KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 89  1974  page 107
The Tithe Commutation Surveys in Kent  By Roger J.P. Kain, B.A., Ph.D.

to apportion, and other causes of delay, may prolong a few of these cases. Still, we see ground for expecting that we shall get through this work by August, 1851.20  In Kent, with one or two exceptions, they did achieve this aim.
   Fig 1 and Fig 2 show the distribution of apportionments and maps which fall into various time categories. The maps highlight facts which have important consequences for reconstructions of the Kent landscape based upon tithe surveys. They show clearly that a majority of surveys were carried out in the three years, 1839, 1840 and 1841, i.e. c. 1840. But, there were often differences, sometimes of ten years or more, between the dates of survey of adjoining parishes. For example, within five miles of Canterbury, apportionments of rentcharges were carried out over a fifteen-year period from 1837 to 1852. Comparison of 
Fig 1 and Fig 2 also shows that the apportionments of some parishes were confirmed many years after the maps were made.

The Kent apportionments are of the standard form described by Prince.21  Before they are used as a source to reconstruct elements of the landscape, c. 1840, some assessment of their accuracy must be made. In particular, three questions may be asked. Firstly, how reliable are the summaries of parish land-use given in the preambles to the schedules of apportionment? Secondly, are the

names entered in the ownership and occupation columns those of the true owners and occupiers of land? Thirdly, what were the criteria upon which land was classified according to use?
   There is considerable doubt about the accuracy of the summary land-use statistics given in the tithe apportionments.22  In many cases, they are estimates and so inaccuracy can occur through misestimation. Further, the summaries often refer to a time earlier than the date of award and sometimes only include titheable land. The date of confirmation of the agreement or award for commutation is inscribed on the first page of the tithe apportionment. However, the date of the land-use summaries is rarely recorded in the apportionment. Occasionally, it is stated in the tithe file. For example, the summary for Folkestone was taken from a survey made in 1830, while at Midley it was computed from the tithe map.23  More commonly, the summaries are prefaced by statements such as, ‘by recent survey’, ‘by actual survey’, ‘by new survey’, or ‘by admeasurement’.24 Other statements suggest that some
  20  P.P.8(H.C.), xxii (1849), 549.
21  21 Prince, op. cit., in note 8.
22  Kain, op. cit., in note 11, 93—102.
23  P.R.O. I.R.18/3603, 3710.
23  P.R.O. I.R.18/3560, 3407, 3711.

Page 107

Previous Page                  Back to Page listings               Next Page     

Back to Contents page   Back to Arch. Cant. List   Back to Publications On-line  Back to Research Page  Back to Homepage

 Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society November 2003

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs.  Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so
 that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details to