Exchequer: Original Returns, Transcripts and Abstracts of the Valor Ecclesiasticus

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Exchequer: Original Returns, Transcripts and Abstracts of the Valor Ecclesiasticus

This series consists of the original returns of the Valor Ecclesiasticus, and some later transcripts and abstracts based upon them.

The original returns were made to the Exchequer by the commissioners appointed under the First Fruits and Tenths Act of 1534 to value all ecclesiastical benefices throughout England and Wales. The purpose of the valuation was to ensure that the income to the Crown from first fruits and tenths reflected true current annual incomes.

Most of the returns date from the first half of 1535, although a few were made later in that year or subsequently, in the reigns of Edward VI, Elizabeth I and James I, to remedy deficiencies in the initial survey. Returns for the diocese of Ely, much of the diocese of London, the counties of Berkshire, Rutland and Northumberland, and a large part of the diocese of York, including the deaneries of Rydal and Craven, are not among the original returns, although they are to some extent supplied by other records in the series. In addition to the originals, the series also contains a transcript, in two surviving volumes, on vellum, known as the Liber Regis or King's Book, and the badly damaged remains of a three-volume abstract, on paper; both transcripts are contemporary with the original returns.

Other items in the series are an account for revenues from Farnham (Surrey), rendered by the receiver of the temporalities of the dicoese of Winchester, 15-16 Henry VIII; a valuation of the King's possessions in Ireland, c.1538-1546; and a list of clergy in Exeter diocese, 1540-1541.

The series also includes two copies made by John Ecton, deputy receiver of first fruits, in the early 18th century when the original returns were still complete. These are the three volume MS of extracts known as the Liber Valorum, and the two volume MS Liber Decimarum, compiled partly from the Valor Ecclesiasticus and partly from the returns of livings worth less than £50 a year made in 1705-1706.

Held by:
The National Archives, Kew
Legal status:
Public Record
Physical description:
30 files and volumes

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