Dedicated to the Postal History of Berwick-upon-Tweed For Stamp Collectors and Postal Historians interested in the Post Marks and the History of the Mails at Berwick-upon-Tweed. For Stamp Collectors and Postal Historians interested in the Post Marks  and the History of the Mails at Berwick-upon-Tweed.  

Additional Half




An example of the third Berwick Additional Half.


This particular mark is known in black and in green.


The Additional Halfpenny Mail Tax


One of the interesting aspects of collecting the Postal History of Berwick-upon-Tweed lies in the use of Additional Half marks, which were introduced in 1813. The act of Parliament in 1813 was designed “… to repeal the exemption from Toll granted in respect of carriages with more than two wheels carrying the mail in Scotland…”  The idea behind the charge was that the loss of revenue from the payment of tolls would be recouped, to at least some degree, by the levying of a sum of one halfpenny per letter on mail carried across the border by a mail coach with more than two wheels.


Due to its importance as a Forward Office, Berwick was one of the five original towns to be issued with an additional halfpenny hand-stamp in 1813. These five comprised Berwick and Carlisle on the English side of the border and Dumfries, Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland. The earliest known date of use of an additional half hand-stamp in Berwick was 19th July 1813. It should be noted that the number of offices using additional half stamps increased as time went by.


There are four basic styles of hand- stamp: Addl above ½ Unboxed; Addl above ½ boxed;

½ unboxed; and ½ boxed though within those styles there are a number of varieties of mark.


It should be noted that an exception was made for certain towns close to the border. An instruction in the order book of the President of the Inland Office on 8 June 1813 read:


all letters for Scotland except for the following towns Coldstream, Kelso, Jedburgh, Hawick, Melrose, Galashiels, Greenlaw, Dunse, Lauder, Earlstone and Boswell Green, are to be charged with one single halfpenny in addition to the rates to which they are now liable, and letters coming from Scotland on and from tomorrow morning are to be charged in like manner. It must be understood that a package weighing one pound is only to have the additional charge of halfpenny not four halfpennies.”  


This is slightly different to the instruction sent to postmasters dated 10 June 1813 which states:


“ Coldstream, Kelso, Jedburgh, Hawick, Melrose, Gallashiels, Earlstone, and St Boswells Green are the only towns in Scotland where letters to and from England are exempt from the additional halfpenny tax…” Here, there are only eight towns with the three most northerly towns in the original list, namely Dunse, Lauder and Greenlaw, being omitted.


A further notice to this effect, again listing these eight towns, was sent out by Francis Feeling dated 10th August 1813, a copy of which follows:


                        The following is an illustrated list of the Additional Half marks from Berwick.


The first Berwick Additional Half mark.


half  Willcocks & Jay mumber  NR210.             19 x 36mm known only in black.         Used 1813-1816   



The second Berwick Additional Half mark.


PICT1693Willcocks & Jay number  NR211                 17 X 26mm known in black                Used 1816-1819

                                                                                                    in red                                 1817


The third Berwick Additional Half mark.


PICT1417 Willcocks & Jay number  NR212                 19 X 22mm known in black              Used 1819-1823

                                                                                                    in green              Used 1823-1837 


The fourth Berwick Additional Half mark.


PICT1690Willcocks & Jay number  NR213                 17x17mm known in green                Used 1823-1838 



The fifth Berwick Additional Half mark.

PICT1422 Willcocks & Jay number  NR214                 11x21mm known in green                Used 1838-1839 




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Dave Foster