One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tax on hearths or fireplaces; specifically (a) a tax of two shillings per annum on every hearth or fireplace in England and Wales, imposed in 1662 by Act 13 & 14 Chas. II and repealed in 1689 by Act 1 Will. & Mary; (b) a similar tax in Ireland, in place from 1662 until the early 19th cent.
Mid 17th century (in an earlier sense). From hearth + money.
hearth money/ˈhɑːθ ˌmʌni/
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