Provided by Lindsey Withers
The Bank Charter Act 1844 (7 & 8 Vict. c. 32) is still largely current and is the main Act governing the Bank of England. One of its provisions is:
"XXI. And be it enacted, That every Banker in England and Wales who is now carrying on or shall hereafter carry on Business as such shall on the First Day of January in each Year, or within Fifteen Days thereafter, make a Return to the Commissioners of Stamps and Taxes at their Head Office in London of his Name, Residence, and Occupation, or, in the Case of a Company or Partnership, of the Name, Residence, and Occupation of every Person composing or being a Member of such Company or Partnership, and also the Name of the Firm under which such Banker, Company, or Partnership carry on the Business of Banking, and of every Place where such Business is carried on . . . and the said Commissioners of Stamps and Taxes shall on or before the First Day of March in every Year publish in some Newspaper circulating within each Town or County respectively a Copy of the Return so made . . ." [Extract from the full official text, © Crown Copyright 1844.]
[See also A Ten Years' retrospect of London Banking, which states "this was the first time that any of the banking companies in London [and elsewhere - ed.] were required to make returns to the Government of the number or names of their partners.]
These Bank Returns were published in various Devon newspapers, in February each year. Here is an example of a Bank Return, from the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette: 15 Feb 1845.
The following Name Index has been compiled from transcripts of the newspaper columns, made by Lindsey Withers. It aims to all the returns for the first three years (1845-47) in which these Returns were published, then every fifth year from 1850.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette: 15 Feb 1845, 19 Feb 1845, 22 Feb 1845
Exeter Flying Post: 12 Feb 1846, 19 Feb 1846
North Devon Journal: 11 Feb 1847, 14 Feb 1850, 22 Feb 1855, 23 Feb 1860
Western Times: 13 Feb 1847, 20 Feb 1847, 16 Feb 1850, 24 Feb 1855, 18 Feb 1860,
25 Feb 1860, 14 Feb 1865, 17 Feb 1865.