Four Shillings in the Pound Aid 1693/4 for the City of London, City of Westminster and Metropolitan Middlesex (FSP)
This data was collected as part of the London in the 1690s project directed by Peter Earle and Derek Keene. The database itself was created by Craig Spence and Janet Barnes. The project was funded by the ESRC, based at the Centre for Metropolitan History, and ran between 1991 and 1994. The project was designed to provide the basis for a new analysis of the social and economic structure of greater metropolitan London in the 1690s, taking advantage of the survival of the near comprehensive Four Shillings in the Pound Aid assessment of 1693-94.
The original database was extensively coded for geographical analysis, and resulted in a substantial monograph in historical geography. The version of the data available through this website can be searched by keyword, name, location and occupation only, and the results are organised around individual entries relating to a single household. If you wish to use these materials for structured analysis please refer to the full database, downloadable in a tab-delineated format from the UK Data Archive; or the version of the data organised by ward and taxation district available through British History Online. Copyright in this material remains with the original investigators, Dr Craig Spence and Professor Derek Keane, and is reproduced here by license, for non-commercial use only.
For a full analysis of this source, and a commentary on the context in which it was created, see:
The Aid or Assessment was collected in order to finance the wars fought by King William between 1689 and 1697. Two Acts of Parliament passed in 1692 and 1693 specified the collection of four shillings in every pound (a 20 per cent tax) on the rental value of all real property, income earned in public service, and stock or ready money held as part of a personal estate. Individuals whose real property was worth less than 20 shillings were exempt. The tax was administered by the City Chamberlain, and raised £296,160 8s 10 3/4d, in 1693 from the metropolis as a whole.
The database reproduced on this site incorporates all the surviving returns for 1694, supplemented by the 1693 returns where necessary (and in a small number of cases by returns from between 1694 and 1698). The area covered includes the Bills of Mortality north of the River Thames; and hence the vast majority of greater, urban London.
The tax was administered by local commissioners, men of a high social standing, including the "The Lord Mayor Aldermen and Sheriffs of the City...", who in turn selected assessors for each area under their control. The assessors were normally chosen from local constables, bailiffs and other officers.
The money was collected in four quarterly instalments, on or before 15 March, 2 June, 4 September and 3 December, and was then paid into the Exchequer through the City Chamberlain's office.
The returns themselves were prepared as fair copies, affirmed and sealed by the commissioners, and sent on to the Exchequer where they were copied onto parchment. The local, working paper assessments were used in the process of creating this database.
The recording of addresses, occupations and other details varied from one assessor and commissioner to another. Roman Catholics, and other taxpayers who refused to swear an oath of allegiance (Quakers for example), were noted as Non-Jurors.
The database is organised into sixteen fields and incorporates a series of codings which can be viewed through the final project report. Where fields are blank in the original they have been suppressed in the version displayed here. Where information is available for each possible field the record will include:
- Unique Project ID: Unique identification number.
- Household ID: A number assigned by the London in the 1690s project, reflecting each household within an identified location.
- Title: Mostly blank, but includes assessor, captain, doctor, Madam, Mr, Mrs, and, most frequently, widow.
- Coded Property Type: Normally blank, please refer to the project report for details of the relevant coding schema.
- Tax Levied on Rental Value in £s: An amount given as a number, recorded to the first decimal place, documenting the amount assessed in tax at 20 per cent of the notional rental value of the property.
- Tax Levied on Personal Property in £s: An amount given as a number, recorded to the first decimal place, documenting the amount assessed in tax at 20 per cent of the value of the inhabitant’s ready money, goods, and wares.
- Landlord: The name of the landlord where given.
- Occupation: A standardised occupation label.
- Tax District: Normally a parish name.
- Tax District Sub-division: Normally a street or liberty.
- Named Location: A named building or location description.
A typical entry includes the following information (excluding empty cells):
- Unique Project ID: 40453
- Household ID: 86.2
- Forename: Edward
- Surname: Coleman
- Tax Levied on Household Rental Value in £s: 0
- Tax Levied on Personal Property in £s: 6
- Comment: Lodger
- Occupation: attorney
- Tax District: St Andrew Holdborn
- Tax District Sub-division: Liberty Above the Bars - Second Book
- Named Location: Baldwins Gardens
The assessment of 1693 lists heads of households and wealthy lodgers. In total it records some 57,315 taxpayers, or around 10 per cent of the total population of London. As a result the poor and criminals are unlikely to be found among the names included. There is, however, likely to be a strong overlap with the almost contemporaneous Marriage Duty Assessments (MDA) and the Poll Tax Assessments (POL), both of which can be searched (for the parish of St Botolph Aldgate) through this website. The interrelationships between these three sets of taxation records have been explored in studies listed in the introductory reading.
Householders of the sort recorded in the assessment are also likely to appear in the parish records for St Clement Danes, St Botolph Aldgate, and St Dionis Backchurch, in the guise of ratepayers, vestrymen and parish officers. It is unlikely that they will appear as paupers in receipt of parish relief.
The individuals in this database were unlikely to be caught up in the criminal justice system as defendants, but are much more likely to appear in sources such as the The Old Bailey Proceedings (OBP) as victims, witnesses, or jurymen. They are also likely to appear among the administrative records included in the manuscript Sessions Papers (PS), as well as those for Bridewell, the Carpenters' Company, and St Thomas's Hospital.
- Earle, Peter. A City Full of People: Men and Women of London 1650-1750. 1994.
- Glass, D. V.. Socio-Economic Status and Occupations in the City of London at the End of the Seventeenth Century. In A.E. Hollaender and William Kellaway, eds, Studies in London History presented to P.E. Jones. 1969.
- Power, M. J. The Social Topography of Restoration London. In A.L. Beier and Roger Finlay, eds, London 1500-1700: The Making of the Metropolis. 1986.
- Schurer, Kevin and Arkell, Tom, eds. Surveying the People: The Interpretation and use of Document Sources for the Study of Population in the Later Seventeenth Century. Oxford, 1992.
- Craig Spence. London in the 1690s: A Social Atlas. Centre for Metropolitan History, 2000.
- UK Data Archive
- British History Online
- People in Place: Families, Households and Housing in London 1550-1720
For further reading on this subject see the London Lives Bibliography.