll, No. 281, mm. 6, 7; Receipt Roll, No. 296, m. 5; Receipt Roll, No. 341, m. 5. ° K.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 291; K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 225; Pipe Roll, No. 173, m. 17; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 17d; Receipt Roll, No. 296, m. 4. ° K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm, 214d, 215; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241; 0.C.R. 1837-1339, 301.

266 The English Government at Work, 13827-1336 examined and delivered here by the engrosser, and for which exoneration has been made customarily in past times in a similar case." Indeed, some

of the exonerations had been customary so long that they were mere matters of form. Such was the nature of the exoneration accorded regularly to the collector in the archdeaconry of Surrey for the tenth owed by the abbot of Waltham on three items of his revenue in Caterham and

Chaldon. In the valuation the items were entered under Surrey by mistake, because the abbot possessed the privilege of paying the whole of his tenth to the collector in the archdeaconry of Essex.? Since they remained uncancelled in the valuation, the officials of the exchequer necessarily charged them to the collector. By 1327 the officials had had

a quarter of a century of experience with these items. ‘Their charge against the collectors in the archdeaconry of Surrey of the tenths granted between 1327 and 1336 was purely conventional, and the subsequent removal of the items at the request of the collectors was a matter of course.* In many instances, however, exonerations given for one tenth were not allowed for another tenth.’ When a collector’s request for the discharge of an item was not based on custom, various methods were employed by the exchequer to determine the answer. Sometimes the request was approved on the strength of a royal writ exempting the taxpayer who owed the item in question,® sometimes the request had to be considered by the barons of the exchequer before a decision could be reached,’ and sometimes inquiry had to be made to determine the status of the item.* Often the discharges granted to a collector were not allowed at the first audit,

but were credited to him only after he had been distrained to pay the balance owed by him, and the remainder of his account had been transferred from the roll of the accounts of tenths to the great roll. Whenever items of the tenth were thus removed from the charges against the collectors, they were forthwith debited in the great roll against the taxpayers 1 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241. 2 Pipe Roll, No. 175, m. 6.

3Two of the items were cancelled in 1311. A record thereof was entered in the memoranda roll but not in the copy of the valuation used at that time for making up the charge against the collectors. The third item had not been cancelled (Tazatio, pp. 206, 207). 4 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 17, 18d, 20d, 21d; Pipe Roll, No. 183, m. 6d.

> Both types of exonerations are illustrated many times in the enrolled accounts. See, for example, the accounts for the three tenths of the prior of Thurgarton and the prior of Ely (L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16, 17, 18d, 19, 20, 21, 22). § L..T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 17, 17d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 185; Pipe Roll, No. 174, m. 23d.

7K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 238d. 8 Ibid., No. 113, m. 245; L.T.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 128d; (.C.R. 1337-1339, 301.

9K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 215, 215d; Pipe Roll, No. 172, mm. 4d, 14d, 15d, 17; L.T.R. Enr, Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16d.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 267 who owed them.! Even the charge against the collector in the archdeaconry of Surrey for the tenth of Waltham was solemnly transferred to the abbot of Waltham in the great roll in order that it might be noted in the fulness of time that the abbot did not owe the same.’ The reasons for the cancellation of items originally placed in the charge

against the collector have to be deduced from a study of the items. Explanations were rarely given in the rolls. The bishops often paid what they owed for the tenths directly to the exchequer. Ifa bishop paid thus while his quota was still charged to the collector, credit for the payment was given to the collector.? If a bishop neglected the debt, in the course of time it would be deleted from the collector’s account and recorded in the great roll against the bishop. Sometimes a bishop was consulted

about the transfer of the charge to himself. In 1337 the prior of St Katherine’s without Lincoln reported at the audit of his account his inability to collect £113 16s. from the bishop of Lincoln. It was decided to ask the bishop to acquit the collector, if it should seem expedient to him.5 Apparently the bishop complied with the request, for the sum was subsequently debited to him in the great roll.6 The sums owed by a few of the wealthier religious communities, such as Waltham, which had the privilege of paying their tenths in a lump sum, were treated in the same manner as

the debts of the bishops.’ The amounts charged against a collector which were owed to him by taxpayers who were exempt were eventually credited to the collector, though the credits often were not allowed until his account had been audited and the remainder had been carried over to the great roll.® Another group of exonerations consisted of items which the collector had failed to collect after using against the debtors all the ecclesiastical

censures at his disposal. The collector apparently had a right to be relieved of some items of this sort. In 1331 the prior and convent of St Katherine’s without Lincoln appealed to the king’s council for remedy be1 Pipe Roll, No. 173, mm. 3, 4d, 8, 10, 17, 17d, 19, 20d, 21d, 24, 35, 39d. 2 Pipe Roll, No. 174, m. 23d; Pipe Roll, No. 175, m. 6; Pipe Roll, No. 183, mm. 5d, 6d. 3 Pipe Roll, No. 172, m. 20; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16d. 4 Pipe Roll, No. 172, m. 21; Pipe Roll, No. 173, mm. 19d, 26d, 27d, 35, 35d; Pipe Roll, No. 174, mm. 10, 11d, 17, 17d, 20d, 22d, 23d, 24d, 27; Pipe Roll, No. 175, mm. 23d, 27, 28; C.C.R. 1327-1330, 338, 472; C.C.R. 1330-1333, 227, 354; K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 215d; Harl. MS 3720, fol. 8d. 5 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 245. 6 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 20.

7L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16-22d; K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 215d; K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 225; Pipe Roll, No. 173, m. 6d.

8 Compare L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16-22d with the exemptions mentioned above, pp. 246-248. See also K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 258; K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 229d; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241; and Pipe Roll, No. 173, mm. 3, 12d; Pipe Roll, No. 174, mm. 12d, 22d, 25, 25d, 30.

268 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 cause, after they had accounted at the exchequer and delivered there a list of the names of debtors owing £40 4s. 3d.1 from whom they could not

collect even with the aid of ecclesiastical censures, the exchequer con-

tinued to attempt to exact the sum from them. Their appeal was answered on 12 September by a writ which ordered the treasurer and barons to levy directly from the debtors and to exonerate the prior and convent for the sum.?. In 1338 the prior obtained a similar writ with regard to the arrears due for the biennial tenth. The second writ, however, left to the treasurer and barons some discretion, since it ordered them to investigate the claim of the prior by inquisition or other means and to acquit him only if the claim was proved to be true.* Whatever right the collectors may have had to such exoneration, the officials of the exchequer

ordinarily exercised wide discretion with regard to the time of its grant. They were not willing to assume the responsibility for exacting such arrears from the taxpayers until they had been satisfied that a collector had failed to obtain them through no lack of effort on his own part.* Occasionally they exonerated a collector of such arrears at the first audit of his account. Such was their action on the account rendered by the prior of Norwich for the first tenth at the Easter term of 1329. The record in the memoranda roll ended with the statement that the collector was acquitted in the roll. The entry in the roll of the accounts of tenths noted his payments, his allowance for expenses and his exoneration for several amounts charged to him for exempt taxpayers. It stated further that he answered in the second great roll of the reign for several sums amounting to £18 10s. 82d. and was quit with a surplus of a farthing which he renounced to the king.’ In the great roll the debt of the prior of Norwich in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk amounted to £5 7s. 64d. It consisted of divers items charged against him as contained in the roll of the particulars of the valuation. These were forthwith charged to the individual taxpayers who owed them and the prior was declared

to be acquitted. The other sums due from the prior were treated in a similar manner under the counties where the delinquent taxpayers resided.’ Such prompt exoneration as this was not customary. Far more commonly it was granted only after the exchequer had called upon the bishop to help the collector levy the arrears, and often not until an at1 The list is attached to m. 127 of L.T.R.M.R., No. 101. 2 K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 101. 3 0.0.R. 1337-1339, 301. 4 Below, pp. 272-275. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 125d. 6 [..T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16d. 7 Pipe Roll, No. 173, mm. 3, 4d, 8, 10, 19, 20d, 21d, 35, 39d.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 269 tempt had been made to recover them from the collector by a compulsory process. The arrears removed from the account of the prior of Norwich illustrate what seems to have been a general practice of the exchequer in making

such exonerations. Only £5 7s. 63d. of the total of £18 10s. 83d. was owed by residents of the prior’s collectorate. The sum was distributed among five taxpayers.2, Four of them were alien religious houses dependent upon mother houses in France,’ and one was a cell of Ely.47 In all probability the tenth owed by these five had to be collected from the mother houses which were outside the prior’s collectorate. All of the remaining items were due from non-residents of the prior’s collectorate who possessed taxable revenues in the diocese of Norwich. They were in the main religious houses. Thus it appears that taxpayers who resided outside a collector’s jurisdiction were usually charged directly with the tenth, if the collector failed to secure payment from them within a period judged reasonable by the exchequer. Non-residence of the taxpayers was not the sole reason for relieving the

collectors of arrears which were owed by taxpayers other than those privileged to pay directly to the exchequer. The prior and convent of St Bartholomew, Smithfield, were left indebted to the exchequer for £63 17s. 4d. of the first tenth when their account was transferred to the great roll. This sum was reduced to £22 8s. 53d. by relieving them of items owed by forty-six taxpayers.* Five of the taxpayers were bishops and thirty-one were religious houses located outside of the archdeaconries of Middlesex and London which constituted the collectorate. Two of the remaining ten items were owed by cardinals who were exempt.’ Four of them were bad debts, which were entered upon the exannual roll in the following year.’ The reasons why the collectors were relieved of the remaining four items, at least three of which were due from residents of

London, are not apparent from the details of the account. Since the exonerations allowed to the prior of Norwich and to the prior and convent of St Bartholomew are thoroughly typical of the numerous exonerations

granted to other collectors of the three subsidies, it may be concluded 1 Below, pp. 272-278. 2 Pipe Roll, No. 173, m. 3.

3 They were the canons of Thetford and the priories of Castleacre, St Winwaloe and Chipley. The last was annexed to Stoke by Clare, which was the cell of a Norman house. 4 Namely, Molycourt. > L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, m. 16d. 6 Pipe Roll, No. 173, m. 8. ? Pipe Roll, No. 174, m. 25d.

8 Ibid., m. 6d.; Mills, introd. to Pipe Roll for 1295. Surreu Membrane (Surrey Record Society, Guildford and Esher, 1924), p. xxv.

270 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 that collectors were not often relieved of the responsibility for collecting arrears recorded as due from taxpayers, unless the taxpayers were exempt, privileged to pay directly to the exchequer, non-resident in the particular collector’s jurisdiction, or hopeless debtors. In addition to the credits for payments rendered and for exonerations, the collector was allowed a sum for his expenses. The amount was determined by the deliberation of the barons.!. It probably was not based on any exact account of expenses submitted by the collector, since it was nearly always a round sum of marks or pounds. If the figure extended to shillings and pence, it usually was because the barons had allotted to the collector the balance of his account. The sum allowed to each collector was apportioned with some consideration of the magnitude of that col-

lector’s task. John de Herlawe, vicar of St Nicholas’, Newcastle, who was collector of the second tenth in the archdeaconry of Northumberland,

received only 2s. for his labor. The clerical property of the district had been so destroyed by the Scots that he was responsible for the collection of only £2 16s. 8d. The prior of Norwich, whose collectorate was the wealthiest and one of the largest, customarily received £20.2 Consideration was also taken of any exceptionally heavy expenses incurred. The abbot of Eynsham was allotted an additional sum because he had to carry money arising from the second tenth to York on three occasions. In several instances the sum awarded for the expenses of a collector differed

from one tenth to another. The prior and chapter of Rochester received 5 marks for collecting the first tenth and £5 a year for collecting the other two.? Such variations indicate that the allowances for expenses received some real consideration at the exchequer and were not simply stereotyped. When the officials of the exchequer had decided what credits were to be

allowed to the collector, a balance was struck. If thereafter they instructed the scribe to write in the record the blessed words et quvetus est or et habet superplusagium, the collector could retire and live happily until the bishop called upon him to collect another tenth. Few were the collectors of the three tenths who attained such beatitude on the first audit

of their accounts. Indeed, there are only twelve collectors who appear to have had no other audit than that entered in final form in the enrolled accounts.*

Several collectors, however, were able to pay the balances left against 1K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 225, 228d-229d, 230d, 233; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 234d. 2 The payment to him in 1335 of £33 6s. 8d. seems to have included his expenses for collecting the lay fifteenth and tenth, as well as those for collecting the clerical tenth (K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 228 v). 3 L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16—-22d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 179.

4 I noticed no preliminary audits of the accounts of these collectors in the memoranda rolls, but my search was not sufficiently thorough to permit the positive assertion that none of them is there.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 271 them so soon after the audit of their accounts that the exchequer instituted no proceedings to recover the balances. The prior and chapter of Norwich accounted in Michaelmas term of 1337 for the second year of the

biennial tenth. The audit left them owing £1 3s. 102d. On 2 December, before the term was over, they paid the sum with a farthing to spare and were marked quit in the record of the audit written in the memoranda roll! Eighteen other collectors succeeded in balancing their accounts in a similar manner,” and there were two against whom no proceedings of the

exchequer are recorded, though they still owed small remainders when their accounts were entered in the enrolled accounts. The remaining seventy-seven collectors not only experienced delay in obtaining their acquittances, but they were also subjected by the exchequer to various processes designed to hasten as much as possible the payment of the remainders due from them at the time of their respective audits.* If the audit left an unpaid balance which the collector could not meet immediately, the officials of the exchequer decided when he must account

for the remainder. Occasionally they took no other action, unless the collector failed to meet his obligation at the postponed date. The abbot and convent. of Sherborne, who accounted for the second tenth at the Trinity term of 1335, owed a remainder of £77 18s. 1d. They were given, by a letter of the treasurer addressed to the chancellor of the exchequer, until the day after Michaelmas for its payment. Only when they failed to pay on 30 September did the exchequer begin an executory process against them.’ Simple postponement of the date of payment without the institution of any process was usually granted, however, only under threat that failure to pay at the date set would be perilous for the collector,® or on provision by the collector of satisfactory sureties for his payment at the prescribed date.’ The abbot and convent of Aberconway, whose account for the second tenth was not audited until the Easter 1K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 240d. 2K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 215, 225d; K.R.M.R., No. 106, mm. 254d, 259; K.R.M.R., No. 112, m. 226d; K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 240d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 101, m. 125d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 134d; Receipt Roll, No. 281, m. 7; Receipt Roll, No. 285, m. 2; Receipt Roll, No. 288, m. 7; Receipt Roll, No. 8329, mm. 4, 6; Receipt Roll, No. 338, mm. 3, 4; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 3, mm. 16d—18, 20.

3 K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 225d; K.R.M.R., No. 106, m. 271; L.T.R. Enr. Accts., Subsidies, No. 8, mm. 17, 17d; Pipe Roll, No. 174, m. 11d; Pipe Roll, No. 175, m. 28d; Receipt Roll, No. 291, m. 7. 4 The prior and convent of Leeds, collectors of the second tenth in part of the diocese of Canterbury,

have been omitted from the enumeration, because their account is lacking. Collectors who served for more than one tenth have been counted each time. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 184. For other instances see K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 214d; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 238; L.T.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 147d. 6 K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 109, m. 139. 7K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241; K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 241d.

Q72 The English Government at Work, 1327-1336 term of 1337, were still in debt for £32 2s. 7d. They provided three sureties for the payment of the remainder before 30 September,! but on 22 August they secured a special grace of the king allowing them to pay the sum at the rate of £5 a year.?. Ordinarily, if a collector failed to produce the whole of his remainder at the postponed date, the exchequer then fixed another date for the render of the amount still due and took some action to enforce its decision. Usually the officials of the exchequer began a process to obtain payment of a remainder at the same time that they first established the date for its payment. The two most common processes were begun by the writs fiert facias and ad levandum. ‘The use of either one or of both de-

pended upon the situation with regard to the particular remainder. If the collector satisfied the officials that the remainder was in the hands of the taxpayers, still uncollected through no carelessness or failure to use ecclesiastical censures on his part, they would attempt to help the collector secure the arrears from the taxpayers by means of a writ of levy addressed to the bishop, or, if the debtors possessed temporalities, to the sheriff. The officials ordinarily accepted a collector’s assertion accompanied by a list of the taxpayers who were in arrears’ as sufficient evidence that the

remainder still had to be levied from the taxpayers,‘ but they required many of the collectors of the second tenth and a few of the third to make their statement under oath.® If the collector made no such representation, the exchequer usually sent a writ of fiert facias to the sheriff, ordering him to levy the amount from the lands and chattels of the collector and to make his return of the writ at the date to which the collector’s account had been respited.6 Writs of fiert facias applicable to the Welsh collectors

were directed to the justice of North or South Wales.’ If a collector possessed insufficient temporalities to cover the remainder due, the writ was addressed to the bishop.? Often a writ of fiert facias for execution 1K.R.M.R., No. 113, m. 241. 2K.R.M.R., No. 114, m. 15. 2 The list presented by the prior of St Katherine’s without Lincoln at his audit for the first tenth during Easter term, 1329, is attached to m. 127 of L.T.R.M.R., No. 101. 4K.RM.R., No. 105, mm. 214d, 215, 222, 224; K.R.M.R., No. 106, mm. 225, 258; K.R.M.R., No. 114, mm. 232, 236, 238, 238d, 239d, 240d; K.R.M.R., No. 115, Visus et status, Michaelmas term,

m. 6d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 110, m. 147d. 5 L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, m. 179; No. 109, mm. 131, 189; K.R.M.R., No. 112, mm. 225, 228d, 229d, 233; No. 113, m. 234d; No. 114, mm. 288d, 240. 6 K.R.M.R., No. 105, mm. 214d-215d, 221d, 222, 225; No. 112, mm, 228d-231d; No. 113, m. 245;

No. 114, m. 236; L.T.R.M.R., No. 107, mm. 179, 184; No. 109, m. 138d; No. 111, Communia, presentationes, attornati, dies dati et respectus, Michaelmas term, m. 12; No. 112, Brevia retornabilia, Michaelmas term, m. 3. 7K.R.M.R., No. 115, Visus et status, Hilary term, m. 2. 8 K.R.M.R., No. 105, m. 224; No. 106, m. 254; No. 115, Visus et status, Michaelmas term, m. 6d; L.T.R.M.R., No. 102, m. 134.

The Collectors of Clerical Subsidies 273 on the property of the collector was dispatched, when the remainder owed by the collector had not been levied from the taxpayers. Such procedure was not customary, however, except when the collector had failed to notify the exchequer in proper form that he had not received the money from the taxpayers.! Moreover, if he made representation to that effect after a writ of fiert facias had been issued, the proceedings

against him would be stopped and a writ of levy sent to the bishop.? When the remainder was composed in part of money collected and in part of money uncollected, a writ of fiert facias was issued for the former and a writ of levy for the latter.’ If a writ directing the bishop to levy from the taxpayers failed to produce the remainder at the time assigned for the collector to deliver it to the exchequer, the process might be continued,‘ or the sheriff might be ordered by fier facias to recover from the collector the residue still owed.° The choice of the procedure to be followed apparently depended upon the opinion of the officials of the exchequer as to whether the money was then in the hands of the taxpayers or in those of the collector.