Taxation Records

Hearth Tax

One method of taxation was the Hearth Tax. This was calculated depending on the number of stoves, hearths and/or fireplaces in every home. 

It was imposed by Parliament in 1662, when Charles II was on the throne, but William and Mary abolished it in 1689. Virtually all heads of households, including the number of hearths in the home, were recorded, but assessors had to enter the house to record the number of hearths in the property.

People had to pay two shillings per year on each fireplace, hearth and stove in their property, but paupers were exempt.

Householders were also deemed exempt if parish officers or the incumbent provided a certificate proving the owner would not be able to charge a rent of more than 20 shillings per year and that their goods and chattels were worth less than £10.

For more information, please read the in-depth Research Guide Hearth Tax 1662-1689, published by the National Archives.  

Hearth Tax Returns can be perused in the National Archives, and also in some County Record Offices.

Taxation - Death Duty

Where a deceased person’s estate exceeded a certain value, Death Duties were applicable. Death Duty registers are held at the National Archives. When assessing tax on estates after 1796, the authorities used information gathered from administrations and wills to glean some idea of the value of the deceased’s estate.

Death Duty Registers contained the deceased’s name, executors, administrators and beneficiaries along with their relationship to the deceased and the property they received.

Letters of Administration were used when a person died without leaving a will and did not record names of the beneficiaries so the death duty register can take on even more importance.

The registers and indexes are held in Series IR26 and IR27 at The National Archives. IR26 contains the actual registers and IR27 the index to those registers.

You are also able to view Local court records 1796-1811 on-line, but the National Archives does make a charge to view any documents.

Land Tax

Land Tax was levied in England and Wales from 1692 to 1963, and was calculated on land value. Owners and occupiers of property are listed in these records. They mostly survive from the period 1780 to 1832, and are held at most Record Offices. The National Archives holds an almost complete list of Land Tax Records for 1798.