The Tithe Survey
Tithes were originally a tax which required one tenth of all agricultural produce to be paid annually to support the local church and clergy. Following the Reformation of the 16th Century, large areas of land passed from the Church to lay owners who inherited entitlement to receive tithes, along with the land.
By the early 19th Century tithe payment in kind seemed a very out-of-date practice, and payment of tithes became unpopular against a backdrop of industrialisation, religious dissent and agricultural depression. In 1836, the government introduced the Tithe Commutation Act which required tithes in kind to be converted to more convenient monetary payments called tithe rent-charge. The Tithe Survey was commissioned to discover which areas of land were subject to tithes, who owned them, how much was payable and to whom.
Between 1837 and the early 1850s, enquiries were carried out in every parish or township listed in the census returns. The results of these enquiries are in the tithe files (held by local Records Offices), and cover the whole of England and Wales. For parishes like Goadby Marwood where tithes were still being paid in kind, the land had to be surveyed and valued in order to arrive at total parish rent-charge figures, and to calculate each individual landowner’s liability to pay tithe. Assistant tithe commissioners travelled to these parishes to hold meetings with parishioners about valuations, and to settle the terms of the commutation of their tithes.
The survey for Goadby Marwood was carried out in 1839. At that time the largest land owner was Rev. Edward Manners, who occupied Goadby Hall and owned the majority of houses and cottages in the village as well as many of the outlaying farms. Some of the properties listed still exist today, for example Sundial House, Paddock House and First Farm. However, many of the cottages we recognize today had yet to be built whilst some cottages, like those on the footprint of what is today Stone Cottage, and the cottage in the paddock at the back of The Manor, are long gone. The map indicates that there were no properties to the east of The Manor, with the exception of Field Cottage (at that time two cottages) and Long Acre. Furthermore, the road we know today as Main Street did not appear to be the main route into the village, although there is evidence of a track where Main Street is today. The road into the village came down the hill behind Long Acre as far as the pond next to Field Cottage before turning left at an angle and joining Main Street just to the east of The Manor.
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Images courtesy of Leicestershire Records Office.