Catalogue description Surveyors General of Land Revenues: Papers

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Details of LR 17
Reference: LR 17
Title: Surveyors General of Land Revenues: Papers

Correspondence and papers (some removed from LR 5) of successive Surveyors General and their deputies.

In addition to papers relating generally to land revenues also included many original petitions with draft reports and memoranda, particularly about the restitution and subsequent disposal of crown lands after the Restoration (1660) under the supervision of Sir Charles Harbord.

Some private correspondence is also included, and some stemming from other offices held by the surveyors and deputies, especially William Harbord and William Taylor as auditors of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Date: 1627-1814

The papers in this series have been retrieved from an earlier misfiling among the auditors' and receivers' vouchers (LR 5: boxes 12 to 19). They were in baffling disarray, hardly any two consecutive papers covering the same year, place or subject. They have been arranged under the names of the officials whose papers they are, or seem to be. A large number are undated, although all those in boxes 1 to 9 appear to come from the period 1660-1710. It was common practice to fold a covering memorandum around the papers to which it related, but many of the folds have long since torn apart, resulting in the loss or misplacement of the back or front page or of the enclosures.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Surveyor General of Crown Lands, 1625-1810

Physical description: 10 box(es)
Administrative / biographical background:

In 1625, the post of Surveyor General of Land Revenues was created. The holders of this post, also known as Surveyor General of Crown Lands, became responsible for surveying and valuing crown property and for determining the terms and conditions of leases. Applications for leases were made in the form of petitions to the Treasury which were referred to the Surveyor General. The financial administration of the lands remained with the auditors of land revenue, while the drafting and issuing of leases continued to be the responsibility of the Exchequer, Pipe Office.

The office assumed especial significance after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 when it became necessary to retrieve and re-allocate crown lands confiscated and sold during the Interregnum. Many petitions for restitution were sent to the Treasury and forwarded for the consideration of the Surveyor General.

Following inquiries made between 1787 and 1793 by three commissioners under the Crown Lands Revenues etc Act of 1786 into the state and condition of the woods, forests and land revenues of the crown, and act was passed for the better management of the land revenue of the Crown, and for the sale of fee farm and other unimprovable rents (34 Geo III c 75), The work of improving the Crown Lands was charged to the Surveyor General. The death of the Surveyor General in 1809 allowed one of the recommendations of the commissioners to be implemented, and the Department of Woods and Forests and the Land Revenue were united by the Crown Lands Act 1810 to form the Commissioners of Woods, Forests and Land Revenues.

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