The Taxatio

The Taxatio image

The taxatio database contains the valuation, plus related details, of the English and Welsh parish churches and prebends listed in the ecclesiastical taxation assessment of 1291-2.


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A taxatio is an assessment for taxation and the assessment digitised for The Taxatio database is often called the Pope Nicholas IV taxatio because it was carried out on the orders of that pope. For nearly 250 years virtually all ecclesiastical taxation of England and Wales was based on this extremely thorough and detailed assessment. It is a unique source for the medieval period: no other complete survey of its kind survives for any part of medieval Europe.

The Taxatio project provides a comprehensive new edition of the listing and valuation of the ecclesiastical benefices of England and Wales. For each of the twenty-one dioceses all the contemporary or near-contemporary versions of the assessment, generally comprising a dozen or so different copies, were analysed and their contents brought together in the database, which was refined over a period of fifteen years to cope with every aspect of the extant evidence.

The result is a new text for each diocese, with variant readings from all manuscripts, variant spellings of place-names, and indications of the early recensions brought about, notably, by the addition of taxable items in the years immediately following 1291. The database constitutes, in effect, a medieval ecclesiastical gazetteer for the whole of England and Wales. The project aim was to create an edition that would be flexible enough for historical research and provide the basis for a new ecclesiastical geography of England and Wales.


This resource is of particular interest to ecclesiastical, economic and local historians and for the study of place names.

The Taxatio database was compiled from the Taxatio Ecclesiastica Angliae et Walliae Auctoritate Papae Nicholai IV (1802), supplemented by information derived from many other sources including different versions of the Taxatio. All the detailed material concerning the values of ecclesiastical benefices in this printed edition (the 'spiritualities' part of the assessment as distinct from the 'temporalities' part) has been entered onto the database.

The information currently available is as follows: the line(s) of text from the printed edition of the assessment concerning a specific church or prebend; and the modern identification of the church or prebend, with a list of its parts (for example, vicarage, portion, pension), each given a value, and the dedication and the grid reference for the church where these are available, with basic information concerning identification, dedication and patronage where the patron of the church was monastic or ecclesiastical.

Introductory reading

S.Davnall, J.Denton, S.Griffiths, D.Ross & B.Taylor, 'The "Taxatio" database' in Computers and the Humanities, ed. G.Neal et al. Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 74, no. 3 (1992), 89-108.

J.H.Denton, 'The valuation of the ecclesiastical benefices of England and Wales in 1291-2', Historical Research, 66 (1993), 231-50.

J.H.Denton, 'Towards a new edition of the Taxatio Ecclesiastica Angliae et Walliae Auctoritate P. Nicholai IV Circa A.D.1291', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 79, no. 1 (1997), 67-79.

Technical Methods

The Taxatio database is a MySQL database.

About the project

The database was established by a research team at the University of Manchester working under the supervision of the late Jeff Denton, Professor of Medieval History. The website was originally created by Manchester Computing staff, and is now hosted and maintained by the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield.


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Source Types

  • Official Documents


  • Summary or Calendar


  • history
  • taxation
  • place names


  • Latin


  • Free

Time Period



Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield

Cite this page:

"The Taxatio" Manuscripts Online (, version 1.0, 15 June 2024),