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The hearth tax was introduced in 1662 under Charles II, and as its name suggests was a tax on the number of hearths in a house. Sometimes you may find it referred to as the “chimney tax”. It was intended to be a simple way of generating enough money to support the recently-reintroduced royal household, and like pretty much every tax in history was wildly unpopular.

The tax was repealed in 1689, but as far as we’re concerned its records, many of which are now held in the National Archives at Kew, are another way of working out who owned what in the township of Brymbo, about fifty years after the survey mentioned in my previous post. Luckily several sets of records from Denbighshire, mostly collectors’ books, have survived the passage of time, and two in particular – documents E179/264/300 and E179/264/35 – include sections for Brymbo.

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There are any number of places to start when looking at the history of an area, but one of the most productive is to see if there are any official surveys or other records.

As an ordinary farming area without towns, markets or anything of particular strategic or monetary value, Brymbo would have passed under the radar as far as most official attention was concerned. It did, however, have a lot of coal close to the surface, and it’s in this connection that it begins to appear in records. John Leland, an antiquary who travelled across the country in the reign of Henry VIII, writes of Bromfield as a “playne country”, which “hath good Plenty of Wood, and goode Corne and Pasture, and Se-Coles at Harwood”. Early in the next century, a detailed survey of Bromfield and Yale conducted by the map-maker John Norden noted a coal mine owned by Sir Richard Grosvenor “in Comun’ vocat Harwood“.

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This is site about Brymbo, a township once part of Denbighshire, and its history. You can read more about the site in general, start with the most recent posts or with the archives listed below.
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