BEDFORDSHIRE: Bedfordshire Hearth Tax


The majority of the taxes and their records relate to the reign of Charles II (1660-1685), of which the Hearth Tax generated by far the most (surviving) records, and consequently is the best known and most useful. Others were the 1661 Free and Voluntary Present to the King, Subsidies and Aids, and the Poll Tax. On the accession of William and Mary, the Hearth Tax was repealed (1689), being replaced eventually by the Land Tax and Window Tax - few records of which survive pre-1715, and these only for the more prosperous - and, for a short period of time, the 'Marriage Tax', which is of great use and interest to genealogists, but unfortunately only exists for a few places. For further reading details of the tax can be found in

The Hearth Tax other later Stuart Tax Lists and the Association Oath Rolls
compiled by Jeremy Gibson and published by the Federation of Family History Societies in association with Roehampton Institute London ISBN 1 86006 018 8.


Hearth Tax 1670M (wrongly described as 1671L) [PRO E. 179/72/301] (9,500) in bedfordshire Historical Record Society 16, 1934 as appendix, pages 65-159) to 'The Rural Population of Bedfordshire 1671-1921', Lydia M Marshall; reprinted 1990. Includes exempt poor and empty houses. indexed. Accompanying article mainly comparison of 17th century and 19th century population; no apparent comment on or comparison with other Hearth Tax records.

Public Record Office

Free Voluntary Present, 1661-2

[243/6] (1,250), parchment rolls; arrears [243/7] (100), paper sheets.

Hearth Tax
(Assessment and returns)

1662M. County
[72/297a] (5,000). Stodden and Willey Hundreds missing. Some membranes badly decayed; entries badly faded in parts; modern list of parishes and membranes numbers.

1663L Westoning
[243/8] (1,000) Paper Constables' returns, those exempt.

1664M County
[243/14] (5,000). Some decay repaired, variable legibility, some fading. Notes against entries relate to 1662M. Modern description and contents list.

1665L&M County
[72/298] (1,000). Variations. Valuable notes on reasons for not paying, that is in prison, no distress to be taken. Dated 12th April 1666.

(1666) Stodden, Clifton, Barford, Wixhamtree Hundreds.
[243/9] (5,000). Paper, repaired, bound. Annotated.
Flitt, Manshead, Biggleswade, Redbornstoke Hundreds.
[243/10] (2,500). paper book, repaired, annotated. Very good condition.

1670M County
[72/301] (9,500).

1671(L?) County
[72/302] (9,500). Badly decayed, otherwise legibility adequate.


1664L County
[370/1] (30). Latin.

. Miscellaneous [358]


(1660) Wixhamtree, Clifton, Biggleswade Hundreds.
[72/296] (400)

1661 Manshead hundred. [72/297] (900). Parts badly faded, variable legibility.
1661 Manshead hundred. [72/297] (900). Parts badly faded, variable legibility.

(1673) Barford, Stodden, Willey Hundreds.
[72/306] (500). Poor legibility.

Association Oath Rolls 1695-6 [C213]

[2] County [3] Bedford.

Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service, Bedford

Hearth Tax

. Part of
Manshead Hundred
. Billington, Houghton Regis, Toddington, Tilsworth, Harlington, Totternhoe, Milton Bryan, Woburn [AD 33500 pages 15-18]

c. 1683
. Northill including the hamlets of Ickwell, Over or Upper Caldecote, Nether or Lower Caldecote, Thorncote, Hatch, Brook End, Beeston [HY 823].

Poll Tax

Renhold [PO 14 pages 19-20].

Aspley Guise [HW 41]


Cranfield [LL 7/3]; Maulden [LL 7/4]

Ship Money

Renhold [PO 14 page 8]; Cople [ABP/W 1684/20]

Weekes' Tax

1707, 1715
Renhold [PO 14 page 40]

Certainty Money

Houghton conquest [RA/324]

Land Tax

, 1706 Renhold [PO 14 page 39]

©Genuki 2001