The Tithe Apportionments
As we have seen, in 1836, the year after Captain Pechell had succeeded in his petition to remove the Tithing of Turnips, Parliament passed the momentous Tithe Commutation Act. Until then, farmers had been obliged to hand over to the Church one tenth of all their crops and dairy produce. This Act decreed that tithes should be commuted to cash payments; to make this possible, all lands and properties in the country would be surveyed and the cash value of tithes estimated. Work started immediately; the Apportionments were based on tithes paid during the six years preceding the Act, 1839 – 1836. Then came local consultations and agreements among landowners and clergy. Most were complete and agreed by 1841, including the TAs for Froxfield. The awards for East Meon, however, were among the very last to be agreed and it wasn’t until April 24th, 1851 that an agreement was signed by the landowners of East Meon. William Weeks of Lower House Farm, Oxenbourne, chaired the meeting, and those present included his son, of the same name, John Bonham Carter, John Christmas, then at Hilhampton, George Hellyer of Lythe House, Samuel Padwick of South Farm, Randal Vinn of Drayton Farm and John Nathaniel Atkins of Glenthorne House. We don’t know the reason for the delay, but it is not impossible that the Reverend Kemp was still contesting the tithes to which he was entitled. In 1852, detailed maps were issued of East Meon, with every field, wood, common, building, waterway &c shown; a list was also released of the ‘lessee’ – those who held leases from the diocese – and the owner and occupier of each property, its area, use and rental, and the tithes to be paid.
Every property is numbered, referring to entries in the text register which list the lessee, the ‘landowner’ (often the lessee, or a tenant who rented the property from the lessee), the ‘occupier’ (the farmer or simply the person dwelling there), the name of the property and the use to which it is put, the area in acres, roods and perches, rent paid and tithes paid. In the right-hand column are listed the ‘lessees’, in this case Viscount Gage; these were the large landowners who held the lease direct from the Diocese, from whom the ‘landowners’ in the first column rent the property (in this case, Mrs Aburrow, John Nathaniel Atkins and Lord Gage).
Thanks to a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and with help from the Hampshire Record Office, East Meon History Group has been able to combine the maps with the information in the text and display in detail how the parish was farmed, by whom, and who owned the land We are also able to overlay information from later maps, both those made by the Ordnance Survey and a succession of estate sale maps, and thus track changes in our agriculture over a century and a half. This map is the version we have produced of the Tithe Apportionment map of this area, with the names of each property overlaid, as well as the use to which it was put. Map 29 shows the occupiers of all the farms in 1852.