The convention of estates ordain this, their act and ordinance for raising of monies by way of excise, to be forthwith printed and published at all the market crosses and parish kirks of this kingdom, through which none pretend ignorance of the same.


At Edinburgh, 31 January 1644

The convention of estates, considering that this kingdom has entered in a Solemn League and Covenant for reformation and defence of religion, the honour and happiness of the king's majesty and the peace and liberty of the kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland, and in pursuance of these ends, being forced to levy an army to be sent into England, and that by the said covenant they are bound in conscience and duty and for their own safety to contribute their best endeavours in providing some means for preservation of religion, laws and liberties from utter ruin, for relief of the necessities of the army sent from this kingdom for that purpose and for some supply of the extreme want of the Scottish army in Ireland, and also remembering that the great burdens of this kingdom have until now lain upon the well-affected who did willingly embrace the same, whilst the malignants were using all cunning ways both to free themselves and hinder others, do find it absolutely necessary that some constant, just and equal way least prejudicial to the kingdom and most beneficial to the cause in hand be resolved upon for settling a solid foundation of a stock of credit and security whereupon sums of money may be raised for the present supply and future relief of the necessities of these armies; and after serious deliberation have agreed that the same shall be by way of excise, and accordingly statute and ordain that the several rates thereto annexed shall be laid on all and every commodity following, over and above all customs and other duties due and payable for the same, and recommend to the committee of estates to take some course how this excise may most speedily and with least trouble and expense to the kingdom be uplifted through the shires and burghs thereof.

The roll of the particular commodities subject to payment of excise and of the rates laid thereupon

On every pint of ale and small beer sold, to be paid by the brewer or maker thereof, and to be allowed to him in the price, or which any house keeper brewed for his own use, to be paid by every such house keeper, 00-00-04

Beer or ale exported for provision of ships is to pay no excise.

On foreign imported beer, every pint, 00-01-00

On every pint of strong beer, to be paid by the brewer or house keeper, 00-00-06

On every pint of French wine already imported or to be imported, to be paid by the first buyer thereof (the buyer being a vintner) after the sale of the same, providing it sells before Lammas [1 August] next or by the buyer for private use immediately after buying, 00-01-04

On every pint of Spanish wine in a similar manner, 00-02-08

On every pint of aquavitae or strong waters sold within the country, 00-02-08

On every pound of tobacco, 00-06-00

On every slaughtered ox, bull or cow of £16 price or above, to be paid by the farmer or slayer, 00-20-00

And on every one of them under that price, 00-13-04

On all ox, bulls or cows transported, to be paid by the transporter for the piece, 00-24-00

On all sheep slaughtered or transported at or above 40s price, to be paid by the slayer or transporter, 00-04-00

And under that price, 00-02-00

On all slaughtered stirks of £8 price or above, 00-06-08

Likewise on every such stirk beneath that price, 00-04-00

On all calves or goats of 40s price the piece or above sold for private use, 00-04-00

On each of them under that price, 00-02-00

On all swine, 00-06-00

On all lambs and kids, 00-02-00

On the merchandise of every ell of silk stuff from five merks value to ten, to be paid by the buyer, 00-06-08

On every ell thereof above 10 merks, 00-10-00

On every ell of plush or pane velvet, 00-20-00

On every ell of satin, 00-13-04

On every ounce of gold or silver lace, 00-13-04

On every ell of gold or silver cloth, 03-00-00

On every beaver hat, 00-24-00

[On every half beaver hat, 00-12-00]

On every pair of silk stockings, 00-13-04

On every ell of broad cloth not exceeding £7 retailed, 00-06-00

On every ell of cloth exceeding that price, 00-12-00

On each ell of narrow cloth, serge and other worsted or hair stuffs imported at or above 40s the ell, 00-02-00

On each ell of baize or friezes at or above 30s the ell, 00-01-00

On all cambric, lawn or Holland cloth for the value of each 20s, 00-01-00

On every ell of imported pearling of thread or silk between £3 and £6, 00-12-00

On the ell between £6 and £12 and so forth proportionally, 01-04-00

On coal exported in Scottish or English bottoms of the value of £12, 00-06-00

On all coal of the same value exported in foreign bottoms, 00-12-00

On every £12 value of all kind of made work brought home, 00-13-04

All manner of work made within the kingdom to be free of excise.

This to begin upon 10 February next to come, and to endure only so long as the necessity of the army shall require, and at the farthest but for a year; and if the parliament at their next meeting shall in place hereof find out and appoint a better and more expedient way to provide money for supplying of the armies and paying the provision made to them in the interim, then this way of excise is to cease.

And it is hereby declared that the remainder of the brotherly assistance, the arrears due to the army in Ireland and what shall be due for maintenance of this army and all other sums indebted to this kingdom by the kingdom of England being paid, and thereupon all public debts and burdens of this kingdom with what shall be due to the armies being defrayed, the remainder thereof over and above this defrayment shall be employed for payment of the excise in manner following, namely: whatever shall be the proportion of the excise collected within the town of Edinburgh and liberties thereof, the equal half of the same shall be paid to the magistrates and council for use of the said town; and every other burgh shall have restitution of two parts of the proportion of excise furnished by them, and the remainder not allowed to the burghs in manner aforesaid shall be given proportionally for the public use of the several shires according to the quantity of excise paid by them.

  1. NAS. PA8/1, f.126r-128r. Back
  2. An extract of this act, with a minute of its proclamation by a herald on 1 February 1644, can be found in NAS. PA6/8 at 31 January 1644. Back
  3. Defined in OED as 'a young bullock or heifer, usually between one and two years old'. Back
  4. In APS only. Back