The 1843 Tithe Map

Tithe maps and tithe apportionments

A tithe was originally a tax which required one tenth of all agricultural produce to be paid annually to support the local church and clergy. In other words they were paid in kind not in money. After the Reformation much land passed from the Church to lay owners who inherited entitlement to receive tithes, along with the land. By the early 19th century tithe payment in kind seemed a very out-of-date practice especially when viewed against a background of industrialisation, religious dissent and agricultural under performance. The 1836 Tithe Commutation Act required tithes to be levied not in kind but to be converted to more convenient monetary payments referred to as a tithe rentcharge. Before such charges could be made it was necessary to establish which areas should be subject to tithes, who owned them, how much was to be payable and to whom. This whole process was referred to as The Tithe Survey.
The first task of the Tithe Commissioners appointed to oversee the administration of the 1836 Act was to discover to what extent commutation (monetary payments) had already taken place. Census returns were used to establish every parish or township to be included in what was referred to as a Tithe File and these covered the whole of England and Wales, and not only those places where tithes remained uncommuted by 1836. For parishes where tithes were still being paid in kind, the land had to be surveyed and valued, to arrive at total parish rentcharge figures, and to calculate each individual landowner’s liability to pay tithe. Assistant tithe commissioners travelled to these parishes to hold meetings with parishioners about valuations, and to settle the terms of the commutation of their tithes.
As a result of these discussions a document called a Tithe Agreement was drawn up, if all parties concurred, or a Tithe Award, if the assistant commissioner had to arbitrate in a dispute. The agreement or award formed the basis of the tithe apportionment, which was the legal document setting out landowners’ individual liabilities. Each apportionment was accompanied by a map. Tithe rentcharge then became payable.
Thus three documents came into being. These were
• Tithe apportionments which provide the names of landowners and occupiers, land use and (sometimes) tithe rentcharge.
• Tithe maps which showed numbered plots described in the apportionments.
• Tithe files which contained the administrative records created while the Tithe Survey was being carried out.
It is usually only the first two of these documents that are consulted.

Tithe map of Bradwell (but excluding most of Smalldale and of the Hills)

The 1843 Tithe Map of Smalldale

Val Hall produced enlarged copies consisting of four overlapping sections of the Tithe Map for Smalldale stretching from Micklow Lane up to Cresswell Part Lane. She then annotated the maps with information from the apportionments. She crosshatched dwelling places: crofts, houses and also barns. Thus plot 355b was owned by George Elliott and let to William Broadbent. The roads were shaded yellow.

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