Land Tax Assessments
Information about Durham land tax assessments at Durham County Record Office.
County Durham land tax assessments are part of our Quarter Sessions records. They cover the period 1759 to 1831 (with gaps) and you can view them in the Record Office on microfilm.
Please make an appointment and book a microfilm reader before you visit.
Our online catalogue includes a free name index to Durham land tax records, containing over 200,000 entries.
About land tax assessments
An act of parliament of 1744 required duplicates of land tax assessments to be deposited as a record of freeholders eligible to elect members of parliament for the county. After the Reform Act of 1832 the qualification for voting changed and separate electoral registers were created.
The assessments record names of properties, names of occupiers and sums assessed. The proprietors were those whose freehold property would bring in an annual return of £2 in rents. The occupiers were chief leaseholders, not necessarily the tenants who actually lived on the property. Returns were made annually.
The returns for County Durham are less informative than those for many other counties, and do not in most cases specify the name or extent of the property on which the tax was payable.
Online catalogue and name index
See details of our Quarter Sessions land tax assessments (ref: Q/D/L) on our online catalogue:
Members of the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies have generously created a name index for all these records. The index, containing over 200,000 entries, is free to view on our online catalogue:
The indexes are arranged in thirteen separate sections, following the arrangement of the original records. There were ten sub-divisions within the county :
Chester Ward East; Chester Ward Middle; Chester Ward West; Darlington Ward North West; Darlington Ward South East; Darlington Ward South West; Stockton Ward North East; Stockton Ward South West; Easington Ward North; Easington Ward South
plus three detached areas:
Norham and Islandshire (Northumberland); Bedlington (Northumberland); Craike (Yorkshire).
Land tax records at Durham University Archives
Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections holds a complementary (partly duplicate) series of County Durham Indexes to Land Tax Returns (Ref. Q/D/L detail) covering the period 1760 to 1949.