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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 89  1974  page 102
The Tithe Commutation Surveys in Kent  By Roger J.P. Kain, B.A., Ph.D.

or commutation that would satisfy all parties, is perhaps impossible’.In the event, Russell’s formula did satisfy most parties for the majority of Kent commutations were voluntary agreements. After only seven years, 359 of the 407 rentcharges had been confirmed by the tithe commissioners in London and 311 apportionments made. By the end of 1848, tithe commutation in Kent was virtually complete.
   The general method by which commutation was conducted is described elsewhere.The act required a field-by-field survey of landownership, occupancy and use in each tithe district. This was recorded on the tithe maps and in the tithe apportionments. Also, details of cropping and descriptions of local agricultural practices were needed for the calculation of rentcharges and these have often been preserved in parish tithe files. The aim of this paper is to examine the extent and progress of commutation in Kent and to analyse the nature and accuracy of the Kent tithe surveys.

   Fig 1 and Fig 2 show that apportionments and maps are extant for almost all the tithe districts of Kent. No tithes were payable from the ex-parochial vile of Dunkirk, while all the tithes of St. Thomas, Isle of Harty, Poulton in east Kent, and the vacant rectory of Stonar had been merged in the land. At Queenborough, the only agriculturally productive land was 250 acres used exclusively for grazing and agreed to be 

exempt from tithe. There were also sundry small districts where land was exempt from tithe for  a variety of reasons. For example, 50 acres of Stelling Minnis lay in waste and no titheable produce arose from Canterbury city parishes, Rochester cathedral precincts, and Dover castle.10  In total, just 10,000 acres lay in districts excluded from the tithe surveys. Kent can thus be ranked alongside counties like Devon and Cornwall where about 99 per cent of tithe districts have apportionments and maps.11 
   The titheable land of Kent was divided into 407 districts for the purpose of commutation, and almost all of these were co-extensive with ecclesiastical parishes. West Barming, Kidbrooke and Mottingham were extra-parochial places, while the town of Folkestone and the village of Lidsing were distinguished as separate tithe districts.12  The boundaries of tithe districts shown on Figs. 1, 2 and 4—6 are those indicated on the
  John Boys, A General View 0/the Agriculture of Kent, 1796, 37.
   EL C. Prince, ‘The Tithe Surveys of the mid-nineteenth Century’, Agricultural History Review, vii (1959), 14—26; Prince and Kain, op. cit., in note 1.
  9   P.R.O. I.R.18/3405, 3758, 3831, 3819 and 3761.
 10  P.R.O. I.R.18/3811f, 3540, 3769 and 3402.
 11  Roger J. P. Kain, The Land of Kent in the Middle of the nineteenth Century, unpublished University of London Ph.D. thesis, 1973, frontispiece map.
 12  P.P.s(H.C.), lxiv (1887), 329—39.

Page 102 

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