London Inhabitants Outside the Walls, 1695. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 2010.
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In the summer of 1695 the inhabitants of London were listed as part of the preparations for a new tax on births, marriages and deaths (6 & 7 Wm & Mary, c. 6). (fn. 1) The Act imposing the Marriage Duty, as the tax has become known, had been passed in April 1695 to help pursue the war against France 'with vigour', and remained in force until 1706. It instituted a complicated set of duties on vital events together with annual payments by bachelors aged over twenty five and childless widowers. Surcharge levels were determined by status, with a precise set of gradations set out in the statute ranging from dukes to those with an income of under £50 per year. (fn. 2) To function, the tax required a full register of the population and a thorough system of registration of births, marriages and deaths. This ambitious fiscal initiative led to one of the first detailed records of the population of the metropolis. The lists of inhabitants produced for the tax offer an unequalled level of information on social, family and household structure. In particular, unlike most comparable contemporary records, they enumerate entire households by name and status, including children, servants and lodgers. Relatively few assessments survive for other parts of the country, making it all the more remarkable that a nearly entire set of records exist for England's largest city for 1695. (fn. 3)
An index to the surviving manuscript assessments for the parishes that lay within London's walls was published in 1966 by David Glass as the second volume issued by the London Record Society. It has become a widely known and heavily used source, often employed in its own right with no further reference to the original manuscript records. That Glass and his researchers had prepared a typescript index to the assessments for the parishes and precincts outside the walls is less well known. (fn. 4) This volume makes this second part of the index to the assessments generally available for the first time.
The thirteen parishes and precincts outside the city walls for which assessments survive contained a substantial portion of the population of the city. The index to the eighty intramural parishes produced by Glass lists around 58,000 individuals, from a likely total of around 70,000 living within the walls, once allowance is made for those parishes for which no assessments survive. (fn. 5) By contrast, this volume lists 52,631 individuals. Nonetheless, the assessments indexed here do not offer complete coverage of London beyond the walls. No assessments survive for some large extramural parishes, while only partial assessments exist for several of the parishes included here. Notably, the 162 inhabitants of St Olave Southwark recorded here represent a tiny fragment of the metropolitan population living south of the Thames – indeed, it is only the precinct of London Bridge itself that survives. Over the seventeenth century London had expanded considerably beyond its traditional boundaries. Most estimates suggest that the metropolis, including Westminster and urban parishes in Middlesex and Surrey, contained something over half a million people by the late seventeenth century. (fn. 6) The surviving assessments for the Marriage Duty record less than a fifth of this wider metropolitan population.
In some important respects, the parishes and precincts outside the walls differed substantially from those within. Most obviously, they were far larger in size. The average population of parishes within the walls was 728; the largest intramural parish, St Anne Blackfriars, contained 2,833 individuals. Even without compensating for the missing portions of the assessments, the average size of the thirteen parishes indexed here was 4,049 individuals. The largest, St Botolph without Bishopsgate, contained 9,618 people. The parishes outside the walls were also poorer, as Jones and Judges long ago demonstrated by measuring the proportion of the population identified by the assessors as being rich enough to pay a surcharge because of their wealth or status, although parts of the western parishes could be as wealthy as the central intramural parishes. (fn. 7) One of the most visible effects in the assessments of the extramural parishes' relative poverty was the frequency and number of servants employed by households in these parishes. Only eight percent of those living outside the walls were described as servants, compared to twenty percent in the parishes within the walls.
The size and relative poverty of the extramural parishes also has consequences for the assessments themselves. Sheer numbers of inhabitants meant that it was far harder to list the population of parishes of this size accurately. Assessors could not know the inhabitants of the parish personally, and might not even know the physical layout of its lanes and yards in any great detail. Small and poor households and their lodgers were also more mobile, and thus less likely to be recorded. Those in receipt of alms were exempt from paying the duties imposed by the tax, and it is not clear how comprehensively they were identified in the assessments. Similarly, children appear to have been undercounted. (fn. 8) What proportion of the population was omitted from the assessments has long troubled those seeking to use them as the basis for population estimates. Writing at the time, Gregory King added ten percent to his figures for London's population to account for such errors. (fn. 9) More recently, Craig Spence assumed a fifteen percent rate of omissions. (fn. 10) Whatever the correct figure might be, it seems safe to assume that under-enumeration affected the parishes outside the walls more severely than those within and the index needs to be treated with some caution as a result.
The assessments indexed in this volume are held in the London Metropolitan Archives. At the time of writing, they are catalogued as COL/CHD/LA/04/01/98–110. Each parish is bound as a separate volume, with the exception of the four precincts of St Giles Cripplegate, which are each bound individually. The assessments all follow a similar format, with the names of inhabitants listed to the left of each page followed by a series of columns to the right giving the details of the duties to which they were liable. The households in each list are differentiated, usually by a horizontal line, into a distinct group of names. Within each household, kin and service relationships are normally described. The tax also required that certain kinds of status and wealth be recorded (those found most frequently here are bachelor, widow, gentleman, doctor of law, medicine or divinity, possessing an income of £50 per year). The apparent precision of the listings can be misleading, however. Some of the categories employed, particularly bachelor, could cover a wide range of social positions, from rich young men to single labourers, while servant was used interchangeably with apprentice, and neither might be explicitly defined. (fn. 11) Some assessments also give additional information on the location of households, or the occupations of householders, which was not required by the terms of the Act. The list below gives some indication of the size, form, contents and provenance of each volume.
98. St Andrew Holborn: 28cm by 37cm. 88 pages. The listing is divided into streets and courts. Households are clear. No occupations.
99. St Bartholomew the Great: 21cm by 31 cm. 61 pages. The listing is divided into broad areas. Households are clear. No occupations. The volume was signed at the end by the parish assessors on 27 June 1695, and was endorsed as having been viewed and approved by the commissioners for the Act on 28 June 1695.
100. St Bartholomew the Less: 24cm by 39cm. 15 folios, text on one side only. The listing is undivided. Households are clear. No occupations. The parish is not identified in the original MS but was inferred from later returns. Page 1 may be missing. The volume is not dated.
101. St Botolph without Aldersgate (part): 33cm by 40 cm. 110 folios, text on one side only. The heading on page 1 identifies the text as the assessment for the 'freedome part of the parish'. Precincts one to four are identified, but only a few streets or other locations are identified. Households are clear. Occupations are given for a substantial minority of householders. The volume is not dated.
102. St Botolph without Aldgate (part): 25cm by 37cm. 276 pages. The heading on page 1 identifies the text as covering the part of the parish lying within the liberties of the city of London. The parish precincts (Houndsditch, High Street, Barrs, Tower Hill, Covent Garden) are identified, but not the streets within. Households are clear. No occupations. The volume was endorsed on the 12 July 1695.
103. St Botolph Bishopsgate: 24cm by 35 cm. iv + 293 pages, with blank pages at end of volume. Streets, yards and courts are indicated clearly. Households are clear. No occupations. The title on page iv notes that volume is for the year May 1695 to May 1696.
104. St Bride's: 27cm by 41cm. 148 pages. Some locations are indicated, but this is not always clear or consistent. Households are clear. No occupations. The volume was signed by the collector, and the commissioners and assessors on the 29 July 1695.
105. Bridewell Precinct: 31cm by 41cm. 18 pages. The listing is not divided by place. Households are clear. No occupations. The assessment is dated 13 May 1695 on page 1.
106. St Dunstan in the West (part): 26cm by 42cm. 69 pages. The volume covers the part of the parish of St Dunstan in the West that lies in the liberties of the city of London. The listing is divided into streets, courts and alleys. Households are clear. No occupations. The assessment is dated 16 July 1695 on pages 1 and 69.
107A. St Giles Cripplegate, Fore Street Precinct: 32cm by 41cm. 43 folios, text on facing side only. Locations are indicated. Households are clear in most but not all cases. No occupations. The volume is not dated.
107B. St Giles Cripplegate, Grub Street Precinct: 32cm by 40cm. 82 folios, text on facing side only. Locations are indicated. Households are clear. No occupations. The volume is not dated.
107C. St Giles Cripplegate, White Cross Street Precinct: 33cm by 40cm. 42 folios, text on facing side only. Locations are indicated. Households are clear. No occupations. The volume is not dated.
107D. St Giles Cripplegate, Redcross Street Precinct: 33cm by 40cm. 102 folios, text on facing side only. Locations are indicated. Households are clear. No occupations. The volume is not dated.
108. St Olave Southwark, First precinct on London Bridge: 32cm by 40cm. 8 pages. The listing is not divided by place. Households are clear. No occupations. The volume is endorsed at the end by the collector, the assessors and commissioners and dated 28 June 1695.
109. St Sepulchre's, part lying in the ward of Faringdon Without: 38cm by 46cm. 112 folios. The listing is divided into the four precincts (Smithfield, Holborn Cross, Church, Old Bailey), but no other place information is given. Households are clear. No occupations. The assessment is dated 24 July 1695 on page 1.
110. Whitefriars: 30cm by 39cm. 37 pages. The listing is not divided by place. Households are mostly delineated, but with some ambiguities. No occupations. The volume is not dated.