Loretta Timperley used
the land tax records to publish 'A Directory of Scottish Landownership
in 1770' (Scottish Record Society, Edinburgh, 1976). This shows all
the named landowners for that year together with the names and values
of their properties, in so far as these can be gleaned from the record.
This publication is available in the NRS search rooms and also in
good reference libraries. It gives an accurate sense of the type of
information available from the original record.
Some local land valuations may also be found in heritors' records
(NRS reference HR) and among private Gifts and Deposits of family papers
(NRS reference GD) held in the NRS.
Valuation rolls from 1855-1989
The Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act, 1854 established a uniform valuation
of landed property throughout Scotland, with separate rolls compiled
for each burgh and county. The NRS holds copies of all valuation rolls
until 1989 (NRS reference VR) when the Community Charge ('Poll Tax') for domestic
ratepayers was introduced and replaced the previous system. The valuation
rolls that continue after 1989 are only for businesses that pay non-domestic
rates. Again, the NRS has copies of these.
The rolls from 1854 to 1988 were collected annually and for each
property record the name and designation of the proprietor, the
tenant, the occupier and the annual rateable value. They do not
list any other residents in a property. For the early years after
1854, there is little detail about properties rented at under 4
pounds annually unless they were on long leases. The rolls run from
Whitsunday (one of the Scottish term days, usually around 25 May)
of one year to Whitsunday of the next, roughly speaking a financial
Using valuation rolls for 1855-1957
The valuation rolls for 1855-56 to 1957-1958 have all been digitised
and are available in the search rooms on the Virtual Volumes system.
Now that all the valuation rolls have been digitised
we do not provide access to the originals. However we do provide access to the valuation rolls for Public Undertakings (NRS reference VR121) which have not
Also available in the search rooms is the valuation roll index. This index
covers the valuation rolls for all of Scotland for the following years:
1855-1856; 1865-1866; 1875-1876; 1885-1886; 1895-1896; 1905-1906; 1915-1916;
1925-1926; 1930-1931; 1935-1936; 1940-1941; 1945-1946; 1950-1951
and 1955-1956. The index can be searched
according to person, group or place (including property type, settlement
name, burgh or county). The information contained in the index consists
of the description and situation of each property and its proprietor,
tenant and occupier. Each index entry is linked to the digital
image of the original page in the valuation roll.
The valuation rolls that have been indexed with images will be made avaliable online via ScotlandsPeople during 2012-2014. Currently available to search are the rolls for 1885-1886, 1895-1896, 1905-1906, 1915-1916 and 1920-1921. Further years will follow. Please consult the ScotlandsPeople website for further information.
For valuation rolls which are unindexed some rolls, particularly
for the more populous areas such as Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh
and Glasgow, can be awkward to search. For these areas there will
often be several volumes covering each year. This can often mean
a time-consuming search through the volumes in question before you
find the entry for the property concerned.
Within each volume, the entries are arranged either by parish or
(in cities and larger towns) by electoral ward, and below that level,
by street and then by door number or house name. Consequently you
may need to find out in which parish and/or electoral ward the property
concerned was situated, before being able to identify the correct
valuation roll for the relevant year. A local archive or library
may have old Post Office directories or local gazetteers, which
will often help you to obtain this information.
Because of the time-consuming detective work needed, staff at the
NRS cannot search valuation rolls on behalf of correspondents.
Duplicate original valuation rolls for specific areas may also be
held locally on microfilm. You should check this with local libraries
Using valuation rolls for 1958 onwards
With the exception of valuation rolls which were on microfilm and
were converted to digital images, the valuation rolls for 1958 onwards are
consulted in volume form and are currently held at our off-site storage
facility, Thomas Thomson House. Before coming to see these records
it is advisable to notify us beforehand, so that the appropriate records
can be produced in advance of your arrival.
Community charge ('poll tax') records, 1989-1993
The NRS has copies of all the registers of people registered to pay
the domestic community charge (NRS reference CCH).
The NRS has a full set of copies of these lists (NRS reference CTA). They are
not very informative, however, since they list addresses only and
give no details of the residents or owners of property.
Council tax valuation lists, 1993-date
The records of the Inland Revenue Valuation Office provide a snapshot
of landownership in Scotland in 1911-1912. Their staff surveyed every
property, recording the names of owners, tenants and occupiers, charges
on the land, valuations and other particulars. Each property's boundaries
and assessment number were marked on specially printed Ordnance Survey
maps. The field books and maps resulting from this work are held by
the NRS (NRS reference IRS51-88 and IRS101-133). More information on using
these records is given in Cecil Sinclair's, Tracing Scottish
Local History, pp28-9.
Other records showing landownership
The National Records of Scotland
Crown Copyright 2013