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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 64

respectively. In East Kent, in Petham, Whitstable and Westgate hundreds, it was 12s. 6d., l0s. and l0s. Clearly many personal estates would have fallen below these figures. The number of persons who escaped would have been increased by the failure in many cases to make a true valuation of goods. From a study of "local" rolls surviving for several subsidies from various parts of England, which appraised in detail the possessions of each taxable person as a preliminary to the final formal assessment, Professor Willard has shown that there was much conventional valuation. Cattle and other livestock, for instance, are often all priced the same, ignoring their likely difference in age or quality, and both beasts and grain are listed at far below their probable market price.1 Yet ,another weakness in the assessments lies in the type of moveables assessed. In rural districts livestock and grain and some other crops were probably only valued if they were for sale. Farm implements or household goods were not assessed. On the other hand in the urban communities, while household goods, domestic animals and grain were normally valued, tools and food for the family’s use were not included.2 Altogether many people besides the actual paupers would not have contributed to the taxes.
   If the subsidy cannot be used for discovering the total number of inhabitants of districts or counties as a whole, it may be studied to show the distribution of population 

between one region and another. Yet even in this more limited field the document should be used with caution. It has been noticed that the minimum taxable figure probably differed from one hundred to another, suggesting that the proportion of householders exempt from the tax would have differed correspondingly. The number of people assessed in each hundred may also have been affected by the type of farming carried on and by the size of its holdings. In the seventeenth century on account of the predominantly clay soil the Weald was an area of mixed farming with the emphasis on livestock, while the more easily tilled and generally richer lands north of the Downs possessed a largely arable economy. It is likely that this contrast between the two regions existed also in the fourteenth century, and, especially if the farmers of the northern area had a considerable corn surplus for sale, that the proportion of taxable farmers would have been higher north of the Downs than in the Weald. Again, it is probable that on account of the difficulty of clearing the forest-covered clay lands of the Weald, the farms in this area in the fourteenth century, as at the later date, were smaller on an average than the holdings north of the Downs; as this would have obviously affected the quantity of corn grown or number of livestock kept by the
1 Willard, op. cit., pp. 139-141.
2 Ibid. pp. 73-74.

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