England and Wales – Internal Rates 1660-1801

Front/back of undated cross post letter from Yeovil to an Oxford­shire village via Taunton and Bristol – a distance of about 160 miles, so from rate and postmarks used must be 1765-84 4d rate for above 80 miles

From the Restoration onward inland rates were generally reasonably straightforward, with increases to cover war costs in 1711 (War of the Spanish Succession), 1784 (American Revolution), and on four occasions from 1797 to 1812 (Napoleonic Wars).

However, for much of the 17th century all the posts were "farmed" out to contractors, and this situation continued until 1765 for cross-, bye-, and way-posts. Their charges might vary from the official rates – indeed the references to "post stages" in the rates schedules of the Acts of 1765 and 1784 appear to have been a regularisation of existing practice.

Letters passing through London from one town to another were subject to two separate charges until 1797 – i.e. the current rates from the town of origin to London, and from London to the destination, with the first typically crossed through and amended in London. See the notes for potential complications in the period 1784-97. From 1797 there was one charge based on the total distance travelled, whether the letter passed through London or not.

From 1660 to 1765 there appears to be a distinction between letters, charged per letter or sheet, and other packets of documents ("writs, deeds or other things"), charged by the ounce.

Date Auth. Mileage Single Double Treble Ounce +ea.
Up to 80 miles 2d 4d 6d 8d +2d Packets of writs etc 8d/oz
Above 80 miles 3d 6d 9d 1s +3d Packets of writs etc 12d/oz
(defined for charging Anglo-Scottish mails)
3d 6d 9d 1s +3d Packets of writs etc 18d/oz
Up to 80 miles 3d 6d 9d 1s +3d Packets of writs etc 1s/oz
Above 80 miles 4d 8d 1s 1s 4d +4d Packets of writs etc 1s 4d/oz
One post stage 1d 2d 3d 4d +1d
Two post stages 2d 4d 6d 8d +2d
Up to 80 miles 3d 6d 9d 1s +3d
Above 80 miles 4d 8d 1s 1s 4d +4d
One post stage 2d 4d 6d 8d +2d
Two post stages 3d 6d 9d 1s +3d
Up to 80 miles 4d 8d 1s 1s 4d +4d
80-150 miles 5d 10d 1s 3d 1s 8d +5d
Above 150 miles 6d 1s 1s 6d 2s +6d
Up to 15 miles 3d 6d 9d 1s +3d
15-30 miles 4d 8d 1s 1s 4d +4d
30-60 miles 5d 10d 1s 3d 1s 8d +5d
60-100 miles 6d 1s 1s 6d 2s +6d
100-150 miles 7d 1s 2d 1s 9d 2s 4d +7d
Above 150 miles 8d 1s 4d 2s 2s 8d +8d