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TITHE MAPS AND APPORTIONMENTS

These documents are invaluable for the history of villages, properties, families, agriculture and landscape in England and Wales in the period, 1837 – 1852. They were created as a result of the abolition of the payment in kind of tithes, that is one tenth of annual income, to the church by the Tithe Commutation Act of 1837 and the replacement of this practice by the payment of a money rent. In order to work out how much tithe rent each owner and occupier of any property should pay, a detailed map and accompanying schedule or apportionment had to be drawn up. Tithe maps and apportionments are therefore ‘one-off’ documents, providing a detailed and invaluable snapshot of a parish at a fixed date between 1837 and 1852.

There are a few places in the county, principally in the far north of the county, which were tithe free. This is because the soil was too unproductive to yield a reasonable return.

Each piece of land or property has a reference number, drawn on the map itself, which is also recorded in the accompanying schedule. Against each reference number in the schedule, the following details are recorded: name of the landowner, name of occupier or tenant if applicable, description of property, acreage given in acres, roods and perches and finally the amount of rent charge calculated as payable. The reference numbers are not arranged in numerical order but grouped under the landowners’ names, which are listed alphabetically. Tithe maps are usually at a large scale of 6 chains (1 chain = 22 yards) to 1 inch.

WHERE TO FIND TITHE MAPS

Only three copies of the tithe map and apportionment were produced for any one parish: one for the Tithe Commissioners themselves, one for the diocese and one for the parish. The Tithe Commissioners’ copies are now at the National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

The diocesan copies for Staffordshire and northern Shropshire are at the Lichfield Record Office and form part of the diocesan records. These are the main series of tithe apportionments and maps available locally. See www.staffordshire.gov.uk/archives for information about opening hours.

The Staffordshire Record Office holds the parish copies of tithe maps only where they have been deposited at the Record Office by the parish in question. See www.staffordshire.gov.uk/archives for information about opening hours.

Further reading:

"Tithe Surveys for Historians" by RJP Kain and HC Prince, published by Phillimore, 2000,
(ISBN 1 86077 125 4)

 


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