Ex­pert’s choice

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - GEM FROM THE ARCHIVE - Dr Jonathan Oates, au­thor of Trac­ing Your Ancestors from 1066 to 1837:

“The Hearth Tax was a short­lived tax but was one which left am­ple doc­u­men­ta­tion con­cern­ing late 17th cen­tury house­hold­ers. It was in­sti­tuted in 1662 and helped to raise money in Eng­land and Wales for the gov­ern­ment of the newly re­stored Charles II. The tax was un­pop­u­lar and was abol­ished fol­low­ing the rev­o­lu­tion of 1688, but records only sur­vive for the years 1662-1674. It was a tax on the num­ber of chim­neys that each house pos­sessed, the more chim­neys the more pay­ment, so was dif­fi­cult to evade and taxed those in larger houses more than those in hum­bler dwellings. The web­site hearth­tax.org.uk is a por­tal to view some of the hearth tax records for a num­ber of Eng­lish coun­ties, with in­dexes and tran­scripts of these doc­u­ments. The in­for­ma­tion pro­vided is the name of the house­holder, the num­ber of hearths they pos­sessed and the parish the house was lo­cated in. Those who were ex­empted due to their poverty are also in­di­cated. The site also con­tains his­tor­i­cal and sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis and maps. It is the work of the Cen­tre for Hearth Tax Stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Roe­hamp­ton. The site is free to ac­cess and user feed­back is re­quested.”

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