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" Scott family letter, Leeds to Edinburgh, 1827."

Entire letter from Leeds dated inside 23rd August 1827 and is a personal letter addressed to

Mrs Scott Lauriston Lane,
Mrs Scott's 28, North Bridge St, Edinburgh,
from her husband.


The five postmarks are interesting, as they tell a story. The letter was written on the 23rd August, and the first postmark is a LEEDS circular date stamp for that day. Andrew Scott posted it after the closing time for mail to Edinburgh, so it was stamped with 2) the small framed TOO LATE stamp in black in the Leeds post office.

As a maatter of interest The TOO LATE stamps are many and varied and if you would like to know more about them, go to this link on our website. of British post marks.

The next postmark, 3) would also have been written on the letter at the Leeds post office, this was the postage to be collected by the addressee, in this case was 11 (eleven pence), which at this time covered the cost of sending a letter over a distance of between 170 and 230 miles.
The letter was then despatched to Edinburgh where it arrived 2 days later as shown by the 4)circular date stamp which gives the date, and the time - A for afternoon. The W identifies the actual handstamp used.

The final postmark 5) was the Additional halfpenny which was charged on the Scottish mail.

Identifying this postmark shows how easy it is to make assumptions. This particular example is Fig. 176 in Hodgson and Sedgewick catalogue, type IIA, size 18 x 14.5 in blue to yellow green ink, recorded as being in use in Newcastle from 15.4.1825 to 25.11.1828. Therefore the mail must have been dealt with in Newcastle en-route to Edinburgh, and the stamp applied there, and not, as could be expected on arrival in Edinburgh. Leeds did not have an Additional Halfpenny handstamp so it could not have been applied there, but it seems extraordinary that the mail journey would be interrupted, the mail taken off the mailcoach, the stamp applied, and then put back onto a coach to continue the journey to Edinburgh. This is what makes postal history so interesting.

This is an interesting and quite complicated branch of British postal history, and we have a separate detailed page on our website, which can be found on this link. Additional Halfpenny postmarks.


So, now to the letter.

Leeds 23d Aug 1827
My Dearest
I am favoured with your letter here this morning and am happy to find you are all well. I think Archd might have filled your sheet with something which would have been satisfactory tho' it had merely said nothing particular was doing.
I am happy the weather has changed so favorably as the crops shorn were spoiling and the whole growing corn here is ready for the sickle. Having been working hard and the weather having been bad till yesterday I have not enjoyed this journey much yet. You will either see or hear the beginning of the week from me.

With Compts to all at home and when you write them, to those absent of our family. It would be a pity to deprive them of the country now the weather is clearing up, but some discretion must be exercised to our country friends.
I am glad the fear of my scold should operate in favour of your health, I must try its effects, in favour of your givng yourself a few days to the country or longer. Don't you think you might be the better for it? Take as much exercise in the open air as you can stand.

I am
Yours Sincerely

And. Scott

This seems a very formal ending to a letter which begins "My Dearest".

The affectionate last paragraph offering her advice, shows that he is concerned for his wife's health.

His comment about Arch not filling the sheet was a common complaint at this time because of the high cost of postage. He would have had to pay eleven pence to receive the letter written jointly by his wife and Archibald, and to pay that much and find half of the letter was blank was a sore point. He obviously thought that Archibald could have written anything at all in it to fill up the page and make it worth eleven pence!

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