Sunday, 28 September 2014

Dunster - Maltese Cross ?

Here is another entire that strongly indicates that Dunster did have its own Maltese Cross.

The entire from October 1841 went from Dunster (as evidenced by the blurred "DUNSTER / 183" handstamp) to Stogumber which is 9½ miles from Dunster.  Stogumber is en-route to Taunton from Dunster, with Taunton another 13½ miles further on.  

It would have made sense for the entire to go direct as Stogumber is on the route to Taunton, avoiding having to travel a further 27 miles for Taunton and back.  

The other strong indicator that it did not go via Taunton is the absence of any Taunton transit mark.

Unfortunately the Maltese Cross cancel is a double strike so the impression cannot be checked.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Dunster in the Taunton Fifth Clause Post

The entire below was sent from Dunster to Westminster in December 1815, at which time Dunster was in the Taunton Fifth Clause Post.  The entire weighed over an ounce so was charged at five times the single letter rate.  When I first wrote it up I could not quite understand why it was charged five times the General Post rate from Taunton to London (5 x 10d = 4/2d) rather than five times the rate from Dunster to London (5 x 11d = 4/7d), particularly as the DUNSTER/183 mileage handstamp implied that it was over 180 miles from London.

Then I realised that the sender of the entire should have pre-paid the Fifth Clause Post charge from Dunster to Taunton, leaving just the General Post charge from Taunton to Westminster - which is what we see.

From other Taunton Fifth Clause entires, the rate for the Taunton Fifth Clause Post seems to be the same as for the General Post - however that may not be correct for multiple sheet or weight items.

Another puzzle is why the "DUNSTER / 183" handstamp (in use 1810-1816 according to the BCC) was issued when Dunster was under the Taunton Fifth Clause Post rather than being in the General Post.  My hypothesis is that, at least for single sheet letters, the rate that had been agreed for the Taunton Fifth Clause Post was to match the General Post rate.  This would mean that the mileage, as per the Dunster handstamp, could be used to calculate the total postage charge, and this could be marked up and charged to the recipient (as it would match the General Post rate based on distance that had been approved by Parliament)

However this does not work for multiple sheet or heavy letters.  The Fifth Clause Post charges are said to not increase with the number of sheets, or with weight unless the weight was greater than four ounces.  In this case that might mean that the extra Fifth Clause Post charge from Dunster to Taunton was just 1d.  As the total (Fifth Clause plus General Post) charge wouldn't match the legally-approved General Post rate it could not be marked up and charged to the recipient (the Post Office would not be able to justify it if the recipient queried it as the Fifth Clause rate had just been agreed with the local inhabitants rather than being passed by Parliament).

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Taunton Penny Post - unboxed "No.13"

A Receiving House was established at Hatch Beauchamp in 1834 in both the Taunton and Ilminster Penny Posts.  It had the unboxed "No.13" handstamp in the Taunton Penny Post.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Taunton Penny Post - boxed "No.12"

North Curry became a Receiving House late in 1829 and was assigned the boxed "No.12" handstamp - despite it being opened before Creech St. Michael was allocated its boxed "No.11" handstamp.  The handstamp exhibited the usual wear over time.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Taunton Penny Post - boxed "No.11" and unboxed "No.11" ?

A Receiving House at Creech St Michael was approved after a complaint about the postal service by the Rev. Henry Creswell in March 1830.  It was allocated a boxed "No.11" handstamp.

I've also got a letter with an unboxed "No.11" handstamp from 1844 - this may or may not be from Creech St. Michael, unfortunately it is only a wrapper with minimal contents and it has not proved possible to tie this down definitively to Creech St. Michael.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Taunton Penny Post - unboxed "No.10"

Monksilver was the Receiving House with the unboxed "No.10" handstamp.  It is a little surprising that it was allocated such a high number as the Receiving Houses around it have much lower numbers (Stogumber - 4, Bicknoller - 5, Williton - 6, Washford - 7), and given that it was already a Receiving House before the 1828 reorganisation (with the boxed "No.2" handstamp).

This last sheet has three entires, all from the same correspondence from Monksilver to Tiverton in Devon, and illustrate the change in postal rates from May 1839 (7d) to December 1839 (4d) to February 1840 (1d).

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Taunton Penny Post - unboxed "No.9"

The Receiving House with the unboxed "No.9" handstamp should be Churchinford, however there is evidence that the Receiver there was not an official Post Office receiver until 1839 (when the previous unofficial receiver was trying to get the job as an official receiver).

This first entire has both the unboxed "No.8" and unboxed "No.9" handstamps.  The only reason I can think why this should happen is if the Receiver at Trull, which is up the road to Churchinford, held the "No.9" handstamp as well as the "No.8" one, because the Churchinford Receiver wasn't official.

My only other example of the "No.9" unboxed handstamp is from July 1839, so would be after an official Receiver was appointed.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Taunton Penny Post - unboxed "No.8"

Trull had the unboxed "No.8" Receiving House handstamp.  Most of the mail was from Gatchell.

This last handstamp does not show up as it's almost inkless - was this because the Receivers had to pay for their own ink ?