MACHYNLLETH AND PENEGOES LAND TAX 1794, MONT.Q/RE L 2 N.L.W., edited by J. G. T. SHERINGHAM. M.A.. B.D. 'The documents transcribed below by kind permission of the National Library of Wales, relate to the land tax raised annually from 1692, for that year "as an Aid of four shillings in the pound for carrying on a vigorous War against the French" (4 William and Mary cap. 1). Thereafter it was raised by a yearly Act and that of 1698 (10-11 William III cap. 9) laid down principles and administration which were to endure for the next hundred years. The tax was levied as a fixed total sum, in 1698 £ 1, 484,015-1-1 l3/4d at 3 shillings in the pound, on personal property, excluding stock on land and household property, assuming a return of 6% on capital value, on income from offices and employments, excluding naval and military offices, and on the rack rent or yearly value of real estate excluding those below 20 shillings (the land tax proper). The total sum varied from time to time, depending mainly on whether the country was at war or not, producing varying rates in whole shillings which never rose above 4/- in the pound and occasionally went as low as 1/ From the outbreak of the war of American independence it remained at 4/ The Acts divided the total aid into specified amounts to be paid by named counties and towns. No towns were named separately for Montgomeryshire and the sum to be raised in it in 1698 was £ 4389-13-9. When the rate was raised from 3/- to 4/- in 1702, this sum rose to £ 5852-18-4 (1 Anne cap.6 the arithmetic is that one third of the 1698 figure is one quarter of the 1702 one). It remained at this figure whenever the rate was 4/ including 1794 with which our documents are concerned (34 Geo. III cap.8). The tax was administered by commissioners, appointed from time to time, sometimes in the Act raising it and sometimes in separate Acts, in each county and town assessed. They were required to determine the proportion of the sum to be paid by the various divisions of the county or town to ensure that it was "charged with as much Equality and Indifference as possible by a Pound-rate", and to divide themselves into sets of local commissioners for these divisions. The divisional commissioners had to appoint a clerk, and for every parish or subvision "two at least of the most able and Sufficient Inhabitants of each Parish" as assessors, who in turn had to appoint local collectors. The commissioners had to "sign and seal two Duplicates of the Assessments" and to deliver them to the collectors. One copy had within ten days to be posted on the door of the local parish church or chapel of ease to enable tax payers to object to assessments. After the determination by the commissioners of objections, they were required "to deliver or cause to be delivered a Schedule or Duplicate in Parchment under their Hands and Seals, fairly written, containing the whole Sum assessed upon each Parish or Place, and also the Christian names and Surnames of the respective Assessors and Collectors, unto the Receiver- general of each County [this official was appointed by the Treasury and was responsible for collecting the money raised from the collectors in Wales there were initially only two, for north and south Wales, but in 1694 there was added a third for Central Wales working first from Hereford and later from Brecon] and into the King's Remembrancer's Office of the Exchequer". The tax was levied annually until 1797. In 1798 it was made perpetual and land owners became entitled to redeem it and themselves became entitled to an amount of rent equal to the tax. 'My introductory paragraphs are based largely on: S. Dowell. The History of Taxation in England, 3rd ed.. 4 voll.. London 1965. especially vol. 3. pp. 81-9. and W. R. Ward. The English Land Tax in the Eighteenth Century, Oxford 1953. Quotations in the second paragraph are from the 1794 Act which I have consulted in the Sessional Volume of Statutes by courtesy of the House of Lords Record Office.