The three most important Papal taxes of the second half of the
13th century were the "Crusading tithes" of 1254, 1274 and 1291.
Pope Innocent iv to whose predecessors in the See of Rome the
First Fruits and Tenths of all Ecclesiastical Benefices had for a long
time been paid, gave the same in 1253 to Henry III for three years.
This occasioned a valuation to be made in the following year, sometimes called Pope Innocent's Valor, sometimes the Vetus Valor and
sometimes the Norwich Taxation from the circumstance of its having
been executed principally by the Bishop of Norwich. A second
valuation was made in 1274 and a third in consequence of a grant
made by Pope Nicholas IV to Edward I of all the First Fruits and
Tenths of the Benefices for six years. This was a grant toward
defraying the expense of an expedition to the Holy Land and, in order
that the tithe might be collected to the full value, a survey known as
the "Antique Taxatio Ecclesiastica" was made in 1291 and 1292.
But the valuation was taken just before the long war for Scottish
Independence and that devastating struggle made it quite impossible
for the churches to continue to pay on the same basis whilst meeting
concurrently the secular expenses of the English Crown. Therefore
Pope Clement v ordered the collectors in the devastated areas to the
south of the border to ascertain once more the "true value" and to tax
accordingly. Hence the "Novo Taxatio" was made, II Edward II,
1318, by virtue of a royal mandate directed to the Bishop of Carlisle.
Otherwise the "Antique Taxatio Ecclesiastica" formed the basis
of the Papal taxation for nearly 250 years. But during this long
period, and very gradually, there grew up a disposition to doubt the
validity of the Pope's title to supremacy and to question the political
expediency of allowing the Church of Rome to encroach, as it was
increasingly doing, upon the ancient freedom and property of the
English Church. Therefore when the yoke was finally thrown off in
1533, a new Survey became necessary.
Parliament began a new session on 3 November, 1534, the Commission to make the Survey was issued on 30 January, 1534–5, and
the returns had to be made to the Exchequer by the Octaves of the
Holy Trinity of that year.
In the 14th item of Instructions to the Commissioners it is ordained
that they "serche and know the nombre and names of e[ver]y p[ar]sonage
vicarige chauntrie as well mortized as other and frechapell within e[ver]y
denry . . . . . And the true and entire yerely value of all the londs
teñts glebes demeanes rentts possessions tithes offerings porc[io]ons pensions and all other p[ro]fetts as well sp[irit]uall as temporall belongyng to e[ver]y
suche p[ar]sonage . . . . . . And the true ct[..]entie of the annuell and
p[er]petuall rentts pensions and synods and pxis paide and yerely goyng
oute of suche p[ar]sonages vicara[g]es chauntries and frechapells and to
whome suche rentts peñsions synods and pxis bene yerly payde.'
It will be seen then that this Valuation is pre-eminent amongst
Ecclesiastical Records as it is an estimate of the entire ecclesiastical
establishment and made on the very eve of the Reformation. As in
Domesday Boke we are presented with a view of the feudal distributions of England as they were settled at the Conquest, so here we
have the ecclesiastical distributions as they existed and had existed
with scarcely any alteration from the close of the reign of Henry I.
The Commonwealth Survey was made by virtue of a Commission
under the Great Seal of England bearing date the 18th day of November, 1656. "Whereas we for divers good causes and considerations
as at present moving and willing and intending to provide a competent maintenance and advancement for Preaching Ministers in the
several parishes throughout England and Wales. And also desiring
to be certified of the certain number and true yearly value of all
Parsonages and Vicarages . . . . and the names of the Patrons and of
the present Incumbents, Proprietors and Possessors thereof and of
such person and persons as receive the profits and to whose use and
who supplies the Cure and what he hath for his salary and how many
chapels are belonging to parish churches and how parish churches and
chapels are situated and how they or any of them are fit to be united
or divided within the limits of the county and how the said several
churches and chapels are supplied by Preaching Ministers, that so
course may be taken for providing both for preaching and for maintenance where the same shall be found to be needful and necessary.
And further to enquire what Chapels are fit to be taken from parish
churches and annexed to others or made parish churches and where
it is fit for other churches to be built and the parish divided and part
of them appropriated to those new built churches," etc.
The Inquisitions took place at Appleby on the 24th and 25th of
October, 1657, before Thomas Burton and Francis Sisson, esquires,
and Robert Branthwaite, Robert Skaiffe, Richard Adamson, Christopher Crackanthorpe, Thomas Yare, Thomas Waller and Edmund
Branthwaite, gentlemen. The result of these Inquisitions will be
found under date 1657 in the records of the various parishes.