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Date of Award

5-1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Supervisor

J.D. Alsop

Language

English

Abstract

This study examines the administration and collection of first fruits by the English Crown between 1535 and 1660. Following an overview of the administration of ecclesiastical taxation, attention is devoted to its social and financial effects upon the beneficed clergy. The process of compounding for payment and the related search for sureties provided useful insight into the social milieu of the lower clergy. The inability of some clerics to meet their first fruits obligations led to a growing problem of debt, which taxed the early modern financial administration. Although the thesis focuses on the burden of first fruits on the lower beneficed clergy, the plight of bishops obliged to meet first fruits payments is also examined. For the Crown first fruits represented a significant source of revenue, while for the English clergy they constituted a serious financial burden.

McMaster University Library

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