The Laws in The Batley Tax Records

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Benjamin Law
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Benjamin Law in the Batley Tax Records

LDS microfilm 1657316 contains tax records for Batley Township for several miscellaneous years at the end of the 1700's and the beginning of the 1800's. Benjamin Law appeared in these tax records for the first time in 1803. By 1803, Benjamin was 30 years old and married for the second time.

There were three tax records listed for Batley:

  1. Poor Taxes
  2. Highway Taxes
  3. Taxes for Aid to His Majesty

All of the tax records listed a name followed by the amount of the tax due. The later records include columns for Pounds, shillings, and pence. The earlier records do no include headings. However, it is highly likely that the three columns represent the same monetary values. When there are only two columns of numbers, they represent shillings and pence.

The Poor Taxes

The Overseers Assessments for the Poor Taxes

"An assessment upon the occupants of the Lands, Tenements, Woods, and Hereditaments, in the Township of Batley, County of York for the necessary relief of the poor and other Purposes in the several acts of Parliament mentioned relating to the Poor."
Hereditaments are any real property that can be inherited.

There was a separate booklet for each year. The years available through the FHC for this tax are 1801, 1802, 1803, 1807,1808, 1809, an unmarked year, and 1810. Each booklet started with the statement quoted above and a listing of the rate and the names of the overseers for the year. Benjamin Law was not listed in the 1801 and 1802 booklets.

  1. 1803. The rate of assessment was three shillings to the pound and "Benj." Law paid 9 and 3.
  2. 1807. I can't read the rate of assessment due to damage to the page. "Benj." Law paid 12 and 5.
  3. 1808. There were three booklets for 1808
    1. In January 1808 the rate was five shillings to the pound and "Benj." Law paid 15 and 6 on January 18.
    2. There was a second assessment December 12, 1808 at a rate of 5 shilling to the pound and "Benj." Law paid 12 and 5 on January 30, 1809.
    3. There is a third booklet dated 1808 (no month) that does not contain any introductory information on its purpose or rates. Benj. Law paid 8.
  4. 1809. An assessment was made in the spring at a rate of seven shillings to the pound. "Benj." Law paid 1 and 1 and 8 on April 8.There was also a listing for John Law who paid 2 and 9 on March 1st. John was most likely Benjamin's younger brother. He does not appear in these tax booklets again.

The next book for this tax was not dated. This book and the next two books also have a different format and the introduction says the valuation was being made by "Order of the Court of General Quarters Sessions".

  1. No date. The rate in this book was one shilling to the pound. Benjamin Law was listed with the following numbers, 2.225..8..88. I have no idea what the numbers mean.
  2. 1810. There were two assessments made in 1810.
    1. February at a rate of 2 shillings to the pound and "Benj." Law was listed at "X16".
    2. No introduction. "Benj." Law was listed at "X16".

Highway Taxes

The highway tax was assessed to pay for repair of roads and bridges. There are just a few odd years for this assessment. The first year available on the FHC microfilm was 1797 and Benjamin Law was not listed. Benjamin Law was listed in three books between 1808 and 1810.

  1. 1808. This book has the following introduction,
    " An assessment of 1 shilling in the pound upon occupations of Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments in the Township of Batley in the county of York to reimburse Ass. Jno. Cooper and Jno. Scatcherd for fine levied upon them for the Repair of a Road in Batley by Order of the last Court of Quarter Sessions held at Bradford in July 1808."
    "Benj." Law paid 3 and 1 on September 31. John Law was assessed 4. There is no notation of payment.

  2. No date, no introduction.

    "Benj." Law was listed at 3 and 1 and Jno Law was listed at 4.

  3. 1810. There is no introduction and no rate.

    "Benj." Law was assessed 16 and paid 16.

There are no other assessment books on this roll of microfilm until 1845.

Aid to His Majesty

The third set of records were headed "Lower Division of Agbrigg, for the Township of Batley". The introductory page for each year says,

"An assessment made for one year from the 25th Day of March 18-- in Pursuance of an Act of Parliament for grating aid as His Majesty by a Land Tax to be raised in Great Britain for the Service of the Year 1798 and another act passed that year for making the same Land Tax perpetual, subject to Redemption and Purchase in the Manner therein stated."
Benjamin Law was listed as a tenant of Jos. Beaumont paying 6 and 2 for the years 1815 through 1832, which the exceptions of 1816 which is missing and 1829 (I do not know why he was not listed.) The last year available in this set was 1832.

The 1845 Highway Tax

The 1845 Highway Tax records for the township of Batley were assessed on August 2, 1845. They list

"A Rate of tenpence in the Pound upon all and every the Tenements, Lands and Hereditaments, Woods, Mines, and Quarries in the Township of Batley for the Repair and Maintenance of the Highways of the said township".
Included in the taxpayers for the year 1845 were Lydia, the widow of Benjamin Law, and at least three of her children, John, Joseph, and William, and one of her step children, George, (the son of Benjamin and Rachael) who were renting houses very close to one another in Batley.
  1. George Law was listed on page 23, renting a house from Benjamin Brearley in Havercroft at a value of 1, 3, sum assessed 1, 3, no notation of date paid.


    • George was the son of Benjamin Law and Rachael Stubley born in 1792 and listed as a rag dealer in the 1841 census.

  2. Joseph Law was listed on page 24, renting a house from Jubb, Sheard and (can't read) in Havercroft, at a value of 3, 13, 10, sum assessed 3, 1, paid September 8.


    • Given that Joseph was listed in Havercroft, (where the other people related to Benjamin Law were living) he was most likely the son of Benjamin Law.
  3. Lydia Law was listed on page 36, renting a house from Sam Haigh in Havercroft at a value of 3, 11 and 8 and paying 2, 11 and 1/2 on January 10th.


    • I did not find Lydia Sheard Law, the wife of Benjamin Law, in the 1841or 1851 censuses in Batley.

  4. John Law was listed on page 36 renting a house from J. Jubb in Havercroft at a value of 2 pounds 15 shillings and 00 pence and paying 2 pounds 3 shillings and 1/2 in taxes on October 17. Given that John was listed in Havercroft, so close to the other related Laws, he was most likely the son of Benjamin Law.


    • I could not find John in the 1841 census in Batley.
  5. William Law was listed on page 37 renting a house from R. Brearley in Havercroft valued at 3, 0, 0, and paying 2, 6, no date of payment and a note "WH" (I have no idea what WH means).


    • William was the son of Benjamin Law and Lydia Sheard Law and a direct line ancestor. He was listed in the 1841 census in Batley.
  6. Ann Law was listed on page 37 renting a house from William Colbeck at a value of 3, 13, 4 and paying 3 and 1/2 on September 22.


    • I believe that Ann is listed in the 1841 census as Hannah, age 30, Woolen Feeder, living by herself in New Batley.

      I'm not sure who Ann Law was. the census indicate that she was unmarried, not widowed. Ann (Hannah) could have been the daughter of Benjamin Law. Given that she is listed so close to the other related Laws she is most likely related in some way.

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