A tax once levied on certain goods manufactured in this country, either to raise revenue or to restrict the manufacture of the goods. It was not payable on goods exported. Manufacturers needed to keep special records and these were open to the inspection of Customs officials at any time. Persons manufacturing goods subject to tax had to be registered with the Customs and Excise authorities and received a licence from them.
Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary , 3rd edt.