Tuesday 7 February 2012

Ancestry releases Perthshire Cess and Stent Rolls

Ancestry's latest Scottish release is Perthshire, Scotland, Cess, Stent and Valuation Rolls, 1650-1899, available at http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=1948. From the site:

This is a collection of valuation rolls for the County of Perth, Scotland that run from 1885-1988 (sic). The rolls contain more information than the cess or stent rolls, which recorded just the tax portion of the valuation, while the valuation rolls deal solely with the value of the property. The valuation rolls name the proprietor or tenant, describe or name the property and give an annual rental value.

The valuation rolls do have some peculiarities, though. Until 1884, tenants or occupiers with a lease less than one year or value of less than £4 per annum were omitted. Street naming and numbering also didn’t come into prevalence until 1930, which makes it difficult to identify some properties.

The valuation rolls contain:
  • Parish
  • Year
  • Proprietor
  • Tenant
  • Description of property
  • Yearly rent or value

That's my day ahead sorted then! Incidentally, the site has it wrong - the records are not for 1885-1988! Unfortunately there is no list of parishes covered, which would certainly help.

UPDATE: I've been performing searches using this dataset and to be blunt, this one's a bit of a bugger to use. As an example I tried searching for my four times great uncle William Henderson in Forgandenny between 1855 and 1866, as I know he was recorded in the Valuation Rolls there for that period (I have previously consulted them in Edinburgh). Not a single search found him when I tried his name, for any of those years. When I did a search by year and placename only - Forgandenny parish - he eventually appears as the tenant of an individual simply called "Baron" according to Ancestry's index. In fact, that should be Baron Ruthven of the Freeland Estate. If you cannot find who you are looking for, I would therefore urge you to do it the old fashioned way also, by browsing the records, which thankfully Ancestry allows using filters on the right side of the search screen.

The source information on the search screen is fairly uninformative, so I've asked archivist Jan Merchant at Perth and Kinross Archives, the source for the records, for some further details on what it holds. Here goes!
  • Stent rolls are for Perth Burgh, 1710-1855 with gaps. 
  • Also burgh cess rolls for this period 
  • Valuation rolls cover all parishes in Perthshire from 1855-1978, 1983-1988; Kinrossshire 1872-1974 & Perth burgh 1869-1974 
  • Cess rolls cover all parishes Perthshire, 1650-1852 & Kinross-shire 1828-1842. So a hole finding Perth burgh folk 1860s 
  • A complete sets of valuation rolls for Perth burgh and both counties (1855-1988) is at National Records of Scotland

(With grateful thanks to Jan Merchant at P&KC Archives)



  1. Great review!
    But was are a cess and stent?

  2. Basically land tax records - cess and stent rolls listed the inhabitants liable for tax