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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Taxes, Lists, Business, Electoral and Insurance Records by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Georgian Assessed Taxes
A number of taxes on consumables, the so-called assessed taxes, were introduced during the reigns of the four Georges who reigned sequentially from 1714-1830. To give the flavour of the times the instructions for carrying out the 1793 Act are reproduced below. Individual manuscript sheets or forms for each tax were used for most of the 18th century, but from 1784 their collection was amalgamated and large columnar forms in.
Chart : 1793 Acts for Taxing Servants, Horses & Carriages
Adlington, Cheshire Film 1594142
In pursuance of an Act of the 25th of His present Majesty, for granting a Duty upon all Male and Female Servants retained or employed in the several Capacities following: Maitre d’Hote, House Steward, Master of the Horse, Groom of the Chamber, Valet de Chambre, Butler, Under-butler, Clerk of the Kitchen, Confectioner, Cook, House-porter, Footman, Running-footman, Coachman, Groom, Postillion, Stable-boy, Helpers in the Stable, Gardener not being a Day-labourer, Park-keeper, Game-keeper, Huntsman or Whipper-in; Waiters in Taverns, Coffee-houses, Inns, Ale-houses, or any other Houses licensed to sell Wine, Ale, or other Liquors by retail, (other than occasional Waiters), or by whatsoever Name or Names Male Servants really acting in any of the said Capacities shall be called, whether such Servants have been employed in one or more of the said Capacities, or in any other Business jointly with one or more of the said Capacities of a Servant:
And also by another Act of the 25th of the present King, for transferring the Receipt and Management of certain Duties on Horses, Carriages, Waggons, and Carts, from the Commissioners of Excise and Stamps, to the Commissioners for the Affairs of Taxes;
You are required to make out, within Fourteen Days of the Date hereof, a List of the greatest Number of Male and Female Servants, Horses, Carriages, Waggons, and Carts, that have been kept, retained, used, or employed by you at any one Time, or by any Lodger or Inmate living in your House, between the 5th of April 1790 and the 5th of April 1791;
Which List must be signed by yourself, expressing the Christian and Surnames of the Servants, together with the Capacities in which they severally served:
And in pursuance of the before-mentioned Acts you are further desired to deliver to me at the same Time a Declaration, signed by yourself, of the Number of Male and Female Servants, Horses, Carriages, Waggons, and Carts you mean to pay for in any other Parish or Place, under Pain of incurring the Penalties recited in the said Acts.
Dated at Adlington this 25 Day of April 1793.
[Signatures of two Assessors] John Whiston
Carriage Tax 1747-1782
Anyone possessing a horse-drawn conveyance excepting farm vehicles, trade carts and wagons was taxed on it from 1747 until 1782. Charges varied for:
£ Four-wheeled carriages
For private use (£6)
Additional bodies, same wheels
To let to hire
Basic two-wheel carriage (£3-5)
Drawn by eight or more horses or mules
Additional bodies, same wheels.
Example are shown by Hawkings (Little Used Sources and New Discoveries. 2. Silver Plate Tax and Carriage Tax. Genealogists’ Magazine Vol. 26 #6, page 212, 1999).
Gold & Silver Plate Tax 1756-1777
Tax was payable by those owning 100 ounces or more of silver plate, that is real silver, not the electro-plated variety invented in the mid-19th century. I have found references to actual taxes for 1756-1777 but Hawkings says it was not repealed until the 19th century, but does not specify a date. In TNA Treasury papers class T 47 there are records of the taxpayers from 1756-1762 arranged by areas of collection, but not by county. It is not surprising that there were some who tried to avoid payment, and defaulters lists are extant for 1757-1768 and 1776 which give names and addresses, date of letter and answer and a summary of the answer such as Will weigh his plate and if he has 100 oz will enter it, or Dead - plate divided among his relations.
Playing Cards and Dice Tax
There was such a tax but I cannot find anything specific about it.
Male Servants Tax 1777-1852
From 1777-1852 a tax was levied on the roughly 25,000 gentlemen employing about 50,000 male servants, although those engaged in husbandry, trade or manufacture were exempted. The rates varied from year to year; in 1779 tax was one guinea (£1 1 shilling) per servant as shown below. Records can be found in various archives. The Society of Genealogists holds a nine-volume collection of records of those paying the Male Servants Tax in 1780, almost a Who’s Who of every town and village in England for that year; however the servants’ names are not recorded in this collection.
Chart : Tax on Male Servants 1779 Rotherham, Yorkshire
In pursuance of the Act of the 17th Year of the Present King for
granting to his Majesty a Duty upon all male servants retained or
employed in the Several Capacities following in the Township of Rotherham 1779
Master’s Names Servants names Qualities No Tax
Saml Tooker esq. Wm Duckenfield
John Davison Groom
Gardener 3 3..3..0
Mr. Drake Timothy Swift Groom 1 1..1..0
Saml Halls Harner Joshua Kinder
Dennis Wragg Footman
Groom 2 2..2..0
1Notley Rozor Robt Wasteneys Footman 1 1..1..0
Mr. Turner5 Godfrey Guthrel Footman 1 1..1..0
Mr. Booth David Bellamy Footman 1 1..1..0
Mr. Wilkinson John Bramold Stableboy 1 1..1..0
Mr. Bower Saml Taylor Footman 1 1..1..0
Mr. Tunnicliff John Smith Footman 1 1..1..0
Mr. Foljambe Vale Brien Footman 1 1..1..0
Mr. Culforthay John Eden Groom 1 1..1..0
Mr. Wm Ball
Mr. Jas Hirst
Confirmed by us [signatures] C.S. Duncombe, J. Woodyeare, G. Cooke
John Clarke, Thos Gillot Assessors
Jos: Johnson. Wm Jubb Collectors
Stamp Act Tax 1783-1794
This was another government-imposed tax of 3d on all entries in parish registers except those of paupers who were exempt. The incumbente was allowed to collect 10% for his trouble. There was a consequent drop in registrations and a rush to register after its repeal in 1794. A notation of Pd. or Pd. 3d during this period indicate that the tax had been collected; but a large letter P indicates that the parson classed them as paupers (some incumbents were more generous than others in this regard). It may be noted in the registers as stamp duty, but this is not to be confused with the Stamp Duty of 1765 (see under Duties).
Chart : Stamp Act Tax Begins 1783
St. James, Piccadilly, Westminster, Middlesex
Between 1st and 2nd October 1783
Here begins the Stamp Duty
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