Commissioners of Supply were introduced to Scotland in the seventeenth century. Commissioners were chosen from the wealthy land-owning classes of each of the old Scottish counties, and appointed, initially at least, for the specific purpose of allocating and collecting the cess , or land tax from their peers. The tax was first introduced on a regular basis in 1643, and records created in the course of its collection are known variously (depending on date and place) as land tax returns, valuation books, or stent rolls. From the middle ages, burghs had organised their own form of taxation in the form of feu charters, under which owners paid a fixed sum in perpetuity. The system of land tax introduced by the Exchequer in 1643 was however, eventually extended to cover the burgh authorities as well as the counties.
The Commissioners were later entrusted with other duties, such as the enforcement of the Education Act of 1696, and from 1718 shared responsibilities with the Justices of the Peace for roads and bridges. Their responsibilities were gradually diminished by local government reorganisation after 1832, in particular the Valuation of Lands Act of 1854, and the introduction of county councils in 1889, although they continued to work alongside county councils on joint police committees until 1929.