Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Returned Letter Office, 1817

The preprinted "Returned Letter" form was sent from the Returned Letter-Office in London to Wiveliscombe in June 1817, with an undeliverable letter enclosed - unfortunately this letter is no longer enclosed so we don't know why it was undeliverable.

Here is a scan of the contents of the Returned Letter form.

It is not clear to me why this Returned Letter was charged 4d.

The filing notes on this preprinted form may indicate that the undeliverable letter was originally to a Mr Oliver at Chard.  Wiveliscombe to Chard is about 25 miles, so would have been 6d in the General Post (for 20-30 miles).

Is it possible that the charge of 4d represents the postage from Wellington, Wiveliscombe's Post Town, back to Wiveliscombe ?  This is about 8 miles (via Milverton) so would have been 4d in the General Post (for up to 15 miles).

In later years the handling of returned letters was performed at the Returned Letter Branch, Bath.  Post Towns were also issued with "Undeliverable for reason stated / Return to Sender" cachets.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Templecloud and Old Down

Templecloud and Old Down were originally in the Bristol Penny Post, and then also in the Bath and the Wells Penny Posts.  Originally Templecloud had the boxed "No.14" receiving house handstamp while Old Down had the boxed "No.15" handstamp. Then Templecloud was given the boxed "No.15" and Old Down the boxed "No.16".  Old Down also had an oval framed "OLD-DOWN" handstamp that is known used between 1802 and 1840.

The two entires below both have boxed "No.15" handstamps (Templecloud) and oval "OLD-DOWN" handstamps.  The first, from August 1829, goes from Templcloud south to Old Down where it was put on the Bath to Exeter coach down to Exeter.

The second, from 1836, goes south from Templecloud to Old Down and then on the Exeter to Bath coach, from where it goes to London.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Greetings

Christmas Greetings - here is a fairly unusual postcard with good wishes to Taunton from East Grinstead in 1907.  The card has a nice TPO mark from Great Eastern  - as a result of missorting ?

Perhaps the lady depicted in the postcard is the proud owner of what looks like a newly built house ?

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Taunton Redirected Mail (1842)

The part-entire below was originally from Taunton to Farringdon, and then redirected to the Isle of Wight.  It has a nice Taunton Maltese Cross on the 1841 1d red-brown, and then a manuscript charge of "1" for the redirection.

Redirection was charged at a single rate until 1st June 1892 when it was abolished.

Sunday, 21 December 2014


Three items from Dunster, starting with a part entire with a framed "Dunster / Penny Post" handstamp (known in use 1830-1831).  The marked up postal charge of 7d does not include anything for a Penny Post and I don't know of any Receiving Houses (if you know please get in touch !).

Next an item from 1843 with an 1841 1d red-brown with multiple Maltese Cross cancels.  The multiplicity of cancels makes it impossible to determine where the cancels came from.

And finally an item from 1845 without any prepayment of postage so incurring 2d postage due.  The entire was to the Royal Hospital, Chelsea on behalf of an ailing military pensioner.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Bristol Cachets

... and now a couple of Bristol Cachets, starting with a violet framed "UNDELIVERED FOR REASON STATED / RETURN TO SENDER" on an item of mail in 1942 from Stamford, USA.  This item has some nice US pointing finger cachets as well.

The next item is from 1981 and features a Post Office ambulance envelope with a framed cachet saying that "THE HEAD POSTMASTER IS VERY SORRY THAT THIS PACKET HAS BEEN ACCIDENTALLY DAMAGED IN THE POST".

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Taunton Cachets

A couple of cachets from Taunton, starting with a green framed "INCORRECTLY POSTED IN A BUNDLE / OF METER-FRANKED SECOND CLASS / LETTERS AND SO LIABLE TO DELAY".

This second one from 1980 has a violet framed "INCOMPLETE ADDRESS" cachet, and was returned in a Post Office "Returned Postal Packet" envelope.  Because this latter envelope did not have any stamps it has an extremely clear example of the Post Office Telecommunications Museum slogan cancel.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Taunton Redirected and Returned Mail

A much marked windowed envelope from County Hall, Taunton ...

This second sheet describes what I believe all the markings indicated.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Taunton Miscellany

Another Taunton miscellany, starting with an ordinary postcard from December 1925 with the message that "As requested our closed car will be at Taunton Station ...".  It was from Marshalsea Bros. Ltd, Motor Body Builders and Engineers of Ilminster and Taunton, who had two telephone numbers, Ilminster 10 and Taunton 71.  Most communications in those days was by Post, very few people had telephones.

From the same era is this OHMS reminder to renew a "Wireless Receiving Station licence", dated March 1926.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Taunton 3d Postage Due

The sender of the envelope below attempted to use a bisected 3d stamp to pay the 1½d postage.  The result was postage due of double the deficiency or 3d, while the bisected stamp is carefully not cancelled.

So not only was the 3d stamp wasted but the recipient also had to pay 3d - total cost 6d for 1½d postage.

Bristol ½d Postage Due

One would normally expect that the minimum postage due would be 1d, being double a deficiency of ½d, for example from the ½d postcard rate.  However there are some cases where the surcharge of ½d was not applied, one of them being Military Mail on active service.

The postcard above was posted in April 1915 as Private Castle was embarking to go to Egypt and then on to Gallipoli.  It was unfranked but was only charged ½d as Private Castle was "On Active Service".  If he had posted it earlier on his journey to Avonmouth he would probably have been surcharged and the recipient would have had to pay 1d, while if he had waited until he was abroad the postcard would have been free - as long as Private Castle had got an officer to counter sign the card to authorise the free postage.

Private Frank Castle survived Gallipoli  but may well have been injured because he was discharged in April 1916 having "Both feet deformed".

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Axbridge to North Petherton - 1795 by Coach

There are no markings on the entire below to indicate that it went in the Post, just instructions to go by Coach from Cross.  The Post Office mail coach from Bristol to Bridgwater did not start until 1827.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Glastonbury Receiving House No.4

Free Front franked from Glastonbury on 1st January 1840 with unboxed “No.4” handstamp

The image above was provided by a private collector as a result of seeing the article in this blog on the Glastonbury Penny Post, where I indicated that the No.4 Receiving House handstamp was not known.

It is from the 1st of January 1840, just 9 days before the end of the parliamentary franking privilege on 10th January (with the introduction of the uniform penny post), and bears a “To Pay 1D only” cachet to indicate that only the Penny Post charge was payable.

The front is franked “Doncaster” - this was one of the titles of Walter Francis Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch, 7th Duke of Queensberry, and 5th Earl of Doncaster. The Earl of Doncaster's wife was Charlotte Anne Montagu-Douglas-Scott, daughter of Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath.  One of her brothers was the Right Hon. and Rev. Lord John Thynne who resided "in some style" at Walton Rectory as Rector of Street, one of his ecclesiastical appointments. The 1841 census records him as being at the Rectory in Walton, with his wife and five children.

It is probable that the Earl of Doncaster's wife was visiting her brother, Lord John Thynne at Walton when this front was sent.

It is believed that Walton was the No.4 Receiving House in the Glastonbury Penny Post and this front provides supportive evidence of this through the Thynne family connection to Walton.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


Here is an early mileage mark for Yeovil from 1790, rated at 1/- so with two enclosures.  The mileage to London had been measured at 126 miles.

Following this is another Yeovil mileage mark from 1812 where the mileage to London is now 125 miles.

And finally a Yeovil entire from the Uniform Fourpenny Post period to Dublin, when the mileage to London no longer mattered, with a framed "Yeovil / Penny Post" handstamp.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Here is an entire with a nice two-line "WELLING / TON.S" handstamp from 1786.  The postal charge of 5d implies that the route from Wellington to Maiden Newton near Dorchester was not direct !

It is impossible to tell exactly when this pre-printed postcard was sent as Printed Matter.  The 1912 KGV stamp has been cancelled by a Wellington "860" two-bar vertical obliterator.  This cancel is not in Parmenter but similar two and one bar cancels for Weston-super-Mare are described in Parmenter as probably being locally made wooden handstamps.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Somerton to London redirected to Sussex

An entire from Somerton (address inside) initially to London, in 1761 would have been charged 4d in the General Post, the rate for over 80 miles.  It was then redirected to East Grinstead, a distance of approximately 30 miles, so would have been charged 3d.

Prior to 1797 the legs of a journey via London were charged separately so giving rise to a total postal charge of 7d - after 1797 the postal charge was based on the total mileage, but the mileage rates also increased so the total charge would probably have been the same.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Glastonbury (1896), Ilchester (1841), Milverton (1839)

Here is a Free entire from Glastonbury to London which was initially going to be charged 5d but then received a London "FREE" handstamp and had the postal charge crossed out.  It has a nice two line "GLASTON / BURY" handstamp on the reverse.

An entire from Ilchester with an 1841 1d red-brown just about tied with an Ilchester Maltese Cross.

An entire from Milverton to Dulverton with a clear script "Milverton" handstamp.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Missent to Crewkerne

The entire below was from Gosport to Dulverton.  Dulverton came under Tiverton in Devon but this entire was missent to Crewkerne instead where it received a manuscript "Missent to " followed by a Crewkerne mileage handstamp.

The manuscript charge on the entire is "10" but the recipient would also have had to pay for the Tiverton Penny Post.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Bath - Miscellany from 1720, 1801 and 1877

Three entires from Bath, the first from 1720 has had the surname of the addres cut out but the early "BATH" handstamp is quite clear.  The date written inside the entire is 1720, before Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752.

The next entire is from 1801 with a very nice "BATH / 109" boxed mileage handstamp.

And finally a "BATH" vertical oval duplex cancel from 1877.  It is difficult to work out which specific handstamp these duplex cancels are.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Undated Circular Handstamps - Washford, Williton

In this final batch of UDC handstamps here are two examples from Washford, one in black and one in a very bright red.

And lastly here are two UDC handstamps from Williton, one in red and one in black. Williton was issued with a numeric obliterator "777" in the 1844 list so perhaps would not have been expected to have a UDC handstamp.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Undated Circular Handstamps - North Curry, Stogumber

Here are two examples of the North-Curry UDC handstamp from 1846 and 1848.

And two examples of the Stogumber UDC handstamp.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Undated Circular Handstamps - Cannington, Curry-Rival, Kingston [St. Mary]

Carrying on with the UDCs, here is a late usage of the UDC handstamp for Cannington.

This is an example of the serif  "CURRY-RIVAL" UDC in blue, which is not recorded in the British County Catalogue.  It is also charged 2d postage due as it was not prepaid.

And finally here is what is currently the earliest known example of the UDC from Kingston [St. Mary].

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Undated Circular Handstamps - Bradford[-on-Tone], Brompton Regis, Broomfield

Before I get back to Taunton handstamps, the next few posts show some more Undated Circular handstamps (or UDCs), beginning with one in red for Bradford[-on-Tone] with a manuscript "2" for postage due as the entire was posted unpaid.

Next is an example of the UDC for Brompton Regis.

And finally in this post is an early example for Broomfield.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Taunton Maltese Cross selection

Here are a selection of Taunton Maltese Crosses, starting with one from September 1840 in red.

Next here are three sheets with Maltese Crosses from 1843, starting in March and July, then two more from November and December.  According to the Proof Books a new Maltese Cross cancel was issued to Taunton in August 1843.

And finally two Maltese Crosses on redirected mail that were both charged an additional 1d for the redirection (this was an additional 1d charge not a surcharge of doubled postage due).  The second of the two entires is addressed to the Countess of Lovelace, who has been called the first computer programmer (see Wikipedia).