History English Tax - Agriculture Lands

History of Accounting > Tax History > THE TAX ON AGRICULTURAL LANDS

THE TAX ON AGRICULTURAL LANDS TERMED CARUCAGE 1194—1224.

Carucage taken by Richard I. in 1194 and 1198. New survey and assessment. Taken by John in 1200 and by Henry III. in 1220. Assessment and collection of the carucage of 1220. The Falkes de Breaute” carucage in 1224. End of carucage.
A Tax similar to the danegeld, which had been levied on the hyde, was, in 1194, levied on the carucate, or plough land, a carucate being the quantity of land that could be ploughed by one plough, caruca, in a season. This was taken by king Eichard on his second visit to the kingdom, and the rate was 2s. the carucate.1
Another carucage was levied in 1198. at the increased rate of 5s.; and for this carucage a new survey was made of all the lands in the kingdom and the plan of assessment by jurors was adopted, as it already had been, ten years before this date, for the Saladin tithe.
The assessment was to be made, in every shire, by the king’s commissioners (a knight and a clerk), the sheriff, and knights to be chosen for the purpose and under oath for faithful performance of their duty; who summoned before them the stewards of the barons, and in every township, the lord or bailiff and the reeve and
1 At the Great Council at Nottingham, Hoveden, iii. 242.
four men, free or villein, and two knights for every hundred in the county, who took oath that faithfully and without fraud th«y would state how many carucates were contained in every township (with certain other particulars), and assessed to tax accordingly. The assessments were registered in four rolls, of which the knight commissioner had one; the clerk, another; the sheriff, a third; and the steward’of every baron, so much of the fourth as related to his lord’s land.
The collection was in the hands of two knights and the bailiff in every hundred; and they accounted to the sheriff, who, in his turn, accounted to the exchequer. But every baron was required, with the aid of the sheriff, to collect the tax from his tenants, and, in default, the amount was chargeable on his demesne. Freemen and villeins alike if convicted of perjury were to render to the king the amount lost through the perjury; while, in addition to this, the villein forfeited to his lord the best ox of his plough team, and the freeman was at the mercy of the king. The carcucate, or quantity of land that could be ploughed by one plough or team in a season, was fixed at 100 acres.1 In 1200 king John returned from Normandy and took a carucage of 3s. In 1220 Henry III. received a carucage of 2s., the rate of Eichard’s carucage in 1194. It was .assessed and collected by the sheriff and two knights of the shire chosen in the full assembly of the county court, who sent the proceeds, under their .seals, to London; and the sheriffs were strongly exhorted to be diligent in the business. ‘As you love yourself and yours,’ rail the writs, ‘you shall so manage the affair that there be no occasion to complain of and inquire into the assessment and collection of the tax, to the great confusion of yourself and those connected with you in the assessment and collection.’x
‘Hoveden. iv. 40.
Another, and the last, carucage was granted, at the rate of 2s., to the king in 1224, for the expenses of the struggle which had resulted in the fall of Falkes de Breaute,2 and the consequent liberation of the country from the influence of foreigners. The tax was difficult to assess, and in its incidence touched only the limited class of agriculturists. Henceforth the system of taxation by grants of fractional parts of moveables superseded this partial tax.
1 Writ for collection of a carucage, Close Rolls, i. 437. 3 Matt. Paris, Hist. Mag. p. 322. Falkes de Breaute was at the time sheriff of no less than six counties.

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