Saturday, 12 December 2009

Deer Tax

Being born and bred in England, I find the most fascinating historical snippets appear out of nowhere, and here's one that was mentioned on the news this morning.

Bushey Park, which lies north of Hampton Court Palace, near Richmond has been settled for at least 4,000 years. A Bronze Age barrow, a burial mound and clear remains of medieval settlements were excavated there.

Henry VIII had the parkland walled in to improve his chances of catching the red and fallow deer who lived there, and who were still hunted into the 18th century. To protect his interests, anyone living or working near the park walls were charged an annual 'Deer Tax' to compensate the king for any deer who might escape over the wall.

Interesting history? Maybe so, but this news article stated that a local photographer whose business premises attach to this wall - is still paying it at a current annual rate of £1400!
He is now appealing this ancient decree, but what amazes me is how the Council can still insist he pays this ludicrous and unfair levy when the poor guy is paying Council Tax at business rates, which are certainly not insubstantial in this part of London.

Should any deer happen to leap over his wall, and according to a local they would have to be 'bionic deer' to manage it, surely his Council Tax should cover it? I wonder if the Queen knows about this? Does she still collect deer from Bushy Park?

The beautiful photo of a deer in Bushy Park was taken by Richard Peters


Andrea Franco-Cook said...

I'd certainly appeal the tax if I were that guy. Not only is it ridiculous and antiquated, but it is also unfair.

Nadine Laman said...

This is really interesting. Is it going to find its way into one of your books?

Glynis said...

Fascinating, poor chap I am sure HM would be horrified if she knew.

V. L. Smith said...

Let's see, in US$ that is $2,263.88. Wow.

How did it get so high? Who had 1400 GBP in Henry VII's time? I'd say someone has been voting to raise the percentage for quite a few cneturies. I wonder if the poor chap is going to find it a bit of struggle to escape?