England, Kent, Land Tax Assessments (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: England, Kent, Land Tax Assessments, 1689-1832 .

Record Description 

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The England, Kent, Land Tax Assissments collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This Collection will include records from 1689 to 1832.

The collection consists of land tax assessments for the County of Kent.

The Land Tax was first regularly imposed in in 1697, (based on a 1692 assessment) the first records from 1698 were early and defective attempts at compiling records and few survive nationally; the Kent collection illustrates this in isolated places. Anomalies arose, leaving rural areas too heavily taxed compared with the new industrial districts. In 1772, the returns were altered to incorporate a list of all occupiers of land in each parish.

In 1780, duplicates had to be lodged with the Clerk of the peace, in order to establish the qualification to vote in parliamentary elections.

In 1782, a further column was added to show the proprietor of each building. These deposited records continue until 1832.

In 1826, until abolition of the tax in 1832 a further column was added to describe the property on which the tax was levied.

Documents consist of Assessments and Returns; the former show assessed value of the land, the latter the amounts actually collected. The clerks are known to reverse columns so the record can be misleading because columns for proprietors and tenants can be reversed and it is therefore advisable to search previous and subsequent years for comparison and to detect such errors in compilation.

In 1798, landowners were allowed to buy themselves out of liability by a lump sum of 15 years purchase, but until 1832 "exonerated" owners appear in the lists; "Exonerated holdings" from 1798 until about 1815 are usually found at the end of the parish return.

The records from 1780 were stored in the county record office, usually in annual volumes or 'bundles' with parishes grouped in the Hundreds of Kent.

Kent also has a number of boroughs which are part of the Ancient Hundreds. A reliable contemporary account to assist in identifying these boroughs which may overlap Ancient and Ecclesiastical Parishes is Edward Hasted's History and Topographical Survey of Kent published between 1797 and 1801. The FamilySearch image collection may present more than one series of images for a parish if the hamlet or borough sub-divisions overlap parishes.

It is worth also considering The National Archive collection under reference IR23 which contains a copy of the Land Tax Assessments for the whole country for 1798 and may be useful as a locator for Proprietors, occupiers and Sums assessed only but can help locate the whereabouts at the turn of the century of people. A further search in the county, hundred and parish and sub-division for boroughs and hamlets may then enable the person to be traced over several years.

For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Great Britain Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace. England, Kent, Land Tax Assessments. Kent Archives, Maidstone, England.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

The information found varies by parish and year. It may include any of the following:

  • Name of the place
  • Year
  • Name of landlord, proprietors, or landowners
  • Names of the occupiers or tenants
  • Titles
  • Occupations such as minister or businessman
  • Yearly rent (in pounds)
  • Yearly or quarterly tax assessed (in pounds and shillings)

Some years may also include

  • Name or names of the assessors
  • Names of those who approved the taxes

Later years may also give:

  • Name of property
  • Description of property

How to Use the Records

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The Kent, Land Tax Assessments collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The images can be viewed at a FamilySearch Center near you.

Beginning Your Search

To begin your search, it would be helpful to know the following information:

  • Name
  • Parish of residence

Searching the Images

To search the collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page ⇒ Select the County ⇒ Select the Parish ⇒ Select the Event Type and Year Range (with Volume) which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.

  • Use these records to find male ancestors (and some female, where no male head of house existed). The records will reveal where they lived and clues to their lifestyle.
  • Use the place and names to locate census records for the 1841 census. Census records are taken every ten years. The first to list names was in 1841. If you can locate settled occupancy in 1832 it may be possible to locate an entry in the census in 1841; FamilySearch has census indexes refer to the parish census records paragraph for further information.
  • For additional information on censuses of England see the wiki article England Census.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank or status within the community.
  • If your ancestor was both the landlord and occupier, they generally owned the land.
  • If the property was an estate, there may be manorial records.
  • If it was a business, there may be other commercial records.
  • If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, check for nicknames and variant spellings or abbreviations of the names.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Kent Archives

Lathes and Hundreds of Kent These may be encountered as descriptors of the boroughs within the collection waypointing

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"England, Kent, Land Assessments, 1689-1832," digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 3 April 2012), Kent > Bishopsbourne > Land Tax Assessments, 1780-1830 > Image 1 of 87, Thomas Pope, 15 May 1780; citing Kent, Land Tax Records, Kent Archives, Maidstone, England.