Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The 1670 Hearth Tax.

  I have been concerned in the past about the question of my branch of the White family originating in Bloxham and moving at some stage to Shotteswell since apart from a family tree which can be found on the Internet and which I am informed was from an excellent source, I have not been able to definitively link by documentation the late 17th century Bloxham Whites and the mid-18th century Shotteswell Whites.
  Of course, geographically, the distance from Bloxham in North Oxfordshire to Shotteswell in South Warwickshire is very small indeed and anyone living in Bloxham would have to move only a very short distance to set up home in Shotteswell. But how can we be certain that the Whites of Shotteswell originated in or around Bloxham in the early 1700's rather than having lived in Shotteswell for very much longer? I suppose the non-appearance of anyone named White in pre-1680 Shotteswell records is a clue and this is mainly the case although the Shotteswell parish records note the marriage of a George Whithe to a Maria Hodges in June 1578. The next appearance of a White in the Shotteswell parish records does not occur until 1683 when Issabella White was buried at St.Laurence Church. This suggests that the Whites were not present in any great numbers in Shotteswell before this date or it may be that some lived there but missing or indecipherable records make it impossible to know that to be the case.
  Another piece of evidence that the Whites were not living in Shotteswell in 1670 is the records of the Hearth Tax of 1670 which are revealed in the book "Warwickshire Hearth Tax Records" edited by Arkell and Alcock. This book lists all the existent records of households which paid the Hearth Tax throughout Warwickshire in 1670 and as all households were to be recorded by it, even if they were not charged for the tax, it helps us to see if anyone called White was living in Shotteswell at that time. Indeed, there is NO record of any householder in Shotteswell who was recorded in the 1670 Hearth Tax list with the name of White so this is consistent with the belief that the Whites moved to the village from north Oxfordshire in the final year or two of the 17th century through to 1733.
   Interestingly, there is hardly a White mentioned in the 1670 Hearth Tax records for the whole of south Warwickshire - we find a Joseph White (1 hearth) and a William White (3 hearths) in Gaydon, a Widow White in Eadington (1 hearth), and 2 Whights (Humphrey [7 hearths] and William [1 hearth]) in the Brailes Division. It seems that the Whites were still Oxfordshire people in the main prior to the start of the 18th century.
  The 1670 Hearth Tax gives us interesting information about Shotteswell at that time - in 1670 there were 55 households recorded in the village (this compares with 37 in 1663, 50 in 1664, 51 in 1665, 45 in 1666, 55 in 1671, 55 in 1673 and 56 in 1774). Of the 55 households, 38 were charged for the tax and 17 uncharged. Thirty nine households were recorded as having 1 hearth, 8 had 2 hearths and 7 had 3 or more including 2 households which had between 5 and 9 hearths.
  The name of the village was actually recorded as Shatswell and among the heads of households named were the senior Vicar, Mr. Coleman (3 hearths), and Mr. Grivill (2 hearths), also recorded as Vicar. We find a Matthew Coleman (the Coleman family are among our ancestors) (1 hearth), William Coleman Jr (2 hearths) and William Coleman (1 hearth). I can find no other surnames in the list which appear in our family tree. From this list it appears that the Colemans are our earliest ancestors to have lived in Shotteswell. I wonder if the vicar was related to the rest of the Colemans. The largest house in the village (8 hearths) belonged to one Thomas Perkins at that time.
  In neighbouring villages we find one or two other interesting surnames - a William Bradford had 1 hearth in Over (Upper) Tysoe and a Robert Baylis had a single hearth in Butlers Marston. There were also Baylises recorded in Northem in a Burton Dassett Constabulary (William, Richard and John). There was a Widow Bradford in Oxhill.
  This record then seems to support the theory that the Whites were not present in Shotteswell before the end of the 1690's and is not inconsistent with them having moved there from nearby Bloxham.


  1. Hello, I also can find no reason to believe the Whites were in Shotteswell before around 1700. Shame as I was always fascinated thinking about how the civil war might have affected the Whites in the 1660's. Battle of Edgehill wasn't that far away.

    1. Dear Tim, thank you very much for your comment. Yes, I also speculated to myself about the closeness of the Whites to at least 2 battles of the Civil War and could imagine them hearing the cannons of the opposing sides at Edgehill as they went about thir business in the fields and for anyone in Shotteswell, the Battle of Cropredy Bridge must have been a little too close for comfort. Life in Bloxham must have been a little awkward for anyone with Royalist sympathies but I rather think that the Whites must have been much too sensible to have supported Charles I. Sadly no parish records were kept in Bloxham, as elsewhere, during the years of the Civil War under the rule of the Parliament and Protector and so it is difficult to know who died, married and was born then. Nevertheless I imagine that living in the North Oxfordshire area, the Whites were affected by the Civil War right from the start.

  2. Hello, have enjoyed reading your account. I am very interested about the two war heroes commemorated at Shotteswell. Do you know if there are any photographs of the two men, please? Kindest Regards

    1. Thank you. I am sorry but I do not have any photographs of the 2 men who were killed in the Second World War. It may be that if some other family members, much more closely related to them than I am, read this then they may be able to help. Best wishes. GK.