A most proper authority on all things Regency

Everyday living in Regency England


"We have taxes upon every article that enters into the mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the foot; taxes upon everything which it is pleasant to feel, smell, or taste; taxes on everything in the earth, or in the waters under the earth; on everything that comes from abroad or that is grown at home ; taxes on the raw material; taxes on every value that is added to it by the industry of man ; taxes on the sauce which pampers man's appetite, and on the drug which restores him to health ; on the ermine which covers the judge, and the rope that hangs the criminal; on the poor man's salt, and the rich man's spice; on the brass nails of the coffin, and the ribbons of the bride; — on bed and board — couchant or levant — we must pay.


The schoolboy whips his taxed top; the beardless youth manages a taxed horse, with a taxed bridle, on a taxed road; and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine, which has paid seven per cent, into a spoon which has paid fifteen per cent, flings himself back upon his chintz bed, which has paid twenty-two per cent, and expires in the arms of an apothecary who has paid a license of one hundred pounds for the privilege of presiding at his death-bed. His whole property is then taxed from two to twenty per cent. Besides the probate, large fees are demanded for burying him in the chancel ; his virtues are handed down to posterity on taxed marble, and he is gathered to his fathers to be taxed no more."

Sydney Smith's , as quoted by Elizabeth Wormley Latimer in England in the Nineteen Century.(page 14) Google Books

Abstract of the Principal Tax Acts
from 1819 Gentleman's Pocket Memorandum Book

Armorial Bearings: Any person keeping a coach or other carriage, and using or wearing any armorial bearing, to pay annually 2 £ 8s. Any person not keeping a coach &c. but liable to the house or window duty, to pay annually 1£ 4s,and every other descriptions of persons 12 s, annually.

Carriages: Class : Four wheels, for pleasure pay yearly:

No. of Carriages £ s d
1 12 0 0
2 26 0
3 42 0
4 60 0
5 78 15
6 94 8
7 119 0 0
9 121 16
9 or more 163 7

Every additional Body used on the same carriage the further sum of 6£ 6s

Class II

Carriages drawn by one horse with less than 4 wheels (Taxed carts excepted) 6£ 10s if drawn by 2 or more horses, 9£ and every additional body used on the same carriage, 3£ 3s.

Class III

Carriages let to hire for less than one year. , 9£ 9s each. If less than 4 wheels, the sum mentioned in Class II, according to the number of horses. Every coach, chaise, or other carriage with 4 wheels or more kept as a public stage coach, or as a post chaise, £10 10s. To be paid by the persons keeping the same. Every 4 wheel carriage kept for letting for hire for less than one year, so that the Stamp office shall not be payable 12£. If less than 4 wheels, the sums mentioned in Class II according to the number of horses. To be paid by the person keeping the same.

Class IV

Carriages with less than 4 wheels, drawn by 1 horse, made of wood and iron, without any other than a tilted covering , and no lining and springs, or any ornament whatever, and with the words A TAXED CART and the owners name and place of abode, in letters an inch long, and which did not originally cost more than 15£ : 1£ 9s yearly. If such carriage be built with springs, or have a stuffed seat, and the original cost not more than 21£ : 2£ 15s yearly. Taxed carts used by persons assessed to the duty on carriages, £6 10s yearly for each.

Class V

Makers of carriages chargeable by this act, the annual duty of 10s. For every 4 wheeled carriage made for sale, 1£ 5s. Every carriage with 2 wheels, 12s6d. Every maker of taxed carts, not assessed as a coachmaker, 3s for every taxed cart.

Class VI

Persons selling carriages by auction or commission, to pay 6s annually. Every carriage sold with 4 wheels, 1£ 2s6d; with 2 wheels, 11s3d.

Persons making a livelihood solely by a farm, or trade, and clergymen not having an income of 100£ per annum are entitled to use horses to such carriages to on payment of the cart horse duty only; but such horse must not at any time be used for riding or for any other carriage.

No person is entitled to keep such carriages at this reduced rate, if assessed to a 4 wheel carriage, or 2 male servants.

Carts used wholly in the affairs of husbandry or trade are not chargeable with this duty, if used for no other purpose of riding thereon or therein , than as follows, viz, by reason of the owner or any of his servants riding thereon or therein, when laden; or when returning from or going for a load, in husbandry or trade; or conveying the owner or family to divine service, on Sundays; or conveying persons to and from elections.

On every Waggon and Cart, the owner must paint his Christian and surname, and place of abode, and the words Common Stage Waggon or Cart, or forfeit from 20s to 5£.

DOGS: for every greyhound kept by any person, whether his property or not, 1 £.For every other species of dog, where more than one is kept, 14s.

And any person who shall inhabit any dwelling house assessed to any of the duties on inhabited houses, or on windows or lights, and shall keep one dog , and no more, not being of the above description , 8s, for such dog. But this duty is not to extend to dogs not six months old; the proof of which to lie on the owner, on an appeal to the commissioners.

Persons compounding for their hounds, to be charged 36£.


Every person who wears it to pay annually 1£ 3s 6 d. This act does not extend to any of the Royal family, or any servants serving immediately under them; nor any Clergyman , Dissenting Minister, or any person in holy orders, not possessing the annual income of 100£, (however arising); nor any person serving in the navy under the rank of commander; nor any subaltern or inferior in the army; nor any officer or private in any corps of Volunteers, enrolled in the defence of the kingdom.

No person to pay for more than two unmarried daughters.

Bachelors pay a tax

Horses used for riding or drawing carriages, pay annually for each

One 2 17 6 Five 5 11 6 Nine 6 1 6 thirteen 6 7 6 seventeen 6 8 0

{ Part of this information omitted}

Houses of 5£ and under 20 £ a year pay annually in the pound 1s 6d

Twenty pounds to forty, 2s 3d; Forty pounds and upwards 2s 19d. No house pay if left in the care of one servant.

Letters pay, if single, from any post office in England to any place not exceeding 15 measured miles from such offices, 5d. Above 15 miles, and not exceeding 30 miles,6d. Above 30 , and not exceeding 50 miles, 7d; Above 50 not exceeding 80,8d; Above 80 and not exceeding 120, 9d; Above 120, and not exceeding 170 miles, 10d. Above 170 and not exceeding 230 miles,11d. Above 230 miles, and not exceeding 300 miles, 1s. Above 300 , and not exceeding 400, miles, 13d. Above 400, for every 100 miles, or part thereof, 1d.


Letters between England and Ireland pay, over and above the common rates, a packet postage; viz, for every single letter, 2d; double, 4d; treble, 6d; ounce weight,8d.

Packets of one ounce weight are charged as four single letters. If a single sheet exceeds one ounce, it is charged according to its weight.
Newspapers between England and Ireland, in covers open at the end, pay, 1d, each.

No Franks pass, unless the members write the full directions, the day of the month, the year, and the name of the post from whence it goes; not does any letter pass free to a Member, unless it is directed to his house or the place where he is. Counterfeiting superscriptions transportation for seven years.


Men: Masters to pay yearly for one, 2£8s– Two, 3£ 2s each,; Three 3£ 16s; Four, 4£ 7s; Five, 4£ 18s; Six, 5£3s; Seven, 5£5s; Eight, 5£12s; Nine, 6£2s; Ten, 6£13s; Eleven and upwards, 7£13s.

Bachelors pay annually additional for every man servant.

For every Gardener, employed by persons chargeable to the above duties, or employed where the constant labour of one is not necessary, 10s.

For every Rider or Traveller, 3£, and where more than one, 5£ each.

For every person, (except apprentices under 20£, premium) employed as a clerk, Book or Office Keeper, 2£; where more than one,3£ each.

For every Shopman, Warehouse man, or Porter, ( except apprentices) 3£

For every Waiter in any tavern, alehouse, eating house, or lodging house ( being an eating house) 2£5s.

Every servant retained for husbandry, trade, or assisting as a groom, &c. where no more than one horse is kept, 10s.

Every Coachman , Groom, &c. let to hire for any period less than one year, 2£10s. To be paid by the person letting them out.

No servants to be paid for, if wholly employed in husbandry, manufactures, or trade.

Two parish apprentices to be allowed, unless wearing livery.

Disabled officers on half-pay may keep one servant, duty free.

Every one to give in a list of all their servants in 14 days after notice given them or forfeit, 10£. Th same to be done with respect to horses and carriages.. After the list is given in, they are to pay for their servants,&c. There specified to April 5 whether they have them or not.

Housekeepers must give in, a week after notice, a list of their lodgers' servants, horses, &c. or forfeit 10£.

Servants' Characters

By an act passed in the year 1791, persons giving false characters are liable to a penalty of 20£.


(Probate of) and Letters of Administration: Estates, or other property, above 20 £, and under 100£, on a 10s stamp. 100£ and under 200£, 2£; 200£ and under 300£, 5£; 300£ and under 450£, 8£;450£ and under 600£, 11£; 600£ and under 800£. 15£; 800£ and under 1,000£ , 22£.

Unfortunately the rest of the pages are torn out.

£12 14s. tax on a shopkeeper with 23 windows, annual rent of £50, a dog, and a servant

Window tax: An English tax on any window or window-like opening, which was in force from 1695 to 1851. It was originally imposed to pay for the losses of the great recoinage of 1695 and was increased six times in the 18th century, particularly by PITT the Younger. The tax was eventually applied to all windows in excess of six in a building and windows bricked up to avoid the tax can still be seen in older houses throughout Britain.

Men had to even pay for honors and dignities, even a Knight of the Garter had to pay £400.1s 7d.

For fees on elevation to the peerage see under peers and peerage.


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