1660 Post Office Act - Background

1660 Post Office Act

The1660 Post Office Act ordered for the first time '...that a Letter ... Post shall ... once a week [come] to Kendal by way of Lancaster'

Soon after the Restoration, an Act of Parliament was passed setting up the Post Office, which for the first time provided a public service whereby ordinary people could send letters throughout the kingdom. The routes were laid down - so if you didn't live in one of the post-towns, you had to arrange to go and collect your post from there.  There were two posts into Cumbria - the first went once a week from London via Lancaster to Kendal.  The other went once a week to Penrith, via Newcastle and Carlisle.  The rates varied according to what you were sending, but a single sheet of paper cost two pence for a distance of up to 80 miles. and three pence for more than 80 miles.  Heavier packets were charged by weight, at eight pence per ounce up to 80 miles

Two pence in 1660, compared to average earnings then and now, is now worth about £17.50

 

Image from "An Act erecting and establishing a Post-Office", Cap xxxv, 12 Charles II, from The Statutes at Large, (Joseph Keble, 1676)

Posted by Bill Shannon