Sunday, July 5, 2009

Daylight Robbery or Window Tax

Old Riffhams

Entrance view, the gardens cover quite a few acres

Out walking yesterday in Blake's Wood, we went past 'Old Riffhams' a much restored tudor house with beautiful gardens. It is a private house, only open occasionally, but going past the front of the house which is adjacent to the lane, the thing that strikes you is all the 'pretend' bricked in windows, probably about eight on the two wings of the house. Now we all know that this is due to 'window tax', which apparently came into being in 1696......
The tax was introduced under the Act of Making Good the Deficiency of the Clipped Money in 1696 under King William 111 and was designed to impose tax relative to the prosperity of the taxpayer, but without the controversy that then surrounded the idea of income. At that time, many people in Britain opposed income tax, on principle, because they believed that the disclosure of personal income represented an unacceptable government intrusion into private matters, and a potential threat to personal liberty.
or so it says in Wikipedia, well that is hardly the case now, income tax and VAT have both got their feet firmly under the table, but they were having none of it in the 17th and 18th century, and so the famous window tax came into being, and everyone bricked in as many windows as was feasible before blocking out all the light, and that is where the term 'daylight robbery' came from.

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