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1679 Early Colonial Tax Form for Duty on 23 "fire Hearths"

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September 30th, 1679-Dated Early Pilgrim Colonial Period, English, Partly-Printed Document being a Tax Form for duty on "twenty three fire Hearths in his house...", on fine quality paper, Framed, Choice Extremely Fine.

This very early, original uniface form is on laid paper, no place, measuring 3.25' x 3.75" (by sight) Colonial era tax receipt for duty pecifically on the number of "fire hearths" on premis. It is dated in part print, "1600 & Seventy-nine". Fully accomplished and signed, location unknown. Huge extra wide margins present and nicely centered within the mat and frame, having small central small spindle hole present and chipped lower right corner in the huge, wide extra margin. This document reads, in full:

“September the 30th, 1600 & Seventy-nine ---

Received of Wm. Halo Esqr the Sum of twenty three Shillings in full for half a years duty for twenty three fire Hearths in his house in King & Waldon due and ended at Lady day last past. I Say received by -- (Signed) Ja; Smith Collector.”

Tax duties based on the number of fire hearths in a house were common in Europe and its Colonies, including early American Colonial settlements, during the 17th century. This type of tax was known as a “hearth tax” or “chimney tax”.

The Colonial American Pilgrim period encompasses the early years of English settlement in New England, characterized by the arrival of the Pilgrims, the establishment of Plymouth Colony, and the foundational events that shaped the region's history. This document was written towards the end of that era.

Professionally framed shown through special UV Plexiglas and ready to hang on display. The only such example we have encountered. Provenance Ex: EAHA Auction February 14, 2009 Lot 114 to current consignor.
The “Hearth Tax” was levied as a source of revenue for the government. It was essentially a property tax based on the number of hearths or fireplaces in a house. The tax was introduced to fund various public expenditures, such as defense, infrastructure, and administration.

Tax collectors would visit households to count the number of hearths or fireplaces. The tax was typically based on a fixed rate per hearth, although the exact rate could vary depending on local regulations and economic conditions.

Failure to pay the hearth tax could result in penalties or legal action. Tax collectors had the authority to enter homes to conduct inspections and ensure compliance. Non-payment could lead to fines, confiscation of property, or even imprisonment in some cases.

The hearth tax was considered regressive because it placed a heavier burden on lower-income households. Wealthier individuals who could afford larger homes with multiple hearths would pay more in taxes compared to poorer families living in smaller dwellings.

The hearth tax was unpopular among the general population due to its perceived unfairness and intrusiveness. In England, for example, the tax was abolished in the late 17th century after widespread opposition and complaints. Similar taxes were also phased out in other countries over time.

Hearth tax records can be valuable sources of historical information for researchers. They provide insights into the size and distribution of households, patterns of wealth and poverty, and changes in social structure over time. Hearth tax records are often used by historians and genealogists to study demographics and property ownership in early modern societies.

Overall, the hearth tax was an important source of revenue for governments in the 17th century, but it was eventually phased out due to its unpopularity and practical difficulties in enforcement. However, its legacy remains in historical records and research on early taxation systems and social structures.
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Estimate Range: $600 - $800
Early American
1520 Commerce St., # 312 • Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: 858 • 759 • 3290