A tithe was a tax which required a tenth of all agricultural produce to be paid annually to support the local church and its clergy. After the reformation when some church land was taken into private hands then the lay owners became the recipients of the tithe payments. By the start of the 19th century the payment of tithes became unpopular and payment in in kind was considered a rather outdated practice. In 1836 the Tithe Commutation Act was passed which allowed the converting of the tithes previously paid in kind to be changed to a monetary payment known as a rentcharge.
Tithe Commissioners were appointed to administer the act and assistant commissioners visited parishes to ascertain the extent of landowner’s holdings, their ability to pay tithe and agree valuations which resulted in a tithe agreement. A document known as a tithe apportionment showing each landowner’s liabilities was then produced along with a map showing the extent of individual holdings.
In Goudhurst and Kilndown the tithe apportionment dates from 1842 and includes the following information.
Names of landowners; names of the occupiers; plot numbers; name or description and type of crop in the individual plots; the amount of rentcharge payable.
The local history society has transcribed these documents which can be viewed by opening the link to the appropriate PDF file below.
Original copies of the apportionments and maps for Kent are held at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone. Click here for further information.
See also the research guide from The National Archives.