Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs, 1811-1821

Scope and Content

Volume containing printed and manuscript instructions to customs workers throughout the UK.
The manuscript section of the volume (pp. 263-323) comprises instructions from the Commissioners of Customs to tide, coast and landing waiters, warehouse keepers landing surveyors, etc, with particular reference to the written records to be kept. These instructions are similar to the printed instructions which make up the earlier part of the volume, and which contain manuscript annotations. Those beginning on p.209 are addressed to William Assheton Harbord, 2nd Baron Suffield and landing surveyor of Yarmouth, and dated 1811. Manuscript additions on pp. 320-323 cannot be earlier than 1821. There is a manuscript index to the entire volume, which has handwritten pagination throughout. Among the Commissioners mentioned are G Wilson, James Deacon Hume, J Williams, William Roe and Thomas Boone.

Administrative / Biographical History

The term 'customs' applied to customary payments or dues of any kind, regal, episcopal or ecclesiastical until it became restricted to duties payable to the King upon export or import of certain articles of commerce. By ordinance of 21 January 1643, the regulation of the collection of customs was entrusted to a parliamentary committee whose members were appointed commissioners and collectors of customs forming a Board of Customs. This and succeeding committees appointed by Parliament until 1660 and thereafter by the Crown, functioned until 1662, when those who had been serving as commissioners became lessees of a new form of customs. This continued until 1671 when negotiations for a new farm broke down and a Board of Customs for England and Wales was created by Letter Patent.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Bound in a Goldsmith's Library volume lettered 'Instructions for H.M. Customs' (Ref: G.L. Cat 11862).

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

7" x 5¾"

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Related Material

The Goldsmith's Library holds other volumes relating to the Commissioners of Customs (Ref: G.L. Cat. 16698, 19083, 19858, and 19860). University of London MS 46 also relates to the Commissioners of H.M. Customs. University of London manuscripts generally relating to customs and excise include MS 39, 40, 41, 44, 90, 134, 140, 202, 203, 204, 612, 746 and 784.

Geographical Names