Medieval tax collector

So i was unable to find any good answers on the internet and seeing as i was here amid a bunch of middle ages enthusiasts… I remember in the old, to me very dear game “Robin Hood, the legend of Sherwood” there were sometimes sidemissions where you had to ambush a tax collector in the middle of the forest, what i am interested in is did tax collectors as such really exist in that period or did lords collect there dues themselves? Did guards maybe dubbed as tax collectors when needed and if there were tax collectors were they traveling with armed escort, and how big would that escort be in general, and were tax collectors themselves armed and armored or did they wear simple clothes, relying on the guards to do the fighting if any?

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Before I go on, this is only what I know on the subject. I in no way declare myself an expert or having extensive knowledge on this subject, so as you read do take what I say with a grain of salt.

Yes. They were (supposedly) Jews, ergo why there is the stereotype they are great with money and are very stubborn to buy anything.

did lords collect there dues themselves?

God no. They had other people to do that.

Did guards maybe dubbed as tax collectors when needed

Maybe, but I don’t know of any cases with this happening.

tax collectors were they traveling with armed escort,

Villages were usually built inside or right beside castles as a safe haven from invading armies. Failing that, you’d flee to the Church, so I myself don’t think this is true. This is purely what I have researched, so if anyone else has better knowledge on this trust them.

were tax collectors themselves armed and armored or did they wear simple clothes

Probably simple clothing. Think merchant-type people when you think of tax collectors. Again, if someone else has better knowledge on this listen to them.

That is actually connected with the fact that christianity forbids lending money on interest, unlike judaism. Jews were thus the only ones in medieval society who could lend money on interest, which made them more likely to give loans and make a living out of it.

I very much doubt that jews were tax collectors.


My guess is that only armed escorts were when Kings share was send to Kings castle or if certain area had trouble with robers/bandits.

Well i was thinking, maybe they had a couple of guards just to deter any troublemakers, people don’t like paying taxes, and it was well known that sometimes they could be rather exorbitant, since medieval people were drinking mostly mild ale (clean water was not widely available at the time) they were often somewhat drunk too, a couple of armed men would make any troublemaker think twice, and it did not really make that much difference if two guards were out walking with a tax collector or they were back in the barracks gambling or drinking.

Interesting. Can you prove that?

Well i saw some rather reputable sources stating that as a fact, however when i read your question i went digging and it seems it’s more of an urban legend actually, again it’s so widespread legend plenty of sources that should be reliable are citing it but perhaps i was a bit of folly here, while drinking was indeed favorite pastime of middle ages (and that part i can back up it seems to not be linked to lack of clean water as much as i thought.

Damn, that’s a shame. I was looking forward to some freaky history facts.

Anyway drinking is favourite pastime even now :smiley:

Yeah, me too, but that only shows how you always have to double check everything, i saw numerous TV shows and historic sites citing it, a commentator on the Internet not not having his facts straight is one thing, but a reputable tv house…

I know it can be allot of work but this forum has debunked many medieval tall tales and other historical myths.

Medieval times are not what Hollywood and other games would like you to think, especially in Bohemia (where the game is set).

this is brutal:

a child slipped from her drunken mother’s lap into a pan of hot milk on the hearth

And the fact that most of the brewers and tasters were women is quite interesting. Though who knows whether it applied in Bohemia.
Still there could be the space to satisfy SJWs.

But who the hell cares about SJWs, anyway, eh?

where flour-grinding and bread-baking were strictly guarded seigneurial monopolies, brewing was everywhere freely permitted and freely practiced<<

Okay that´s interesting and new for me… :blush:

Everyone was more or less armed, except within city limits where there may or may not have been different rules, which may or may not have been enforced.

Czech lands were pretty permissive as regards weapons (including firearms) up until Nazi occupation. Even today Czech Republic remains one of only two EU states with shall issue concealed carry (everyone has the right to carry a firearm for self defense subject to acquiring license first).

Last but not least, remember that the game takes place during a medieval civil war. In that time, you are either armed, or dead, there is no between. Unless you are within castle walls hiding behind shoulders of other armed people.