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Professor Alan Rogers 2012


This paper includes transcripts of some of the more important taxation returns which survive for both parts of Stamford and the vill of Bradcroft from 1332 until 1524.


The source for each of the transcripts has been given


1. 1332-33 SUBSIDY


This tax granted by parliament in 1332 became the basis of most parliamentary taxes until the seventeenth century.


This is the assessment for Stamford and Bradcroft taken sometime between 16 September 1332 and 6 June 1333 (6 Edward III). The tax was levied at one tenth on assessed property in towns like Stamford with Bradcroft, and one fifteenth in rural areas including Stamford Baron. It does not seem to have been collected by parishes as were all later taxes and levies.


The original is in the National Archives (TNA) E179/135/15. I have used the transcript available at

but have checked it against the original.

 [1] the name usually used for Peterborough

2. THE POLL TAX OF 1379.


The poll tax was a tax on all persons over the age of 16 (excedent’ etatem xvj annorum) except married women and ‘true mendicants’. It was granted by parliament in the last year of the reign of Edward III and collected during the early years of Richard II; it resulted in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 and was abolished then.


Two documents are transcribed here.


2a: Lay poll tax c1379

The first is the return of lay persons. The original is in the National Archives (TNA) at E179/135/76. I have used the transcript published by C C Fenwick, The Poll Taxes of 1377, 1379 and 1381 (Oxford University Press/British Academy, 2001, pp 28-29, but have checked the original (thanks to Dr Paul Dryburgh of TNA). The document is very fragmentary and undated – it must date after May 1379

The tax was collected by parishes as were most of the other taxes from this time onwards.

Most first names have been standardised.

Note: this list is incomplete. We know from TNA E359/8B that the total number of Stamford poll tax was 1218. This list contains only 197 names, some 16%. Only four of the ten parishes are complete and two others have a small portion of the taxpayer list.

[2] menuwe merchant: The normal meaning of this term is ‘small merchant’, but in the case of the three merchants so named in this list (and there would almost certainly have been others in the missing part of the assessment), it clearly relates to substantial traders. The reason for its use here is that the poll tax graded the tax for merchants into great merchants (20s), sufficient merchants (13s 4d) and lesser merchants and artisans (6s 8d or less). The assessors were saying in effect that these merchants should pay at the lowest rate,although all three were in fact traders on a substantial scale

[3] souter, suter – shoemaker


[4] shoemaker or leather worker

[5] I feel sure this should be dyer, not dyker; he was Alderman of the borough

[6] maker and or seller of blankets

[7] I take this to mean fletcher

[8] This may be Maidenhead – the original is obscure; there was an inn in Stamford called the Maidenhead in the 16th century in St Martin’s parish

[9] see note 2 above

[10] many spellings – often Stainby.

Some words used:

souter, sutershoemaker

corvisor – boot and shoemaker

hornerworker in horn

huckstersmall street trader

menuwe merchant – see note above

sherman – shearer of woollen garment

2b: Poll tax on St Michael’s nunnery c 1377

The second document is a return of the nuns at St Michael’s nunnery. The original is TNA E179/238/77 – it is undated but clearly refers to the poll tax. Alice Copuldyke was presumably Prioress at this time. Most of the surnames are those of local towns or villages.


Schedule of nuns of St Michael extra Stamford:


Dna Alicia de Cobildik, Margaret de Redings, Isabella de Malteby, Isabella de Alyngton, Beatrix de Blisworth, Katerina fiz Alayn, Johanna Fischiner?, Margas de Swinstede, Katerine de Welton, Anna Marmion, Isabella Purlay, Margaret de Manton, Editha de Grantham, Margeria de Manton, Maria de Spalding, Agnes de Wrangle, Iveta de Tatersale, Emma de Tallington, Agnes de Halington, each at 12d



3.    INCOME TAX 1450

In 1450, an income tax was levied on the richer sort of people at a rate of 6d in the £. Only a fragment of this survives for Stamford in TNA E179/276/44. This tax does not seem to have been collected by parishes. It is probable that the first twenty or so names are those of the First and Second Twelves (the town council). It is damaged and in parts illegible; the figures in parentheses below have been calculated from the rest of the document. What can be read is as follows:


4.    1524 SUBSIDY


In May 1523, parliament granted Henry VIII a tax, assessed on the value of their land or goods. The return for Stamford dated 24 January 1524 survives in TNA E179/136/315. It is very full but the document is obscure at places. The tax was collected by parishes; strangely there are two entries for St Stephen’s parish (Holy Trinity) outside the east gate; it may by then have been divided between two of the larger parishes.

Some of the wealthiest taxpayers were required to pay their tax up front – these are marked ‘antic’ [anticipated payment]

[11] It appears he paid ‘£6 antic’ but the text of the document is illegible at this point

St Mare paryshe


For the taxation list of 1581, see Alan Rogers, John Hartley and Abigail Gomulkiwicz 2020 William Cecil’s Survey of Stamford 1595: a town in turmoil Abramis publications, Bury St Edmunds

A print version can be downloaded HERE

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