Archives: The Journal of the British Records Association

THE FINAL RECKONING: USING DEATH DUTY RECORDS TO RESEARCH WEALTH HOLDING IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND AND WALES

Archives: The Journal of the British Records Association (2013), 38, (126), 1–21.

Abstract

This article discusses the sources that enable researchers to reconstruct the ownership and transmission of wealth at death in nineteenth-century England and Wales. The complex and evolving regime of inheritance tax generated a variety of records that provide evidence of wealth-holding amongst individuals and families. Some of these, like probate records, are familiar to scholars, whilst others, like legacy, succession and estate duty records, are less well known. The article traces the fiscal evolution of these sources and explains how they can be linked to reconstruct wealth-portfolios of individuals, establishing the value of both their personal and real estate. It also assesses the accuracy of the assessments of worth that are contained within surviving documents. The article concludes by urging scholars to make greater use of death duty records, which have the potential to offer rich insights into nineteenth-century wealth holding.

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Author details

Owens, Alastair

Green, David R.