Bristol: The Hearth Tax as a Decodable Street Directory

Leech, R.H. (2006) Bristol: The Hearth Tax as a Decodable Street Directory In, Barnwell, P.S. and Airs, Malcolm (eds.) Houses and the Hearth Tax: the later Stuart house and society. Council for British Archaeology, York, UK pp. 83-94. (CBA Research Report, 150).


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The hearth tax (1662–89) is the only national listing of people between the medieval poll taxes and the 19th-century census returns. It was a property tax, assumed to be approximate to the householders’ wealth, measured by the number of their fireplaces. The data provides valuable insights into national wealth, population and social structure. This study goes further than any before in linking these general questions to a full investigation of changing and diverse forms of building style and house use.
This book is the first to use the hearth tax data systematically to develop a better understanding of vernacular building in the 17th century at a county level –– looking at how the buildings of various social classes differed, as well as the regional variation in new buildings, and differences between town and country. The authors trace developments in fireplace design, introduction of new building materials, correlation between the number of hearths and social status, as well as arrangements for cooking and levels of heating.
The book will relate physical and documentary evidence to provide the most complete picture yet of Stuart housing and Society in England.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 1902771656 (print)
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ePrint ID: 44664
Date :
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Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 18:43
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