|Tithes were originally a tax of one tenth of all produce which was payable
to the local clergyman by his parishioners. They were payable in kind, that
is as sacks of wheat, a pig etc., and were not easy to collect. By the early
19th century, there was a lot of pressure to get these tithes in kind to
be commuted to cash payments. The Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 provided
the framework for this to happen by requiring that detailed maps be drawn
up, indicating who owned which plot of land and to whom the tithe was payable.
The tithe maps and apportionments produced under this Act provide a detailed
picture of the owners and occupiers of the land within individual parishes.
The map indicates the boundaries of individual fields and the existence of buildings, such as barns and stables, as well as dwellings. Each of the properties is identified by a number, which is shown on the map, and buildings are shaded red for dwellings, or grey for barns, outbuildings etc.. Rivers and ponds are shaded in blue on the original map. The apportionments should identify both the owner and occupier of each numbered property, with a description or name for each property and the area covered. [The area is given in acres, roods and poles - there are 4 roods in one acre and 40 poles in one rood]. The apportionments should also indicate whether a field is arable, pasture or woodland. A list of cottages and tenements exempt from tithe by agreement is often included in the apportionments list, with details of the owners and occupiers.
Although the tithe maps are very detailed, the information is not necessarily accurate. The Act did not insist that a new survey be carried out, and in some cases old surveys of doubtful accuracy were used to save expense. However, many of the maps produced for parishe of Aberavon appears to be substantially accurate. Comparing the tithe map with later Ordnance Survey maps shows that many of the field boundaries and wooded areas remain unchanged into the 20th century.
1840 Tithe. Aberavon.
The complete map measures roughly 1600 mm. square in size.
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At Velindre 1840 Tithe.