In England the Hearth Tax or Chimney Tax was imposed by Parliament in 1662. It was used to raise revenue for the support of the Royal Household of King Charles II. The first payment of the tax occurred in 1662 and the tax was payable on Michaelmas, 29th of September and Lady Day the 25th of March every year. One Shilling was paid for every fire-hearth or stove in all dwellings. As the tax was payable twice per year the overall rate was two shillings per year for every hearth etc. At first there were no exemptions, this posed an unfair burden on the poor. Later this was changed and exemptions were made for those who were poor, had limited assets or a number of other exemptions. The tax was still considered to be unfair and difficult to enforce but it was an attempt to adjust it and take into account some personal realities.
There is some correlation between the wealth of a person/ family and the number of hearths that they have. However, the situation is much more complex than that as the number of hearths also has some correlation with the age of the house, a newer house would often mean more hearths than an older house. In addition the number of hearths may depend upon the occupation of the owner with many craftsmen needing hearths for their profession.
http://www.hearthtax.org.uk/communities/kent/kent_1664L_transcript.pdf in Kent has a transcript available of the Kent Hearth Tax Assessment for Lady Day 1664. This has been transcribed and computerised by Duncan Harrington and holds information on a number of Gransden family members who were required to pay Hearth Tax for that Lady Day.
The Lath of Sutton att Hone The Hundred of Codsheath in the Lath of Sutton att Hone
Parish of Shoreham
- John Gransden 1
- John Grandsden Borsholder (no mention of how many hearths but his name is placed in the Chargeable Column then again in the Not Chargeable Column.
The Hundred of Larkefeild In the Lath of Aylesford Parish of East Malling
- John Gransden 5
The Hundred of Toltingtrough in the lath of Aylesford The upper half hundred Mepham
- Thomas Gransden 1
- Nursted (in the upper half hundred of Mepham)
- William Gransden 2
The hundred of Shamwell In the Lath of Aylsford The upper halfe hundred Cobham East Borough
Nicholas Grandson 1
The Hundred of Chart and Longbridge In the Lath of Scray The Halfe Hundred of Longbridge Mersham Borough
- James Granesden 1
The materials for Kent provided on Hearth Tax Online are taken from volume II of the British Record Society Hearth Tax Series; Harrington, D., Pearson, S. & Rose, S., eds., (2000), Kent Hearth Tax Assessment Lady Day 1664, (Kent Archaeological Society vol. 29). Please cite this volume if using any of these materials.