Geoffs Genealogy Update 8 December 2013
Sunday December 8th, 2013 | Geoff
In the May 2013 entry on this blog I told of my then recent research into David Price (1774-1840), Citizen & Haberdasher of London, and some members of his family. More recently I have used the Land Tax Records for London to piece together more information about the life of David Price, and hopefully you may be interested to read something about this.
The collection of Land Tax Valuation Rolls for the City of London that are held at London Metropolitan Archives are available to search on the Ancestry.co.uk website. They are very extensive, covering the period 1692-1932, but the records are not complete, and you may or may not find the person that you are looking for. If you do find your ancestor what will these records tell you?
- The records should provide you with residential information about your forebear, You may well find out which ward or district in the City your ancestor lived in, and often you can see which road they lived in as well.
- For each year that you can find a relevant record you are likely to be able to see who owned the property your ancestor lived in, and the amount of rent he or she paid. Bear in mind that no matter how well off, most of the people you are interested in are unlikely to have owned their own house. It is most likely that they paid rent.
- If your ancestor was a Land Tax Assessor you will also find that information recorded, and an example of his signature.
You can thus use these records to gain an impression of how well off your forebear was and where he or she lived. You may be able to use them to identify when the person you are interested moved from one address to another, or when they died. If your ancestor had a business you may well be able to find out the name of the business, and form an idea of when the business started and finished, as well as where it was located.
If you relate the information you can glean from these records to other sources, such as directories, census returns and electoral records, you may well be able to build up a bank of information that greatly enhances your knowledge of your ancestor’s life.
So how have these records helped me in my research into this particular Bankes descendant?
I have traced and recorded thirteen Land Tax Valuation records relating to David Price, the earliest dating from 1805 and the latest being dated 1839. In all the records that are residential in nature, David Price is shown to have lived in the Dowgate area of London. In 1805 he was aged 30, and had been a Freeman of the City of London for just five years. He had been a married man for four years, and had two children. He occupied a property in Thames Street which he rented for £24 per annum. The Land Tax assessed was £3 12s 0d.
The Land Tax Record for 1808 shows that he was still living at the same property. Other records that we have seen show that David was living at Upper Thames Street at this time, and, indeed, until 1823.
We already knew, from Sun Insurance Registers, that by 1827 David Price was living at No 9, Dowgate, and this is reflected in these records from 1828 onwards. In these documents this property was recorded as being in Dowgate Hill. This was presumably a larger property, as the rent paid was recorded as £45 per annum, and his Land Tax was assessed at £5 1s 3d.
We know from other records that David lived at this address for the rest of his life. The rent payable was still shown as £45 in 1839, when the Land Tax was assessed as £5 5s. od.
At the front of the Land Tax Valuation records there is a page that contains an attestation signed by the Assessors who carried out the valuation. To serve as an Assessor a man would have needed to be of good character and reputation, and therefore if the person you are researching is thus named you it gives you a bit of information about his standing in their community. David Price signed these attestations as an Assessor from 1833 to 1838.
Now to what these records tell us about David Price’s businesses.
Before seeing the Land Tax Valuations we already knew that David was in business with William Pearson, who was his wife’s step father, and had seen a Directory listing dated 1838 for:
“Pearson & Price, Wool and general warehousemen, Chequer Yard, Dowgate Hill, & steel yard, Upper Thames Street.”
In fact William Pearson died in 1830, so we knew that David Price must have entered into business with him before then. What we can now say is that the business was certainly in existence in 1828, as the Land Tax Valuation for that year shows Pearson & Price renting a warehouse at Little College Street, Dowgate, London. The rent payable on this was £77 per annum.
These records also show that in his final years David Price was in business with his eldest son, John Price. They were renting a warehouse in Thames Street in the name of David & Jno Price at an annual rent of £1800 as well as another warehouse in Dowgate in the name D & J Price, which was costing them £200 in rent. By 1838 the warehouse in Little College Street was also recorded in the name D & J Price.
David Price died in March 1840, and the only Land Tax record that I have found for that year covered the Little College Street, Dowgate warehouse. This shows the occupier of the premises as John Price, suggesting that David’s eldest son may have taken over the running of his father’s business. Sadly, however, John died in September 1840 and his younger brother – Joseph Price – died in October 1841, so within nineteen months of David Price’s death there were no sons to carry on the business.