England’s Immigrants 1330 – 1550 Resident Aliens in the Late Middle Ages


A good number of alien subsidy records survive for the county of Sussex, and in total reveal 1,749 instances of resident immigrants. 323 of these immigrants could be found in one of the county’s Cinque Ports, and these individuals have been discussed in the ‘Kent and the Cinque Ports‘ County Study. Of the remaining 1,426 individuals, the majority could be found in Chichester, Pevensey, Hastings and Arundel. The largest number of resident immigrants were identified in the first and second collections of the 1440 subsidy, at 877 individuals. By the fifth and sixth collections of the same subsidy, the number had fallen dramatically to 207. By the first and second collections of the 1442 subsidy, this had fallen even further to 123, and then by the first collection of the 1449 subsidy it had dropped to fifty-one. Following collections recorded between sixteen and forty-four individuals, showing the same decline in numbers as can be seen across the majority of England’s counties.

As is the case for most counties, the vast majority of aliens identified by the alien subsidy records are male. In the case of Sussex, 1,327 instances of male aliens are recorded. Of the ninety-three women, only two are recorded as wives of aliens (and were therefore not taxed). The majority of the women were recorded as servants. Only five were recorded as householders, and presumably living independently on their own income (although unfortunately no occupations are recorded).

Few occupations are specified for the alien residents of Sussex. Where they are specified, the overwhelming majority are servants. An unusually significant number are recorded as men of religion: eight chaplains, seven vicars, three rectors, three priests and two parish chaplains. Other occupations are certainly varied, including a tailor, smith, labourer, hardwareman, corviser, clerk, a barber, and a gaoler.

As is the case for occupations, few nationalities were recorded by the assessors in Sussex. Where they are recorded, the overwhelming majority (107) were French, which is unsurprising considering the county’s location. Only a few other nationalities are recorded in the county. Dutch or Flemish individuals make up another thirty, and there are only a few Irish and Scottish resident immigrants.

Jessica Lutkin

Cite this page:

England’s Immigrants 1330 – 1550 (www.englandsimmigrants.com, version 1.0, 20 February 2017), https://www.englandsimmigrants.com/page/sources/alien-subsidies/the-south-east/sussex