Faversham Hundred Records
Faversham Hundred Records - Volume 2 (ISBN 978-0-9530998-0-1)

HEARTH TAX RETURNS FOR FAVERSHAM HUNDRED 1662-1674: With supporting documents.

by Patricia Hyde and Duncan Harrington.

The book 170mm x 250mm in size, is sewn and hardbacked and consists of six preliminary pages, plus 173 pages of text and indexes, including two illustrations. (ISBN 978-0-9530998-0-1). This was originally offered as a numbered limited edition by subscription and the subscribers names appear in the book. Approximately 100 copies only remain from this printing.
This publication offers for the very first time a transcript and name and place indexes of all the original documents that can be consulted concerning the Hearth Tax in the Hundred of Faversham. The parishes covered by this study include Badlesmere, Buckland, Davington, Eastling, Faversham, Goodnestone next Faversham, Harty, Leaveland, Luddenham, Newnham, Norton, Oare, Ospringe, Preston next Faversham, Sheldwich, Stalisfield, Stone next Faversham, and Throwley.
The Act of 14 Charles II, c. 10 (1662) required the first collection to be made at Michaelmas (29th September) 1662 from lists that had been prepared in the previous months by the borsholders and petty constables of every householder, not exempted from parish rates, indicating the number of hearths in his house. These original lists have sometimes survived and can be found not only in the E179 series but also within the official and unofficial papers at the county record offices. These lists having been returned to the clerk of the peace, an engrossed roll was compiled, a duplicate being sent to the Exchequer. Only the 1664 duplicate survives in the Kent Quarter Sessions records. From 1663, the assessors were required to list the names and hearths of all the non-liable as well as the liable, and from 1664 everyone with more than two hearths was made liable even if he or she was otherwise entitled to exemption. Considerable care has been taken accurately to transcribe all the surviving returns from the Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew which we trust will be of great assistance to both national and local historians. In one year, 1664, it has also been possible to correlate this with the records surviving in the Kent Quarter Sessions records.
The plague and the war with the Dutch made matters worse and the government was desperate for money, so, in March 1666, the tax was farmed out to three London merchants for seven years, which would be to us something like being privatised. This caused considerable confusion in the administration. The third appendix containing extracts from the particulars of accounts gives evidence of the impact of the plague and the Dutch War.
The section on 'Heating and Houses in Faversham Town', by Sarah Pearson brings an illuminating new approach to the subject. The information from the Hearth Tax is so tantalizing that the temptation is to use it as much as possible. Most researchers have found that, as David Foster says, the Ladyday returns for 1664 are the fullest available. The best use is for settlement studies when applied regionally, for instance, the spacing of market towns and their relationship to the surroundings. Work at the parish level is often more difficult.
There are eight appendices. The first deals with exemption certificates in the county, though unfortunately none have survived for Faversham Hundred. The second gives details of the people in arrears with paying the hearth tax. These are particularly useful in that no assessments have survived for 1673 and 1674 and there are additional names for the 1671 assessment. The third gives particulars of account for the Hearth Tax in Faversham. The fourth make a comparison of entries for Preston Street over the years, that being the street most fully covered in the surviving documents. The fifth is a rent roll for the manor of Faversham providing a list of landlords compared with the list of occupiers in the Hearth Tax. The sixth shows a statistical analysis of the entries of the two main assessments of 1664 and 1671 by C. A. F. Meekings. The seventh gives, for the first time, a start on a list of probate inventories for the parish of Faversham, taken from a variety of different sources. The final appendix looks at further documents connected with the occupiers of No. 25 Court Street Faversham.
Also available through us is Kent Hearth Tax Assessment Lady day 1664 published by the Kent Archaeological Society as Volume XXIX in the records series whivch covers the whole county.

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