HMHG use a piece of software called QGIS for mapping and LIDAR imaging and during the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 we decided to see what else the software could do! So we thought about mapping the Tithe Survey of the 19th century onto a base map and making it interactive. This involved using photos of the tithe map and schedule and slowly mapping each field or asset onto the modern day mapping, a difficult job as many fields or assets had changed shape over the decades and also due to the fact that the maps had several unreadable areas meaning several assets are unfortunately missing from the map. After many hours drawing the assets over the modern mapping, an interactive map enabling the user to click on each asset and see the asset details from the schedule was created as a web page, together with various 3D maps of the area. Another interactive map shows the types of field usage in the project area. You may notice that spellings are not always as expected but the schedule has been transcribed as written with no corrections for obvious errors.
This was just the first phase of the project. A second phase will hopefully enable the user to fully search the mapping and create their own version of the map based on their own search criteria, e.g. show all the assets belonging to a specific landowner etc. Work is also being carried out on an interactive version of the map web page for mobile devices enabling the user to view their position on the tithe map when walking out and about in Tottington Lower End. This will hopefully be online soon!
What was the Tithe Survey?
The payment of tithes was a tax on the landowners of the lands in each parish payable to the Church in order to support the local church and clergy. Typically one tenth of all agricultural produce was paid to the church by the landowners. After the Reformation, the land once owned by the Church passed to lay owners who took over the right to receive the tithes as well as the land.
At the turn of the 19th century, the payment of the tithe tax became very unpopular across the country and as such in 1836 the Tithe Commutation Act was brought in so that the tithe tax could be paid in “cash” rather than in kind (i.e. wheat, corn, animals etc). Some areas of the country had already converted the payment of tithes from “kind” to “cash” but other areas were still using the out-dated payment in “kind”.
In order to calculate the value of the land to be taxed by the new tithe act, a land survey was undertaken on all the areas of the country that were still paying tithes by “kind”. The survey arrived at a total parish rentcharge figure and calculated each landowner’s total charge of tithe. The tithe commissioners travelled to each area surveyed and met with local landowners and parishioners to agree the terms of the commutation of the tithes.
Once agreed, the agreement was drawn up in a document entitled the Tithe Agreement, however, if any dispute had had to be dealt with the document was entitled the Tithe Award. These documents laid out the landowners responsibilities to pay the tithes in a tithe apportionment. A map was drawn up which was kept along with the apportionment or schedule.
Tottington Lower End Tithe Survey
Below is the text as transcribed from the pages at the beginning of the schedule.
We the undersigned, LAND COMMISIONERS FOR ENGLAND, do by the Order under our Hands, in virtue of the power vested in us by the Act of the 23 and 24 Vic. cap. 93, intituled ”An Act to amend and further extend the Acts for the Commutation of Tithes in England and Wales,” direct that the Map annexed to the instrument of Apportionment of the Rentcharge in lieu of Tithes for the township of Tottington Lower End in the parish of Bury in the County of Lancaster shall be detached and held separate from the said Instrument.
As Witness our Hands this Twenty-fifth day of March in the year One thousand eight hundred and eighty six.
Now I Joseph Urmson
of Little Houlton in the County of Lancaster
having been duly appointed Valuer to apportion the total Sum agreed to be paid by way of Rent Charge in lieu of Tithes, amongst the several Lands of the said Township of Tottington Lower end
Do HEREBY apportion the Rent Charge as follows :-
GROSS RENT CHARGE payable to the Titheowners in lieu of Tithes for the Township of Tottington Lower end in the Parish of Bury in the County of Lancaster Sixty two Pounds and five shillings
£ . s . d
To the Rector of Bury & in equal Moities 62 . 5 . 0
To the Rector of Prestick cum Oldham
Value of Imperial Bushels and Decimal Parts of an Imperial Bushel of Wheat, Barley, and Oats
Price per Bushel. Bushels and Decimal Parts.
WHEAT 7 0¼ 59, 10979
BARLEY 3 11½ 104, 84210
OATS 2 9 150, 90909
Apportionment of the RENT-CHARGE in lieu of TITHES in the Township of Tottington Lower end in the Parish of Bury in the County of Lancaster
Whereas and Agreement for the COMMUTATION of TITHES in the Township of Tottington Lower end in the Parish of Bury in the County of Lancaster was, on the seventeenth day of December in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty eight, confirmed by the Tithe Commisioners for Engand and Wales, of which Agreement, with the Schedule thereunto annexed, the following is a Copy :-
Provisional Articles of Agreement for the Commutation of Tithes in the Township of Tottington Lower end in the Parish of Bury in the County of Lancaster in pursuance of the Act for the Commutation of Tithes in England and Wales made and executed at a meeting duly called and holden in the said Township on the thirteenth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight ( and since perfected ) By and Between the several Persons owners of Land within the said Township by whom or by whose Agents duly authorised in that behalf these Presents are executed and the interest of which Landowners in the Lands of the said Township is not less than two thirds of the Lands therein subject to Tithes of the one Part and The Reverand Geoffrey Hornby Clerk Rector of the Parish of Bury aforesaid and The Reverand Thomas Blackburn Clerk Rector of the Parish of Prestwick cum Oldham in the said County which said Rectors as such are Owners in equal moieties of all the Tithes as well great as small in the said Township of the other Part.
It is hereby agreed that the annual sum of Sixty Two Pounds five shillings by way of Rent Charge subject to the Provisions of the said Act shall be paid to the said Geoffrey Hornby and Thomas Blackburn and to their respective Successors in equal moieties instead of all Easter Offerings moduses and compositions real and prescriptive and customary Payments payable in respect of all the Lands is contained in the Schedule hereunto annexed.
And it is further agreed that the Lands included in the Agreement shall be discharged from the Payment of Tithes except as excepted in the said Act from the first day of January next preceeding the confirmation of the Apportionment and that the first half yearly Payment of such Rent Charge shall be made or be recoverable on the expiration of Six Calendar months from the time from which the said lands are discharged from the Payment of Tithes.
In Testimony whereof the said Parties to these Presents or their respective Agents thereunto duly authorised in their names and on their behalf to these Presents have subscribed and set their respective hands and seats.
Schedule to the above Provisional Articles of Agreement
The whole Township of Tottington Lower end aforesaid contains by estimation Five thousand and thirty eight acres one rood and thirty three perches of Statute measure.
The whole Quantity of the Lands of the said Township which are subject to the Payment of any kind of Tithe is by estimation Three thousand nine hundred and forty five acres and eighteen perches of Statute measure.
The whole quantity of Land subject to Tithes within the said Township which is cultivated as Arable land is by estimation one hundred and thirty six acres and nine perches of Statute measure.
The whole quantity of Land subject to Tithes within the said Township cultivated as meadow or pasture land is by estimation three thousand eight hundred and nine acres and nine perches of Statute measure.
The whole quantity of Land subject to Tithes within the said Township now cultivated as Woodland is by estimation one hundred and sixty one acres three roods and thirty seven perches of Statute measure.
The whole quantity of Comon Land within the said Township is by estimation Seven hundred and forty nine acres three roods and thirty two perches of statute measure.
The moduses or prescriptive Payment of one penny is payable by all the Parishioners in lieu of Tithe hay within the said Township.
In that part of Tottington which lies in Blackburn Hundred the seventh calf, lamb fleece pig and goose are paid instead of the Tenth. The Wood lands and Common Land within the said Township are by prescription exempt from payment of Tithes as likewise are the Lands occupied by the Sites of Buildings and Curtileges by stone quarries by public roads or by rivers and lodges by the impounding of water for the use of mills.
There are no “Glebe Lands” in the said Township.
Main image used with permission by the Church Commissioners