Clock and watch tax

Another useful tax from the late 18th century, this too is digitised and online for Scotland, though the surviving records are very incomplete. For example there are no records from Roxburghshire at all.

However in the East Lothian records I’ve found some of my ancestors, in the tax records for the year 1797/8.

Dr Richard Somner at Castlemains of Yester in Garvald parish was taxed for 1 clock, 2 gold watches, and 1 silver or metal watch.

And his son Richard Somner, farming at Townhead in Gifford parish, was taxed for 1 clock, and 1 silver or metal watch.

I wonder what happened to the timepieces? Did they pass down through the family at all?

The younger Richard’s father-in-law, William Veitch, was a watchmaker in Haddington, but sadly I haven’t yet managed to find the Haddington returns in the online digitised volume for the clock and watch tax. Maybe they don’t survive. I’ll keep looking anyway. I’d love to see an example of William’s craftsmanship sometime.

About vivdunstan

Academic historian, genealogist, former computer scientist, and Doctor Who fan.
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