In the years before he went mad, our longest-serving king, George III, was in no two minds about the best tactic to preserve Britain’s overseas possessions: maintaining a superior navy. Horatio Nelson joined the Royal Navy in 1771, and proved his salt during the French Revolutionary Wars from 1793. Service records of officers who took to the seas from 1756 are held at TNA and can be found at nationalarchives.gov.uk/ help-with-your-research/ research-guides/royal-navyofficers-service-records-17561931 and on Ancestry.co.uk, which has also digitised medal rolls from 1793. Pension records from 1789 for Royal Navy ratings and Greenwich Hospital School applications for their children can be searched by name at nationalarchives.gov.uk/ help-with-your-research/ research-guides/royal-navyratings-before-1853.
During the 18th century, William Pitt the Younger increased taxes to raise funds for frequent military campaigns against France. Death duty was introduced from 1796 as a form of inheritance tax. Indexes to registers at TNA containing information about beneficiaries are on nationalarchives.gov. uk/help-with-your-research/ research-guides/deathduties-1796-1903 and also at Findmypast.co.uk. Windows were taxed throughout the century, and lists of payments may be found in county archives.
A land tax was introduced in 1692 specifically to finance war with our French neighbours,