The Military Survey of Gloucestershire, 1522 edited by R.W. Hoyle

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Date: 1522 to 1522
Location: Gloucestershire, Englandmap
Surname/tag: hoyle
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  • Title: The Military Survey of Gloucestershire, 1522
  • Format: Book
  • Edited by: R.W. Hoyle
  • Published for: The Bristol and Gloucestershire Archeological Society
  • Published by: Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd.
  • Publication Date: 1993
  • ISBN: 0 900197 36 6
  • Living editor

Frontispiece Description

The Military Surveys made in 1522 were the boldest attempt between Doomsday and relatively modern times to assess the wealth and military strength of the nation. Commissioners in every county were instructed to organise the gathering from each parish of a wide range of information about that parish: the name of the lord of the manor, the name of the steward, the owner of the advowson of the church, its value and the stipend of its vicar. The names of owners of land and the value of the land, and the names of the tenants and their wealth were to be recorded. All the male inhabitants of the parish were to muster and have recorded the value of their goods, their possession of weapons and armour and their fitness to serve in war. Few returns managed to record the full range of information required, nor was this experiment in information gathering ever repeated. But the Military Surveys are fuller and more informative than the better known lay subsidies of 1524 and 1525.

Most of the returns of the Military Survey are lost. It is therefore a remarkable good fortune that the return for Gloucestershire survives in the archives of the Berkeley family at Berkeley Castle. Almost unknown to historians, it is here published for the first time. It will quickly establish itself as an indispensable guide to Gloucestershire society at the end of the middle ages and an essential source for local historians and genealogists.

The edition is preface by an exhaustive introduction which describes the background to the making of the Military Survey and the use that was subsequently made of it to obtain forced loans in 1522 and 1523. The introduction describes how the Military Survey was compiled and, armed with that knowledge, how it might be read by historians.

The reliability of the return and its weaknesses are discussed. A final section makes a novel contribution to the study of taxation by describing the burden of taxation carried by the shire in the early sixteenth century. The volume is fully indexed.

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Front Cover

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