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Henry II, King of England:
The Saladin Tithe, 1188

Since the Saladin Tithe was taken of rent and movables to provide funds for the Third Crusade, it can be regarded as an ecclesiastical tithe. The co-operation of the royal odicials of Henry II and of a jury, however, paved the way for future secular taxation of movable goods. To that extent it can be regarded as the beginning of such secular taxation in England.

1. Each person will give in charity one tenth of his rents and movable goods for the taking of the land of Jerusalem; except for the arms, horses, and clothing of knights, and likewise for the horses, books, clothing, and vestments, and church furniture of the clergy, and except for precious stones belonging to the clergy or the laity.

2. Let the money be collected in every parish in the presence of the parish priest and of the rural dean, and of one Templar and one Hospitaller, and of a servant of the Lord King and a clerk of the King, and of a servant of a baron and his clerk, and the clerk of the bishop; and let the archbishops, bishops, and deans in every parish excommunicate every one who does not pay the lawful tithe, in the presence of, and to the certain knowledge of, those who, as has been said above, ought to be present. And if any one according to the knowledge of those men give less than he should, let there be elected from the parish four or six lawful men, who shall say on oath what is the quantity that he ought to have declared; then it shall be reasonable to add to his payment what he failed to give.

3. But the clergy and knights who have taken the cross, shall give none of that tithe except from their own goods and the property of their lord; and whatever their men owe shall be collected for their use by the above and returned intact to them.

4. Moreover, the bishops in every parish of their sees shall cause to be announced by their letters on Christmas Day and on the Feast of St. Stephen, and on the Feast of St. John, that each will collect the said tithe into his own hands before the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin; and, on the following day and afterwards, each will pay, in the presence of those who have been mentioned, at the place to which he has been summoned.


William Stubbs, ed., Select Charters of English Constitutional History, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), p. 189; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 387-388.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
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