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The Kent Lay Subsidy Roll of 1334/5.  By  H.A.Hanley, B.A. and C.W. Chalklin, M.A., B.Litt    Page 59

the "best men " in each city, borough and viii (or, as was more usual in Kent, in each hundred) to assess the property of their neighbours.
   The names of the taxpayers in each local district and the amounts were set down on rolls, copies of which were handed to the chief taxors. From them was compiled the formal county roll which was returned to the exchequer.
   In the 1334 the whole character of the tax was altered. The collection of the previous subsidy of a fifteenth and tenth granted in 1332 had been accompanied by more than the usual measure of popular discontent and there were widespread charges of extortion against the chief taxors, many of whom were eventually brought to trial. When parliament was asked again to grant a subsidy in September 1334, there was a general demand that there should be no recurrence of such abuses. As a result certain changes in the mode of assessment and collection were decided upon. In each county the two chief taxors, of whom one was to be a Religious, were instructed to treat with the men of each local district and to agree upon a lump sum or fine for their share of the subsidy. If no agreement could be reached they were to make the assessment themselves ; the amount levied in any district was not to fall below that raised by the 1332 assessment. Collection of the money was entrusted to the Religious alone.
   In Kent the chief taxors appointed by a writ dated 4th

October, 13411 were Thomas Bacoun and the Abbot of St. Augustine, Canterbury. Bacoun, a royal servant of long standing, was a judge of Kings Bench and in September 1334 was the justice of assize in Kent.2 In the following year he was appointed as one of the three investigators of suspected irregularities by the chief taxors and collectors of the 1332 subsidy in the counties of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Essex, Hertford and Middlesex.3 His colleague Thomas Poucyn, Abbot of St. Augustine had been a simple monk before his election earlier in the same year and his appointment was presumable solely on account of his office. He also acted as collector for the Canterbury diocese of the clerical tenth granted in October 1334.
   The new arrangement which set the pattern for all future subsidies meant the "freezing" of what had formerly been a variable tax. In succeeding "fifteenths and tenths" the amounts agreed upon in 1334 continued to be charged against each locality. The allocation of the charge within the locality was a matter for the inhabitants themselves and was no concern of the chief taxors. As a result, the returns of the 1334 and of later subsidies for the country as a whole contain, with one exception, only the amounts contributed by each district.
  C.P.R. 1334-38. pp. 38.40.,      Ibid., p. 202. 
  
C.P.R. 1334-38, p. 22.              C.C.R. 1333-37, p. 439.

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