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Valuation Rolls & Stent Rolls (Tax, Land & Property) (Scotland)

Nature of Source

The rolls contain lists of land and property owners, tenants and occupiers (head of family only), arranged by address and listed street by street. The rolls recorded the value of the property in terms of annual rent and the owner's tax liability and rate demand. The earlier stent rolls did not cover Burghs but only those areas outside their jurisdiction known as the landward areas. Valuation rolls were used to compile lists of electors and will contain the names of individuals.

The 1854 Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act reformed the system into valuation rolls that genuinely reflected the actual economic rent of a property. Valuations also covered railways, canals and public utilities but not prisons, churches, schools and certain other premises. Valuation rolls covered the burghs until their abolition in 1975.

A list of landowners is contained in the publication A Directory of Landownership in Scotland, c1770, edited by Loretta Timperley. The lists are compiled using information extracted from valuation rolls and published by the Scottish Record Society.

The Rolls can be used in conjunction with the Sasines and locating people in between censuses. They have patchy coverage and it can be difficult to locate an individual as the rolls are organised street by street. However some copies were made and are now in the National Archives of Scotland. Properties valued at over £4 will list all occupiers whilst those of lower value only give the head of household. Be aware that changes to street names and numbering could complicate the search.

See Rate Books for the English equivalent.

Other Scotland Resources
Census Returns
Charter Rolls
Clan & Tartan Records
County & Local Histories
Court Records
Directories, Trade, Professional, Telephone & Street
Electoral Registers or Burgess Rolls
Emigration Records
Estate Records & Maps
Hearth Tax
Heraldic Coats of Arms & Seals
Kirk/Church Sessions
Land Tax Assessments & Returns
Maps & Gazetteers
Militia Lists
Monumental/Memorial Inscriptions
Newspapers, magazines & journals
Old Parish Registers-Baptisms (OPRs)
Old Parish Registers-Burials (OPRs)
Old Parish Registers-Marriages & Proclamations (OPRs)
Passenger Lists
Pedigrees and Family Histories
Poor Law Records
Registers of Deeds (Books of Council and Session)
Statistical Accounts of Scotland
Statutory Registration-Birth
Statutory Registration-Death
Statutory Registration-Marriage
Surname Origins and Distribution
Wills/Testaments and Inheritance

Where Found

Local Council Archives
ScotlandsPeople Centre (The ScotlandsPeople Centre is the official government resource for family history research. Resources include some stent rolls and a complete set of valuation rolls for the whole country, 1855-1989. Post 1989 records include Community charge or 'poll tax' records, 1989-1993 and Council tax valuation lists, 1993-date. ScotlandsPeople Centre is a partnership between the National Records of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon. The National Records of Scotland was created on 1 April 2011 by the amalgamation of the National Archives of Scotland and General Register Office for Scotland)
Edinburgh Central Library
Mitchell Library (Glasgow)

Period Covered

1640 - 1988

Genealogical Value

Name of property owner, tenants and occupiers with their occupations. Description of property. Some rolls only record the total amount collected and some only list the name of the estate and not the owner.

Further References

Bigwood, Rosemary. The Scottish Family Tree Detective: Manchester University Press, 2006

Clarke, T. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: The Official Guide: Birlinn, 2012  

Durie, Bruce. Scottish Genealogy: The History Press, 2009

Durie, Bruce. Documents for Genealogy & Local History: The History Press, 2013

Hamilton-Edwards, Gerald. In Search of Scottish Ancestry: Phillimore, 1983


Holton, Graham & Winch, Jack. Discover Your Scottish Ancestry: Internet and Traditional Resources: Edinburgh University Press, 2009 (Preview available from Google Books, 2003 ed)


Maxwell, Ian. Tracing your Scottish Ancestors: Pen & Sword, 2009


National Archives Of Scotland. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: Birlinn Limited, 2009


Paton, Chris. Researching Scottish Family History: The Family History Partnership, 2010


Stewart, Alan. My Ancestor was Scottish: Society of Genealogists, 2012


The Concise Scots Dictionary: Edinburgh University Press, 1999 (Preview available from Google Books)


The Parishes, Registers and Registrars of Scotland: The Scottish Association of Family History Societies


Timperley, Loretta R, (ed). A Directory of Land Ownership in Scotland c 1770: Scottish Record Society, 1976


Torrance, Richard D. Scottish Trades, Professions, Vital Documents & Directories: Scottish Association of Family History Societies, 1998


Tovey, Helen. My Scottish Ancestry: Lomond Books, 2011


Websites (National Records of Scotland: Research Guides: Valuation Rolls) (ScotlandsPeople Guide: Valuation rolls) (Valuation Rolls, 1913-1914, by Andrew Jackson) (Scottish Archive Network Knowledge Base Valuation Rolls) (Glasgow City Archives: A page from the 1697 Stent Roll) (Taxation records, Scotland)
(Scots Law: Scottish Land Law Glossary/Dictionary) (Land Records in Scotland by Dr Bruce Durie) (The Dictionary of the Scots Language: Electronic editions of the Older Scottish Tongue [DOST] and the Scottish National Dictionary [SND]) (Scottish Language Dictionaries: The nation's resource for the Scots language) (Translate from Scots to English)

Online Databases (Valuation Roll Index, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1930, 1935, 1940: Each index entry lists the surname, forename, address, parish, county and valuation roll reference number of individuals that owned or rented a property in Scotland who paid over £4 yearly in rent. For a guide to using the database see here) (Land tax rolls 1645-1831. Land tax rolls, often called cess rolls or valuation rolls, were compiled by the Commissioners of Supply in each county to enable the collection of the land tax from 1667 onwards. They list the owners of landed estates and assess the rental value of their lands)
(ScotlandsPlaces: Inhabited House Tax Rolls, 1778-1798. The tax rolls include all houses valued over £5 per annum with the names of the householders)
(Perthshire, Scotland, Cess, Stent and Valuation Rolls, 1650-1899)
Mitchell Library (Names indexes covering 1861, 1881 and 1911 but only available on site at the library) (Digitised rolls for Glasgow,1913-1914 searchable by street or ward number) (Kirkcudbright Burgh Stent Rolls, 1779) (Kirkcudbright Burgh Stent Rolls, 1779, 1790, 1806) (Aberdeen Stent Roll 1669) (Dumfriesshire Valuation Roll 1896-1897) (Landowners of Galloway, Kirkcudbrightshire, 1350-1879; Wigtonshire, Scotland landowners, 1200-1900)