Cheshire Tithe Maps now available to search online

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As of April 2008, all of the Cheshire tithe maps were available to search and view online. Digitising Cheshire Tithe apportionments and Cheshire Tithe maps has been a major project involving over 80 volunteers from around the world. Several other counties are in the process of digitizing tithe maps and some have put the results of their tithe map projects online.

We also have news on the Yorkshire Tithe Map project.


What are tithes and tithe maps?

In the ancient feudal system that existed in England from medieval times, each church and its clergyman was paid for by the local community. The payments, or tithes were taken from people in the community who owned land and were usually paid in the form of food or goods that represented a tenth of the yield of the land. This was already changing in the early 1800s, but change was accelerated by an act of parliament, the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836, which started off a process that produced tithe maps. 

For more information on tithes and the tithe commutation act and how tithe maps and tithe apportionments were drawn up see the Tithes and tithe maps class in the Family Tree Folk free family history course.  

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What information does a Cheshire tithe map provide?

Each individual Cheshire tithe map is a very detailed map that shows the layout of each township with the land and houses shown in relation to other features such as roads, rivers, streams, trees, woodland, and so on.

Each plot on the tithe map is numbered and the number corresponds to the number given to the person in the tithe apportionment who owned that particular plot of land. Houses are usually blocked out in red, with other buildings show in black.

The Cheshire Tithe maps that are included on the Cheshire Tithe Map Project website are scanned images from the diocesean copy of the original tithe map. 

What information does a Cheshire tithe apportionment provide? 

Each entry in the tithe apportionments of Cheshire shows the number of acres owned by each individual for the purposes of deciding how much tithe they were due to pay. Each entry is given a number which corresponds to a number on the map which shows the actual layout of the land belonging to the owner. 

Cheshire tithes

Cheshire tithes were all based on areas that corresponded to individual townships. Most townships in Cheshire have tithe maps but there are a few exceptions.

  • Those formed from Delamer forest were exempt from paying tithes (because this was a Royal forest). These townships included Delamere, Eddisbury, Kingswood and Oakmere.
  • Other townshhips were exempt because they had been declared not subject to tithes (Birkenhead, Chester Castle, Huntington, Iddinshall, Priors Hey, Shotwick Park, Stanlow and Threapwood. These places existed on land that used to belong to the Crown, or to land formerly housing monasteries.
  • Croxton, Great Satnney, Ince, Poynton, Ravenscroft, Sutton, Weaver, Wimboldsley and Wirswall also had no tithe map because their tithes were merged before the Act of Commutation in 1836.


Ancient parishes of Cheshire
Tithe Commutation Act 1836
Cheshire Tithe maps online

Of the rest of the townships in Cheshire, the tithe act was implemented. For 239 townships in Cheshire, the people had already agreed voluntarility to convert their tithes but no such agreement could be reached in the remaining 213. The Tithe Commissions in charge of the process in London, and their local assistants in Cheshire were empowered to make compulsory agreements in these cases, but, on the whole, they did their best to be very fair. Once it had been agreed one way or the other what was payable and by whom, the apportionment followed the tithe map.

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