Taxing Times

How taxation has affected Dadlington over time

This article appeared in The Stoker (April 2016) 
These days, there is a whole range of taxes that governments, local and national, use to raise money for the services they provide. However, the burden of taxation is something that has been around for a long time, as historical records for Dadlington show.

The earliest recorded tax appears in 1327, in what were called subsidy rolls. The tax was being raised by the newly crowned King Edward III to pursue war with Scotland. It only affected those with goods valued at more than ten shillings, so the poor (and the clergy) were spared. In Dadlington, ten men were named, John de Spignel having to pay the most at two shillings and sixpence, whilst Robertt. de Sibbesdon, Richard Sonenour and William Lynn got off lightly with just tuppence each to pay. The total amount raised was higher than that of Stoke Golding, which indicates a comparability in size and wealth at that time.

The highly unpopular poll tax of 1377, raised this time to fund a war with France, was levied on everyone over the age of 15. A groat, equivalent to four pence, was taken from each of the 50 residents of the village, although husbands and wives only had to pay the one groat between them. Further poll taxes in 1379 and 1381 are believed to have led to the Peasants’ Revolt. The unfairness of the tax can been seen in the list of names: three maids were required to pay the same amount as the more wealthy land owners they served.

Over time, governments have come up with ever increasingly bizarre ways of raising tax. There are no records of how much window tax was raised in Dadlington, but the hearth tax of 1666 is fully documented. Seven householders were taxed on each of their two hearths whilst another five paid up for their one. However, 19 residents, including Michael Cox, the local constable, were excused, being labelled as very poor.

Not that the poor always got off that lightly. Tithes, a tenth of what your earned or produced, were supposed, at the risk of excommunication, to be paid to the church. In 1651 this amounted to £4 6s. 8d. for the Dadlington clergy. The record, at Lambeth Palace, shows that tithes were to paid on “corne, hay, hemp, flax, woolle and lambs.’ By 1843, a field tithe map with each field and property individually recorded shows that total in tithes paid amounted to £23, a far cry from the thousands that will be accrued from current day residents!
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