It is possible to create a picture of the world in which our l7th Century villagers lived, particularly when we can augment the Returns with wills, inventories and parish registers.
One hearth usually implies a house of between 2 and 4 rooms, with no upper floor, which belonged to a labourer or smallholder (husbandman). These men farmed small areas of up to 40 acres, but most farmed far less. A glance at the Returns shows that all those poor people who were exempt had houses of only one hearth.
The wealthier folk in the village lived in houses with two hearths - usually the craftsmen, yeomen and husbandmen with larger acreages. This group was particularly prominent in. We know from other sources that they included: tailors, a blacksmith and a carpenter. There were other trades in the village too, although we don't know the size of their houses: a shoemaker, a miller, a woolcomber, a victualler, a carver and a barber as well as a maltster.
Those with three or more hearths were the wealthiest, with many leaving a large sum of money at their deaths.