Tithe Records

THE CILCENNIN PARISH TITHE RECORD OF 1840

TITHE MAPS 4 No. Loose sheets of A2 size, overlap to cover the parish.
TITHE SCHEDULES 25 No. Sheets of A3 size, clipped together.

Both the above are copies from the National Library and are held by the Secretary to be available for reference at all evening meetings or otherwise if contacted. Alternatively these sheets can be found in the South Reading Room of the National Library for reference or from which to obtain copies at modest cost.

General History

Tithes existed from the early middle ages principally as a ‘support tax’ for the Church and its administration. Land occupiers and tradesmen were required to provide dues assessed at one tenth of their produce, earnings or output, directly to the local church organisation as an established right. Toward the end of the 15th Century and into the 16th the Monarchy and Gentry envied this potential for income and began a piecemeal local appropriation of these rights.

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII between 1536 and 1541 this became widespread so that these rights were reallocated overall between the Crown, the Gentry and the Established Church,the later giving cause for concern among the Non-Conformists. Over time the actualities of collecting, storing and distributing became more onerous. In 1836 the Government initiated the Tithe Commutation Act for England and Wales directing that such material tithes were to be replaced by money rents. The Tithes Commission directed map making to record all relevant dwellings, enclosures and fields and from thiscompiled listings of land and dwelling ownership or occupation. For this parish these were completed and issued on the 22nd September 1840 as a Tithe Map and Schedules of Appointment.

For any area such documents provide an extremely useful record of land and social distribution at the given time. These maps were some of the earliest made for most areas but are more or less contemporary with some of the first Ordnance Survey initiatives. The tithe maps overall are of variable accuracy being dependant upon the efficiencies or otherwise of the locally appointed agents. Some will have been energetic in actual land survey others may have copied all or parts from whatever mappings might have been to hand. The actual plot could therefore show boundaries of variable accuracy and of dates prior to that tithe apportionment date.

THE TITHE MAP

This copy has four parts which overlap to show a landscape recognisable in its layout and place names as comparable to current maps. The numbered locations , 678 in total, all correlate with the rental entries in the Schedules.

THE SCHEDULES OF APPORTIONMENT

These twenty five pages include two pages of definitive introduction. Followed by twenty pages of listings of 52 owners and 62 occupiers, with reference numbers,place names and rent quantities due. Then by two pages in summary of occupiers under each ownership and the total rental dues of each owner and occupier. Concluding with a ‘signing off’ sheet by the Agent .The total rent incomes benefit is divided equally in thirds, £53. 6. 8. annually with some hint for inflationary adjustment, to each as follows…

  • The Vicar, the Rev. James James.
  • The Hon. George Lawrence Vaughan of Cwnnewidion.
  • Richard Price Esq. of Knighton in the county of Radnor

The total parish area is given as 3400 acres of which 1400 are Arable land 200 are Meadow land,1400 are Pasture land,100 are Woodland and 300 are Mountain or uncultivated land

A general observation

The implementation date of 1840 is coincidently close to the first full Census date of 1841. We should therefore find a very full correlation between these Schedule names and locations with those in that Census.An interesting exercise particularly for any whose present property is identifiable in the Schedule.

A postscript from an undated article in Ceredigion Library newspaper cuttings ‘Cardiganshire Bygones’

In 1287 tithes of about twelve parishes were withdrawn to provide prebends or canonries in the collegiate church of Llandewi Brefi, one of these being Llanbadarn-Cilcennin (Llanbadarn Trefeglys – Cilcennin) In 1536 a prebendary, valued at £12 per annum, is named as to Edmundus Bonner, Doctor of Civil Law, elsewhere recorded as Chaplain to Cardinal Wolsey and in 1539 as Bishop of London.

This is an example of diversion of tithe income, firstly fom local to regional benefit and later in expropriation to officials who have no active connection to the original parish. Nationally this was a partial but significant erosion of the local benefit of tithe income over several hundred years. The acquisitive recipiants could include Gentry and Nobles of high appointment as well as Clerics. It would seem no coincidence in the above account that 1536 is a key date in the Dissolution of the Monastries. But this erosive abuse of the tithe system continued after that date and would I surmise have been of significance in the needs for the Tithe Commutation Act as noted above for 1836.