The English poll taxes of 1377, 1379, and 1381 taxed householders, wives, dependants, and servants individually. The tax records therefore provide information about people who are rarely, if ever, mentioned in other documents - frequently including details of occupations and relationships. The widely varying documents associated with the taxes are being published in three volumes, to make this massive resource accessible to social and economic
historians, demographers, and genealogists. This first volume, which covers all three taxes for Bedfordshire to Leicestershire, includes extensive editorial descriptions of the
documents, explanations of the collection and recording processes, and a discussion of the relevance and value of this exciting material. Full indexes of original and contemporary place names and a glossary of occupations will appear in the third volume.
"Dr Fenwick deserves our admiration and gratitude for undertaking the formidable task of editing all the surviving records with such patience and effectiveness. Her volume (the first of three) does far more than merely 'fill the gap' for historians; it and its successors will probably extend our knowledge of late-medieval England more than any single text edited during the twentieth century ... Whether the field is that of biography or demography, social or economic history, local or family history, or onomatology, these records provide incalculable, fascinating material, which will make an enormous difference to most branches of late-medieval history." - Nicholas Orme, University of Exeter