The Tithe Map and Apportionment (Continued)

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The reader should beware the terms owner and occupier, they may hide a more complex relationship such as lease holders being described as owners. In the Swansea award, landowners are listed by surname first, but occupiers are listed by their first names. confusion can easily arise when readers unearth the likes of William Isaac and Thomas Hugh and caution will always be necessary when working with names.

The most widely used piece of the tithe survey is , of course, the map. Maps are generally the first source consulted by anyone interested in local history and the tithe map has much to commend it in this respect. the lack of any suitable large scale maps in the 1830s meant that the Commissioners initiated their own surveys. The tithe maps had to be at a sufficiently large scale to show every field and parcel of tithable land. The Commissioners suggested that the opportunity presented by the Act should be used to undertake a general cadastral survey of the whole country, but it seems that Parliament declined on the basis of expense.

The Ordnance Survey did not prepare the first large scale plans of the country until the 1870s (when incidentally the total cost was considerably higher) and these were all at the same scale of 1:2500 or twenty-five inches to the mile. The scale of tithe plans varies between twelve and twenty-five inches to the mile. Some of the tithe maps are very large indeed, and may cover as much as a hundred square feet. The maps are not as detailed as Ordnance Survey maps, with new place names and fine details. Features such as buildings and streams can be can be somewhat generalised. Much place name information can be gained from the accompanying schedule. The maps are liberally covered with numbers corresponding to each tithable parcel itemised in the schedule. Thus to get the best use of the map, reference must ultimately be made to the schedule with all the problems that brings.

In the past the maps have been considered accurate enough to be produced as legal documents in questions of title to land. Swansea’s tithe map compares very favourably with the somewhat later twenty five inch first Edition Ordnance Survey map. Three statutory copies of both Award and Map were prepared. The original was kept in the custody of the Tithe Redemption Commission, now transferred to the Inland Revenue Group of the Public Record Office at Kew. One copy was kept in the parish to which it related, and a further copy was lodged with the Diocesan Bishop. In Wales, the diocesan copies are now at the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. In Glamorgan’s case the parish copies have now been lodged with the County Record Office in Cardiff, or in the case of West Glamorgan, at the County Hall Record Office in Swansea.

More about the Tithe Map and Apportionment



The View for Sunday October 15 2000

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