Remembering John Ffloyd, Citizen of London and Comb Maker

“This Bible was my Great Grandfather’s, John Ffloyd, citizen of London, and comb maker by Trade, who lived in one of his houses on the North Side of Ludgate Hill in the parish of St Brides and having given his son (Enoch) and daughter (Elizabeth) a fortune and being in good circumstances he left off the Trade and Retired to Wandsworth in the County of Surrey where he dyed. And it is my Desire when it shall please God to take me out of this World that this Bible may be the property of my son Ffloyd, and I request him to preserve, and at his death to give it to his son if he has one, with an injuction for him to keep it and dispose of it at his Death if he has a son, in the same manner, and so on to go from father to son. In witness whereof I have this the fifth day of December 1754 Subscribed by name of it. George Peck.”

This transcription was written into a Peck family Bible, which became an heirloom, passing down the generations of a branch of the Peck family (of Samford, Essex, and Wood Dalling and Methwold, Norfolk). John Ffloyd (d. 1701) married Alice and they had two children, Elizabeth (b. 1652 m 1674 Josiah Peck) and Enoch (b 1657). With the help of the 1666 Lady Day hearth tax return a bit more can be said about his circumstances of this family on the eve of the Great Fire. The 1666 return has four references to a head of household named John Ffloyd in properties with three or four hearths. Three of these properties can be discounted as the family home of John Ffloyd since none were located in the Ludgate Hill part of St Bride’s parish, but a fourth entry to John Ffloyd living in a three-hearth property in Fleet Street probably refers to the home of George Peck’s great-grandfather.

The National Archives (TNA) E179/252/32, book 8, f.31

The National Archives (TNA) E179/252/32, book 8, f.31

Not only was the home located within the correct area of St Bride’s parish, but the hearth tax was paid in contrast to the other references to the homes of John Ffloyd from which the tax was not collected. Ffloyd’s neighbours in Fleet Street included Andrew Newman who had recently moved into a four-hearth property and the widow of George Wright. Here was a group of neighbours who by paying the hearth tax demonstrated their sense of probity (and perhaps also their support for the later Stuart monarchy) in contrast to their wealthy neighbour, the squire Robert Hix, who refused to pay the charge due on a 13-hearth property. Further research might be able to identify whether any of the unpaid properties listed under the name of John Ffloyd were his rental properties which were either temporarily abandoned or had valuable possessions removed by tenants before being searched by the collectors, who were fobbed off with the name of the landlord in the event of a move to collect arrears.   Be that as it may, it is clear that the home in which John Ffloyd lived with his wife and two children on Fleet Street was comfortable if not a wealthy home, and that the “chimney men” had no difficulty in collecting the 3 shillings due at Lady Day from this home to fill the private purse of King Charles II.

Although John Ffloyd in later life moved away to the more congenial area of Wansworth and was buried at Stanmore in Middlesex the family retained a strong connection with Fleet Street and the City of London. George Peck in 1718 had been bound as an apprentice to John Steger, Linen Draper in the Poultry, who worked from the King’s Arms on Fleet Street, and on the same day as George II was proclaimed king, he married Mary Clay, daughter of Richard Clay, Citizen and Draper of London and by trade an Oylman.

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Merry Christmas and a ‘Hearthy’ New Year!!


Wishing you a very Merry Christmas

and a ‘Hearthy’ New Year!

From everyone at Hearth Tax Online

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Re-launch of Hearth Tax Online newsletter

Some time ago, we started sending out an e-mail newsletter to keep people informed and updated about Hearth Tax Online and many people signed up to receive it. Unfortunately, we had a few technical problems and some other issues which meant we couldn’t send out as many newsletters as we would have liked or send them out as regularly as we expected. Apologies to those of you who signed up and haven’t, as yet, received anything

The great news is that this is all set to change and we now have a new system for sending out regular newsletters to all our mailing list subscribers. The newsletter will appear in your e-mail inbox twice a year, one edition for spring/summer (despatched around April) and one for autumn/winter (sent out just before Christmas). It will contain all the latest news about Hearth Tax Online and information about other related  projects and resources.

If you are already a mailing list subscriber, the first edition of the new newsletter will be with you in the next day or so and we’d love your feedback on it. You can add your comments and suggestions to this post.

If you are not already on the mailing list, you can sign up here and your first edition of the newsletter will arrive in spring 2015.

Remember, you can also subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter for all the very latest news as it happens!

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Twelve ‘Days’ of Christmas – final part

Here are the final 3 of our ‘Twelve “Days” of Christmas’ – different people with the surname ‘Day’ who featured in the records of the hearth tax!

Raphe Day of Houghton le Spring Township in the North division of Easington Ward in County Durham, not chargeable for 1 hearth in the 1666L collection

Margery Day Widow of Rous Lench parish in Worcestershire, chargeable for 1 hearth in the 1665M collection

Thomas Day of Epsom parish in Surrey, chargeable for 5 hearths in the 1664L collection

Merry Christmas from everyone at Hearth Tax Online!

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Funded opportunities to study early modern history!

The University of Roehampton, as part of the TECHNE AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, is currently welcoming applications for PhD studentships in the Humanities, including early modern history. The Department of Humanities has a particular research specialism in early modern British history with one professor, two readers, one principal lecturer and one senior lecturer working in the field. This research hub provides an unrivalled opportunity to study for higher degrees in British history c.1500-1800.

At the core of this hub is the Centre for Hearth Tax Research which has an international reputation for its work on late seventeenth century economic and social history. The hearth tax is also a key resource for a range of social and cultural topics, including poverty and welfare; migration and demography; cities, hinterlands and urbanisation; housing, architecture and the built environment; everyday life and material culture; employment; crime; religion; and health.

The Centre for Hearth Tax Research can offer a range of support to postgraduate students. We provide unrivalled access to a complete collection of all microfilmed hearth tax manuscripts held by the National Archives, while the archives themselves and the research resources of London are close by. We have a team of academic experts who can provide specialist knowledge and support in areas including: hearth tax records and administration; palaeography; statistical analysis, GIS mapping; and vernacular architecture. We are also developing a national hearth tax database that will allow students to construct entirely original analyses and pursue a range of new research questions.

If you would like to informally discuss opportunities for utilising the hearth tax as part of a PhD project, please contact Andrew Wareham, Director of the Centre for Hearth Tax Research.

If you would like to discuss other early modern PhD projects or other aspects of the TECHNE AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, please contact Ted Vallance, Reader in early modern history.

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Twelve ‘Days’ of Christmas – part 3

Here are numbers 7 to 9 in our ‘Twelve “Days” of Christmas’ – different people with the surname ‘Day’ who featured in the records of the hearth tax!

Widow Day of St Bartholomew the Great parish in the City of London, unpaid on 3 hearths in the 1666L collection

Stephen Day of Wymondham parish in Norfolk, chargeable for 10 hearths in the 1672M collection

Saphir Day of Sutton Valence borough in Eyhorne Hundred in Kent, chargeable for 2 hearths in the 1664L collection

Just three more ‘days’ to go!

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Common Latin phrases in hearth tax documents

Sometimes you might find an occasional Latin phrase in amongst an English hearth tax listing; or in the case of the 1670 Michaelmas return for Essex that we recently published, all the way through it!

We printed a full Latin glossary in the Essex volume, but here’s my pick of the most common phrases that appear:

ac febrile = and also a forge

armiger = esquire

clericus = clergyman

comes = earl

comitissa = countess

cum duabus fabrilibus = with two forges

cum duabus focis de novo erectis = with two newly built hearths

dominus = lord, Sir, judge

elemosinaria = almshouse

exoneratio/us per certificatum = exemption/exempted by certificate

faber = smith

fabrilis = forge

festum annunciationis dominae = the feast of the Annunciation (Lady Day 25 March)

festum sancti michaelis = feast of St Michael (Michaelmas 29 September)

focus/foci = hearth/s

fornax = kiln

in vacua domo = in(for) an empty house

in marisco = in the marsh

miles ordinis balnei =  knight of the Order of the Bath

negat solver & nil habuit pro distringendum = refuses to pay and has nothing to distrain

nil ad distringendum = nothing to distrain

nil proprietas = no owner

novo erect = newly built

paupera = poor

pro speculacionem/speculationem = by the inspection of

per visum = viewed by

prenobilis dominus = the right honourable lord

prison domus placitus = prison court house

pro parte domi = for part of a house

solvit = paid

solvit iiijs pro anno pro novo erecto = paid 4 shillings for a year for a new house

tenens = tenant

tenet terram/terras =  holds lands

vacua domus nil distringendum = vacant house no distraint

vacua domo = empty house

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