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Hearth, Window & Land Taxes

Taxation will never be a popular subject and Poll taxes, those levied on individuals rather than property or wealth, with everyone over a certain age, and not otherwise exempt, being liable to pay a given amount, have been universally unpopular over time. Taxation based on a fairer, wealth related formula, though more difficult to assess and administer, is much more likely to be accepted, however the idea of an income tax was unpopular too. Many people in 17th Century Britain opposed income tax on principle, because they believed that the disclosure of personal income represented an unacceptable government intrusion into their private affairs. The first Income Tax wasn't to appear until the late 18th century and still remained very controversial well into the 19th century, but before its introduction, a number of taxes which were intended to reflect the relative prosperity of the taxpayer, without prying too deeply into their personal affairs had been tried :-

Hearth Tax was the first form of regular individual taxation, previously taxes had largely been raised as and when needed and levied on communities. The Hearth Tax was also roughly based on the ability of the individual to pay. It was relatively short lived, being introduced by the government of Charles II in 1662 at a time of serious financial shortages, and repealed by William and Mary in 1689.
Each year the householder had to pay 2 shillings per hearth contained within their property. The money was due in two payments collected on Michaelmas (29 September) and Lady Day (25 March). Those in receipt of poor relief, whose houses were worth less than 20 shillings a year or who paid neither church nor poor rates were exempt, also charitable institutions such as schools and almshouses, and industrial hearths, but smiths' forges and bakers' ovens were included. A revision in 1664 made the tax payable by all who had more than two chimneys.
The administration of the tax was complex, assessment wasn't straightforward, and the assessment and collection methods changed over time, with private tax collectors, who didn't submit records to the Exchequer, administering the tax for some of the period. This means that the survival of Hearth tax records is patchy, but the Hearth Tax provides an indication of the size of the house at the time, as the numbers of hearths are generally proportional to the size of the house.

Hearth Tax Online provides access to a full transcript of the West Riding Hearth Tax External Website logo for Lady Day 1672, as well as much further information and analysis of the tax returns, maps etc.
Some Exemption Certificates are available at the National Archives under the following references:

E179/349/3/270 : Kirkeby Malhamdale in Craven - 28 Apr 1674
E179/349/3/136 : Otterborne - 22 Oct 1670
E179/349/2/278 : Gargrave Parish, Eshton - 22 Sep1670
E179/349/2/282 & 283 : Burnsall, Hetton chaplery Rilston (Hetton cum
Boardley) - 10 Dec 1670

Also see the National Archives Guide to Hearth TaxExternal Website logo

Window Tax replaced the Hearth Tax in 1696 and it was relatively unintrusive and easy to assess, however it was still unpopular and seen by some as a tax on "light and air". The taxpayer was usually the occupier rather than the owner and they often attempted to camouflage or block up the windows to avoid payment. To this day you can see numerous bricked-up windows on smaller Georgian villas, though these can be confused with "dummy" windows used to maintain the symmetry and proportion of a building.
When introduced, Window Tax consisted of two parts: a flat-rate portion charged at 2 shillings per house and a variable tax based on the number of windows above ten. Properties with between ten and twenty windows paid a total of four shillings, and those above twenty windows paid eight shillings. The tax was increased no fewer than six times between 1747 and 1808. In 1747 the charges were: 10-14 windows at 6d per window, 15-19 windows at 9d, and 20 or more windows at 1s. The number of windows above which you incurred tax was reduced to seven in 1766 and increased again to eight in 1825. Like the Hearth Tax there were exemptions for people who were ineligible for church or poor rates.
In 1778 the flat-rate portion of the Window Tax that was levied on the property, was changed to a variable rate House Tax, dependent on the property value. Window Tax was not repealed until 1851,when it was replaced by House Duty.

Land Tax ran alongside the window tax and was imposed in 1693 under the terms of "An Act for granting to their Majesties an aid of four shillings in the pound for one year for carrying on a vigorous war against France". The Act specified that real estate and personal property, that is buildings & moveable goods as well as land, were to be taxed. The tax was voted annually until 1798 when it was transformed into a permanent tax, but also became redeemable on payment of a lump sum.
It was levied on a number of different bases over the years: as a pound rate between 1693 & 1696; as a 4 shillings assessment supplemented by a poll tax in 1697; and from 1698-1798 on the system whereby each county or borough was given a fixed sum to collect. In 1949 redemption became compulsory on property changing hands and in 1963 all unredeemed land tax was abolished.
Land Tax Assessment records are valuable to historians because they list year by year the names of the owners of land, and usually the names of the occupiers, also providing some indication of their social standing. The assessments are to be found in the local record offices because they were the responsibility of local tax commissioners. The Tax Office in London took very little interest in them, only that it received each year the amount of money assessed for the county from from the County Receiver. The Receiver's accounts are in the National Archives under the reference E 181, but offer no information on individual properties. However when Pitt made the 1798 land tax both perpetual and redeemable, central records of redemption had to be kept and those are in the National Archives in the class IR 23.

The 1672 Hearth Tax provides a reasonably accurate census of all the households in Malhamdale, as well as giving an approximate indication of their relative wealth, according to the size of house required to accomodate the hearths.
The number of households on Malham Moor is more than you would expect from the number of farms 100yrs later, and the 21 houses in Hanlith is also more than you would expect, looking at the hamlet today, and did Thomas Summerscales of Hetton with Bordley destroy all his hearths because he couldn't afford to pay the tax?

Malhamdale Hearth Tax - March 1672
Malham Moor (Mallom Moore)
Ralph Buch sen 2
Widow Buch 1
John Buch 5
Henry Lighton 2
Richard Hall 2
Ralph Buch Jun 1
Henry Maudsley 2
Widow Hartley 2
John Beckwith 2
Marmaduke Browne 1
Thomas Ellinson 3
John Fish of Mallon Waatterhouse 3
Martin & Mathew Knowles 4
William Smith 1
Thomas & John Tennant 2
Henry Wilkinson 2
Mr Busfield 3
Peter Buxton 2
Thomas Aireton 2
Robert Pickhaver 2
George Knowles 4
Mr John Fish 6
Thomas Wharfe 2
Thomas Calie 1
Thomas Whitfeild 4
Thomas Sedgwick 1
James & Thomas Peacock 2
Thomas Kidd 1
Richard Whitfield 1
Henry Preston 1
John Walker 1
Francis Topham 1
Ro Paley 1
Robert Husband collector
Henry Preston constable
Malham (Mawlam Towne)
Elliz King or Henry Hamon 5
Thomas Atkinson 2
Thomas Lealand 2
Thomas Flsh 2
Henry Atkinson 2
Thomas Lawson 2
Christopher Lawson 2
William Lawson 2
William Brashaw 1
George Knowles or John Midlebrook 1
William Atkinson 1
Alice Lawson 1
Grace Hall 3
James Davison 2
James Dixson 1
Thomas Knowles 2
John Shackleton 2
Henry Hall 3
Henry Hill 1
Christopher Walker 1
Widow Preston 1
Thomas Preston 1
Henry Bradley 1
Thomas Knowles 1
Widow Ramsham or Henry Atkinson 2
Thomas Bolland 1
Jno. Anderson 1
Thomas Hird 2
Thomas Brashaw 2
Widow Knowles 1
Christopher Tomson 1
Richd Hartley 1
Richd Hirch 1
Widow Hill 2
Willm Tompson 2
Robert Hill 1
Christopher Metcalfe 2
Jennet Preston 3
Robert Hodgson 1
John Redman 1 exempt
Thomas Hill 1
Rlchard Lawson 1
Alice Hill 1
Mathew Knowles or Christopher Tompson 1
Oliver Lawson 1
Henry King 1
Christopher Cocke a smithy 1
Thomas Anderson 1
James Manson 1
James tempest 1
Edmond Thomson & Richard Wharfe a milne 1
James Preston a smithy not finished 1
Robert Husband collector
John Anderson constable
Kirkby Malham (Kirby Mallandall)
Thomas Kinge jun 3
Widowow Kinge 1
Widow Horner 1
Richard Mason 1
Richard Wetherill 2
William Wetherill 1
George Parker 1 poor
Adam Adinson 1
John Husband 1
Widow Sargisson 1
John Anderson 1
John Slater 1
Mrs Walton 1
Lawrence Hodgson 1
Henry Walker 2
Henry Atkinsn 1
Thomas King sen 2
Abr Kid 3
John Bentham 1
Adam Atkinson 1
Widow Hurstley 2
John Parker 1
William Atkinson 3
John Atkinson 1
Roger Parker 1
The free schoole 1
Robert Sargisson 1 poor
Cuthbert Kidd 1
Abram Kid 1
Richd Pickard collector
Thomas King constable
Hanlith (Hanleth)
Roger Broughton 1
Henry Lawson 1
John Kay 1
John Blackburne 1
Richard Flsh 2
Rlchard Sergison 2
Edward Wilson 1
Roger Sergison 2
Thomas Lawson 1
William Preston 1
Christopher Preston 1
Henry Preston 1
Christopher Brashaw 1
Richard Lunde 1
Thomas Townson
Thomas Hird 1
Thomas Walker 1
Henry Hall 1
Anthony Clarke 1
Thomas Anderson 1
William Atkinson 1
Thomas Midleton collector
William Athinson constable
Scosthrop (Stawstrop)
Thomas King 1
Christopher Preston 1
William Preston 2
Francis Lund 1
Robert Carlile 1
John Younge 2
Robert Lund 1
Henry Gryme 1
Robert Lowson 1
William Setle 1
Robert Greene 1
Anthony Remington 2
John Lawson 1
John Iveson 2
Thomas Bewnson 1
Stephen Holdgate 1
John Anderson 1 poor
Widow Benson 1 poor
Margaret Windle executrix 1 exempt
Widow Sargisson 1 poor
John Myers 1 poor
Robert Moore collector
John Lawson constable
Robert Lund 3
John Hall 1
Henry Preston 1
William Preston 1
William Young 2
William Young per Spence 1
Thomas Preston 1
John Petty
Widow Myers per Baiteman & Atkinson 2
Alice Foster 4
John Remington 1
John Squire & mother 1
Ann Younge 1
John Hartley 1
Henry Spencer 1
Christopher Tatham
Edw Bawdrom 1
Thomas Lund 1
John Armistead 1
John King 1
Hugh Iveson 1
William Parkinson 1
Thomas Parkinson 1
Christopher Simpson 1
John Dawson
Henry Wilkinson 1
William Claxton per mill 1
John Myars & smithy 1
Henry Hall 1
Thomas Atkinson & smithy 1
Henry Lambart 1
Thomas Tempest 1
Widow Dugdale 1
William Wilkinson 1 poor
George Cryer or Dawson 1
Henry Atkinson 1
Robert Moore collector
William Young constable
Calton (Cawton)
Mr Claxton 9
Robert Fish 1 demolished
Thomas Fish 1
Widow Preston 2
Henry Wilson 2
Henry Knowles 2
Christopher Tatham 1
Richard Kitchin 1
Widow Burtwisle 1
Richard Burtwisle 1
Richard Thomasmson 1
Henry Lund 1
William Nelson 1
William Shackleton 1
George Nelson 1
William Wilson 1
Richard Thomasmpson 1
John Shackleton 1 demolished
Thomas Midleton collector
Thomas Birtwisle constable
Mr Wadington 7
Rlchard Roberts 1
Thomas Hird 1
William Kendall 1
Adam Preston 1
William Roberts 1
John Hill 1
Henry Atkinson 1
Michael Robert, or John Atkinson 1 exempt
Cuthbert Tatham or Christopher 1
Thomas Preston 1
John Atkinson 3
Michael Armistead 1 poor
Richard Lund 1 poor
Thomas Fawcett 1 poor
John Winerey 1 poor
Thomas Ducker 1 poor
William Atkinson a smithy 1 poor
Thomas Midleton Collector
William Kendall constable
Coniston Cold (Conystone Cold)
Jos. Ward gent 4
John Mawham 2
William Wharfe 4
William Whitacres jun 2
John Rycroft 2
John Hardy 3
James Nelson 3
Nicholas Dawson 2
James Stackhouse 1
John Dawson 1
John Blakey 1
Christopher Whitacres 1
Thomas Taylor 2
Thomas Rycroft 1
Thomas Rycroft 1
Thomas Lingarth 1
Henry Grandwage 1
Henry Whitacres sen 1
William Whitacres 1
Margaret Tomlinson 1
Thomas Blakey 1
Robert Deane 1
John Greene 1
Roger Gyles 1
Ambross Carr 1
Arthur Andeson 1
Row. Railes 2
Robert Hardy 2
James Jarratt 1
Stephen Foster 1
James Smith 1
George Tomlinson 1
John Wilson 1
Widow Wadilove 1 poor
John Preston & smithy 2
Ann Clarke 1 poor
Ann Silverwood 1 poor
Ann Heald 1 poor
Robert Moore collector
Thomas Hardy constable
Mr John Blackhouse 2
Mr John Wilson 7
Tho Setle 2
Wm Parkinson 1
Ro Tatham 1
Mary Tatham 2
John Hitchin 2
Jennet Rakes 1
Wm Rakes 1
Elliz Whitwham 1
Geo Brogden 2
Hen Beecroft 1
more a smithy 1
Bartho Parkinson 1
Tho Wiglesworth 1
Tho Buck 1
Geo Millend 1
Margt Armistead 1
Wm Simpson 1
Tho Fort 1
Tho Thorneber 1
Geo Wensley 1 poor
Roger Blackburne 1
James Airton 2
Eliz Beecroft 1 poor
Robt Craven 1 poor
John Beecroft 1 poor
Ann Hough 1 poor
Wm Howson 1 poor
Margt Driver 1 poor
Robt Husband collector
Peter Cowlin constable
Hetton with Bordley (Heaton cum Boardley)
John Frankland 1
Thomas Knowles 1
William Blackburne 1
Henry Kighley 1
Thomas Kighley 1
Christ Moorehouse 2
one of these not yet finished
Henry Elsworth 1
Christoph Elsworth 1
Mary Frankland 1
John Sharpe 1
Robert Johnson 1
Marke Smith 1
Antho Westwood 1
William Wiggin 1
William Ellis 1
John Ellis 1
Robert Somerseales 1 exempt
Eliz Somerscales 1
William Pickard 2
Mary Setle 2
John Scott 1
Richard Somerscales 1 exempt
William Frankland 1
Simond Topham 2
John Topham 2
Thomas Carlisle 1
John Franckland 1
Willm Bootham 1
Thomas Broughton 1
William Darwent 1
William Smith 1 exempt
Thomas Somerscales 3 demolis
Ann Duntrell 1 demolis
Richard Blackburne ld
Thomas Cockitt 1 exempt
Janet Cockit 1 exempt
Robert Setle 1 poor
Robert Somerscales 1 exempt
Thomas Topham 1
Mr Waide 1
Edward Thomson 2
Antho Prockter 1
Peter Baxter 1
Richard Wharfe 1
Mr Prockter 4
Francis Topham 1
Henry Currier 2
Simon Wilkinson 3
Thomas Procter 3
Symon Wilkinson jun 2
Thomas Kidd 2
Symon Wilkinson sen 2
Willm Rogers 1 poor
Mr Wilkinson per park house 2
Roger Sargison 1
Robert Husband collector
John Ellis & John Garforth constable
Flasby with Winterburn (Flaxby)
Mrs Farrand 7
Hugh Currey 2
Wm Waineman 2
Mr Robt Pickerin 2
Richd Tunstall 1
Widd Howson 1
John Howson 1
Antho Graveson 1
Samll Briggs 1
John Taylor 1
Tho Croft 1
Tho Fairbanke 4
Robt Smithson 1
Tho Kitchinge 1
Martin Dickinson 1
Ann Ward 1
Hen Story 1
and a smithy lp
Ann Tunstall 1
Wm Howson 1
Richd Dickinson 1
Hen Dickinson 1
Mr John Parker 11
Roger Whaley 7
Wm Parkinson 3
John Wilkinson 1
Widd Remington 2
John Williamson 2 poor
James Winsley 1
Hen Hill 2
Lance Auldam 1
Hen or Edw Mason 1
Tho Hodgson 1
Jno Constantine 1
Isabell Wharfe 1
Thomas Thorne 2
Steph Oldfeild 3
Allexand Williamson 2 poor
Adam Williamson 1
Tho Gregson 1
Ri Hargraves 1
John Taylor 1
Nichll Briggs 1
Tho Midleton collector  
Thos Fish constable  

The Roehampton University Hearth Tax Project External Website logo in association with the British Record SocietyExternal Website logo have published the Yorkshire West Riding Hearth Tax Assessment Lady Day 1672, which is vol.V in their Hearth Tax Series. It is an extensive publication containing around 44,000 names; in-depth historical, architectural and codicological commentaries; fourteen full-colour maps and numerous full colour illustrations.

The Roehampton Project has led to the launch of a dedicated website called Hearth Tax Online. External Website logo This appears to contain the complete text of the above book, with the full, descriptive introduction, downloadable transcript of the West Riding Hearth Tax for 1672 with a surname index plus various maps and analysis of the data.

On a less ambitious scale, The Ripon Historical Society And Family History Group External Website logo have published a very affordable series of Hearth Tax booklets with transcriptions of entries for all three Ridings of Yorkshire. This includes one which covers the Staincliffe and Ewcros Wapentakes of the West Riding for Lady Day 1672, ie. all the Craven area from the Wharfe valley toward the west.

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