Tithe maps and their accompanying awards can be particularly useful for studying local and community history, providing a record of the landscape and its inhabitants as they stood in the mid-19th century.
Tithe maps were created as a result of the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836, and most maps therefore date from the late 1830s and 1840s. Tithes were traditionally a tenth of all agricultural produce given by the inhabitants of a parish to support the local clergyman. Under the new Act, land owners could agree to pay a rent-charge instead of tithes. A valuer was appointed to apportion the agreed rent-charge on each plot of land, in the process of which they drew up the detailed maps and the accompanying awards. Some areas of the county (for example former monastic land) were not subject to tithes, so no tithe map exists for these places.
The maps are drawn to varying scales (some very large, others quite modest), but each map has fields, buildings and other plots of land numbered. The award (sometimes referred to as an apportionment or schedule) refers to these numbers, listing the land owner, the occupier or tenant, nature of property and field names, area, land use and state of cultivation and the rent payable.
To request a PDF copy of our Guide to Sources No.3 Tithe Maps and Awards, please email Staffordshire Record Office.
You can now view the Staffordshire tithe maps on the Staffordshire Pasttrack website. If you wish to purchase a tithe map image use the "Add to basket" button on the page for the relevant map. Images cost £10.00 each.