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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 68

on an average, the wealthiest inhabitants: on Romney Marsh and in the border hundreds the average payment was as high as 4s., and in the fertile districts of north-central and north-east Kent the figures were 4s. 5d. and 4s. 3d. respectively. On the less fertile chalklands of Thanet the average assessment was 3s. 3d. and on the Downs west of Dover it was 3s. 7d. The only surprising feature of this comparison was in north-west Kent, where the inhabitants for the hundreds of Hoo, Shamwell and Toltingtrough paid on an average only 3s. 4d. For some inexplicable reason this region was both less populated and wealthy than in the fertile areas east of the Medway. Apart from this instance, it has been noticed that the wealth of the inhabitants depended fairly closely on the fertility of the soil. There is no evidence that the presence of open fields on the downlands of east Kent and Thanet and on the rich loam soils of north Kent, and the predominance of enclosed farms in the rest of the county affected the pattern of the distribution of wealth.
   A comparison of the wealth of the major geographical regions of the county is only one use for the assessment figures. Contrasts in the average tax payments may often be found within individual regions, among hundreds with soils of similar quality. In the eight hundreds within and on the edge of Romney Marsh the average assessments were, in descending order, 6s. 1d., 5s. l0d., 4s. l1d., 4s. 9d., 4s. 

4d., 2s. 8d., 2s. 8d., 2s. 6d. ; in six hundreds in north-east Kent the figures were 5s. 1d., 4s. 11d, 4s. 9d., 3s. 9d., 3s. 5d., 2s. 9d. There is no possibility that the use of different minimum figures in the preparation of the assessments was a major cause of these variations. In six out of the eight marshland hundreds the smallest payments were 9d., 10d., 1s. (2), and 1s. 4d. (2); in the hundred with the highest average assessment (St. Martin : 6s. 1d.), the minimum was 1s. ; in the hundred with the lowest average assessment (Aloesbridge : 2s. 6d.) it was l0d. Further, the contrast between the figures is too great to be explained by the possible adoption by the sub-assessors in each hundred of different conventional valuations for the more important items of personal estate such as livestock and corn. In fact, a study of the individual assessments in six of the eight marshland hundreds (see Table) suggests that the contrasts in the average tax payments reflected a real difference in the distribution of wealth. Street and St. Martin were the most heavily taxed hundreds, primarily because they included twelve out of thirteen people with the largest personal estate, taxed at between 1 and 1 6s. 8d. They also had a comparatively small proportion of people assessed at under 2s. 6d. This second feature was also true of Oxney and Newchurch, although they were without the wealthy inhabitants which distinguished Street and St. Martin. The people of Longport and Aloesbridge paid on the average

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