Legislation
Taxation of £40,000

Forasmuch as the king's majesty, being informed of the preparations making for arms in sundry parts of Europe and that [Elizabeth I], his dearest sister and cousin, the queen of England, for the respect thereof and the better surety of her estate, has raised some forces and drawn them towards the frontiers of this realm, to be in the more readiness, as well for resisting of all foreign invasion as for the repressing of the thieves and broken men, inhabitants of the countries nearest the borders of England, grown insolent upon the opinion that wars shall arise between the realms, which his majesty looks not for, whereupon his highness, by advice of his council, thought fit to assemble a good number of his estates for their advice to be had herein, which presently convening and having maturely deliberated upon the appearance of foreign invasion, as also how the thieves and broken men of this realm inhabiting the borders thereof likewise become disobedient to his highness's officers and wardens and daily committing theft, plunder and other enormities, as well upon his highness's own peaceable and good subjects as upon the subjects of England, to the disturbance of peace and quietness so long continued between both the realms, has thought it fit and expedient that some reasonable forces waged be also prepared and sent to the borders for the better resisting of all foreign invasion and repressing of the said thieves and disobedient subjects; and for support of the charges and expenses to be made in that behalf, the estates have willingly granted a taxation of £40,000 to be lifted and paid at the days and within the space after specified: that is to say, £20,000 by the spiritual estate, providing that the third thereof be taken up of the thirds of benefices, so that kirkmen, possessors of the prelacies and benefices that pay their thirds, shall only be bound in payment of the two parts of the said £20,000; £13,333 6s 8d to be paid by the barons and freeholders together with the king's property; and £6,666 13s 4d in complete payment of the said whole taxation by the burghs; and that at four terms by equal portions, namely, upon 1 April, 1 May, 1 June and 1 July 1581; and if there shall happen any foreign war in the meantime, that the said whole taxation be paid all together within one month after the charge, and the sheriffs, stewarts and bailies and provosts and bailies of burghs to have letters for their relief within 15 days; and if there be no such invasion, that no further payment be made but the first term. And for collection of the spiritual men's part of the said taxation, that letters be directed charging all and sundry bishops, abbots and other beneficed persons contained in the tax roll, their chamberlains or factors personally or at their dwelling places, and failing thereof by open proclamation at the principal parish kirks of the benefice upon one Sunday before noon in time of divine service and at the market cross of the head burgh of the shire where the benefice lies, to make payment of that sum, that they, and each one of them, are valued at, to the officer, executor of the said letters, by four equal portions at the terms particularly above-specified; and in case of foreign invasion, of the whole tax within the said space of 15 days next after they be charged thereto, under the pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn. And if they fail therein, the said terms being particularly past, to denounce them immediately thereafter as rebels and put them to the horn, and to escheat etc. and to charge the said officers to pay the same, or at the least to deliver letters duly executed and endorsed upon the persons bound to pay the same to William [Ruthven], lord Ruthven, treasurer, collector-general appointed to the said whole taxation, within the space of twenty days after each term, under the said pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn; and if they fail therein, the said 20 days being past, to denounce them rebels and put them to the horn and to escheat etc. And that the prelates and beneficed men, for their relief, have letters to charge their freeholders, feuars, vassals, subvassals, ladies of terce, conjunct fiars, liferenters and pensioners to make payment of their part of the said taxation proportionally within the days and space in manner particularly above-written appointed thereto, under the pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn; and if they fail therein, the said days being past, to denounce them rebels and put them to the horn and to escheat etc. and, if need be, to poind and distrenzie for that. And for payment of the third of the spiritual men's part of the said taxation ordained to be taken up of the thirds of the benefices, that letters be directed charging all and sundry ministers, readers and other persons whatsoever whom to the said thirds of benefices in whole or part are assigned or conveyed to in fee, pension, stipend, remitted, given free or resting in the general collector's hands, or other dealers with the said thirds whatsoever, of the crop of 1580, to make payment of their parts of the said taxation according to the tax roll to be made thereupon, at the said four terms, to the officers, executors of the said letters, within 15 days next after they be charged thereto, under the said pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn; and if they fail therein, the said 15 days being past, to denounce them rebels and put them to the horn, and to escheat etc.; and that the like execution [...]2 against the said officers for payment of the sums to be received by them to the said collector of the said taxation. And for the barons' and freeholders' parts and our sovereign lord's property, that there be uplifted of every pound land of old extent within this realm 10s, namely, 2s 6d at the first term of every one of the four months above-written; for payment whereof, that letters be directed charging all and sundry sheriffs, stewarts and bailies and the bailies, chamberlains, receivers, feuars and intromitters with our sovereign lord's property, that they and each one of them within the bounds of their offices raise and uplift the said sum of 10s of every pound land of old extent and bring in and deliver the same to the said collector general within the days and space particularly above-written, under the pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn; and if they fail therein, the said days being past, to denounce them rebels and put them to the horn and to escheat etc. And for their relief, that letters be directed charging all and sundry earls, lords, barons and freeholders, feuars, farmers, occupiers of and dealers with our sovereign lord's property, to make payment and deliverance to the said sheriffs, stewarts, bailies, chamberlains and receivers of our sovereign lord's property, each one of them for their own part, of the said sum of 10s of every pound land of old extent at the said four terms within 15 days next after they be charged thereto, under the pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn; and if they fail therein, the said 15 days being [past],3 to denounce them rebels and put them to the horn and to escheat etc., or else that the sheriffs, stewarts and bailies poind and distrenzie for that, as they shall think expedient; and that the said earls, lords, barons and freeholders have likewise letters for their relief against ladies of terce, liferenters, conjunct fiars and subvassals. And for collection of the burghs' part, that letters be directed charging the provosts and bailies of each burgh to make payment of the tax and stent thereof to the said collector general at the days and within the spaces particularly above-written, under the pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn; and if they fail therein, the said days being past, to denounce them rebels and put them to the horn and to escheat etc. And for their relief, that letters be directed charging all and sundry the inhabitants of each burgh to convene and elect certain persons to tax their neighbours, and to command the persons elected to accept the charge upon them in setting of the said tax upon the inhabitants of each burgh, and to convene and set the same and make a tax roll thereupon as is appropriate within 24 hours next after they be charged thereto, under the said pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn; and if they fail therein, the said 24 hours being past, to denounce them rebels and put them to the horn and to escheat etc.; and likewise the said stent roll being made and set as said is, to charge the burgesses, neighbours and inhabitants of each burgh to make payment of their parts of the said stent to the s[...]4 and bailies according to the tax roll to be made and given out th[...]5 the space of three days after the charge, under the pain of rebellion and putting of them to the horn; and if they fail therein, the said three days being past, to denounce them rebels and put them to the horn and to escheat etc., and, if need be, that the said provosts and bailies poind and distrenzie for that as they shall think most expedient. Moreover, the king's majesty has promised and promises that he shall not give discharge to any person or persons subject to the payment of any part of the said taxation, likewise it is presently concluded and ordained by his majesty and the said estates convened that if his highness happens to give any such discharge, in that case none other shall be held nor bound to make further payment of their parts of the said taxation, but to be simply discharged thereof as if the same taxation had never been granted. As also the king's majesty, with advice of the said estates, requires the lords of council and session that they grant no suspension to any person or persons charged for payment of the said tax, but that they remit the cravers of the said suspensions to seek the same before the lords of his highness's privy council and there none to have the said suspensions granted until they consign the sum charged for, to remain consigned until the decision of their complaints as appropriate. Be it always understood that the said lords of council and session, under-prelates and the kirks and rents founded to the colleges for the upbringing of the youth in the study of good letters are hereby exempt from all payment of their parts of the said taxation.

  1. NAS, PC1/10, pp.534-37.
  2. Gaps in text due to slight water damage to manuscript.
  3. APS interpolation.
  4. Gaps in text due to slight water damage to manuscript.
  5. Gaps in text due to slight water damage to manuscript.