Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Taunton Penny Post - boxed "No.2"

Monksilver was Receiving House No.2 in the Taunton Fifth Clause Post until April 1823 when it converted to a Penny Post.  Here are two examples of the boxed "No.2" handstamp from 1827 and 1828.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Taunton Penny Post - boxed "No.1"

Gore Inn, Bishop's Lydeard had the boxed "No.1" handstamp from sometime around the start of 1817.  It also transferred from the Fifth Clause to Penny Post at about that time.  Here is an example of the boxed "No.1" handstamp used in the Taunton Penny Post in May 1817.

Here are three more examples of the boxed "No.1" handstamp from 1823, 1824 and 1828.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Taunton Penny Post - Pre-1829

Taunton's Penny Post started some time before May 1817 with the Receiving House at Gore Inn, Bishop's Lydeard ("No.1" boxed handstamp) having a branch to Bagborough, Crowcombe, Lydeard St. Lawrence, Handy Cross and Combe Florey.

In April 1823 Monksilver ("No.2" boxed handstamp) and Torre ("No.3" boxed handstamp) converted from Fifth Clause to Penny Posts.

In 1824 the inhabitants of Stogumber requested an improvement to their post - as the number of letters was small an official Post was denied, but a bag was made up at Taunton and dropped off at the nearest point to Stogumber (about one mile), with a private messenger costing an extra 1d on each letter (over and above the General Post plus Penny Post charges) employed to pick up the mail and meet the return coach.

The item below originated in Stogumber in 1824 and may have been subject to these arrangements.  It does not have any Receiving House marks.
Here is the reverse of the item showing that it originated in Stogumber.

The item below also originated in Stogumber in 1827.

The item below originated in Capland, just south of Hatch Beauchamp.  It was taken to Hatch, presumably by a servant, to catch the private post to Taunton, to then go in the Penny Post to Torre, and then to Chapel Cleeve.  It was charged 2d as a "short" letter, ie. on that did not go in the General Post.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Taunton Fifth Clause Post - "No.4"

Dunster was Receiving House No.4 in the Taunton Fifth Clause Post and remained in the Fifth Clause Post until February 1829 when the Taunton Penny Post was reorganised, because Mr Luttrell of Dunster Castle objected to any prior conversion to a Penny Post (he would have had to pay for his franked letters and newspapers).

The entire below is from 1826 from Dunster to Wiveliscombe and is charged 7d, the charge that would be made if the letter had travelled in the General Post all the way from Dunster to Wiveliscombe.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Taunton Fifth Clause Post - "No.3" continued

Apart from the prepaid example in the previous post, my examples of letters from Torre to destinations outside of the Fifth Clause Post are all charged at the General Post rate from Taunton - which would match with what is supposed to take place, that the sender has to pay the Fifth Clause Post fee, whatever that is.  There is no indication on any of these entires on what such a fee might have been.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Taunton Fifth Clause Post - "No.3"

... to continue from the previous post, here is an entire from Torre, the Receiving House with the boxed "No.3" handstamp.  It was sent entirely within the Fifth Clause Post, from Torre to Taunton, and was charged 5d - which happens to be the General Post rate for the 15-20 miles that matches the distance from Torre to Taunton.

The following is another item that may help pin down the Taunton Fifth Clause Post rates.  It is from Torre ("No.3") to Wiveliscombe but has been prepaid.  The postal charge was 6d, which again matches the General Post rate for the total distance from Torre to Wiveliscombe via Taunton.  It is also possible that it could be made up a different way, with a 4d charge for the General Post from Taunton to Wiveliscombe and a 2d charge for the Fifth Clause Post.

Finally, here are four more examples of "short" letters from Torre in the Taunton Fifth Clause Post - they are all charged 5d as in the first example - matching the rate for 15-20 miles in the General Post.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Taunton Fifth Clause Post - "No.2"

As indicated in the previous post, there are not likely to be any Taunton Fifth Clause Post letters with a boxed "No.1" handstamp because Gore Inn, Bishop's Lydeard was converted to a Penny Post in 1817 (at least by May 1817) which was around when the boxed handstamps were issued.

Receiving House No.2 was at Monksilver.  Fifth Clause Post items from Monksilver are rare and the receiving house handstamp strikes poor.

The following two are both from September 1819 and are both signed "H. Trevelyan".  Harriet Trevelyan was the wife of George Trevelyan, the Archdeacon of Taunton from 1817, whose family seat was Nettlecombe Court, one mile from Monksilver.  The other diagnostic is that the top of the "2" in the handstamp is rounded, whereas the "3" in the Torre "No.3" handstamp is flat, which makes it possible to rule out the more common handstamp.

The final diagnostic on the second of the two entires is the postal rate.  The letter did not go in the General Post (ie. it was a "short" letter) from Monksilver to Taunton and was charged 4d.  This happens to be the General Post rate for less than 15 miles, which matches the distance from Monksilver to Taunton ... in the next post I'll show why this may be significant !

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Taunton Fifth Clause Post

The next set of posts to this blog are going to be on Taunton, firstly on the Fifth Clause and Penny Posts pre- and post- the 1828 reorganisation, and then, probably, on the handstamps.  This will be an updated version of what I've already posted.  These posts are in memory of Tony Osmond, a long-time collector of Taunton material, who sadly died at the end of 2013.

Taunton's Fifth Clause Post was established in January 1808 from Taunton to Minehead, with Receiving Houses at Handy Cross, Monksilver, Torre and Dunster.  Gore Inn near Bishop's Lydeard was probably also a Receiving House.

In 1817 the Receiving House at Handy Cross was closed as the number of letters were 'trifling', and by the middle of 1817 at the latest, Gore Inn near Bishop's Lydeard was converted to a Penny Post.  It was also around 1816-17 that boxed handstamps were issued, "No.1" to Gore Inn (which may have become a Penny Post by the time the handstamp was issued), "No.2" to Monksilver, "No.3" to Torre and "No.4" to  Dunster.

In April 1823 the Torre and Monksilver Receiving Houses were converted to Penny Posts.  Dunster remained Fifth Clause because of objections from Mr Luttrell of Dunster Castle.  This lasted until February 1829 when Dunster became a bye-office so letters were charged according to the General Post rate based on the mileage to the town.

The first example I have from the Taunton Fifth Clause Post does not have any markings to indicate this.  It is from 1814, so before the boxed Receiving House handstamps were issued.  It was written in Chapel Cleeve, 3 miles north of the Torre Receiving House.

The postal charge does not include anything for the Fifth Clause Post because the Fifth Clause Post charges were supposed to be paid by the sender.  When a Fifth Clause Post was set up it was agreed and underwritten by the (principal) inhabitants so that the Post Office would not bear any losses.  As part of this, the charging scheme for the Post was agreed (it did not have to be a straight 1d like the Penny Post).  A consequence was that the local inhabitants were supposed to pay the costs of the Fifth Clause Post directly as they were the ones that had agreed them.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Dunster Fifth Clause & Penny Post - postal charge problems !

In 1826 Dunster was still a Fifth Clause Post of Taunton.  The entire below has the boxed "No.4" handstamp (only known used in 1826) along with a Dunster mileage mark.  I originally thought that it should have been charged 1d for the 5th Clause Post to Taunton plus 4d for the up to 15 miles from Taunton to Wiveliscombe (ten or thirteen miles depending on whether it went via Wellington) making 5d - not the "7" which is clear on the front.

However, on examination of other Taunton Fifth Clause Post letters, they all seem to either omit the 5th Clause Post charge (correctly, because the sender is supposed to pay the 5th Clause Post charge) or they charge as if the whole distance had been in the General Post - which is what has happened in this case.

In February 1829 Dunster was made a Sub-Office to Taunton so postal charges to/from Dunster were based on the General Post rate rather than being in the Taunton Fifth Clause Post.

The entire below has a "Dunster / Penny Post" handstamp and is charged 6d to go to Wiveliscombe. If the entire went via the route I would expect, that is from Dunster to Taunton and then back out to Wiveliscombe, the distance is around 30 miles (actually a little over) which would translate to at most 6d in the General Post rate (probably 7d as in the entire above) - this does not leave anything for the Dunster Penny Post.

Without the Dunster handstamp one would imagine that it would have gone from the Washford Receiving House to Taunton for 1d in the Taunton Penny Post, and then been charged 4d in the General Post for the less-than 15 mile from Taunton to Wiveliscombe, making 5d in total.

Can anyone give me a clue why the first entire is charged based on the General Post all the way and why the second entire has the Dunster Penny Post handstamp and is charged so little ?