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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 89  1974  page 108
The Tithe Commutation Surveys in Kent  By Roger J.P. Kain, B.A., Ph.D.

summaries are of much earlier date. At Bicknor the summary was obtained from ‘an old survey’, while at Maidstone it was computed ‘from an old map’.25
A recent statement about the summaries has been made by Elwyn Cox. He considered that although the actual acreages may sometimes be inaccurate, the proportions of arable, pasture, wood and the like are stated with reasonable accuracy.26  It is possible to make some further assessment of the accuracy of the summaries by comparing them with land-use data obtained from the schedules of apportionment. The schedules describe the state of cultivation and list the measured acreage of every parcel of land. By summating these it is possible to obtain an accurate summary of the total acreage of various types of land in a parish. Such a comparison has been made for a sample of 41 Kent parishes containing 93,570 acres, or 9.4 per cent of the county area. A null hypothesis was set up to the effect that there is no difference between the tithe-apportionment estimates and the summated totals from the schedules of apportionment. A non-parametric Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test was employed and for each class of land use the null hypothesis was accepted.27  This confirms Cox’s belief that there is no systematic bias towards over- or under-estimation of the acreage of particular categories of land. While for most parishes the two sets of data show a close correspondence, there are some discrepancies that could, 

for example, lead  to an incorrect classification of parishes in detailed  choropleth mapping. With blocks of parishes, inaccuracies cancel each other out; for individual parishes errors may be very real.
   For the purpose of the tithe act, an owner of land meant any person in the actual possession or receipt of the rents and profits of land, so it is almost certain that some mortgagees and tenants for life were assumed to be owners at tithe commutation. In reply to a question about whether the Tithe Commission investigated a person’s interest in a parcel of land, Wiffiam Blamire, a Tithe Commissioner, replied, ‘Oh dear, no!28  A check on the names of occupiers listed in the apportionment can be made with parish rate books. Rate books not only list the names of occupiers of land but record the acreage of their holdings. A further check is provided by the census enumerators’ books compiled by the censuses of 1841 and 1851. These record, house by house, the names of everyone living in a parish or enumeration district at the time of the census and, in 1851, also record the acreage of farms.
   25  P.R.O. I.R.18/3506, 3699.
26  E. A. Cox, An agricultural Geography of Essex c. 1840, unpublished University of London M.A. thesis, 1963, 41.
27  S. Siegel, Nonparametric Statistics, New York, 1956, 75—83.
28  In evidence before Registration of Title and Sale and Transfer of Land Commission, P.P.S(H.G.), xxi (1857 2nd session), appendix D.

Page 108

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