ScotlandsPlaces holds tax rolls for Scottish Hearth Tax, Land Tax, Male and Female Servant Taxes, Farm Horse Tax, and Clock and Watch Tax.
One of the ScotlandsPlaces partners is the National Records of Scotland (NRS), which says:
“When the Crown collected taxes, it collected information about its subjects. Most taxation was levied from landowners until the late 18th century when government sought to broaden the tax base by taxing other forms of property. A by-product of this is a useful series of records for historians, listing different types of people in each of Scotland’s parishes and burghs. The Farm Horse Tax and Clock and Watch Tax rolls can be viewed freely [i.e. free of charge]. Access to the Male Servant Tax, Female Servant Tax, [Land Tax] and Hearth Tax require a subscription [of £15 for three months]. More tax volumes will be added shortly.
Clock and watch tax rolls 1797-1798
“Clock and watch tax rolls (National Records of Scotland, E326/12) list the names of clock and watch owners as well as the number of clocks and watches they owned. The listing below is that of the original rolls. Only two volumes survive and it is fairly clear that a third volume (containing the counties of Midlothian, Moray, Orkney, Peebles, Perth, Renfrew, Ross, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Shetland, Stirling, Sutherland, West Lothian, and Wigtown) is not extant.
Farm horse tax rolls 1797-1798
“The farm horse tax rolls (National Records of Scotland, E326/10) list the names of the owner and number of horses and mules used in husbandry or trade in 1797-1798. In some rolls, the tax inspectors made repeat visits to track down non-payers, which explains why some parishes and burghs are repeated.
Female servant tax rolls 1785-1792
“In Scotland, taxes were levied on households employing ‘non-essential’ female servants between 1785 and 1792. Most of the servants listed were engaged in domestic work. The tax schedules (National Records of Scotland, E326/6) cover the years 1785-1792 and are divided county by county and then by parish and household, with separate volumes for the royal burghs. The parish and burgh schedules are arranged by household, listing the name of each householder liable for the tax and usually the name and designation of each servant.
Hearth tax records 1691-1695
“Hearth tax rolls list the people who were liable for tax on hearths (including kilns) in Scotland in the 1690s. They provide clues about the size of each building, place, estate or parish in the late 17th century. Heads of households of each building were liable for a tax of 14 shillings, payable at Candlemas 1691, and only hospitals and the poor were exempt. There were huge difficulties in collecting the tax, particularly in the Highlands, and attempts to collect the tax went on in some parts of Scotland went on until 1695.
“The surviving hearth tax rolls (National Records of Scotland reference E69) are generally arranged by county and then parish or by landed estate. The rolls for the following counties contain lists of householders (some arranged by estate or place): Angus, Ayr, Argyll (but with some areas missing), Bute, Berwick, Clackmannan, Dumbarton, East Lothian, Fife, Kincardine, Lanark, Midlothian, Perth, Renfrew, Roxburgh, Stirling, Sutherland, West Lothian and Wigtown.
“The rolls for the counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Moray, Nairn, Peebles and Selkirk give only the total number of hearths surveyed and money collected in each parish or estate. The roll for Inverness-shire consists mainly of a summary of a small number of parishes without listing inhabitants but includes a list of burgesses or inhabitants of the town of Inverness and a list of poor in the parishes surveyed.
“In this series of hearth tax rolls there are none for Orkney, Shetland, Caithness, Ross and Cromarty. For information on hearth tax rolls for Dumfriesshire, Fife, Edinburgh, Shetland and Ross-shire in private records in the NRS see the guide on tax records.
“Please note that hearth tax records are difficult to read if you are not familiar with 17th century handwriting [Too right they are!]. For guidance on 17th century handwriting visit Scottish Handwriting.
Land tax rolls 1645-1831
“Land tax rolls (often called cess rolls or valuation rolls) were compiled by the Commissioners of Supply in each county to enable the collection of the land tax from 1667 onwards. They list the owners of landed estates and assess the rental value of their lands. Rolls were compiled or revised at irregular intervals. The date of a roll is taken to be that on which the valuation was made or revised, but in many cases the surviving copy of the roll was made at a much later date, which is established by the certificate of the commissioners of supply, their clerk or the collector, authenticating it. The rolls available on this website are the rolls submitted to the Scottish Exchequer, which now survive in the National Records of Scotland (reference E106). Other land tax rolls can be found among Commissioners of Supply records in local archives.
Male servant tax rolls 1777-1798
“The male servant tax was levied on the households employing ‘non-essential’ male servants from 1777 onwards. This excluded farm labourers, industrial workers and servants in businesses like shops and inns. The tax was aimed primarily at the wealthy in town and country who could afford domestic or personal servants (such as cooks, butlers, valets, grooms, gardeners and coachmen). The tax schedules (National Records of Scotland, E326/5) cover the years 1777-1779, 1785-1795 and 1797-1798 and are divided county by county and then by parish and household, with separate volumes for the royal burghs. The parish and burgh schedules are arranged by household, listing the name of each household liable for the tax and usually the name and designation of each servant.”