The ‘Hearth Tax’ or ‘Chimney Tax’ was introduced in 1662 to supplement the income of the Royal Household following the Restoration of the Monarchy. Devon MP, Sir Courtney Pole, is widely credited with proposing the tax and carrying it through parliament. Thereafter, he was widely known by the nickname “Sir Chimney Pole”.

The tax levied a one shilling charge every six months for each household hearth or stove. Payments were due each Michaelmas and Lady Day. A record, dated 1674, survives for the number of hearths or stoves for each eligible household in Lapford. The record provides the earliest snapshot of Lapford households. Moreover, it provides an indication of the size of their properties. Heading the list is Bury Barton, which was then the prominent seat of the Bury family.

Those named in the record are the heads of the families occupying village properties

Not all households are named as it was possible for poorer families to apply for an exemption from the tax on the grounds that they:
—Were too poor to pay Poor or Church Rates, and/or
—Their house, tenement or land was worth less than 20 shillings (£1) rent per annum, or
—The total value of their assets was less than £10y

The exemption did not apply to anyone with a house with two or more hearths/stoves.

ArthurBURY Esq.8?
ThoSELLY4
XpherKELLAND5
JohnNOTT6
JamesTOLLY3
AnthonySNELL5
RichardPARTRIDGE3
WilliamKELLAND2
John-HAWAY1
JohnCHALLICE3
SymonMOORE2
GeorgeRIDDLE2
RogerHARE2
GeorgeMOLLAND2
Rog--?3
R---?2
R--?1
RichardCOOKE3
ThoKENTSBEERE1
JohnCRUSEY1
ThoSEARLE1
----WOODWARD?1
---------1
JohnHOU----2
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---chardDENSHAM3
--bertHELE2
--bert-----3
JohnSHEBBEAR4
MatthewWARREN-
JohnNORTHCOTT-
ThomasB---LAND1
MatthewDENSHAM-
GilbertPITTWOOD-
ThoPRIDDHAM-
ArthurMOLLAN-
RichardSHAPTON-
JamesPARTRIDGE-
MaryNEWCOMBE-
William----ING1
Thomas-----1

Total = 93



Paupers

RobertDOCKETT-
DewnisDENSHAM-
GeorgeSEARLE-
ThomasMILLFORD1
XpherLEE1
MarySOWDON1
RobertCHAPPLE1
ThomasMANN SEN1
RichardPRIEST1
GeorgeOULDEN1
ThoRENSBERE1
George-----1
John------
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Michael------
Tho----
GeoKENTESBEERE?-
Willm------
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Ann------