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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 63

the exception of Dartford and Wilmington, and of Milton. In the first instance, there is only the vill of Dartford, and in the second, Milton was divided into districts partly within and partly outside the ancient demesne. They were the bailiwicks of Sheppey, parts of Kay, Borden and West, and part of the hundred of Marden, taxed to the tenth, and the rest of Kay and Marden to the fifteenth. Of the other districts assessed at a tenth, Ospringe was a royal manor and ancient demesne, and Seasalter, which was not an ancient demesne, may have been treated as a borough. The vills of Newenden, Malling and Brasted were not in any hundred. The viii of Lesnes and the hundred of Little were later treated as the single hundred of Little and Lesnes.

   No attempt can safely be made to use the assessment either for estimating the total population of the county as a whole, or of that of the individual hundreds. Assuming that most of the persons in the document were householders, probably under half the heads of families in the county were listed. Thus there are 11,016 names : if the four ports of Dover, Sandwich, Hythe and New Romney were included the total would still have been unlikely to have exceeded 12,000. Yet after forty years, a period during which the population of the county suffered severely from the Black 

Death, the number of inhabitants, including those of the boroughs, has been estimated from the poll tax of 1377 as about 90,000,1 representing perhaps 20,000 families.
   The first reason for the incomplete list of names was the non-assessment to the tax of the poorer classes. Until the adoption of the new method of collection in 1334 the instructions to the assessors of the tax always contained a note of the smallest personal estates to be taxed: thus in 1332 the figure was l0s. in rural areas, where one-fifteenth was to be collected, and 6s. in boroughs and ancient demesnes, where the taxable amount was one-tenth. From 1334 the assessors in other counties were not concerned with individual payments, and no minimum figures were needed. Despite the continuation in part of the old system in Kent, the instructions to Bacoun and the Abbot followed the same form as those for other counties, and no figures were stated. Yet it is clear that the sub-assessors of the individual hundreds did have a minimum value in mind beneath which they were not prepared to tax a personal estate, although this might differ very much from one area to another. Thus in Blackheath hundred, in north-west Kent, the smallest taxable estate was 5s. In the hundreds of Wye and Chart, in central Kent near Ashford, it was 15s. and 12s. ld. re-
1  J. C. Russell, British Medieval Population (Albuquerque, 1948),
           p. 132.

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