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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 89  1974  page 106
The Tithe Commutation Surveys in Kent  By Roger J.P. Kain, B.A., Ph.D.


Fig. 3. The Progress of Tithe Commutation. Source: Six-monthly and later annual Returns of Agreements, Awards and Apportionments confirmed by the Tithe Commissioners, P.P.(H.C.), 1837—8,             
 XXXVIII to 1854—5, XLI.                  

example, no fewer than 63 agreements were confirmed during the first year. This contrast was due in large part to the widespread practice of collecting tithe in kind in Kent.16
   The Tithe Commissioners encouraged voluntary agreements and, at first, only imposed awards in districts where litigation was in progress or other difficulties encountered. Not until 1842, did the number of awards exceed the number of agreements in one year.17  At all times, the confirmation of apportionments lagged behind the confirmation of rentcharges. This caused some

complaint but at all times the Tithe. Commissioners upheld the privilege of tithe payers to apportion rent-charges by agents of their own selection.18  Critics of the Tithe Commissioners may  have complained of inactivity and delay; yet in Kent, 75 per cent of settlements were completed within six years of the confirmation of the first agreement. Here at least, the declaration by the commissioners that, ‘we have to repeat the assurance that the whole process of commutation is proceeding tranquilly and harmoniously’, seems fully justified.19
   By July, 1849, the end of tithe commutation was clearly in sight. But the Commissioners were not so confident of an early completion of apportionment. ‘The conduction of this operation constitutes the greater part of our Office work at present, and will continue to press upon us until our labours close. Deaths among the persons appointed
  16  P.P.S. (HJJ.), xxviii (1837—8), 189, 213; xvi (1839), 335; Boys, op. cit., in note 7, 34—9.
  
17  Six-monthly and later annual returns published in P.P.S (H.C.), xxviii (1837—8) to xli (1854—5).
  
18  P.P.S(H.(J.), xii (1841), 141, xxix (1843), 391.
  
19  P.P.S(H.(J.), xii (1844), 419.

Page 106

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