The Tithe Map

The Tithe Map of 1844
1844 Tithe Map labelled with field names

Tithes were taxes paid by villagers each year towards the upkeep of the church and village priest. The right to receive tithes was granted to the English churches by King Ethelwulf in 855. They began as one-tenth of the produce of the land (crops, eggs, cattle, timber, fishing, etc.) to the rector, as alms and as payment for his services. The tithes were often stored in a tithe barn attached to the parish. At the dissolution of the monasteries some of the land passed out of church ownership, and the tithes were then paid to private landlords. Enclosure Acts made further modifications, either abolishing tithe payments entirely or replacing them with monetary payments.

By the time of the Tithe Commutation Acts of 1836 and 1838 there was considerable discontent over payment of tithes, most notably in the Tithe War of 1831-1836 in Ireland; in England a dispute over tithes in 1806 led to a double murder in Oddingley, Worcestershire.

(With thanks to Wikipaedia – any errors are from my adaptation.)

Because of the discontent over theses taxes, Parliament decided to end them completely and to commute or change this annual payment to a one-off sum which had to be paid, either voluntarily or else imposed by the Crown. Commissioners had maps drawn up, sometimes in great detail, of who owned, rented or had rights to each bit of land and what the tithe was worth.

The tithe maps were drawn to a large scale so that the ownership was clear to everyone. So, these maps and their schedules (lists of who owns, rents or has some interest in the land), have become an invaluable source to historians.

The numbers that you can see on the map above refer to the key on the schedule that lists the owners and occupiers of the lands and buildings. Also included in the schedule is the acreage of the properties, their state of cultivation and the amount of rent payable. On this map, Dandy Row has two separate labels for the top and bottom groups of cottages, 72 and 73.

We can now begin to identify the landowners and the occupiers of the properties and we can compare this information with the 1841 census data.

Tithe Map Schedule number 72      The top cottages

Landowners  James Scotson’s executors, Thomas Jones and Thomas Dodd, “lessees of the devisees of the late Thos Wilson Esquire” (who had purchased the Manor of Eccleshill in 1814)

Occupiers Nathaniel Eccles, Richard Eccles, Christopher Eccles, John Hollis, Ellen Shorrock, John Walsh, Thos Lightbown, Henry Lightbown.

The 1841 census adds to what we know about the occupiers.

Nathaniel Eccles was a 55-year-old weaver living with his wife and 7 children aged between 11 and about 30, all described as weavers, and 2 younger children (one was a grandchild).

Richard Eccles, aged about 30, a weaver, seems to have been living in the next house with his wife and infant son.

Christopher Eccles was the adult son of Nathaniel, also a weaver and living with his parents in 1841. Maybe by the Tithe survey he had moved into his own household.

John Hollis was a 35-year-old weaver, living with his wife and 5 children.

Ellen Shorrock is 60 years old and described as a housekeeper for 2 weaver daughters and 3 younger children.

John Walsh was a 30-year-old weaver, with his wife and infant son plus 2 other weavers, presumably his brothers, aged 35 and 25.

Thomas Lightbown, aged 50, differs from these others in that he is described as a collier but 4 of his children are described as weavers.

Henry Lightbown, aged 30, was also a collier, living with his wife and 2 infant children. Presumably his brother, James aged about 20, is a weaver.

This makes it seem as if that the top group of cottages (26-46 currently) was where most hand-loom weaving was done during the first 20 years or so of Dandy Row’s existence. We haven’t been able to find out any more about the landowners of the higher part of the Row, but it seems likely they were connected to the textile trade, maybe as ‘putters-out’ or chapmen. These people would take raw materials to the workers. Darwen’s population in 1826 was 7283 of which 2878 were weavers.

Tithe Map Schedule number 73          The lower part of the Row

The landowners were James Walsh (probably a coal merchant) and James Brandwood  (coal owner) “lessees of the devisees of the late Thos Wilson Esquire”.

Occupiers: James Parkinson, Jos Lightbown, A Lomax, Robt Watson, Edmund Clegg, Geoffrey Lomax, Betty Lightbowne

James Parkinson was about 35 years old, a collier, living with his wife and 15 year old collier son.

Joseph Lightbown ?

Andrew Lomax was a 40-year-old carter, living with his wife and 5 children, (2 boys were colliers, a girl was a weaver).

Robert Watson was a 35-year-old weaver, living with his wife and 3 young children.

Edmund Clegg  – a collier, by  1841 he was living at Old Birch with a son aged c 20, a collier, and a daughter aged about 15, a weaver.

Geoffrey Lomax was a 40-year-old carter, living with wife and 6 children, again 2 boys are colliers. A girl is a weaver.

Betty Lightbown aged 25, a weaver, living with her infant son.

One of the landowners of the lower group of cottages was James Brandwood, a local coal proprietor. The other was James Walsh, mentioned in a contemporary directory as a coal merchant. Maps of the time show several small coal-pits in the neighbourhood, on the fields behind Dandy Row and across Roman Road on Shaw Fold’s field. Many of the occupiers of these cottages were colliers. Maybe some weaving was also done in the lower part of the Row, but those  designated as weavers tended to be female and younger, possibly working in the new cotton weaving factories which were opening around the area by the 1840s.

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