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Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 8 months ago

Why did mediƦval Yateley pay high taxes?



We do not really know why Yateley ranked with Leeds and paid twice as much tax as Liverpool, but we can set up a hypothesis, and test it.


Yateley was a heathland parish consisting of dispersed settlements along the valley of the Blackwater river. Some of these settlements, Cove and later Hawley, were taxed separately from Yateley. In the 14th century Yateley included Hawley and so also included the northern part of Fleet pond. The agricultural land consisted of a narrow band of water meadows flooded annually by the Blackwater, and extensive commonland for free summer

grazing. The land itself would not be highly valued but the livestock, if it was extensive, might have had a high value. The land did not have high value in Elizabethan times. So I think high land value is unlikely and we have to seek another reason for Yateley's high tax. There are no obvious answers such as mining, metal working,

textiles or leather industries.


A possible explanation is that a single person lived in the village who had considerable personal wealth, such as silverware, furniture and other adornments of grand living. This was probably the case in Itchell. We know from the Rental of 1287 the names of the copyholders. All were classed as villeins in feudal society. In the 1300s we appear to have no magnates made wealthy as London merchants, or lawyers earning their wealth in London, as we find later in the 16th century onwards.


There are two industries found in the records: fish farming and pottery.


The pottery industry became so prominent during 1500s and 1600s that the Surrey/Hampshire borders became the main English production area for domestic pottery, until it was ousted by the Potteries around Stoke-on-Trent. Kilns have been excavated in Hawley, Cove, Ash, Farnborough and Pirbright. But it is thought 1334 was when the pottery industry was just emerging in our area, and taking over from Kingston and Cheam. Farnborough became the major pottery production centre in the last quarter of the 16th century. Farnborugh has the mention as supplying pottery to Windsor Castle, but in the 1334 taxation records examined by the Reb Barnson, Farnborough lies at the bottom of the list. The potteries may have contributed to local taxable wealth in 1334, and certainly did by 1586, but we should look to some other form of personal wealth to explain Yateley's prominence in 1334.


NEXT: Mediaeval Fish Farming in Yateley Parish

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