Taxatio Ecclesiastica

Taxatio Ecclesiastica Anciently the first-fruits of all ecclesiastical benefices were paid to the pope. Innocent IV, in 1253, gave the same for three years to Henry III which occasioned a taxation made by Walter, bishop of Norwich, who was delegated to the task by the pope in the following year. It was sometimes called the Norwich Taxation, and sometimes Pope Innocent's Valor. In 1288 Nicholas IV granted the tenths to Edward I for six years towards defraying the expense of an expedition to the Holy Land; and in order to their collection a taxation by the king's precept was begun in that year, and finished, as to the province of Canterbury, in 1291, and as to York in the following year; the whole being superintended by John, bishop of Winchester, and Oliver, bishop of Lincoln. A third taxation, entitled nova taxatio, as to some part of the province of York was made in 1318 by virtue of a mandate directed by Edward II to the bishop of Carlisle, principally because the Scottish invasion had rendered the border clergy unable to pay the tax. Pope Nicholas's taxation is an important record, because all taxes were regulated by it until the valor beneficiorum of Henry VIII was completed; and because the statutes of colleges founded antecedently to the Reformation were interpreted by this criterion, according to which their benefices under a certain value were exempted from the restriction respecting pluralities in the 21st Henry, c. 13. It was published in 1802 by the Record Commission, and the original rolls for many dioceses are still preserved in the Exchequer. In pursuance of an act of Parliament of Henry VIII, commissioners were appointed to inquire "of and for the true and just whole and yearly values of all the manors, lands, tenements, hereditaments, rents, tithes, offerings, emoluments, and other profits, etc., appertaining to any archbishopric, bishopric," etc. The result of their inquiries was the Valor Ecclesiasticus, sometimes called the King's Books. It has been published by the Record Commission. In 1647 Parliament issued commissions for surveying all the Crown and Church lands in England, and copies of the surveys returned were deposited in most of the cathedrals, but the originals were destroyed in the great fire of London. In 1835 a report of the ecclesiastical commissioners for England and Wales was laid on the table of both houses of Parliament, which contained the results of their inquiry into the revenues of the Church of England. SEE FIRST-FRUITS.

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