Published lists are available of many returns and the original documents are in the Public Record Office.
Unlined hearths, which are less easily identified, may also include these materials.
In a medieval hall, the hearth commonly stood in the middle of the hall, with the smoke rising through the room to a smoke hole in the roof.
Later, such hearths were moved to the side of the room and provided with a chimney.
A revision of the Act in 1664 made the tax payable by all who had more than two chimneys.
The tax was abolished by William III in 1689 and the last collection was for Lady Day of that year. Hearth tax records are important to local historians as they provide an indication of the size of each assessed house at the time.
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In Greek mythology, Hestia is the goddess of the hearth, while in Roman mythology Vesta has the same role.