A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY AND BOROUGH HEARTH TAX ASSESSMENTS 1662–1674
The Hearth Tax was granted to the Crown as a perpetual revenue in 1662, and abolished in 1689; (fn. 1) it was collected half-yearly from Michaelmas 1662 to Lady Day 1689, but assessments from the local areas of administration were only returnable to Quarter Sessions and the Exchequer during the periods Michaelmas 1662 to Lady Day 1666 and Michaelmas 1669 to Lady Day 1674. (fn. 2) It is only for these two periods that any Cambridgeshire records of the tax are preserved in the Public Record Office. Broadly the tax consisted of a half-yearly payment of 1s. for each hearth in the occupation of every person worth more than 20s. yearly who was not a local (church and poor) ratepayer. The Hearth Tax assessments consist of lists of persons with the number of hearths in their occupation; in all assessments most entries represent separate houses or dwelling places and almost all entries represent separate households. The tax had a far wider incidence than any permanent direct tax previously imposed or to be imposed until the 19th century; because of this, the lists, when analysed, provide useful information, not obtainable from other contemporary sources, about the size, character, and importance of places. It must, however, be emphasized that the entries analysed are but entries in a tax assessment of the responsible heads of households or families, or of house owners, with hearths in their occupation. Statistics based on these entries cannot be translated automatically into population statistics and it is unsafe to try to do so.
The roll for Michaelmas 1662 (fn. 3) was the first assessment of the tax; it was prepared rapidly in the summer of 1662 by parish officials and constables, enrolled by the Clerk of the Peace and certified by the Justices at General Quarter Sessions on 17 July 1662. Except for the Colleges at Cambridge and Ely each entry professes to represent a 'house'. For the colleges the phrase 'several lodgings and chambers' replaces 'house'. The assessment was intended simply to list those legally bound to pay; though an unknown number of persons recorded in it was subsequently granted certificates. In general it includes fewer names than any of the other assessments but it provides the best means of comparing places in one county with those in another, since more details of the assessments for Michaelmas 1662 are preserved than of those of any one of later date.
The roll for Michaelmas 1664 (fn. 4) is a revision of the 1662 assessment made, in accordance with official instructions, by the under-officers of the receiver, Captain Robert Hill, and certified by the Justices at General Quarter Sessions on 11 January 1666. It has been used only for the University because of the difficulty of analysing concisely a great mass of revisionary matter.
The paper books for Lady Day 1666 (fn. 5) were prepared by the under-officers of the sub-farmer for Cambridgeshire, George Wilmot, after the tax had been collected; they were submitted directly to the Exchequer, without enrolment or certification by the justices of the peace, at some time before his account was taken on 1 December 1671. They list persons under the headings of 'Paid' and 'Unpaid', giving simply names and number of hearths; they do not indicate whether any of those who did not pay were legally entitled to exemption, so it is likely that all those included were considered by the compilers to be chargeable.
The roll for Lady Day 1674 (fn. 6) consists of lists made by the under-officers of the receiver, with the assistance of the parish officials, enrolled by the Clerk of the Peace and certified by the Justices at General Quarter Sessions on 8 October 1674. The lists are divided into taxpayers and those legally exempt by certificate; no details are given of paupers, for they did not require a certificate to secure exemption. Among the taxpayers the owners of empty houses and the occupiers of houses recently built or with recently added hearths are distinguished, while there is one Cambridge entry where payment is said to be in arrear without any cause being assigned. Such hearths are entered to the left of the perpendicular line in the lists of taxpayers (normal hearths being entered to the right of that line), but are nevertheless included in the total of taxpaying hearths.
For the University an analysis is unnecessary. The details supplied are all those given in the assessments, the Colleges being given their 17th century titles and arranged in their order of seniority. For the Borough assessments of Michaelmas 1662, Lady Day 1666 and Lady Day 1674 are analysed on the same principle. Against each place is given, in separate columns, the total number of persons recorded as occupiers of from one to fourteen hearths, while a further column gives the number of occupiers of houses with fifteen or more hearths; final columns give the total number of entries and hearths in each line. For 1662 only one line is needed for each place. For 1666 three lines are needed: for those recorded as having paid, for those unpaid, and for the total of those two categories. For 1674 three lines are also needed: for the taxpayers, for the exempt, and for the total of those two categories. Entries of taxpayers who owned empty houses or newly built hearths are indicated in footnotes. The parishes are listed in different orders in the three assessments and have here been arranged in alphabetical order. Attention is drawn in the notes to entries which plainly do not represent households or houses where persons normally lived; and to differences, commonest in 1674, between the total number of hearths in the recorded entries and the total given in the document. A summary enables the grand totals for the Borough as a whole to be readily compared.
Assessments of Cambridge University Hearth Tax
|1662 Mich.||1664 Mich. (fn. 7)||1666 Lady Day||1674 Lady Day|
|Gonville and Caius College||84||85 (fn. 8)||86||86|
|Trinity Hall||51||50 (fn. 9)||53||50|
|Corpus Christi (Bene't) College||64||64||66||66|
|St. John's College||134||134||130||150|
|Magdalene College||53||51 (fn. 10)||53||53|
|Trinity College||215||210 (fn. 11)||200||227|
|Sidney Sussex College||55||54 (fn. 12)||50||55|
Analysis of Cambridge Borough Hearth Tax
1666 Lady Day
|Totals of entries, with hearths||Totals|
|Paid||28||28||19||15 (fn. 13)||4||4||1||1||1||1 of 16||102||289|
|Paid||53||38||19||20 (fn. 14)||10||5||3||1||2||1 of 21||153||439|
|Unpaid||8||6||5||3||1||1 of 16||23||53|
|Paid||55||50||19||31 (fn. 15)||9||7||3||2||4||1||1 of 15||182||525|
|Paid||37||45 (fn. 16)||17||10||6||6||1||1||1||1||125||322 (fn. 17)|
|Unpaid (fn. 18)||4||6||3||1||1||15||37|
|St. Mary the Great:|
|Paid||24 (fn. 19)||37||38 (fn. 20)||31||10||11||5||2||2||1||1||1 of 20||164||583 (fn. 21)|
|Unpaid||6||5||3||3||1||2||1||1 of 19||21||62|
|St. Mary the Less:|
|Paid||37||31||13||13 (fn. 22)||5||5||2||106||259|
1674 Lady Day
|Totals of entries, with hearths||Totals|
|All Saints: (fn. 23)|
|Charged||22||29||23||16||5||6||3||2||1||1||1||1||1||1 of 19||113||401|
|1 of 16|
|Holy Sepulchre: (fn. 24)|
|Holy Trinity: (fn. 25)|
|Charged||22||50||21||22||9||3||6||2||1||1||3||1||1 of 23||143||508|
|Exempt||26||1||1 of 22||27||28|
|St. Andrew: (fn. 26)|
|Charged||31||62||15||27||13||5||5||5||3||1||2||2||1 of 15||172||586|
|St. Bene't: (fn. 27)|
|Charged||7||32||16||8||9||5||5||1||2||1||1 of 17||88||332|
|Exempt||13||1 of 15||13||13|
|St. Botolph: (fn. 28)|
|St. Clement: (fn. 29)|
|St. Edward: (fn. 30)|
|Charged||18||35||21||16||9||11||6||1||1||1||1 of 27||122||461|
|1 of 18|
|1 of 16|
|St. Giles: (fn. 31)|
|St. Mary the Great: (fn. 32)|
|Charged||14||39||29||25||18||6||10||4||2||4||2||1||2||1 of 30||158||680|
|1 of 20|
|St. Mary the Less:|
|St. Michael: (fn. 33)|
|Charged||24||17||7||1||4||3||2||1||1 of 24||60||170|