Skip to the content


The glossary terms are outlined below. Please click the + icon to expand to see the answer.

Changes in ownership of land required a new or ‘altered’ apportionment for the parcels of land concerned. A new tithe map sometimes accompanied the altered apportionment.

Annual instalments paid for a fixed number of years to redeem tithe rent charges.

The legal instrument which specifies the amount of tithe rent charge payable for each field or property.

See Impropriate.

A collection of historical records and the location in which these records are kept.

Tithe commutation was achieved either by voluntary agreement between the landowners and tithe owners (made at a parochial meeting and subsequently confirmed by the Tithe Commissioners). If no agreement was reached, a compulsory award was made by the Tithe Commissioner and recorded in the form of the tithe apportionment (and map).

An ecclesiastical living e.g. a vicarage or rectory

The replacement of tithes in kind (wheat, hay, wool, etc.) with annual monetary payments.

Involves the examination and preservation of cultural heritage using methods that ensure the item is kept as close as possible to its original condition for as long as possible.

Some tithes had already been commuted before 1836 by means of a ‘corn rent’ which was a continuing monetary payment. Corn rents were fixed according to the local price of grain (wheat, oats and barley). The 1860 Tithe Amendment Act enabled pre-1836 corn rents to be converted into tithe rent charges.

Reasons for exemption from tithe are normally stated in the agreement or award for tithe apportionment. In some areas, tithe had already been commuted for monetary payments, or extinguished by award or exchange of lands in the course of parliamentary enclosure. Other reasons for exemption included crown land, former manorial or monastic land, the merger of tithes in the land, and the existence of local tithe moduses (see Modus below).

Amendments to the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act established two classes of tithe maps: first and second class. Essentially, this was a legal distinction; first class maps provided legal evidence of all matters depicted in the plans, whereas second class maps were considered evidence only of facts of direct relevance to tithe commutation. To the majority of tithe map users, this distinction is largely irrelevant.

An area of land belonging to a benefice that was farmed (or leased out) by a parish priest. The priest was entitled to retain the glebe for their own use, e.g. by farming the land, or they could let it to generate income. Glebe included a wide variety of properties (farms, individual fields, shops, houses, factories etc.) and the amount of glebe land varied considerably from parish to parish.

These were corn, hay and wood, and were usually payable to the rector rather than the vicar.

The holder of an ecclesiastical benefice such as a vicar or rector.

In early use, ‘impropriate’ was applied to the annexation of the tithes of a benefice to a religious house. At the Reformation most of these impropriations passed into lay hands so that the word came to be specially associated with the lay possession of tithes.

A lay person (i.e. not a clergyman) who owned tithe rights.

When the landowner was also the tithe owner, a situation was created in which an individual was liable to pay tithes to himself. Such a situation was usually resolved by merging the tithes (or tithe rent charge) in the land i.e. cancelling the liability to pay tithes by virtue of being entitled to receive them. A Declaration of Merger effectively made the land tithe free.

A small customary payment in lieu of tithe. Moduses were particularly common in northern England, where they often applied over whole districts.

The national mapping agency of Great Britain.

A fund to supplement the incomes of the poorer clergy of the Church of England.

The 1846 Tithe Act enabled a landowner to extinguish a tithe rent charge by a lump sum payment to the tithe owner. The redemption money for rent charge owing to an incumbent was to be paid to the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty.

The 1918 Tithe Act allowed rent charge to be redeemed by means of terminable annual instalments or ‘annuity’ payments for a maximum period of 50 (later 60) years. Redemption annuities could themselves be redeemed with a single lump sum, or might be further apportioned if the land was divided or sold on. Redemption, if requested by the landowner, became compulsory, and could not be refused by the tithe owner.

The 1936 Tithe Act finally extinguished rent charges. The rent charges were redeemed centrally by the government, and tithe owners compensated by the issue of 3% government stock. Landowners paid a ‘rent charge redemption annuity’ to the Crown instead of a rent charge. These annuities were payable for a maximum of 60 years but were often redeemed by paying a single lump sum. They were extinguished prematurely by the 1977 Finance Act.

An incumbent of a parish whose tithes had not been impropriated.

Rent charges were based on the average value of tithes collected over the previous seven years. The annual payment that was subsequently collected was based on these rent charges, but was adjusted according to the average price of wheat, barley and oats.

The action or process of converting paper documents into digital images. This ‘analogue’ to ‘digital’ translation enables users to view the relevant documents on a computer.

Usually held by the vicar of a parish as opposed to a rector, and included animals and animal produce (wool, milk, eggs etc.) and the profits from mills and fishing.

The conversion of one language source, e.g. handwritten apportionment data, into an alternative medium, in this case digital databases.

In early use, a person acting as priest in a parish in place of the real parson or rector, or as the representative of a religious community to which the tithes had been appropriated. In later use in the Church of England, the incumbent of a parish of which the tithes were impropriated (in contrast to a rector).

West Yorkshire Archive Service

WYAS Bradford

Margaret McMillan Tower

Prince’s Way





WYAS, Leeds 

West Yorkshire Joint Services

Nepshaw Lane South



LS27 7JQ