What are Tithe and Inclosure Maps?
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw the formation of
most of the English landscape as we see it today.
The main sources of information for these changes are maps
documenting the details of inclosure in the late 18th and early
19th centuries and the mid 19th century assessment of holdings
during the survey of the Tithe Commissioners. The Tithe
Survey represented the first systematic mapping survey that covered
most of England and Wales. This website also includes
some estate maps where they have been digitised.
These maps and awards originated as a result of
Parliamentary Acts of Inclosure, particularly those undertaken from
the 18th century onwards. Maps were not a required part of the
inclosure process until 1801 so not all inclosure acts have
The Acts set out procedures where, for example, medieval open
fields were enclosed into newly laid out field parcels. They also
made provision for new roads which provided access to fields and
documented who was responsible for boundaries. In many cases Tithe
payments were abandoned at this stage in favour of compensation to
Image inset above: Detail
from Badsey Inclosure map 1812
Where there is a Nineteenth century Inclosure map for a parish,
there is usually not a Tithe map. This is the case for much
of the south-east of Worcestershire.
Inclosure maps are generally the proposed layout of the fields
and may not be what actually happened when the land was finally
Tithe Maps and Apportionment Documents
These maps form part of the process undertaken by the Tithe
Commutation Act of 1836. Access
the Tithe Commutation Act. Most of the maps were completed in
Image inset right: Detail of the Ombersley Tithe
The main task of this act, and the commissioners appointed as a
result, was the replacement of Tithe payment in kind, with a system
which calculated a monetary value for individual parcels or
apportionments of land. To achieve this the land of each parish had
to be surveyed in order to establish the titheable value.
The Tithe Apportionment document gives information
about the land owner, the tenant, the name or description of the
land, the land use and the rent paid for every piece of land in the
These documents are often stitched to the map and kept rolled up
with the map, making them quite difficult to use.
An Explanation of Tithes
Tithes were paid as one tenth part of all produce from a
particular piece of land. They date back as far as the Eighth
century and continued up until the Eighteenth and Nineteenth
centuries. The Tithe Commutation Act, passed in 1836 in order
to stop disputes over payment of Tithes, substituted the payment in
kind with a financial value based on a seven year average of the
price of crops (wheat, barley and oats).
Tithe payments were made to the tithe-owner(s), which was often
the Church, although lords of manors were also included. After the
Reformation land previously in the possession of the Church, and
the tithes due on it, was granted to lay owners, called
Local Agents, working for the Tithe Commissioners, surveyed the
parish and produced three copies of each map, one for the diocesan
registry, one for the parish and the Commissioner's copy. Not every
parish has a tithe map.
Where the tithes were commuted as part of an earlier Inclosure Act
there is no tithe map.
Worcestershire Record Office holds surviving parish and diocesan
copies and the Tithe Commissioners' copies are held at The
National Archives in Kew.
Further information about the Tithe Survey (and many other
subjects) can be found on the National Archives website.
the National Archives website, in the research section where a
Tithes Research Guide is available. Access
the research section.
Where there is no tithe or inclosure map, or where local groups
have included these in the projects we have undertaken on their
behalf, these are included on the website. These maps do not
usually cover a whole parish, although they might, and they may
only contain the information that the person who commissioned them
wanted to show. Information recorded in any documentation,
when the map was drawn, is joined to the GIS map but the type of
information recorded with each map may not be consistent across all
estate maps, for example not all maps record tenant names or field
names for all fields shown on the map.
This page was last reviewed 8 November 2013 at 16:50.
The page is next due for review 7 May 2015.