The receipted invoices provide many examples of the way in which local taxes were collected from every occupier of a house or land. These Receipts may be difficult to understand unless it is realized that all taxes were collected by local people, apparently at the tax-payer's door. The duty of being the Tax Collector of each tax passed each year by rotation from one farm occupier to another, although it was possible to pay someone else to do the job for you.
These taxes were levied by law on the 'owner' of the property. In Cheshire it had been decided that three-life lease-holders were owners. However anyone who paid the market rent for his land or his house was entitled to recover from the landlord all the taxes paid, hence the invoices. Sir Peter Warburton decided in the 1760s to make deals with some of his tenant farmers so that their rents were reduced by the average amount of the taxes plus minor repairs required each year. They then paid a sum each year that was not subject to any further deductions (see notes in later Rentals).
It was probably in connection with these arrangements that the schedule headed 'A Valuation of the Township of Gt Budworth' was produced in 1769. The document Great Budworth p2 below shows, in the first column on the left, the annual value assessed on each taxable property. The total value assessed on the whole township was £600 (see document Great Budworth p2). This compares with the Annual Value in the 1740s of £560 (see Four Cheshire Townships, Table 3 on p 12 and pp 61-6). This suggests that the Assessment had been made around 1750 and recorded values below those current in 1769. For example, W. Widders' farm paid £44 p.a. in 1744 and in this Assessment. By 1764 his actual rent had risen to £60 p.a.; by 1780 many rents were nearly double the figures from the 1740s. Compare the rise in these rents with the rise in the prices of grains given here under Corn Mills and of cheese on pp 92-3 of Cheshire Cheese.
The second column shows the amount of Land Tax paid when the tax was 3s in the pound. The way the land Tax operated is described in Four Cheshire Townships, pp 51-5. The Land Tax varied from 2s to 4s in the pound during this period. The third column provides a figure for the value of an assessment of 1d in the pound on each property. This figure was used for the Assessments for the Poor and for the Highways. As an example the first property, 'H. Hough for the Old Hall' was valued at £42 p.a. The assessment of 1d was 42d or 3s 6d.
The fourth column multiplied this 1d figure by the number of Assessments that had been made for the Poor in 1769. This was 26, so in our example 26 times 3s 6d came to £4 11s 0d. The fifth column is headed 'A Mize of each Estate'. The Mize was an old tax that had preceded the Poor and Highways rates. Like the Land Tax there was an Assessment expressed in money for each property that added up to the Mize due to the County for the township of Great Budworth. A note at the bottom of page 2 gives this as 10s 8d.
The penultimate column adds the 7 mizes collected to support the parish church to the 12 mizes gathered for the Constable's duties; in our example it is 9 1/2d x 19 = 15s 1/2. The final column is the total of taxes paid on each property in 1769. So the total at the bottom of p 2 shows that £121 5s 1 1/2d was the total tax collected in Gt Budworth in 1769. A third page gives the totals for each tax collected in Gt Budworth in the seven years 1763 to 1769 inclusive.
The three roles of Overseer of the Poor, Surveyor of the Highways and Constable were the three active local government jobs in every township. Like the Tax Collectorships, they rotated around the occupiers of property. Each officer had to decide what needed doing and contrive to get it done. He also had to make the assessments and go round and collect them from his neighbours. These were demanding and responsible jobs.
The next sheet shows the taxes paid on Litley Farm, a property in the township of Aston-by-Budworth, in the years 1753 - 59 inclusive, The 1d in the pound Poor Assessment for Litley was 5s 5d so the farm was valued at £65 p.a. This is less than the £75 p.a. shown as the value in 1744 on p 56 of Four Cheshire Townships. Evidently the values used for the Assessment dated from earlier than 1744.
The amount of the Land Tax, the Assessment and the Mize were all greater on Litley than on the Old Hall in Gt Budworth, but by varying amounts. The Land Tax on Litley at 3s in the pound was £4 17s 6d while that on the Old Hall was £2 0s 9d. The assessment on Litley of 5s 5d was only one and a half times that on the Old Hall of 3s 6d. This was typical of the many variations between properties and townships. Another variation was that the amount paid to the Poor in Gt Budworth was much more that the Land Tax, whereas for Litley in the 1750s it was much less.
The final sheet shows the taxes on the Arley demesne (about one third of the township of Aston-by-Budworth) from 1767 to 1773. Like the earlier two schedules this one shows the importance of the Poor and the rise in the cost of looking after the Poor. In Aston-by-Budworth in the 1750s there were an average of 12 Assessments each year, whereas from 1767 - 73 there were more than 18 each year. By comparison in the years 1677 - 1700 the cost of the Poor in the township of Tabley was usually only £3 or £4 per year (see Capital and Innovation, p. 154). By the 1770 period the cost in Gt Budworth was £65 p.a. and in Aston by Budworth it was nearly £100 p.a. This provides a part of the background to Sir Peter Warburton's Christmas gifts each year (see The Poor).
This sheet also shows that land-owners paid only a small part of their income in direct central government taxes. In the 1740s the Land Tax was at the rate of only 6% - 7% of market rental values (see Four Cheshire Townships, p 54). By the 1780s rentals in the north-west approximately doubled. After that period direct taxes amounted to only 3% - 5% of landed incomes.
Notice also that the Arley demesne lands paid no Highways assessment. This was because Sir Peter, or his ancestors, had made an arrangement with Aston Township that he would maintain, at his own expense, all the roads in the township that ran through the demesne lands. In return he would not contribute to the rest of the township's roads. This would appear to have been the origin of the existence, until the present day, of the private roads at Arley.