Gloucestershire Hearth Tax

Yesterday, I had a look at the Hearth Tax returns for Gloucestershire. They cover the period from 1671/2 and include a list of names of those people with houses worth more than 20 shillings a year and who also paid church or poor rates. So they are lists of the wealthier people in the county at the time. 

The records in Gloucestershire Archives are negative photocopies of the originals which are held in the National Archives at Kew and not all of them are easy to read. I looked at the Badgeworth and Shurdington areas of the county. There I found all four of the Gwinnett men who were around at the time, Richard, George, Isaac and Lawrence, the four sons of George Gwinnett and his wife, Elizabeth nee Lawrence.

The number of hearths was given for each, the more hearths being an indicator of the wealth of the person. Richard had five, Lawrence four and George and Isaac three each. This put three of them in the merchant/yeomen bracket with Richard just into the gentry group. Richard and George were living in Little Shurdington and their two brothers in Great Shurdington. The wealthiest person in the neighbourhood, using this measure, was William Lawrence, with 9 hearths, who lived at the Greenway, now a hotel.

One thought on “Gloucestershire Hearth Tax

  1. Liz, I am in New Zealand where research is fairly difficult as I cannot visit the places that hold the records – I am fascinated by your site and by your knowledge. You were once kind enough to help another family researcher and I wonder if you could help me with a query I have.
    I have just heard that my ancestor lived at The Grange in Hanham, Gloucestershire and I am trying to find out both where it was and what sort of house it might have been. I have been told that the Hearth Tax Returns could give an indication, certainly of the latter and I wonder if you have access to those.
    I have also been told that you are familiar with the Hockaday MSS and i am wondering what it might reveal about the Strange family and related lines, particularly the line of Robert Strange who was three times mayor of Bristol.
    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Robin Bishop,
    New Zealand

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