Bourne Archive: Aveland Tax:           Latest edit 5 Mar 2011.   

Interactive version ©2011 R.J.PENHEY

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Aveland Land Tax Returns for 1817.

The Land Tax was introduced in 1798 in response to a need to raise money for financing the wars against Revolutionary France and against Spain. 1798 was for example, the year of the Battle of the Nile and of rising tension in Ireland. As well as the events noted more prominently by History, the long slog of the blockades of France and Spain had to be maintained. Adam Smith had drawn attention to land as a commodity which could be taxed with a minimum of disturbance in the national economy. It happened also, that landowners formed a social class which could, on the whole afford to contribute to the costs of the war and which was already anxious about the possibility of the spread of the social levelling policies of the new rulers in France. Since they supported the expenditure, they had to accept the need for taxation. Once introduced, the tax was retained to the end of the wars against Revolutionary France, then against the First French Empire: the Napoleonic Wars.

Social instability had already appeared in resistance to technological innovation (Luddism) but when the wars ended, in 1815, the social instability in Britain increased. See for example, the riot at Downham. The greater instability was brought about by the release of armed forces personnel and the inability of the economy, deprived of the demand for war materiel such as ships, to rapidly absorb these newly available hands. This affected not only towns with dockyards and arsenals but also, places like Bourne which had grown commodities such as hemp, for ropes and sacks, and oats to feed the army’s horses.

Thus, the propertied class retained its anxieties, expressed in for example, the new Town Hall (the Quarter Sessions Court), in Bourne, built in 1820-1 (Birkbeck p. 77) and bearing a list of subscribers towards defraying its cost. During the period before economic recovery the court houses in Lincoln (Assize: 1822 (Olney p.116)), Sleaford (1829-30 (Trollope p.171)) and Folkingham, together with Folkingham House of Correction (1808 (Trollope p.511)), were built. The Spalding House of Correction was enlarged in the 1820s (Olney p.111). The new Sessions House in Boston was not opened till 1843 (Thompson p.216). Lincoln Castle jail was built in about 1788 (Olney p.12). Nationally, the period around 1820 was the high point of the lists of crimes punishable by death and transportation. These tax payers clearly felt social tension and so were more docile when faced by the tax than they might have been.

It is called a land tax, which it predominantly was, but it taxed also, pensions and income from offices. The term, pension seems to have been a very general one, for income which did not come under the headings of wages, rents or profits. It could therefore be regarded, with more or less justice, as unearned income.

There exists a group of tax returns for sixteen of the townships of the Wapentake of Aveland, covering the tax year 25th March 1817 to 25th March 1818. Each return relates to a township rather than to a parish. Thus Bourne, Cawthorpe, Dyke, Hanthorpe and Morton appear separately. The returns are mainly manuscript, though those for Newton and Walcot are manuscript, each on a printed pro forma.

The assessors were in each case but Newton and Walcot, Bernard Cracroft, Samuel Hopkinson and William Waters, though in some cases, others did the ground work and the three countersigned it. Scott Willoughby, was assessed by Thomas Wilcox but his work was countersigned by the usual three. In Cawthorpe William Smith signed himself as Collector and the three regular assessors countersigned it. Waters seems to have been the clerk; he is normally the last to sign and, though his signature is more elaborate than the script of the body of the document, the two usually seem to be the same hand.

1817 tax assessments are available for people in the following places in Aveland:

Aslackby 0830

Morton 0924

Bourn (Bourne) 0920

Newton 0436

Cawthorpe 0922

Pickworth 0433

Dowsby 1129

Pointon 1131

Dunsby 1026

Scotwilloughby (Scott Willoughby) 0537

Dyke 1022

Rippingale 0927

Hackonby (Haconby) 1025

Swaton 1337

Harmthorpe (Hanthorpe) 0924

Walcott (Walcot) 0635

These are sixteen of the 35 Aveland places mentioned in Domesday Book (Morris: Maps & Map Keys).

The four digit numbers in the table are national grid references. They all begin with TF.

See also the Aveland extracts from the 1818 Lincolnshire Poll Book report.

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