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October 1,
1598

E 179/146/369

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E 179/146/369
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

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The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Date: October 1, 1598
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: E 179/146/369
View online bibliographic record

 

Item Date
October 1, 1598
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
E 179/146/369

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Date: October 1, 1598
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: E 179/146/369
View online bibliographic record

 

Lay subsidies were a type of tax based on personal wealth. In London, the collection of subsidies was managed at the local level of ward and parish. As a result, names listed in the subsidy rolls created from these tax collections constitute a kind of census of householders of substance in each parish. Each collection typically generated one lay subsidy roll and one default roll for each ward. For a full explanation, and references to associated documents, see “William Shakespeare as taxpayer and tax defaulter.”

The Lay Subsidy Roll for St. Helen’s parish, Bishopsgate ward, 1598, lists “William Shakespeare” among the seventy-odd householders of the parish:

William Shakespeare vli  xiijs iiijd

Shakespeare’s wealth is estimated at £5, on which he is to pay 13s 4d in tax, calculated at 2s 8d per pound.

Shakespeare is one of seven householders tagged with the notation “Affid.,” an abbreviation of “Affidavit,” signifying that for some reason money was not collected, the collectors swearing an affidavit or oath absolving themselves of the responsibility to make payment from their own purses.

This roll implies the existence of a default roll, now lost, similar to the surviving default roll for 1597, listing William Shakespeare along with the other six defaulters of the parish.

Three subsequent documents, called Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, Accounts of Subsidies, from 1598-9, October 6, 1599, and October 6, 1600, track the crown’s attempts to recover the unpaid tax of 13s 4d.

This Lay Subsidy Roll reveals that in 1598 William Shakespeare was, or recently had been, a householder in the parish of St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate. Due to incomplete documentation, it is not known when he first took up residence in the parish.
 

Written by Alan H. Nelson

Sources

B. Rowland Lewis, Shakespeare Documents, (Stanford University, California: Stanford University Press, 1940), 1: 262-71.

Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975)161-4.

David Thomas, Shakespeare in the Public Records, (London: H.M.S.O., 1985), 6-8.

M. Jurkowski, C.L. Smith, and D. Crook, Lay Taxes in England and Wales 1188-1688 (Richmond Surrey: PRO Publications), 1998.

Last updated January 18, 2018