The Hearth Tax (1662-89) is the only national listing of people between the medieval poll taxes and the 19th-century census returns. It was a property tax, assumed to approximate to the householders' wealth, measured by the number of their fireplaces. The data provides valuable insights into national wealth, population and social structure. This study goes further than any before in linking these general questions to a full investigation of changing and diverse forms of building style and house use. This book is the first to use the Hearth Tax data to develop a better understanding of vernacular building in the 17th century at a county level - looking at how the buildings of various social classes differed, as well as the regional variation in new building, and differences between town and country. The authors trace developments in fireplace design, introduction of new building materials, correlation between the number of hearths and social status, as well as arrangements for cooking and levels of heating. This book will relate physical and documentary evidence to provide the most complete picture yet of Stuart housing and society in England.