With current news headlines in mind I thought readers of this blog might like to see an early example of a form of tax avoidance which only goes to prove that there is really nothing new under the sun.
Printed on incredibly thin hand made paper and now rather fragile this document was issued at Braunston 10 years after the Grand Junction Canal had opened as a through route to London.
Pickfords (Today still carrying by road) were at this time major users of the canal and had offices ,warehouses and wharves at Braunston.
Canal Bills of Exchange were bank drafts issued by a shipper for general services or goods. At this time shortly after the Napoleonic Wars,gold was scarce and it was not uncommon to make payments by bankers draft. However in order to avoid government revenue payable on their own drafts ,payees often endorsed the bills of exchange they had received on the reverse and used them to make further payments.
So turning the bill over…….
The signatures of Richard Vann, William Alcock, T S Marriott, William Whittles, Jones & Mann, Thomas Whalley & Sons , James Mitchell And Richard Williams have been endorsed on the rear of the draft.
The draft issued in 1815 by Pickfords at Braunston was for the not inconsiderable sum of £72 11s 1d and was made out to Richard Vann.
Vann is an unusual surname and I wonder if any of his descendants (or any other of the endorsers of the document) are living in the Braunston area today.