Tithe Map

   The 1839 Tithe Apportionment and Map

The tithe was an annual payment of an agreed proportion (originally one-tenth) of the yearly produce of the land, which was payable by parishioners to the parish church, to support it and its clergyman. Originally tithes were paid ‘in kind’ (wool, milk, honey, fish, barley etc.). By 1836 tithes were still payable in most of the parishes in England and Wales, but the    Government had decided on the commutation of tithes—in other words, the substitution of money payments for payment ‘in kind’ all over the country— and the Tithe Commutation Act was passed in 1836. A survey of the whole of England and Wales was undertaken in the decade or so after 1836, to establish boundaries of land, acreage of fields, and states of   cultivation, and parish or district tithe maps showing all plots subject to tithe were produced. The date for Thornbury’s survey was 20th July 1839.

What is a Tithe Apportionment?

When an overall value for the tithe in a parish or district had been determined, the tithe  rent-charge had to be apportioned fairly among the lands of differing quality and various uses in the parish, and for this purpose a tithe apportionment linked to the map was drawn up.   In the case of Thornbury, William Routly of Kilkhampton and John Mallet of Great Torrington were appointed as valuers.*  For Thornbury the gross rent charge payable to the Titheowner in lieu of Tithes was set as £235 10s.  There were 223.62018 Bushels of Wheat, 396.63158 Bushels of Barley and 570.90909 Bushels of Oats grown (surprisingly these were given as decimal parts of the Imperial Bushel)  Wheat was priced at 7s 0¼d per Bushel,     Barley at 3s and 11½d and Oats at 2s 9d.  The document then goes on to name all of the landowners and occupiers in order to apportion the charges as a type of land tax.

*(In 1841 John Mallet was a Land Agent born about 1771 living in Peters Marland and William Routly was a farmer born about 1786 in Holsworthy and living in Kilkhampton.)

As well as the digitised Tithe map, I have a digitised copy of the Apportionment Document, although this has not yet been transcribed for Thornbury so is not searchable.  However, if you know the number of the field from the map, it is an easy matter to find this number on the document and see who owned and held to land.

Woodacott common tithe map

Small detail view from the Tithe Map, showing the area around Woodacott Common


Here are the first four pages of the Tithe Apportionment document, showing who made it, and some typical entries:







Need more details ?

If anyone would like to look at their current house or location on the map and find out who lived there in 1839, then please email via the Tatler.



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