Book Review Rutland Local History & Record Society Researching Rutland	Registered Charity No 700273
The 1712 Land Tax Assessments and the 1710 Poll Book for Rutland Edited by T H McK Clough. Introduction, commentary, transcripts and indexes This excellent and most useful publication contains two items in one, each related to the other: the 1712 Land Tax Assessments for Rutland, and the 1710 Poll Book for Rutland. Closely proximate in time, these transcriptions bear interesting comparison, and it is extremely helpful to have them published together in this form. It is very rare to see such early land tax returns, and this adds to the interest of this volume, covering as it does a period before subsequent shifts in land values made the land tax ever more problematical. The later land tax returns for Rutland between 1780 and 1832 were seemingly destroyed back around 1940, with the exception of some for 1798 and very occasional parish survivals, although the source reappears after 1832. This augments the interest of this volume, which has been transcribed from the originals by the Village Studies Group for Rutland, ably co-ordinated by Alan Rogers. The land tax assessments are very well introduced in a broad but concise way by Dennis Mills, making use of other assessments for Herefordshire and Lincolnshire. He deals with some of the problems associated with the source, as heavily researched over the past half century. Among the topics he covers are the issue of fixed quotas, principles of allocation, acre-equivalents, who and what was being taxed, the land tax historiography, and the bearing of these sources upon debates such as those concerning the supposed decline of small landowners, and questions of ‘open’ and ‘close’ parishes. Mills’ introduction is then followed by a more detailed and Rutland-focused introduction and commentary by Tim Clough, dealing with these Rutland sources in their own right, discussing approaches to them and editorial conventions, and delving into them to show what they illuminate about individual Rutland parishes, society, landownership, and economy during the very early eighteenth century. His discussion is excellent in its professionalism and attention to source detail. It also contains enlightening analysis of the sources, for example dealing with land-tax charges per acre by parish, and uncovering some fascinating differences within Rutland. Parochial charges per acre varied between 4d and 2s 9d. The often larger parishes with poorer limestone soils in the north-east of the county had relatively low tax per acre, while the highest-taxed parishes were smaller in acreage, and lay in the west of Rutland. Intermediate taxed parishes were in the south and some western districts. Fully enclosed parishes tended to pay more per acre than those which were as yet largely unenclosed. Alongside the charges for each individual, shown parish-by-parish, are the poll book transcripts for 1710, for the election of the two knights of the shire of Rutland. The original 1710 poll book, now in the Bodleian Library, was formerly in the collection of the famous antiquarian Richard Gough (1735- 1809). Tim Clough analyses this source in association with the land tax, making comparisons between the sources, and among other matters throws much interesting light upon the non-residence of voters. The entire publication is a triumph of combined and well co-ordinated team work. It is most informative on the social, economic and parochial structure of Rutland, full of potential for comparison with yet other sources. It will prove fascinating reading for many local historians with interests in this county, or more generally for those studying these sources and their possible analytical linkages. Prof Keith Snell, Leicester University, for Rural History