Hearth Tax

Pages 167-168

Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664. Originally published by EJ Francis, London, 1878.

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Hearth Tax.

IX. 49. Letter from Edward Nicholas, by command of the King, to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, and the Justices of the Peace within the precincts of the Bills of Mortality, complaining of the negligent return made by order of Parliament of the number of fire-hearths or chimneys within the City and Bills of Mortality, and directing that three honest persons in each ward should be appointed to assist the officers of the revenue and the constables in ascertaining by view the exact number of hearths (fn. 1) in each house within the precincts aforesaid.
13th August, 1662.

IX. 67. Letter from the Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Southampton, (fn. 2) and Lord Ashley, (fn. 3) to the Lord Mayor and the Justices of the Peace of Southwark and its Liberties, directing public notice to be given in all churches and chapels to the inhabitants, ordering them to make a return in writing, within ten days, of all hearths or stoves in their houses, edifices, lodgings, or chambers; and that upon the receipt thereof the constable, with two respectable inhabitants, should view and compare such returns, and certify as to their correctness, in order that a proper assessment might be made, and the books and rolls transmitted to the Court of Exchequer. They further complain that much of the moneys collected on a prior assessment, which ought to have been paid over to the Exchequer, had been retained in the hands of the officers, and direct steps to be taken to compel the officers to pay over the money at once.
7th October, 1663.

IX. 79. Letter from the Earl of Southampton, Lord Treasurer, and Lord Ashley, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, complaining of the tardy collection of the Hearth Tax, and directing some speedy steps to be taken to get the money in.
8th February, 1663.

IX. 102. Letter from the Lord Mayor to Sir Robert Long, (fn. 4) stating that His Majesty had by Letters Patent assigned the Hearth money, due from the several counties and cities of the kingdom at Lady Day next and thenceforward, to be paid into the Chamber of London until the late sums of money advanced by the City by way of loan for His Majesty's service should be paid off with interest, and requesting him to give directions for preventing the Exchequer from receiving any of the moneys until the said debts had been discharged.
(Circa 1663–4.)


  • 1. A tax was imposed on every fire-place or hearth in England, by Act 13 & 14 Charles II., cap. 10, 1662, when it produced about 200,000l. a year. Another Act was passed, 16 Charles II., cap. 3, 1664, to better enable the officers appointed to collect the tax. It was abolished by William the Third and Queen Mary, in 1689.
  • 2. Thomas, fourth Earl, succeeded his father, Henry, third Earl, in 1624; Lord Treasurer and K. G., 1660; died at Southampton House, Holborn, 1667.
  • 3. The celebrated Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, afterwards the first Earl of Shaftesbury.
  • 4. From Wiltshire; Secretary to Charles the Second whilst in exile; appointed Auditor of the Exchequer, May 21st, 1662; made a Baronet in 1662. The King demised the Great Park of Nonsuch, Surrey, and Worcester House, adjoining to Sir Robert, September 22nd, 1670; he died, 1673.