The Tudor House
The Tax Collectors Will
The Tudor house was in the midst of a huge wood in the North of England. A few gentlemen, dressed like belonging to the late 1500’s, were sitting around a table and drinking tasty mead. There was a fireplace and beside that, almost like a shield, with ensign of a sword and a cross.
The gentlemen took no notice of Clyde. Suddenly Clyde realized that one of them actually appeared to be Clyde himself, wearing a wide hat and a big moustache. He was Stewart, 36 years old and a tax collector under the Crown. Clyde described Stewart as friendly, never having any intent to harm people he met.
Stewart wasn’t married but had a “woman in every village”. He owned a big farm where employees took care of the daily work, keeping cows, pigs and hogs. Wild boar was often hunted in the woods.
Stewart was very cunning and kept the Crowns money he collected under a hidden drawer beneath the pig sty. It all looked very normal once the drawer had been put back under the pigs, according to Clyde.
Every six months Stewart travelled to the Crowns tax supervisor where he gave account of his work. When I asked Clyde what would happen if he stole the money, the answer was short and clear.
“They would cut my throat”.
I asked him if he kept a book of all his transactions, and without hesitation he answered yes. After minutes of waiting Clyde was ready.
“The last transaction is dated May 1560”, he said.
Then I took Clyde to Stewart during his last days. Clyde described an old man with a long white beard. Clyde told me that Stewart did something extremely unusual for his time. He decided not to let anyone particular inherit his land and property. Instead he split up the farm into different plots, each plot given to all his employees. Part from inheriting land and money, these individuals were all given something extremely valuable. They all became free independent landowners.
Stewart felt happy about his arrangements and at the age of 76 he died around the early part of 1600.
I asked Clyde what the most important lesson was, Stewart learnt.
“It made me understand that what you give, you will get back.”