Inhabited House Tax Rolls are the latest fascinating resource to have been added to the ScotlandsPlaces website, giving researchers a valuable insight into 18th Century life. Genealogists can find the names of ancestors throughout Scotland together with the annual value of their houses they held.
Auchinleck House (pictured right) was owned by James Boswell (1740-1795), the famous diarist and biographer of Samuel Johnson, and the Tax Rolls show it was valued at £25 per annum in 1783, with a duty of 18 shillings and 9 pence. The Rolls include all houses valued over £5 per annum and include people with more common professions such as bonnetmakers, shoemakers and wrights as well. Other tax records available on the site relate to carriages, carts, clocks, watches, dogs, horses, servants, hearths, shops and the infamous window tax.
Duties on inhabited houses were first imposed in 1778 and the National Records of Scotland (NRS) holds the resulting rolls (or 'schedules') from 1778 until 1798, although there are gaps for some counties and royal burghs. The schedules are arranged by county; burghs being listed under their respective counties, with the exception of separate schedules for royal burghs for 1786-1787 and 1789-1790. There are 64 volumes in total (about 10,000 pages).
The schedules give the names of householders and annual value of houses, but the initial assessment was on houses with an actual or notional rental value of at least £5 per annum. There was a sliding scale of duty for houses valued between £5 and £19, between £20 and £39 and £40 or over. By and large, for rural areas only a handful of individuals were liable for tax in each parish, but for researchers interested in inhabitants of the prosperous towns during the 'Age of Improvement', the Inhabited House Tax schedules are a valuable source of information.
ScotlandsPlaces brings together historical records from three of Scotland's national archives: the National Records of Scotland (NRS), the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historial Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and the National Library of Scotland (NLS).
N.B. when viewing these two large example images of Inhabited House Tax Rolls, just click on an image to enlarge it further.
Inhabited House Tax Schedule, Auchinleck parish, Ayrshire, 1783 - Reference: E326/3/4, page 73
Inhabited House Tax Schedule, Auchinleck parish, Ayrshire, 1783 - Reference: E326/3/4, page 8