Hearth TaxThe following explanation of the Hearth Tax is taken from the Borthwick Papers (No 102) Yorkshire Surnames and the Hearth Tax Returns of 1672-73 by David Hey and George Redmonds:


The tax on hearths was the chief source of revenue for Charles II's government.  Between 1662 and 1688 it raised about 200,000 pounds a year.  Each hearth was taxed at the rate of 2 schillings per annum, payable in two instalments at Lady day and Michaelmus.  The tax collectors, assisted by the local constables, recorded the name of each householder, together with the number of hearths that he or she possessed.  Those people who were too poor to pay church and poor rates, or who occupied premises worth less than 20 schillings a year, or who possessed property not above 10 pounds, were exempt from the tax.  Over the nation as a whole, the exempted poor amounted to about a third of the population.  In some townships their names were recorded, but in most cases the lists are incomplete.

The returns for each county were arranged in wapentakes or hundreds, which in turn were divided into townships.  They give a general indication of wealth and they have been used to good effect by historians for the analysis of social structure and for estimating total population at township and county level.



The returns for Lady Day 1672 report the following Feathers / Fethers, their locations and hearth numbers.  The list also provides an insight to where the surname was most prevalant.


  • Edward Fether 2


  • Mr Joseph Feather 8


  • Nathanll Feather 2
  • Thomas Feather 1
  • Edward Feather 1
  • John Feather Jun 1
  • John Feather 3
  • Anne Feather 1


  • Widow Feather 3


  • John Feather 1


  • Margret Feather 1


  • John Feather 2