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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 89  1974  page 117
The Tithe Commutation Surveys in Kent  By Roger J.P. Kain, B.A., Ph.D.

circumstances which frustrated assistant commissioners in their quest for accuracy. Woolley thought three crops to a fallow a fair assessment at Beckenham, but could not get more accurate information as all the farmers had gone to a ploughing match at Chislehurst’.43
   Armed with an estimate of the arable acreage of a tithe district and an opinion of the normal course of cultivation, the assistant commissioners then produced answers to Question 22 which required a statement of the amount of titheable produce and the value of the tithes. For example, at St. Nicholas-at-Wade on 5th July, 1839, Henry Gilbert divided the 1,783 acres of arable into equal portions, considering the normal rotation to be, turnips, barley, clover or beans, wheat, peas or barley, beans, wheat. Then, he calculated the value of the tithes on the basis of 446 acres each of wheat and barley, 334 acres of beans, 223 acres each of turnips and peas, and 111 of clover.44  This system of calculating crop acreages means that a cautious approach must be made when attempting a reconstruction of cropping patterns from tithe files. But the great strength of tithe file crop-data, as with tithe survey data in general, is the similarity of the format in which data are recorded from parish to parish. Fig. 6 shows that tithe files containing cropping data are fairly evenly distributed over the county and so can be used to investigate regional patterns and varieties of cropping practices.45

   An original and two copies of every tithe map and apportionment were produced and certified by the Tithe Commissioners. The originals are now in the custody of the Public Record Office and are stored at their country repository at Ashridge Park, Little Gaddesden, near Berkhamstead, Herts. They can be consulted by arrangement in the Chancery Lane inspection rooms. A copy of the apportionment and map was deposited with the incumbents and churchwardens of each district to be kept in the parish chest. A second copy was deposited with the relevant diocesan registry. The copies have sometimes been lost, damaged, or transferred to county record offices. The Kent Archives Office has a collection of some 174 tithe maps and 184 apportionments for west and mid-Kent parishes. One-hundred and thirty-five are diocesan maps with their apportionments, and there are 39 parish copy maps with 49 apportionments, some of which duplicate the diocesan copies.46  A corresponding series for east Kent is in the custody of the Archivist, Cathedral Archives and Library, Canterbury. The
  43  P.R.O. I.R.18/3501.
44 P.R.O. I.R.18/3731.
45  Kain, op. cit. in note 8, 188—279, Appendix 4.
46  Information kindly supplied by K.A.O. See also Guide to Kent County Archives Office (1958) and first Supplement (1971).

Page 117

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