Tithe Maps


In many parishes, by the mid-19th century the payment of tithes in kind to the church had been converted to money payments, by agreement between tithe owners and local farmers. By the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act all tithes were commuted into a fixed rent charge on each tithable plot of land. Each parish was surveyed and valued and a large-scale map was drawn up, with detailed schedule. Three copies were produced; one sent to the Tithe Redemption Commission (these maps are now at the National Archives, Kew, London), one deposited at the Diocesan Registry, and the third copy retained in the parish.

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Tithe maps were mostly compiled between 1836 and 1846, and are drawn on varying scales, generally three or four chains to the inch (about 25 inches to the mile). They show roads, rivers, and every tithable field and building, each of which is numbered. The schedule or 'apportionment' which accompanies the map identifies each number with the names of the owner and occupier, a description of the plot or building, field names, state of cultivation, acreage, and tithe rent charge. They can therefore provide information on land ownership, size of farms, land use, the age of buildings, commons, roads, and waste land; field names help with the identification of archaeological and industrial sites.

Diocesan or parish copies of tithe maps and apportionments are held for most of the 212 ancient parishes. CRO does not have original diocesan or parish maps for St Allen, Braddock, Gulval, Gwinear, St John and Sithney, but holds photocopies of the Tithe Commissioners' maps for these parishes (the originals are at the National Archives).

The maps will increasingly be made available as high quality digital resources (see Tithe Project) but for the time being some will be accessed via fiche copies or, in a few cases, the original map (catalogue references TM, TA) .

Family and Estate and Parish collections may also contain papers relating to tithes.