the amount assessed on the Cinque Ports men is
always deducted from the charge against the hundred as a whole. The
complete omission of the boroughs of Dover, Sandwich, Hythe and New
Romney, which were wholly within the liberty of the ports, accords
well with this explanation as no problem would arise in these cases.
It is, however, rather surprising that it was felt necessary to list
the individual contributions in those hundreds in which there was no
exempt property, but presumably this was because of the possibility
that an exempt person might have acquired property there in the
interval since the previous return.
Another puzzling fact is that in the neighbouring
county of Sussex which also contained several member ports of the
Cinque Port confederation no reference of any kind is made to Cinque
Port property either in the 1332 or in the 1334 subsidy.1
Perhaps the men of the liberty there were not considered
sufficiently numerous or their property sufficiently dispersed to
warrant special consideration.
Although in the peculiar circumstances that existed in
Kent the former method of assessment would probably have been the
simplest means of raising the subsidy is seems clear that in 1334
the chief taxors carried out their mandate to negotiate lump
assessments with the men of each local tax unit. The charge against
the county as a whole shows an increase of £110 16s. 0d. over the
raised in 1332. The figures for twelve hundreds taken at random show
increases ranging from 9s. 6½d. for Beckenham to £4 13s. 4d. for
Ringslow over the corresponding amounts in 1332. In the majority of
instances the increases are in round figures of pounds or marks,
suggesting that they were arrived at in a rather arbitrary fashion.
Once the charge against a particular hundred had been
decided the calculation of the individual contributions would have
been a difficult task. The burden must be distributed among the
taxpayers, whose numbers might have increased or diminished since
1332, in a way that would take account of the differences in their
personal estates. In other counties, as we have seen, the problem
was one which did did not concern the chief taxors. Did the Kent
chief taxors actually play a part in deciding the individual amounts
by appointing and supervising sub-assessors or did they merely
receive a copy of the assessments decided upon locally? There is no
evidence which might throw light on this question but the latter
seems the more likely alternative.
The assessment of Cinque Port property within the hundreds
affected was a separate problem. It is known that at least as early
as 1353 it was the practice for the Ports to assess their own
1 Willard, op. cit., pp. 58, 114.