History Tax - Taxation of Royal Demesne

History of Accounting > Tax History > TALLAGE THE TAXATION OF ROYAL DEMESNE

Nature of tallage. Obligation of the tenants of demesne. The auxilium burgi. The auxilium extended to the rural tenants on the disappearance of the danegeld, 1163. The practice in collecting a tallage.
The obligation of the tenants of royal demesne to contribute towards the discharge of the king’s debt incurred for his table and his host during an expedition,1 or on any other necessary occasion of unusual expense, was general; but though it extended to all the tenants, originally the practice appears to have been, on occasions when danegeld was levied, to allow the rural tenants and those urban tenants that fell within the scope of the hidage, to be quit of their obligation by reason of their payment of danegeld. The cities and towns not within the scope of the hidage paid by way of auxilium or aid; and these auxilia, at first irregularly charged, changed in time to contributions corresponding to the danegeld; so that, when the county of Lincoln, including the rural tenants of demesne, yielded danegeld, the citizens of Lincoln yielded an auxilium; and so in the case of the county of York and the city of York, and so on.2 This auxilium civitatis, or auxilium burgi, was levied by the town under an assessment made by themselves and paid by them into the exchequer.
1 Ante, p. 18.
2 ‘Other counties and towns paid in the like manner.’ Pipe Rolls, quoted, Madox. p. 480.
But danegeld was, obviously, a small contribution from tenants whose liability extended to the decimation of their goods; and occasionally the rural tenants paid over and above danegeld, dona or auxilia, gifts or aids to the king, but to what extent is not clear. After the disappearance of the danegeld, in 1163, the auxilium was enforced as a frequent tax from all the tenants, rural and urban alike; and these compulsory auxilia from all the tenants are usually termed Tallages.
A tallage was frequently collected for an intended expedition, that is to say, before the obligation to tallage was incurred, and therefore necessarily was by way of arrangement or composition with the tenants; rarely indeed was the obligation enforced to a decimation or tithing of the tenant’s goods. In practice, before an expedition, a demand was first made of a certain sum from the citizens of London, with the option, in case of refusal to compound, of being decimated, at the end of the expedition, towards the discharge of the king’s debt, upon which decimation it would be compulsory to swear to the value of their goods. As a rule, the sum demanded was paid, or a certain sum was settled by arrangement. And after such tallaging of the metropolis, the justices in eyre went through their proper circuits, and tallaged all the king’s tenants in ancient demesne and burgage tenants, upon the basis of the grant made by London, returning every assessment to the exchequer.1 The sum charged
1 Gilbert, Excb. p. 20.
was then transferred into the pipe roll; and the sheriff was responsible for the collection of the amount.
The principal tallages in the reign of Henry II. were,—in 1168, when ‘the whole of England was visited by a small commission of justices and clerks, who rated the sums by which the freeholders and the towns were to supplement the contributions of the knights; and in 1173, when a tallage on the royal demesne was assessed by six detachments of exchequer officers.1′
1 Stubbs, Const. Hist. i. 585; Madox, p. 485.

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