07. 1780 Milton Damerel Land Taxes



Land tax was levied from 1693 until 1963. Because duplicate copies of the assessment forms were made from 1780 until 1832 for the purpose of proving who was eligible to vote, it is these duplicates, and often only these, which have survived. This is, apparently, the case for Milton Damerel.

A close examination of the 1780 form (click on the image for an even clearer view of it) reveals that the form itself was printed in Exeter and was presumably for use in Devon only because it says that the Assessment is to be given to the Head Constable, Exeter. This form was printed and sold by B. Thorn, Bookseller.  Nothing came free in 1780. You even had to pay for your tax forms in those days!  The next, and following years the men appointed as assessors for Milton Damerel saved their money and drew their own, more user-friendly ones because, as we shall see, there were problems with the 1780 format. Milton Dameral’s assessors did not return to printed forms until 1826.

The 1780  “Thorn form” provides only four columns.  These invite the assessor to provide the Names of Proprietors, the Names of Occupiers, the Yearly Value (Pounds and shillings) and the Sum Assessed (Pounds, shillings and pence). Because there was no column on the Thorn form to identify the property (Land, Estate, Tenement etc) which was owned, occupied, evaluated and assessed, the assessors had to muddle their way leaving us to unravel the resulting scramble of data. If proprietors only had one property and occupiers only occupied one there would be no great problem other than the disappointment for later researchers in not being able to locate it.  However, this was not the case in the parish of Milton Damerel in 1780 where one owner had as many as ten properties.  A second point of interest regarding the 1780 form is that the asessors did not record the Yearly Value from which the assessment would be calculated. Why, one wonders, was this column not completed on the form which has come down to us? My guess is that it was not needed by the Clerk of the Peace to make up the lists of voters. This information may have been on the original. We are, perhaps, looking at a partial transcription. Enough said about the assessment process.  What can we learn from the document about life in Milton Damerel in 1780? Was Bartholomew among this small group of proprietors and occupiers?

Who owned Milton Damerel in 1780 and who were their tenants?

To help answer this question I have created an alphabetical list of them showing who they were; what they owned; and who were the occupiers of what they owned. I should note here that Mark Heber in Ancestral Trails informs us that a proprietor might not be a freeholder but a copyholder or long leaseholder. The occupier might be a tenant or a sub-tenant.

Acute, William; Officer of the Excise was assessed 9 pounds 10 shillings 0 pence for reasons unexplained. Was he a large property owner in the parish. This is the largest single assessment for Milton Damerel in 1780.

Allin, Richard was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by John Gorril.

Allin, Thomas was assessed for five unnamed properties, one of which was occupied by William Allin and one by William Gorril.

Allin, William occupied an unnamed property owned by Thomas Allin.

Andrew, John Rev.;  Rector of Milton Damerel (absentee, also Rector of Powderham and Rural Dean of Holsworthy)  who had a curate in 1780, Edmund Herring who was to remain until 1784 when he was replaced by Richard Walter who lived at the Parsonage and farmed the glebeland of about 90 acres.

Arscott, John Esq. was assessed for Derworthy occupied by John Pedler. Much of the land in Milton Damerel and Newton St Petrock came “on the market” following the dissolution of the monasteries in the mid sixteenth century and it often came into the hands of the lawyers of the time among whom were founding members of the  Arscott and the Prideaux dynasties.  The Arscotts land continued in that family beyond 1791. The John Arscott (1718-1788) who owned Derworthy in 1780 lived at Tetcott and is described by W.G.Hoskins, the county of Devon’s most accomplished historian, as a wonderful old character. Indeed much has been written about this man and his dwarf jester known a Black John.

Bare, Charles was assessed for an unnamed property.

Bassett, Dorothy was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by Peter Saunders.

Bassett, John was assessed for two unnamed properties.

Benet, William occupied Milton Mill, Buttermere and Woodparks owned by William Rattenbury.

Bickford, George signed and placed his seal as one of three commissioners.

Blake, Andrew occupied an unnamed property owned by Jacob Harris.

Bond, Joan occupied an unnamed property owned by Anthony Makepowder.

Brent, William was assessed for Whalland.

Clemet, Christopher occupied Whitebear, Muleses and Whalland owned by Elizabeth Rattenbury.

Cole, John was assessed for an unnamed property.

Collins, John was assessed for an unnamed property.

Dennis, Edward was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by John Dennis.

Dennis, Elizabeth was assessed for an unnamed property.

Dennis, John occupied an unnamed property owned by Edward Dennis.

Dennis, Thomas was assessed for an unnamed property.

Downing, William occupied a property owned by James Jefford.

Fishleigh, Bartholomew was assessed in 1780, as “proprietor”, for an unnamed property which he apparently occupied himself as no occupier is indicated. He also occupied two properties owned by William Walter. The assessments for 1782 1784 and 1788 show Bartholomew as occupier ofLeyor Lea then owned by George Fursdon of Fursdon (Cadbury) Esq.  Bartholomew Fishleigh likely occupied Ley in 1780 and in the intervening years as well for which evidence is so far missing.

Fishleigh, George occupied Poundefords and Perkins owned by Elizabeth Rattenbury and an unnamed property owned by Mr. Morish.

Fishleigh, Robert was assessed for an unnamed property.

Fulford, Richard was assessed for Gitcott and GItcott Mill.

Glover, William occupied an unnamed property owned by William Tremeer.

Goodman, Samuel was occupier of an unnamed property owned by Lady Morick.

Gorril, John occupied an unnamed property owned by Richard Allin.

Gorril, William occupied one unnamed property owned by Thomas Allin and one owned by Charles Patrick.

Gorsman, George occupied Pipers Gitcott and Gitcott Down owned by William Rattenbury.

Harris, Jacob was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by Andrew Blake.

Jefford, James was assessed for two unnamed properties one of which was occupied by William Downing.

Jefford, Nicholas was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by Richard Jefford.

Kingdon,C? signed and placed his seal as one of three commissioners.

Lang, William was assessed for an unnamed property.

Littlejohns, William was assessed for an unnamed property and he occupied an unnamed property owned by Elizabeth Smales.

Makepowder, Anthony was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by Joan Bond.

May, John was assessed for an unnamed property.  As one of the assessors he signed this document on 1 November 1780.

Moore, James was assessed for an unnamed property.

Morick, Lady Luss? was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by Samuel Goodman.

Morish, Mr. was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by George Fishleigh.

Mounce, John occupied Allins Worden owned by William Rattenbury.

Patrick, Charles was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by William Gorril.

Pedler, John occupied Derworthy owned by John Arscott Esq.

Perkin, John occupied Woodford , the Land, Ley’s Justment, and South Woodford owned by Elizabeth Rattenbury.

Poole, Isaac occupied Milton Mill owned by William Rattenbury.

Rattenbury, Elizabeth was assessed for Woodford, the Land, Ley’s Justment, and South Woodward occupied by John Perkin; for Poundefords and Perkins occupied by George Fishleigh; and for Whitebear, Muleses, and Whalland occupied by Christopher Clemet.

Rattenbury, John was assessed for an unnamed property.

Rattenbury, William was assessed for Milton Town, Hobses, and Milton Parks and for Drews, the latter occupied by Richard Slee; and for Milton Mill occupied by Isaac Poole and William Benet; Buttermere and Woodparks occupied by William Benet; for Pipers Gitcott and Gitcott Down occupied George Gorsman; and Allins Worden occupied by John Mounce.

Reed, Thomas, Mr. was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by Hugh Hopper.

Saunders, John C. signed and placed his seal as one of three commissioners.

Saunders, Peter was assessed for an unnamed property. He occupied an unnamed property owned by Dorothy Bassett.

Saunders, Samuel was assessed for an unnamed property.

Slee, Richard occupied Drews owned by William Rattenbury and an unnamed property owned by Thomas Slocombe.

Slocombe, Thomas was assessed for three unnamed properties one of which was occupied by Richard Slee.

Smales, Elizabeth was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by William Littlejohns.

Thorne, William occupied an unnamed property owned by William Walter. He signed the assessment document, as one of the assessors, on 1 November 1780.

Tinkham, John was assessed for an unnamed property.

Tremeer, William was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by William Glover.

Walter, John was assessed for an unnamed property.

Walter, William was assessed for an unnamed property occupied by William Thorne and two unnamed properties occupied by Bartholomew Fishleigh.


 

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