10:08 Feb 4, 2012
English to English translations [PRO]
Law/Patents - History / English law, Middle Ages, taxation
English term or phrase: allowance
Such financial information, when presented to parliament, certainly did not induce the Commons to provide larger grants and probably made them more and more critical of the management of the king's resources. None of Henry VI's parliaments between 1433 and 1450 refused all supply but the growing financial demands of an unsuccessful war made these assemblies increasingly aware of bargaining powers forgotten or waived in the distraction of foreign conquest and the flush of victory. The parliament of 1433 in which Cromwell presented his comprehensive financial review was the first to insist on a special allowance of £4,000 being made from each complete tenth and fifteenth granted, in order to alleviate the burden on certain impoverished towns. Before their adjournment (13 August) this parliament was told that there would be no more money available for current household expenses until they reassembled on 13 October.


The reluctance of subsequent parliaments to grant unconditional
supply was even more marked. The parliament of 1445-6 at first
granted only half a tenth and fifteenth. Later, when a further
one and a half tenths and fifteenths were granted, the rate of
allowance for impoverished towns was raised to Ł6,000 for each
complete tenth and fifteenth (i.e. Ł9,000 for that grant). Further
measures of appropriation for household expenses, this time on
the issues of wardships, marriages and vacant temporalities were
made in the parliament which first met on 12 February 1449.
Moreover, this assembly not only restricted its grant to a mere
half tenth and fifteenth (less Ł3,000) but was emboldened to demand
a large-scale resumption as the price for any further grant. Its
persistent agitation for on act of resumption finally led to the
dissolution of this parliament at Winchester on 16 July 1449.

(B. P. Wolffe, Acts of Resumption 1399-1495)

I would like ask you for assistance in understanding how allowance was calculated and distributed. Does that mean that 4,000 and late 6,000 were allocated from some other source for helping these poor towns and somehow paid to them? Or if the towns were exempted from 1/10 and 1/15? Or was this amount of income tax-free in contemporary terms? Or was it the amount deducted form tax payable by impoverished towns?

Many thanks for your ideas.
Local time: 14:14

Summary of answers provided
4 +1benefit / grant
2reduction of tax amount
Stephanie Ezrol



50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
benefit / grant

The use of this word here should be one, or more, of the following explanations.

1. ...
2. ...
3. a sum of money allotted or granted for a particular purpose, as for expenses: Her allowance for the business trip was $200.
4. a sum of money allotted or granted to a person on a regular basis, as for personal or general living expenses: The art student lived on an allowance of $300 a month. When I was in first grade, my parents gave me an allowance of 50 cents a week.
5. an addition or deduction based on an extenuating or qualifying circumstance: an allowance for profit; an allowance for depreciation."

United Kingdom
Local time: 13:14
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you for your help. I indeed understand what "allowance"as such means. My question was rather concerning the mechanism of its application in the specific context.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alexandra Taggart: It provides one with understanding why Engish are so adverse about smartass or banal in every case when bargaining powers comes as something which has to be stipulated. Oh, my claws and whiskers!
8 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
reduction of tax amount

I don't think that European kings in this period were giving out funds to impoverished towns. From the context this would certainly seem to be a reduction of the full tax, or the text below says exemptions:

"in spite of the exemptions still allowed to impoverished
towns on the marches, such as Shrewsbury and Newcastle"

Stephanie Ezrol
United States
Local time: 08:14
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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