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A History of the Parish of Neilston
Chapter XXIII. ó Poll Tax Roll for the Year 1695


Neilstoun Parochine.

Writers of books pertaining to the history of any part of the County of Renfrew since 1864, the date of his work, have been under a debt of gratitude, expressed or otherwise, to the late David Semple, Esq., Writer, Paisley, for the labour he devoted to compiling the Poll Tax Roll from the manuscript Rolls of 1695, which are still extant in the Charter chest of Paisley, and written in old Saxon characters, applicable to the shire for that year. Sempleís articles were originally published in the Glasgow IleraLI, and very few copies are now to the fore. The writer has been favoured by the loan of what was the compilerís own copy from which to make the following extract relating to the parish of Neilston.

The proclamation of King William of Orange and his Queen, Mary, to the throne of Great Britain, took place at Edinburgh, 11th April, 1689, being two months after their proclamation at London, on 13th February of the same year; and the Poll Tax had its origin six years later in the Poll Money Act of the Scottish Parliament for the year 1695. This Act empowered the imposition of a special tax to maintain the military efficiency of the country. The tax amounted to six shillings a head on all the inhabitants over sixteen years of age, only those living by charity being exempted; men who had trades paid double, whilst merchants and titled persons paid more.

The Poll Tax Roll is therefore an accurate and authentic record of the names and occupations of all the people in the parish over the age of sixteen years, and of the places of their residence at the time, and cannot fail to be of interest to the inhabitants, especially the older families, in tracing family connections. The sums charged against the names are in Scots money, which, as we have already seen, is one-twelfth of money sterling. The following contractions are used: Yal., valuation; lib., pounds; sh., shillings; d., pence; mks. merks; gen., gnall., general; daur., daughter; servt., servd., servant; yor., younger; yr., their. Names occurring in the Roll that refer to the occupation of the people are : Cordoner, shoemaker; taylior, tailor; oye, grandchild; por., portioner; fie, fee.


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