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Country code GB
Repository code 234
Repository National Records of Scotland
Reference CE
Title Records of the Board of Customs and Excise
Dates 1694-1994
Access status Open
Description Separate classes have been set up for each customs outport. Subordinate ports and creeks are listed under the main outport. Where possible, the equivalent excise district is included in the same class and subordinate excise divisions are listed under the district. Excise districts which have no parallel customs outport are arranged in separate classes. In a few cases, areas which formed excise districts were treated as subordinate creeks by the Customs Board, and vice versa: cross references can be found on the title page for each district or outport.

CE1: Scottish Board of Customs, minute books
CE2: Scottish Board of Excise, minute books
CE3: Customs Board establishment books
CE4: Excise Board letter books, Board to Collectors
CE5: Excise Board letter books, Board to General Commissioners, London, 1st series
CE6: Excise Board miscellanea
CE7: Customs Board miscellanea
CE8: Excise Board letter books, Board to HM Treasury
CE9: Excise Board letter books, HM Treasury to Board
CE10: Excise Board letter books, Board to General Commissioners, London, 2nd series
CE11: Excise Board order books, General Commissioners to Scottish Board
CE12: Customs Board, establishment books of Collector of Salt Duties
CE13: Excise Board, registers of, appointments and removals etc
CE14: Customs Board general orders
CE15: Customs Board general letters
CE16: Excise Board, establishment minute books
CE17: Excise Board, London, Letters to Excise officials, Scotland
CE18: Headquarters files
CE19: Board of Excise Incidental Pay Books
CE20: Solicitor to the Board of Customs and Excise
CE21: Board of Excise and Successor: Treasury Case Papers
CE22-34: Unallocated
CE35: Aberdeen excise collection
CE36: Elgin excise collection
CE37: Edinburgh collection
CE38-50: Unallocated
CE51: Dumfries outport records
CE52: Perth outport records
CE53: Montrose outport records
CE54: Thurso outport records
CE55: Kirkwall outport records
CE56: Dunbar outport records
CE57: Leith outport records
CE58: Bo'ness outport records
CE59: Glasgow outport records
CE60: Greenock and Port Glasgow outport records
CE61: Wigtown outport records
CE62: Inverness outport records
CE63: Kirkcaldy outport records
CE64: Banff outport records
CE65: Peterhead outport records
CE66: Fraserburgh outport records
CE67: Alloa outport records
CE68: Grangemouth outport records
CE69: Linlithgow outport records
CE70: Dundee outport records
CE71: Irvine outport records
CE72: Troon outport records
CE73: Rothesay outport records
CE74: Rothesay outport records
CE75: Oban outport records
CE76: Ayr outport records
CE77: Stranraer outport records
CE78: Elgin outport records
CE79: Blairgowrie outport records
CE80: Arbroath outport records
CE81: Port Ellen outport records
CE82: Campbeltown outport records
CE83: Stonehaven outport records
CE84: Cupar outport records
CE85: Lerwick outport records
CE86: Stornoway outport records
CE87: Aberdeen outport and district records
CE88: Methil outport records
CE89: Buckie outport records
CE90: Inverkeithing outport records
CE91: Bowmore outport records
CE92: Dunfermline outport records
CE93: Conon Bridge outport records
CE94: Drumnadrochit outport records
CE95: Jedburgh outport records
CE96: Burntisland outport records
CE97: Grantown outport records
CE98: Tain outport records
CE99: Windygates outport records
CE100: Auchtermuchty outport records
CE101: Kinross outport records
CE102: Leven outport records
CE103: Anstruther outport records
CE104: Markinch outport records
CE105: Wemyss outport records
CE106: Granton outport records
CE107: Hawick district records
CE108: Langholm district records
CE109: Kelso district records
CE110: Aytoun district records
CE111: Edinburgh district records
CE112: Portree outport and district records
CE113: Wick Outport and District Records
CE114: Ardrossan Outport and District Records
CE115: Ullapool outport records
CE116: Shipping registers covering several areas
CE117: Pleasure Craft Registration Papers
Level Fonds
Admin history The Scottish Board of Customs was established following the Act of Union of 1707. In 1722 this was replaced by a single Board of Customs (9 Geo.I c.21), but some commissioners continued to reside in Edinburgh for the transaction of Scottish business. In 1742 an independent Scottish Board of Customs was re-established but was again replaced in 1823 by a unified board for the United Kingdom (4 Geo.IV c.23). Certain powers were delegated to a subordinate board in Scotland which was formally abolished in 1833 (3 & 4 Will.IV. c.51).

The administration of excise in Scotland after 1707 was entrusted to Commissioners appointed in 1723. The administration of salt duties, however, was the responsibility of the Scottish Commissioners of Customs until 1798. In 1823 the administration of the excise throughout the United Kingdom was entrusted to a single board, certain powers being delegated to a subordinate board in Scotland (4 Geo. IV c. 23). The constitution of this subordinate board was modified in 1829 (10 Geo. IV c. 32) and it ceased to function in 1830. In 1849 the Board of Excise was amalgamated with the Board of Stamps and Taxes to form the Board of Commissioners of Inland Revenue. In 1909, (8 Edward VII c. 16) responsibility for excise duties was transferred from the Inland Revenue to the Board of Customs, which was re-named the Board of Customs and Excise.

The local work of the Boards of Customs and Excise was carried out by staff stationed in customs outports or excise districts. Although in many instances officials from both Boards were stationed in the same locations, the administrative structures of the two Boards were not identical. The Customs Board established outports which reported directly to the Board in either Edinburgh or London, and which in some cases had supervisory responsibility for subordinate ports or creeks. Excise was administered by local collections which were sub-divided into districts and divisions. Although the districts and divisions were subordinate to the collection, in many instances they also communicated directly with the Board in Edinburgh or London.

In addition to customs and excise work, local officers frequently maintained shipping registers and sea fishing boat registers on behalf of the Registrar-General of Seamen and Shipping. On the west coast of Scotland these registers were generally maintained by the Fishery Offices, (see AF17-36). Local officers were often appointed Receivers of Wrecks and also carried out work on behalf of the Royal Naval Reserve.

Shipping Registers record the property rights in ships and the descent and passage of that property from the date of the ship's building until her eventual closure of registry. In most ports, ancillary records also have survived such as local copies of annual returns showing the total tonnage of ships currently on the love register, men and boys employed, numbers and tonnage of vessels built, taken as prizes in war, lost to the enemy, wrecked, broken up &c.

The registers of British ships date generally from the introduction in 1786 (26 Geo. III c.60) of the system of registration of shipping as it is known today, although there are extant (notably at Campbeltown) a few pre-1786 registers framed under the 1696 Act (7 & 8 Will III c.22) and the 1739 Act (12 Geo II c.21). An Act in 1824 (4 Geo IV c.41) introduced new features relating to steamships and a more convenient method of registering steam vessels, more efficient methods of measurement and a more accurate determination of gross and net tonnage were enacted in 1836 (5 & 6 Will IV c.56). Further developments were instroduced in 1855 (17 & 18 Vict c.104).

British ships were registered under Part I of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 (57 & 58 Vict c.60). This was a title registry whereby ownership was established by documents (eg; builders' certificate, declarations of ownership etc) and the change of ownership was continued by means of bills of sale etc. Ships were divided into 64 shares, each or all of which could be held in the sole ownership of individuals or bodies coprorate (ie: limited companies) or in joint ownership by individuals and bodies corporate not exceeding five in number, according to the needs of the owners. There was also provision for the registration of mortgages against the shares held by the respective owners.

Fishing boats engaged in commercial fishing were obliged to register as such under Part IV of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. The boats were named, marked and numbered according to their ports of registry and were classified according to size, tonnage, means of propulsion and mode of fishing etc. This registry was of a non-title nature, ie: owners were not required to prove their title of ownership by documents there was no division of shares and there was no provision for recording bills of sale or mortgages. When there was a change in owndership, the vessels were simply re-registered in the names of the new owners on surrender of the certificate of registry by the former owners. Part IV registry applied to boats belonging to ports in the British Isles only. A fishing boat compulsorily registered as such under Part IV of the 1894 Act could also be registered for title as a British ship under Part I of the Act if the owners so required, in order to establish a legal title, and to facilitate future transactions by way of sale or mortgage etc.

The Sea Fishing Boat (Scotland) Act 1886 provided for title registry analagous to registry under Part I of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 and was devised to meet the special meeds of the Scottish fishing industry. Under this Act owners of boats registered under Part IV of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 could establish their title in the same way as Part I registry for British ships, ie: by builders' certificates, declarations of ownership etc, and thereafter they could divide their shares (in this case the division was 16/16ths) and have bills of sale and mortgages recorded in the Register. Vessels registered for title under Part I of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 were not permitted to be registered for title under the 1886 Act and vice versa.

An extract of each initial registration and of each subsequent transaction is sent to the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen (in Cardiff).
Format Text
Language English
Related record RHP140065 RHP140064 RHP140063

National Records of Scotland, H.M. General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY; tel +44 (0) 131 535 1314; email: historical_enquiries@nrscotland.gov.uk