1840 Tithe Commutation Act

The tithe was a tenth of the produce from the land and was paid by landholders and tenants to the Church. In medieval times the tithe was paid in kind. But assessment, collection, storage and disposal of tithe goods became increasingly impractical. From the seventeenth century, parishes commuted their tithes into more convenient rent payments. In 1836, Parliament passed The Commutation Act, which ordered the universal replacement of tithes by rent charges.

The Tithe Commutation Act 1836 settled a major irritation in rural society and enabled agricultural investment to be planned on a more rationale basis. The TCA converted traditional tithes — based on a tenth of the produce of land — into rent charge payments based on the prevailing price of grain. The septennial price was used for commutation. Coppice wood was separately valued. By this change, the tithe no longer acted as a tax on yield. 

[Based on Maps and Apportionments and the 1836 Act: A guide for local historians. EJ Evans and AG Crosby. British Association of Local Historians 1997.]

On the eighteenth of March 1840, Robert Russel, a valuer from Brackley, began a survey of Finmere parish and a series of meetings with landowners and tenants. On the last day of August, agreement was reached:

The annual sum of four Hundred and Fifty Seven Pounds … shall be payable and paid to the said William Jocelyn Palmer as Rector…

After approval of the agreement by the Tithe Commissioners, Finmere tithes were paid as rents. In pursuing this agreement, Russel produced two documents of major importance to research into Finmere’s history:

The maps are based on the 1840 Tithe Map, redrawn by Andy Boddington.