1841 maps – Archive (1)

Early Victorian Bingham and the Tithe Apportionment of 1841

Historical Context

By 1841 the Stanhopes had become Earls of Chesterfield and still owned most of Bingham. The other main freehold had passed to the Sherbrookes but by 1841 it had been sold off to various new owners. Victoria acceded to the throne in 1838, canals were being developed all over England and the industrial revolution was well under way. The Grantham Canal opened in 1797 with an extension planned to Bingham but there is no evidence it was ever built. The Poor Law Amendment Act was passed in 1834 in the face of a mounting poverty problem; amongst the leading protagonists for change were Rev Robert Lowe of Bingham and his cousin Rev J T Becher of Southwell. Bingham’s new 200 bed workhouse was opened in 1837 and in 1841 had only 54 inmates. Bingham was still largely an agricultural community but trade and commerce were developing. The scale of corn growing is indicated by the presence of three windmills. Bingham’s population was increasing dramatically. The railway did not arrive until 1851.

Tithe Apportionment

Tithe was a tax paid in kind, to the local church. By the 19th century, the whole system of paying tithes had become confused and was causing much resentment. The Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 replaced payments of tithe in the form of farm produce by a monetary payment. The 1836 Act meant that each field or titheable plot had to be valued and tithe maps and apportionment tables were drawn up for this purpose in all rural parishes in the country. The tithe apportionment is a record of land holdings that accompanies the tithe map. Every plot of land on the tithe map has a number which matches an entry in the apportionment. For every titheable piece of land on the map it lists:

  • Land parcel number
  • the name of the owner
  • the name of the occupier
  • the name of the field or piece of land
  • the type of cultivation
  • the acreage
  • the tithe valuation

The valuation was to be calculated on the basis of a seven-year average price of wheat, barley, and oats, with each grain contributing an equal part to the total. Prices were determined nationally.

The Tithe Commission laid down specific instructions on how the maps should look but few surveyors followed them. Thus over the country maps vary in style as well as in scale and quality. W Brackenbury of Wellow near Ollerton was the surveyor appointed for Bingham. A copy of the original tithe map for Bingham town is at map 1.

The maps appear as a pdf. You will need Adobe reader to view them. The size of the map can be adjusted using tools available in your pdf viewer - the image can be magnified and the hand tool used to scroll around the enlarged map.

Tithe maps were not created to provide an accurate survey of the area. The aim was to show the boundaries of all areas for which tithe was owed, usually fields but also urban plots. The amount of other information given varies from map to map. If something does not appear on a map, it does not mean that it did not exist. The appointed Valuer for Bingham was Edward Woollet Wilmot, gentleman of Worksop.

Two maps of the parish were produced (held in Notts Archives, AT 15/1c, 2c, 3c) – one for the whole parish and a more detailed one for the town centre. The parish map shows the boundaries of woods, fields, roads and waterways and the location of buildings. We used a tracing of this map as a starting point for manually mapping the information given in the 1774 and 1558 documents which are recorded elsewhere in these pages (1586 map and 1776 map).

The Bingham survey was started in 1841 and completed in 1843. The Bingham parish map is at eight chains to the inch (1:6336) and shows the boundaries of woods, fields, roads and waterways and the location of buildings. The village centre was mapped separately at a scale of two chains to the inch (1:1574) and shows houses and other buildings in enough detail to show their shape. The original map shows occupied buildings in red and others (barns etc) in black. The map and apportionment documents are in Nottinghamshire Archives (15/1b, 15/1c, 2c, 3c). We are grateful to the Archives who loaned us monochrome copies for a day and to the British Geological Survey who scanned the maps for use by BHTA’s computerised mapping system (ArcGIS). The tithe map fitted the modern map remarkably well, a testament to the accuracy of Mr Brackenbury although we had to warp the raster maps locally to fit to current boundaries to get good matches for particular features over different years.

BHTA was given permission to take digital photographs of each page of the apportionment. From these all the information was transcribed into an ‘Access’ database. The only exception was column No. 7 giving the apportionment value payable to the Rector for individual plots which was not considered relevant to this study. The schedule also gives a summary showing the total acreage of land in the parish to be 2959 acres, 1 rood. 37 perches with an apportionment value of £1416. 4s. 0d. i.e. about 10/- per acre. This was arrived at by the appointed Valuer, Edward Woollet Wilmot, gentleman of Worksop. He also records the value in Imperial Bushels and Decimal Parts of an Imperial Bushel of Wheat, Barley and Oats, presumably to allow application of the standard seven year averages.

In 1837 it was agreed that tithe maps could be classified as first- or second-class. First-class maps were thought to be accurate enough to serve as legal evidence of boundaries. Maps which had a smaller scale than 4 chains to 1 inch (31.68 metres to 1 centimetre), were not considered for first-class status.

The first apportionment in Bingham began at a meeting:

‘duly called and holden in the said parish on the nineteenth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty one by and between the several persons owners of land within the said parish by whom or by whose agents duly authorised in that behalf these present are executed and the interest of which Landowners in the lands of the said parish is not less than two thirds of the lands therein subject to Tithes of the one part and the Reverend Robert Lowe Rector of the said parish and owner of the Tithes thereof of the other part’

This wording appears at the start of the Articles of Agreement dated eight months later on 31st March 1842 with the document stamped by the Tithe Commissioners a further ten months later on 13th February 1843. On the final page the apportionment is confirmed by the Tithe Commissioners dated 31st March 1843 with the names (but not the signatures) of Wm. Blamire and T. W. Buller. Their seal is then affixed on 8th May 1843. Finally there is a note stating that the document was, ‘Received Deposited in the Registry of the Diocese of Lincoln on 18th May 1843’; a process taking a total of 22 months to complete. Whether this was a typical time taken to complete an apportionment or whether it indicates various complex disputes that needed to be settled, the document gives no indication. The schedule for Bingham contains 42 pages.

The 1841 Census for England was taken on the night of 6 June 1841. Thus it and the apportionment document are many months apart. Because of the time lag, some names of tithe payers will not appear in both documents. It is nonetheless possible to match the majority of the names in the apportionment with names in the census, a task initially carried out in 1964 by the WEA class who went on to found the Bingham Local History Society. We have been able significantly to add to this and also to make some assumptions about the relationship between the lists of names and those in the Trade Directories for 1832, 1835 and 1844.

Part2 of this series of pages gives the detail of the town map and references every building. Many are linked to the contents of the 1841 census.

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