Salford Hundred Lay Subsidy Roll of 1641

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 515
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      4660 x 200 mm. 1 vellum roll (7 membranes); Condition: the first membrane is cockled and discoloured due to dampness.

Scope and Content

Lay subsidy roll for the Salford hundred of Lancashire, listing persons liable for the lay subsidy of 1641 according to their parish, and the amount due from each. Sum totall of this Roule, £395 : iiiis : 0d. Signed Hughe Cooper.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lay subsidies were a form of taxation levied on the laity, based upon the assessment of their moveable wealth and income. The lay subsidy was an extraordinary concession granted to the king by parliament to supplement his income in exceptional circumstances, usually for war. The bulk of lay taxation records is held at The National Archives (class E179), but there are tax returns dispersed through record offices and libraries across Britain. Lay subsidies were directly assessed taxes and were levied almost continuously from the reign of Henry VIII until the Civil War. Assessment was made by constables and local officers, subject to the approval of the commissioners, and high collectors at the hundred level oversaw the collections made in localities.

The taxpayer was only charged in one category of his wealth, either land or goods, whichever yielded the most to the crown. Rising rates of taxation led to widespread under-assessment and evasion, and by the reign of Elizabeth I, the lay subsidy had ceased to be an accurate gauge of the wealth of the kingdom.

The 'Long Parliament' of 1640-1641 granted a number of taxes to relieve the king's army and the northern counties in view of the danger from the Scots. Four lay subsidies were granted in December 1640 and a further two in May 1641. The tax was levied on individuals and corporations with moveable goods worth £3 or more and the threshold of liability for income from land was 20s. Commissioners appointed to levy the tax were named in the statute and payment was due in December 1641. However, the collectors found substantial difficulties in gathering this double tax and payments were still being made by the collectors to the Exchequer as late as 1645.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from Mr F.A. Syson in September 1929.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, and Elizabeth Gow with reference to M. Jurkowski, C.L. Smith, and D. Crook, Lay Taxes in England and Wales 1188-1688 (Kew: PRO Publications, 1998).

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928-35 (English MS 515).

Custodial History

Former owner: F.A. Syson of Bakewell, Derbyshire.

Related Material

The JRUL also holds English MS 509, a lay subsidy roll for the West Derby hundred of Lancashire in 1585 (ref.: GB 133 Eng MS 509).