Early Records: Belper Hearth Tax

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The Hearth Tax, introduced in the reign of King Charles 2nd, was a payment of a shilling for each hearth in a house, if the occupants were rate-payers.

Hearth taxes applied from around 1662 - 1688, but not all records are avilable or useful. For many years during that time, proper records were not kept.

Although full details of the locality are not given (since there were many exemptions) the names of some householders and the number of hearths does give some indication of local families and their status. A large number of hearths indicates nobility, yeomen and craftsmen might have two hearths, whereas humble labouring households had only one.

Only people whose house was worth more than twenty shillings a year, and who were local ratepayers of church and poor rates, were required to pay the hearth tax. Thus, many people living in the locality were not recorded at all. In addition, people avoided paying this unpopular tax.

There were also some exemptions, such as for industrial hearths such as such as kilns and furnaces (but not smithies and bakeries); some chariities and paupers; and people inhabiting a house worth less than 20s a year who did not have any other property over that value. but in that case, the owners were obliged to provide an exemption certificate. They are listed in the Hearth Tax returns as "not chargeable".

Belper Hearth Tax 1664 (Appletree Hundred)

five entries illegible   four or five entries illegible  
  ?Anth ?Walker  
Thos.... ?2 Peter ?Walker  
?John....   ? Harrison  
John Glew 1 ?James Ould 1
Mr or Wm. ?Ollarde 1 James ?Berkine 1
Fran. Smith 1 John Mellor 1
Mr or Mrs Downes 1 Rich Walker  
Tho. Williamson 1 Robt Bolton  
Peter Farne 1 Thos Simpson  
?Widd Woodward 3 Rich Brisard?  
John Robinson 1 John ?Og...es  
John Bridges 1 Barthol Taylor 1
?Roger Bridges 1 ? Webster  
Wm. Walker 1 Rich Jacobson  
Wm. Webster 1 Peter Alsopp  
Widd Wilde 1 Phillip Stringham  
Robt. Riley 1 Fran. Beardsley  
Thomas Bridges 1 Barthol. Bradbury 1
Widd. Taylor 1 Walter Jackson 1
Geo Butler 1 Widd. Clarke  
Tho. Browne 1 ?...kin Sims 1
Anth. Williams 1  
Robt. Barker 1  
Widd. Swifte 1  
Rich. Steere 2  
John Watson 1  
Thos. Browne 1  
Wm Taylor 1  
Mary Webster 1  
Willm Goodwin 1  
Wm Worth 1  
Robt Williams 1  
Fran. Woodward 1  
Thos ?Butler 1  
Geo ?Swifte 1  
Nicholas Butler 1  
James Jackson 2  
Geo Smith 1  
Tho. Swifte 1  
Rich Milward 1  
Rich Launder 1  
John Williams 1  
John Spencer 1  
Tho Sellars 1  
Geo Gratige (?) 2  
Anth Wright 1  
Mr Bruckshawe 1  
Widd Green 2  
Godfry Lichfield 1  
Rich Swifte 1  
John ?Launder 1  
Willm..... 1  
Wm ?annable 1  
Peter Hunter 1  
John Booth 1  
John Annable 1  
John Barner 1  
Wm Barber 1  
John ?Barber 1  
Tho Felkins 1  
Edw. Harrison 1  
Widd Fletcher 1  
Rich Milward 1  
Wm. Simpson 1  
Fran Jackson 1  
Fran Jackson 2  
Wm Hall 1  
Humfry Collin 1  
Robt Calwood or Colwood 1  
Total Houses 85 27

The entry for George ?Gratige is probably George Gratian who was certainly in Belper at this date. I note that a John Taylor and a William Taylor together with Thomas Slater are listed as "Holbrooke" (Not Chargeable). Are these the same religious dissenters who later established houses of worship in Belper?

   HERE is a link to the Wirksworth and other local Hearth Tax Records

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