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Oxford city documents, financial and judicial, 1258-1665; online

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B 3 7TS 710

'; r




xxxii. 1. 11, for xxxiv read xxxvi
xl. 1. !>], for 1682 read i6ScS
4. 1. 2, for ourney 7-ead journey

li. note ^ 1. ^, for 3 July, 1673 read 14 Aug., 1672
1. 5, /or 14 Aug., 1672 read 3 July, 1673

27. 1. 2, for quce 7-ead qui

56. 1. 2, for y« r£a</ ye

61. 1. 5, from bottom, r^^i/ ? a/'/e"/- him

68. § 79, 1. 2,yi7r Aldrd reai/ Aldrth

96. 1. 7, rra(/ ? a/?^r College

13S. 11. 1-2. These two lines have been interchanged. 1. i should follow 1. 2.
1 8 2. 1. 10, read ' after President?
22(1. 1. 3 of note 2, for 1566 read 1656
334. 1. 16, for in obedientia read inobedientia

243. 1. 12 from hotiova, for apper- 7-ead aper-

244. 1. I, for I had 7-ead they had (?)
346. 1. 14, for manium read manerium.

1. i^, for collij read coU'ij.

for quolibet sinistra suspiere 7-ead quoclibtt sinistra suspicio
247. 1. I of No. iSiC^, for July 2 read Ji.Iy 9
362. 1. 29, for servientos read servierites

1- 36, for nomina . . . compertos 7-ead nominibus . . . compcrtis

11. R. LUARD


Mas;dalen CoUige and K. Jr. met //, I'o!. I'l ]




Oxford City Documents

1268- 1665







\AU rights rcseiTed^


The introductions to the documents contained in this book
were probably the last contribution of Thorold Rogers to
the cause of research for which he had done so much. On
hearing that the Society had the Poll-tax rolls of 1380 and
several subsidy rolls of later date copied out for publication,
he suggested the addition of the Coroners' Inquests of
Edward I's time and some other judicial matter, and offered
to edit the whole; an offer of course gladly accepted. He
has analysed the Poll-tax returns and shown the nature and
extent of the population of the City, small at that time, yet
much crowded within the old walls. The total number of
those who were above the age of fifteen only amounted to
2035. Allowing for the children, and adding about 15^0 for
the members of the University, the total cannot have been
much more than 5000, He also notes the character of the
names — the female name is never Mary, perhaps from reve-
rence. Nor is there more than one Ann, perhaps for the
same reason. The return of the Hearth Tax in 1665 (the
year of the Great Plague) shows that, including the Uni-
versity, there were 5134 hearths, i. e. about ^6 hearths
to each house ; and we must conclude that there were about
one and a-half times as many inhabitants as hearths, i. e. from
7000 to 75CO. It is now about 50,000, but several large
suburbs are included. The notices of the subsidies are frag-
ments illustrating the financial relation of the City to the
Crown. The Masters and Scholars and privileged persons
were mostly exempt, or paid in other ways.

The Coroners' Inquests come from Twyne's vast col-

» ■» c i-^f « -^


lections (to which Wood owed more than he seems to
acknowledge), but the Editor copied several himself from
John de Osncy's Roll in the Bodleian. Of the 29 Inquests
(one being an abjuration of the realm by a horse-dealer
before the Coroner), thirteen are murders committed by
students. The offenders are largely Oxfordshire men, but
not a few are Irish. The University perhaps had no criminal
jurisdiction at that time ; and whatever the High Steward
now has in theory, has in practice expired, and the Vice-
Chancellor's Court only tries civil cases — small debts and
(sometimes) torts. Not only were the students armed, but
it was not always safe to meet a city guild, such as that
of the tailors, when they were holding their Midsummer
Revels. The Coroner's office brought in some gain to the
King in the way of fines and forfeitures. Then come docu-
ments which illustrate the relations between Town and Gown,
especially those connected with the great fray on S. Scho-
lastica's day, 10 Feb., 135!. The result was that the King
largely extended the privileges of the University, and a
new series of protests and feuds began. Last of all come
miscellaneous docum.ents, showing the old boundaries, the
rental, and the tolls of the City: and details of the expense
of building the tower of New College and that of Merton
College. The very detailed index, involving much labour
and care, is due to Mr. George Parker of the Bodleian.

It will be seen that we have here a sort of Directory and
Ratebook and notes from the Tax Collector's books and
notes of the wages of labour, and some judicial matter; they
more or less illustrate the authors great History of Prices —
a monumental work and indispensable for the history of
Political Economy. It is to be lamented that Thorold
Rogers did not live to put the finishing hand to it, but
substantially the work of his life was done.

James l^^dwin Thorold Rogers, son of George Vining
Rogers, Esq., was born at West Meon in Hampshire, March
23, 1823. I remember his laj'ing some stress on the pccu-


liarly strong character of the inhabitants of that river valley,
descendants of the small tribe of Meonwaras in Saxon times,
and who formed the medieval manor of Mienes mentioned in
the Dialogus de Scaccario : he thought they had always led
a somewhat secluded and isolated life. He was educated at
King's College, London, and then at Magdalen Hall, Oxford,
where he matriculated 9 March 1843, at the age of 19. He
took a First Class in Litcris Hinnanioribiis in 1846, was
B.A. the same year, and M.A. in 1849. Afterwards he
became a member of Worcester College. He was M.P. for
Southwark 1880-5, and for Bermondsey 1885-6, and prob-
ably the late hours of the House of Commons told on his
health. From 1859 to 1890 he was Tooke Professor of
Political Economy at King's College, London: in 1862 he
became Professor of the same subject at Oxford, and in 1888
was again elected to that chair. He took advantage of the
opportunity to popularise the results of his great book in
lectures on 'The Economic Interpretation of History": he
had already abridged it in his ' Six Centuries of Work and
Wages,' 1885, and he summed up his conclusions as to
taxation in an article on 'Finance' in the new edition of the
' Encyclopaedia Britannica.'' Of his historical works we might
speak more at length, if this were the place. He died on
12 October, 1890, in his own home in Oxford.




i. Poll Tax and Civil Population of OxFORt),

13S0-1 I-7S

ii. Hearth Tax of 1665 76-95

iii. Calendar of Documents, 1313-1630 . . . . 95-141

iv. Judicial Procedure, 1297-1520 143-181

V. Pleas of the Crown in the Eyre of 12S5 . . 182-236

vi. Inquisitions, 3 Henry IV 236-241

vii. University and Town 243-295

viii. Miscellaneous 297-337

ix. Indexes 339-439

{Tivo single leaves avc issued ivith this volume, "■Additional Errata''' to
O. H. S. vol. vi, and Addenda to vol. xvi.]




OXFORD, 1380-1.

The following list of contributors to the poll tax of 1380-1
(4 Ric. II.) has been taken to illustrate the condition and
indirectly, the population of Oxford. It is an exhaustive
catalogue of all the persons liable to the tax, that is, all the
civic residents in the town, for Academics are not charged to
it, and probably not the matriculated traders, whom the Uni-
versity could admit and license. The list does not contain any
trading stationer or bookseller. It seems too that College ser-
vants living within the walls of the foundation or of the Hall
are not reckoned. Nor are the monks and friars, a very
considerable population in Oxford. Nor are known beggars.
The list is limited to lay persons, being over fifteen years of
age. The grant may be found with its particulars in Rot.
Pari. iii. 90. Parliament met on Nov. 5, 13^0, at Northampton,
in the Priory of S. Andrew.

The grant of this poll tax was said by writers of the time to
have been a principal stimulant to Tyler's insurrection. I have
long since pointed out that the causes of that remarkable and
unexpected uprising were many, and were long in coming to
maturity. But when people are startled by a sudden and
formidable fact, they are exceedingly apt to assign it to trivial
causes. The last cause which they are likely to ascribe it to
is misgovernment or natural irritation. They are nearly as
unlikely to assign it to the success of a social propaganda.
But in our day it is possible to discover the principal agencies
which were at work. They were mainly two : the dissatis-

B 2

4 Poll tax and clvll populatlon

faction fell; at the attempt to modify by force the rising market
for labour, and the impulses which the teaching of Wiklif and
his followers had given to the organisation of the upland folk
on the lines of social discontent.

I mention this because, with all the deductions given above,
I should have expected that the tax-paying inhabitants of
Oxford would have exceeded the number 2005, which is re-
corded at the foot of the roll. Some time ago, I reckoned
that if the tax was limited to persons of 15 years old and
upwards, an addition of a third more would give the actual
population. But longer consideration induces me to conclude
that the fraction is too low, and that as many more would
be nearer the mark. I am not, and cannot indeed be, dog-
matic. If the former estimate be taken, the civic population
was under 3000 ; if the latter, about 4000. It is however by
no means impossible that the troubles of the year had drawn
away part of the regular population. We know indeed that
the insurrection extended over the whole East of England, and
as Oxford was the home of Wiklif's movement, it is likely to
have sent its contingent to the outbreak.

The tax was to yield twelve-pence for every individual in
the population who was liable to it. But it was to be assessed
on these conditions — the tax collectors were to levy the amount
according to the individual's ability, with the limit that no
person was to be charged for himself and wife more than 20j-.
or less than four-pence. In the Oxford distribution the
highest assessment is I'^s. 4^., and the apportionment is so
exact that a return is made of <^ioo ^s. as the collection
for the Crown.

During the time in which the tax was imposed, Wykeham
was clearing that large space which must have been contained
in the North-East ward of the town. If Wood's statement is
accurate, this district had once been a populous part of Oxford,
and had been severely visited by the plague. It is said to
have been at the time of Wykeham's purchase a resort of bad
characters. Until however the clearance was quite effected.

OF OXFORD, 1380-T. 5

there was probably some settled population on the site. At
this time the area which Wykeham enclosed was larger than
any which had been appropriated within the walls.

The city was divided into four wards — South-East, South-
West, North-East, and North- West. The boundaries were no
doubt the city walls, and the lines of High Street, Queen
Street, Cornmarket Street, and S. Aldate's. Three town
parishes existed then which have ceased to be. Two of them,
S. Edward and South S. Michael, were absorbed into Wolsey's
College, and the site of S. Mildred's was apparently partitioned
between Exeter and Lincoln. The wards had each an alder-
man, two of whom apparently lived in the South-West ward,
and a mayor, William Dagavill or Dagville, a family which
long resided in the town.

The suburbs were S. Thomas, Stockwell Street and Twenty-
acre, Walton, Dunseye, Osney servants, S. Mary Magdalen,
S. Giles, Holy Cross, the servants of S. John's Hospital, and
the monastic servants. Except S. Frideswide's, there was no
considerable monastery within the walls. All the secular
Colleges too were within the walls, except Balliol. All the
Monastic Colleges and Monastic Seminaries but one, Canter-
bury College, were outside the walls. But the Colleges as yet
were few. Merton was the only considerable foundation.
Balliol, Exeter, Oriel, Queen's, had been founded, but were
poorly endowed. University was as yet unincorporated.
A new departure was being made with New College, called
in some of these accounts Winchester College. The Halls
were numerous. Some are mentioned, but only incident-
ally, because their servants were taxed. I have noted thirty-

Though the Academics are exempt, the Bedels of the
University are assessed. That of Theology is John Boston,
that of Civil Law John Dosiare, that of Arts Robert
Butorwyk. Two sub-bedels are enumerated also — Roger
Clifton of Theology, and Stephen Hambury of Civil Law.
The superior bedels are all three married, the sub-bcdcls appear


to be single men. Some persons appear to be without occu-
pation, either academic or civic, and one is described as
' quondam stationarius.' It is not however quite clear whether
these persons lived within or without the city walls, as they
are not enumerated under any locality, as most of the people

A large majority of the persons assessed have surnames. I
do not pretend to discuss the vexed question, whether these
names were permanent. Some have only Christian names.
Some — and this has caused me no little difficulty in drawing
up the list of callings — appear to be named from their occupa-
tion only. As I have observed before in examining subsidy
rolls, the female name is never Mary, probably from reverence.
Nor have I noticed more than one Ann, perhaps for the same
reason. But Mary was not unknown, as this was the name of
Henry the Fourth's, first wife ; while one of the Mortimers
was Anne, the wife of the Earl of Cambridge.

There are 49 tailors reckoned, — this being the commonest
occupation, — 29 brewers, 24 skinnersj and 23 webbs or weavers,
this being the old name of the calling. There are 18 butchers,
16 bakers, 16 carpenters, 15 souters (the old name it appears for
cobblers, though there are 7 who go by the modern name), 13
fullers, 1 2 tapsters (all women, this termination always implying
a female occupation), 12 cordwainers, 11 chandlers, 10 hosti-
lers, and the same number of slaters. Nine are respectively
alutarii (I suppose boot-makers) and fishmongers, 8 drapers.
Seven persons pursue each of the following callings — glovers,
masons, upholders, and dyers. Six are sheepsters, spicers,
fishers, fletchers, and goldsmiths. Five are saddlers, lockyers,
and corsors. Four are tilers, coopers, and ironmongers.
There are three plying each of the following trades — latoners,
fourbcrs, smiths, mercers, sheathers, hucksters, plumbers,
parchemoners. cursors, and leeches. There are two in each of
the following — tanners, tawyers, taverners, maltmen, bowycrs,
cutlers, chapmen, spurriers, lotrices (I suppose that there were
other washerwomen), sutriccs, millers, horners and harp-makers.

OF OXFORD, 1 380-1. 7

The following have only one practitioner — dauber, brasier,
poulter, netmaker, scaler, hosier, vintner, kember, kempster,
fourner, albitarius, spinner, toner, painter, mattrass-maker,
harper, apothecary, grinder, textor, barber, capper, sawyer,
chair-maker, cap-maker, filatrix, sutor, mango equorum,
garlick-monger, patten-maker, grasier, and vegatarius. Some
of these traders appear to employ a great many hands, and a
few apprentices are noted. I have not enumerated the cooks
and the manciples.

In order to indicate the distribution of the population, I
have counted, from the document which follows, the population
liable to taxation in each of the four wards, and that of the
several suburbs given. I make the number to be 2035, i. e. 30
more than are stated to be liable at the foot of the roll. But
this is no serious difficulty. The assessors had to reckon the
sum of those who were liable.

The South-East ward, i.e. the district on the south side of
High Street, from Carfax to the East gate, contained 344;
the North-East, the most populous, 378 ; the South- West,
S, Aldate's and S. Ebbe's 348 ; and the North-West 223 : 1293
in all. Of the suburbs, the most populous is S. Mary Magdalene,
with 157 ; S. Thomas has 88 ; S. Giles 59 ; and Holy Cross
15. The district of Stockwell Street and Twenty-acre, i.e.
what is now Walton Street 24 ; Walton Manor 49 ; and Duns-
eye 44. Lastly come the monastic servants. Osney has 15,
the hospital of S. John's 12, while the rest of the non-privileged
monastic, collegiate and aularian dependents are 259. The
suburbs then contain 742 taxable persons.

It is probable that the Colleges, Halls, and monastic institu-
tions contained at least 1 500 inmates. If this be fairly accurate,
the whole population of Oxford, academic and civic, a little
more than five centuries ago, was from about 5000 to SS^'^'
It will be seen that in some cases the roll gives no rate. It
is, I presume, defective.



4 7

4 Richard II (1380).

Villa Oxoii. Poll Tax.

'Particulae compoti Robert! Deye, Alani Lekeneffeld, Johannis
Weston et Johannis Stratteford CoUectorum subsidii Regi a laicis
anno quarto concessi in villa Oxonii per breve Regis patens date .vij.
die Decembris eodem anno quarto per supervisum et contrarotula-
tionem Willami Bergeveny et Galfridi Brehull supervisoris et Contra-
rotulatoris subsidii predicti videlicet de qualibet persona laica homine
et femina etatim xv. annorum excedente .xii. d!

[Summa totalis personarum — M^ M'. v. subsidii videlicet de qua-
libet .xii. d. vnde.

Summa denariorum — C. //. v. j.]

SouTHEST Ward.

De Alicia Knyght Spynnester ....
De Willelmo Mulleward et Alicia vxore eius
De Reginaldo le Webbe et Alicia vxore eius
De Johanne Constable Brewer et Juliana vxore eius
De Simone le Deigher et Alicia vxore eius .
De Nicholao seruiente eiusdem ....
De Thoma Stafford Skynnere et Alicia vxore eius
De Michaele le Webbe et Katerina vxore eius
De Thoma Hosebond ffullere et Alicia vxore eius
De Nicholao seruiente eiusdem
De Andrea le Carpenter et Juliana vxore eius .
De Johanne le fBecthhere et Emma vxore eius .
. De Johanne Gersyndone ffuller et Eua vxore eius
De Philippo seruiente eiusdem ....
De Johanne seruiente eiusdem Johannis
De Alicia seruiente predicti Johannis Gcrsyndon
De Johanne le Coupere .....
De Johanne Sutton Webbe et Juliana vxore eius
De Ricardo Polglas laborario et Margareta vxore eius

iiij. d.


ij. s.

V. J.

xij. d.
iij. s.
\\].s. viiyd.
xij. d.
ij. s.
xij. d.
iij. s.
xij. d.
xij. d.
iiij. d.
xij. d.
xij. d.

This number, as elsewhere, is the Record Office reference.

OF OXFORD, 1380.

De Ricardo Wycombe seruiente allutarii et Cristina vxore

eius .......... \].s.

De Rogero Chiddesle Armigero Abbatis de Oseneye et

Agnete vxore eius ....... iij

De Isabella seruiente eiusdem Rogeri .... iiij.

De Isabella seruiente ipsius Rogeri ..... iiij,

De Johanne Mekesburgh Chaundelere et Agnete vxore eius . iij

De Elena seruiente eiusdem ...... iiij.

De Simone Whight hostillere et Alicia vxore eius . . v,

De Johanne seruiente eiusdem ...... vj.

De Alicia seruiente dicti Simonis ..... iiij,

De Margareta seruiente predicti Simonis .... iiij.

De Ricardo Oliuer Horner et Alicia vxore eius . . . ij

De Thoma le Chaundeler et Agnete vxore eius . . iij.-s". iiij.

De Philippo seruiente eiusdem ...... vj.

De Johanne Russell Dauber et Isabella vxore eius . . ij

De Waltero Blakemore allutario et Agnete vxore eius . . viij.

De Henrico le Carpentere et Elena vxore eius . . . xviij.

De Edwardo Daumarle fFysshe et Alicia vxore eius . . vj.

De Willelmo Waryn Chaundeler ..... iiij

De Johanne Bukyngham Grasyer et Juliana vxore eius v. s. viij.

De Waltero seruiente eiusdem ...... vj.

De Johanne seruiente predicti Johannis . . . • vj.

De Thoma seruiente dicti Johannis Bukyngham . . vj.

De Agnete seruiente ipsius Johannis Bukyngham . . iiij.

De Johanne Chadde seruiente pistoris et Juliana vxore

eius .......... xij.

De Ricardo Castelcary Taillour et Emma vxore eius . ij.

De Hugone seruiente eiusdem ...... vj.

De Roberto le Taillour et Agnete vxore eius . . . iij.

De Willelmo le Taillour xij.

De Dauid seruiente eiusdem . . . . . . vj.

De Henrico seruiente ipsius Willelmi ..... vj.

De Willelmo Wight leche et Magota vxore eius . . . xij.

De Alicia seruiente eiusdem ...... iiij

De Willelmo Collone regratario ..... ij.

De Isabella seruiente eiusdem ...... iiij.

De Petro Killyngworth Corsour et Agnete vxore eius . . iij.

De Matillda seruiente eiusdem ...... iiij-

De Willelmo le Brewer et Margareta uxore eius . . . xij.

De Ricardo Baker et Katerina vxore eius . . . > xij.

. s.
. s.
. s.
. s.
. s.



De Alicia Chesturtone Spynnestere .

De Johanne Bailly Brewer et Geater vxore eius .

De Juliana Stobyle Chaundeler ....

De Johanna seruiente eius ....

De Thoma Pidyngton Brewer et Alicia vxore eius

De Thoma seruiente eiusdem ....

De Willelmo Merstone Bochere et Agnete vxore eius

De Ricardo More allutario et Johanna vxore eius

De Alicia Moris Spynnestere ....

De Editha Clerkes Huckester ....

De Rogero le Cobelere et Elena vxore eius

De Elizabeth Saundres Bocher ....

De Johanne seruiente eiusdem ....

De Henrico le Sadeler et Alicia vxore eius

De Johanne Bonefaunt Pulter et Margareta vxore eius

De Alicia Nicholasse Spynnestere

De Johanne Brise Massone et Agnete vxore eius

De Agnete seruiente eius .....

De Johanna seruiente eiusdem Johannis

De Sibilla seruiente ipsius Johannis .

De Alicia seruiente predicti Johannis .

De Henrico Tywe Brewer et Agnete vxore eius .

De Johanne seruiente eius ....

De Thoma seruiente eiusdem Henrici

De Johanne seruiente ipsius Henrici

De Ricardo seruiente predicti Henrici

De Willelmo Melnorde Corsour et Elena vxore eius

De Edmundo Kenyan Hosteller et Elizabetha vxore eius

De Johanna seruiente eiusdem ....

De Christina seruiente ipsius Edmundi

De Johanne Beaulu Taillour et Alicia vxore eius

De Johanne Trenacle Skynndere et Alicia vxore eius

De Willelmo seruiente eiusdem

De Johanne seruiente ipsius Johannis

De Elizabeth Norhampton Spynnestere

De Marrabilla Torre Netmaker

De Johanne Pirie Chaundeler et Amicia vxore eius

De Agnete seruiente eiusdem ....

De Johanne Lcdekyn Bocher ct Agnete vxore eius

De Simone seruiente eiusdem ....

De Johanne Eyer Bocher et Alicia vxore eius

viij. d.


ij. s.
iiij. d.

ij. s.
vj. d.
vj. d.
xij. d.

vj. d.

vj. d.
viij. d.
iiij. d.
iiij. d.

ij. s.
xij. d.
iiij. d.

iij. s.

vj. d.

vj. d.

vj. d.


vj. d.
xij. d.
xij. d.
xij. d.


iij. s. iiij. d.
iiij. d.

iij. s.
viij. d.
viij. d.
xij. d.
xij. d.

ij. s.
iiij. d.

v. s.
xij. d.


OF OXFORD, 1380.


De Johanne seruiente eiusdem ....
De Johanne Golde Bocher et Elizabeth vxore eius
De Johanne Dome seruiente eiusdem
De Johanne Taillour seruiente dicti Johannis Golde
De Johanne Stokes Goldsmygh et Isabella vxore eius
De Johanne seruiente eiusdem ....
De Johanne seruiente ipsius Johannis Stokes
De Johanne Soulby Coupere et Isabella vxore eius
De Reginaldo le Webbe et Katerina vxore eius .
Summa vij. //. xvij. s. ij. d. pro^.

xij. d.
xij. d. (?)

iij. s.

xij. d.

xij. d.

xij. d.

xviij. d.

De Willelmo Grome et Johanna vxore eius

De Willelmo le Mulleward et Johanna vxore eius

De Alano INIey vpholder et Juliana vxore eius

De Roberto Beltone sealer et Johanna vxore eius

De Alicia seruiente eiusdem ....

De Roberto Cornewaill hostillere et Magota vxore eius

De Agnete seruiente eiusdem ....

De Amucia Brampton Hockester

De Willelmo Ware laborer et IMargeria vxore eius

De Willelmo Dudder ffysshere et Emma vxore eius

De Thoma filio eiusdem .....

De Ricardo le Skynnere et Agnete vxore eius

De Ada Ryuer Chaundeler et Alicia vxore eius .

De Elizabeth seruiente eiusdem

De Johanne le Couper et Alicia vxore eius

De Johanne seruiente eiusdem ....

De Henrico le porter laborer et Alicia vxore eius

De Johanne seruiente eiusdem ....

De Rogero Conynges Bocher et Matillda vxore eius

De Radulphe le Taillour et Alicia vxore eius

De Waltero Bocher et Matillda vxore eius .

De Johanne seruiente eiusdem ....

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