The King's Books or Liber Regis is a transcript of the Valor Ecclesiasticus, a survey of the value of Church Properties. The original returns were made to the Exchequer by the commissioners appointed under the First Fruits and Tenths Act of 1534 to value all ecclesiastical benefices throughout England and Wales. The purpose of the valuation was to ensure that the income to the Crown from first fruits and tenths reflected true current annual incomes.
Most of the returns date from the first half of 1535, although a few were made later in that year or subsequently, in the reigns of Edward VI, Elizabeth I and James I, to remedy deficiencies in the initial survey. Returns for the diocese of Ely, much of the diocese of London, the counties of Berkshire, Rutland and Northumberland, and a large part of the diocese of York, including the deaneries of Rydal and Craven, are not among the original returns.
Original Returns, Transcripts and Abstracts of the Valor Ecclesiasticus are now deposited at the National Archives at Kew, Series reference E 344.
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