Poll Tax Population 1377


Map Code: Ax02222

The Poll Tax of 1377 was levied to finance the ongoing Hundred Years’ War with France, and graphically delineated England’s depopulation through the plagues and famines of the previous century. Nowhere was spared: London, with a population of perhaps 80,000 in 1300, was reduced to around 25,000 by 1377. The other main cities – York, Bristol, Norwich, Coventry – had between 5-7,000 inhabitants. Many rural areas experienced similar devastation; Norfolk, the most populous county in 1290, with nearly 500,000 inhabitants, had less than 200,000 residents in 1377, while Northumberland lost over 80 per cent of its population. The most resilient county was Leicestershire, which retained 90 per cent of its pre-plague population level, and the western home counties, which probably benefitted from emigration from London. Further plague outbreaks and the depredations of the Wars of the Roses (1455–85) would continue to depress population growth, with the most vigorous increase taking place in the Northwest over the next two centuries

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