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Originally tithes were payments made in kind (crops, wool, milk etc.),
comprising an agreed proportion of the yearly produce from farming
or from a man's labour (ie. a miller). These payments were made by the parishioners for the support of their parish church and its
At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, not only much of the church land,
but in many cases also the accompanying tithes passed into lay ownership.
These tithes became the personal property of the new owners and were traded.
Quite soon after the Dissolution money payments began to be substituted for payments
in kind, a tendency which was accelerated by the enclosure of land, particularly
the Parliamentary Enclosures in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
One of the objects of the Enclosure Acts was to get rid of tithes, and this was achieved either by :
- Allotment of a portion of the land in lieu of tithes.
- By the substitution of a fixed payment.
- By the substitution of a payment based on the price of corn (Corn rent).
Statutory enclosure was not national, but a local affair prompted by the landowners and although much of the country had been enclosed by the early 19th century, tithes were still payable in the majority of parishes, and in 1836 the Goverment decided to commute tithes and standardise them to a money payment.
Tithe Commutation Act 1836 : The principle underlying this Act was the substitution of any remaining payment of tithes in kind, into corn rents, already adopted in many parishes. These money payments became known as Tithe
Tithe commissioners were appointed to make enquiries
in each township and decide which tithe payments had already been merged
into rents and which had not, and consequently to decide what should be the
rent charge for the land where tithes had not already been merged.
The first task for the Commissioners was to discover to what extent commutation had already taken place in a parish (or township in the case of Malhamdale). After local consultation and hopefully finding an agreement between the tithe-owners and landowners, a Tithe Award was drawn up by the Commissioner.
The Tithe Files with the results of the Commissioner's findings are held at the National Archives in Kew
under ref. IR
18 and MLHG photographed them and have now transcribed the schedules onto tables, as a useful source of information
on land ownership and tenancy.
Tithe Files 1845 - 47 : The tithe files for each township in Malhamdale contain 2 schedules :
• 1. Lists owners and occupiers
of land for which the tithes had already been merged.
• 2. Lists owners and occupiers
of land for which a tithe rent charge was to be awarded.
View the National Archives Research Guide for more information about tithes.
Tithe Maps : There are no Tithe maps known to exist for any of the original townships of Kirkby Malhamdale, but North yorkshire Record Office hold a copy of the tithe map for Coniston Cold.
The Township map links to individual pages containing both schedules.
[Note: corrections to original documents are duplicated in the transcription.]
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