Hearth Tax Digital

beta version

About this web site

The web site is run and maintained by the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (University of Graz, Austria) and Centre for Hearth Tax Research (University of Roehampton, UK) and supported by the British Academy. The research published on this web site has been undertaken with the generous assistance of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Marc Fitch Fund and the Aurelius Trust.

Hearth Tax Digital is a platform for the publication and dissemination of research and analysis on hearth tax records and other associated documents. It provides a unique window on society and the social character of England in the late seventeenth century.

It acts both as a portal through which the Hearth Tax Project & Centre can circulate data and findings, and also as a forum for other research centres, historical groups or individuals to publish work allied to hearth tax studies.

The on-going work of the Hearth Tax Project & Centre means that new transcripts and analyses are being continually produced and, consequently, Hearth Tax Digital will be updated as new counties are completed.

The objective of the British Academy Hearth Tax Project & Centre for Hearth Tax Research is to explore the hearth tax records and make them more widely known. This is achieved through its hard-copy series, published in partnership with the British Record Society and local record societies, and through a variety of knowledge exchange activities and partnerships with The National Archives, local record offices and charitable organizations, such as The Friends of Historic Essex and the University of the Third Age.

Hearth Tax Digital provides free access to personal name data as well as analysis about the distribution of both population and wealth in urban and rural communities in England. If you have any data, analyses, articles, maps or any other material that you think would be suitable for publication through Hearth Tax Digital, we would be very happy to hear from you.

The digital version

This ressource tries to demonstrate, how the hearth tax records can be represented in the digital medium. Therefore, it is neither a simple copy of the originals, nor a reproduction of the printed version, nor a collection of analytic data files. Instead, it takes the 'assertive edition' approach (Vogeler 2019), i.e. it tries to combine transcription with data representation. The main organisation of the edition follows the archival records preserving the documentation from the hearth tax administration (Records). These transcripts should provide in particular the information beyond the single entries of taxation, which includes names of officials involved and comments on the process of taxation. The transcripts are encoded following the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI P5). They include references to a formal representation of the data contained in the texts in the ana attributes. This formal data is represented in graphs following the recommendation of the W3C for the Resource Description Framework (RDF). The schema describing the RDF graph is a basic taxation ontology (WebVOWL visualisation): The assessments and returns record taxation acts (htx:Taxation, in which somebody is taxed (htx:of htx:Taxpayer) on a specific property (htx:on). The ontology and the RDF files form the database of Hearth Tax Digital, which is the basis for the search and the calculations in this site.

The website provides fulltext search, search by numbers of hearths taxed, and a 'data basket' in which the user can store single entries for further analysis. Please be aware that the data basket is stored locally on your own computer, so it might be different when changing machine, and all data can be lost if your browser uses restrictive caching mechanisms.

Hearth Tax digital was created in a collaboration by the Centre for Hearth Tax Research at Roehampton University with the Zentrum für Informationsmodellierung, Universität Graz, funded by the British Academy and University of Roehampton in 2018/2019. It is hosted in the humanities digital archive infrastructure of Graz University, the GAMS.


  • Wareham, Andrew. The hearth tax and empty properties in London on the eve of the Great Fire. The Local Historian 41 (2011) (Preprint)
  • Vogeler, Georg. The ‘assertive edition’ : On the consequences of digital methods in scholarly editing for historians. In: International Journal of Digital Humanities 1 (2019), forthcoming. (Preprint)
  • The TEI Consortium. TEI P5: Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange. Originally edited by C.M. Sperberg-McQueen and Lou Burnard for the ACH-ALLC-ACL Text Encoding Initiative. http://www.tei-c.org/release/doc/tei-p5-doc/en/html/index.html
  • W3C: Resource Description Framework (RDF), https://www.w3.org/standards/techs/rdf#w3c_all