Tithe maps

A guide to finding and using Derbyshire tithe maps and awards

Tithe maps were created for a large number of Derbyshire parishes between 1836 and 1853, and are a great resource for local, family and house historians as they are large scale maps accompanied by a schedule giving a range of information including showing who owned and occupied land and property in a particular parish at that time.

What are tithes and what is the Tithe Commutation Act?

The tithe was a tax payable to the Church of England calculated as one tenth of annual produce (i.e. crops, goods or livestock).  In 1836 the Tithe Commutation Act attempted to regularise this and commuted the levy into cash payments.  To determine what amount should be paid a tithe award and map were produced.  The total amount paid in tithes for the previous 7 years and rent charges were calculated.  The rent charge was divided among landowners according to the area and quality of the land involved.

Detailed surveys were required as each field had to be precisely measured and cultivation; the surveys were usually carried out by local surveyors with detailed instructions and supervision.  The original strict designs of the maps were relaxed by Parliament, meaning they were not standardised in scale or detail, and the surveys were carried out over a 20 year period, much longer than originally envisaged.

Tithe Maps

The scale of the maps is large, often showing individual buildings in block plan.  The best maps (first class), produced to the original proposals, were detailed and accurate enough for use to prove boundaries, however only 3% of Derbyshire maps are of this quality e.g. Duffield.  The main reason for choosing to produce a second class map was cost, as the landowners had to pay for them.  Scales vary, and some are very irregular, but often one inch to 6 chains was used.  Some of our tithe maps are also very large. Derbyshire tithe maps are considered a good record of woodland and parkland, but give poor detail of agricultural land use, only 2% of Derbyshire maps show actual crops recorded.  Field boundary ownership is not well recorded but the mapping of industrial use is, e.g.  lead, slate, smelting and paper.  Urban areas are often not mapped in detail if at all, but Turnpike roads are often distinguished.

The vast majority of Derbyshire’s tithe maps have been digitised and can be viewed on the public computers at the record office.  Alternatively, we can supply copies via email, please contact us for current costs.  Some maps can also been seen on CD at the relevant local libraries.

Tithe Awards

The accompanying schedule records owner, occupier, name, acreage and state of cultivation (e.g. arable, meadow, coppice, orchard) of each plot.  The entries in the award are arranged alphabetical by owner’s name, so it does take some time to identify the entry for the occupier or the plot number.

Extract from the Ashover tithe award, 1849 (ref: D253/A/PI/22/1)

A small number of tithe awards have been digitised and are available on the record office public computers, along with a small number that have been transcribed by local volunteers.

Tithe Map Coverage

There is a tithe map and award for each parish with land subject to tithe, with the Derbyshire records dating between 1836 and 1853.  Theoretically there are three copies of each map and award, the Parish and Diocesan copies (where they have survived) are held at the record office, with the Tithe Commissioner’s copy held at The National Archives.

This does not include any land free from tithes before the 1836 Act, so there are many places which are not be covered.  Search the online catalogue for using the words tithe map and the place name in the Any Text field.  Glebe land is also omitted and village centres may not be shown.  About 58% of the total area of Derbyshire was subject to tithes in 1836.  In some districts not all of the area was tithable.  The main reasons for exemption were modus, or small customary payments in lieu of the tithe, commutation at enclosure which replaced the tithe with an annual monetary payment, merger of tithes in the land if the owner also owned the tithe and exemption by prescription.

Uses of tithe maps and awards

Tithe maps and awards are particularly useful for village and building history, land use and field patterns, field and building names, property ownership and development.  Every dwelling and field subject to tithe is included on the map with a number that refers to the tithe award. The award records owner, occupier, description, use, acreage and sum payable.

Further Reading
  • Kain, Oliver, Fry, Wilmot (2011) The Tithe Maps of England and Wales: A Cartographic Analysis
  • Harley (1972) Maps for the local historian: a guide to the British Resources
  • Hindle (1999) Maps for historians
  • Evans and Crosby (1987) Tithes Maps, Apportionments and the 1836 Act: a guide for local historians

Newspapers

A guide to the uses of local newspapers and where to find them.

From the 18th century to the present day, newspapers are an invaluable source of information for family and social historians: births, marriages, deaths, advertisements, crime, entertainments, disaster, scandal, and the price of fish are all reflected in their pages.  The Derby Mercury can be viewed online for the 19th century, and many other Derbyshire titles can be accessed on microfilm at the record office and/or local libraries.  Many national titles can also be accessed online.

History of the newspaper

The first English “newspaper” was perhaps the “Trewe Encounter” of 1513, reporting on the Battle of Flodden.  Local news pamphlets about unusual events “where it rayned wheat the space of six or seven miles” continued to appear, as did “corantos” of news published abroad, but the Civil War during the 1640s gave the newspaper its first real start, as hunger for news of the struggle combined with greater freedom of the press. Provincial papers began with the Norwich Press in 1701, though stamp duty made newspapers expensive and they were often read in coffee houses rather than bought for reading at home.  Stamp duty continued to restrict expansion until it was repealed in 1855.  Increased literacy, better printing technology, railways and the electric telegraph all powered the growth of national and local newspapers.  Early newspapers contained mainly national and foreign news and very little illustration, but by the late 19th century drawings and even photographs were becoming more common.

Derbyshire newspapers

The first Derbyshire newspaper was the Derby Postman in 1721, followed by the Derby Mercury in 1731.  Chesterfield is well represented by the Derbyshire Times from 1854 and the more radical Derbyshire Courier from 1831.  For early news, check all available county titles; later coverage is both wider and more in-depth, so check the title for a specific area first.  However, not all the local variant editions, for example of the Derbyshire Times, have survived.  It is not always easy to pinpoint the title you will need for a particular town or village, so do ask us for advice if you’re not sure.  Some areas may be better covered by non-Derbyshire titles, for example the Burton Mail for Swadlincote (a good run of which is available at The Magic Attic) or Nottinghamshire papers for the east of the county (see Nottinghamshire’s Inspire Culture) – use the Newsplan database online to find out titles held at libraries across the East Midlands.   The British Library also holds copies of most titles.

We also hold files of local newscuttings from the 1960s to 2015 which are currently being digitised, and will eventually be available via our onsite computers.

How to access newspapers

Most of our titles are on microfilm, apart from very recent issues of current newspapers.  It is advisable to book a microfilm machine in advance to view these, and please let us know if you require a printing facility.  Digitisation of newspapers from 2015 onwards is currently in progress.

Free access to the British Newspaper Archive is available at the record office and all Derbyshire Libraries.  This site includes many local titles including The Derbyshire Times.  You can search for free and then use the reference given to look the article up on our microfilms.

The official Government newspaper, the London Gazette, contains a wealth of historical information including bankruptcies, and is free to view online.

A word of warning: most of these sites use OCR (Optical Character Recognition), rather than human indexing, so you need to think laterally and use different search terms for the same thing to maximise results.

What you can expect to find

Apart from births, marriages, and deaths, ancestors are more likely to have “got into the papers” by wrongdoing, or witnessing wrongdoing.  Court cases were reported with relish, especially murders.  Most coroners’ reports only survive in newspapers.  If your ancestor ran a business they may also feature, including advertisements.  Social historians will find the growth of railways and canals, the rise and fall of companies, strikes and many social trends.  Road accidents, war news including deaths, prizes, sporting events and sales of all kinds may be reported.

Further reading
  • Chapman (1993) Using newspapers and periodicals
  • DFHS (2004) A Derbyshire medley: lists of Derbyshire people from newspapers… [CD]
  • Gibson (2011) Local newspapers 1750-1920
  • Gordon (2007) Local newspapers in Derbyshire libraries
  • McLaughlin (2000) Family history from newspapers
  • Murphy (1991) Newspapers and local history
Shocking ancestral find from the Derby Mercury, 23 October 1878

Online Resources

There are hundreds of online resources for Derbyshire history, this guide highlights some of the most useful.  As web addresses tend to change, only the site name is given.

Family History Records
  • Ancestry: billions of records from across the world including UK census returns 1841-1911, birth, marriage and death (BMD) indexes 1837-2007, Derbyshire Anglican church registers from 1538.  Access: Subscription required.  Free access at all Derbyshire libraries
  • Find My Past: in addition to census and BMD indexes, also includes registers of several Derbyshire non-conformist churches, many Derbyshire school admission registers and log books 1870-1914.  Also includes Diocese of Lichfield records covering Derbyshire, including marriage licences and pre-1858 wills.  Access: Subscription required.  Free access in Derbyshire libraries
  • FamilySearch: volunteer-submitted transcripts of many Derbyshire parish registers back to 1538.  Worth trying this site if an Ancestry search is unsuccessful.  Also includes a wide range of research guidance and background information on places.  Access: Free, registration required
  • FreeBMD: volunteer-transcribed indexes to civil registration of births, marriages and deaths between 1837 and 1992, with transcription work ongoing.  Access: Free with no registration; often some search advantages over subscription sites, so often worth a try
  • FreeREG: volunteer-submitted transcripts “of baptism, marriage, and burial records, from parish registers, non-conformist records and other relevant sources in the UK”, including Derbyshire.  Access: Free, no registration
  • Find A Grave: volunteer-submitted transcripts of over 180 million memorials and gravestones including for many Derbyshire cemeteries and churchyards.  Access: Free, no registration
  • General Register Office: search indexes of and ordering copy birth, marriage and death certificates from 1837.  Access: Free to indexes, registration required to order certificates
  • National Probate Index: search for and order copies of UK wills after 1858.  Access:  Free, no registration.  Derbyshire wills 1858-1928 can also be searched via the record office online catalogue and copies ordered.
Newspapers

Newspapers are the most valuable source for many aspects of family and local history, particularly where other sources no longer survive:

  • British Newspaper Archive:  includes full text access to the Derbyshire Times, Derby Mercury and several other Derbyshire titles.  Access: Subscription required.  Free from the record office or any Derbyshire library (short registration required)
  • The Times Archive: access from 1795 to 1985.  Access: Subscription required.
Photographs
  • Picture the Past: Delve into the rich history of Derby and Derbyshire with this extensive collection of photos, postcards, glass plates and engravings from the city and county libraries
  • Images of England: was English Heritage’s photographic library of listed buildings across England.  Historic England has split the site into two: 1) the Official Register of nationally protected historic buildings and sites includes photographs alongside the corresponding description, and 2) over a million photographs via the Historic England website.
Information Services
  • Derbyshire Observatory: wide range of data and statistics on topics including population and households, health, census, crime, children and education, economy and employment
  • Derbyshire Mapping Portal: Ordnance Survey mapping showing key Derbyshire sites and boundaries, including parish boundaries, schools, public rights of way and schedules monuments
  • Derbyshire Heritage Mapping Portal: Ordnance Survey mapping of Derbyshire, with options to overlay a small number of historic maps
  • Derbyshire Historic Environment Record: digital records of archaeological monuments, findspots, designated assets, historic landscape information, aerial photographs
  • National Library of Scotland: view some editions of Ordnance Survey maps for Derbyshire over modern satellite images.
Research Guides
  • GENUKI: charity and volunteer-run site containing a wide range of information for researching family history across the UK and Ireland, including links to other sites
  • The National Archives: a wide range of guides on various family, local and other history research, plus detailed guides for reading old handwriting and Latin
  • Find an Archive: contact details for archive repositories across the world
  • University of Nottingham Manuscripts and Special Collections: detailed research guides on using historical documents and specific records such as deeds, accounts and manorial records.
Other Derbyshire collections
  • Record Office Guide: a summary of archive collections at Derbyshire Record Office, searchable by type of record creator, i.e. school, business, society, family, organisation, local authority
  • Online Catalogue: the main finding aid for all archive collections held at Derbyshire Record Office, and increasingly for the local studies collection also. A separate guide is also available
  • Hospital Records Database: searchable database of hospitals across the country, with a summary of records held at relevant repositories and brief history.
  • Manorial Documents Register: searchable database of manors across selected counties (including Derbyshire) and a summary of the records held at various repositories
  • National Archives Discovery catalogue: contains references to most archive collections at the Record Office, as well as Derbyshire records held at The National Archives and elsewhere.
Other sources
Local History Groups

A large number of local history societies or local interest groups have websites and social media pages with a range of information and some resources.  Unfortunately, it is not possible for Derbyshire Record Office to maintain a list of the groups and an online search is often the best approach to finding a relevant local group.

Accessing our resources from home

As we cannot provide access on site at the moment due to the coronavirus, here are some links and tips for research you can do from your computer at home.

Do your family history

  • Baptism, marriage and burial registers for Church of England parishes, some as early as 1538, are on Ancestry (charge applies).  See the guide below for advice on the best way to search and browse these records
  • Baptism, marriage and burial registers for some non-conformist churches in Derbyshire have also been made available by The National Archives on The Genealogist website (charge applies).
  • Over 550 Derbyshire school admission registers and log books (i.e. head teacher’s diaries) up to 1914 are available to search and browse on Findmypast (charge applies), plus thousands more from across England and Wales.
  • Find My Past also includes Derbyshire wills before 1858 and marriage licences held by Staffordshire Record Office and selected Derbyshire electoral registers up to 1932
  • Information about Derbyshire wills between 1858 and 1928 can be searched via our catalogue using the person’s name and reference D96/*, but we are unable to provide copies at this time.  Wills after 1928 can usually be ordered online from the Probate Service
  • Any skeletons in your family closet?  Search our database of prisoner records from 1729-1913

Discover local history

  • Family History websites like Ancestry and Findmypast can also be useful for local history. Take a look at sources like the census and trade directories on these websites.
  • Browse and search nearly 60,000 historic photographs of Derby and Derbyshire on Picture the Past
  • View old maps and explore how the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site has changed over the last 200 years on the Derbyshire Heritage Mapping Portal.
  • Many historic Ordnance Survey maps for Derbyshire are also available from the National Library of Scotland
  • Several Derbyshire newspapers are searchable on the British Newspaper Archive (charge applies)

Learn something new

Don’t forget you can still search our catalogue online to discover what is held in the archives and local studies collections and start planning a future visit?

During the closure, staff will be working on several projects to make more information about our collections available online.   We will be sharing our progress here on the blog and via Twitter and hope we can provide some relief from the stresses and boredom of being inside.

If you are doing any research, why not let us know below, we are sure our other followers will be interested or even have some tips for you.

From all the staff at the record office, stay safe and well, take care.

The Perils of the Miners’ Pit Head Baths

Among our work, we have been creating a database from Derbyshire National Union of Mineworkers’ tribunal cases relating to illness and injury.  Among the many injuries, illnesses and diseases, were those caused by visits to and working in the pithead baths.

Before the construction of pithead baths at collieries, miners would travel to and from work in dirty, damp clothes. Pithead baths were first discussed by the Mineworkers Federation of Great Britain at its annual conference in 1910 but for many reasons, ranging from worry over illnesses to a proposed charge for using the baths, there was difficulty in persuading miners that pithead baths were needed.

The first baths in Derbyshire were opened at Grassmoor colliery in December 1929. By the late 1930s ten of the county’s collieries, including Markham colliery, had pithead baths. In the late 1940s the Ministry of Fuel and Power decided that every pithead bath should have an attached medical centre. By the beginning of 1947 pithead baths had been built at 366 collieries across the UK with provision for 450,000 men.

The main two groups of injuries and diseases that we have come across resulting from pithead bath use have been slipping and/or falling and skin diseases such as dermatitis and athlete’s foot.

There were strict rules about using the baths (picture courtesy of National Coal Mining Museum for England):Pithead Bath Rules - compressed

Each colliery might have their own set of rules, too.  This is from the Markham Collieries: ‘The Bather’s Handbook’ [1935-1939] (our ref D1920):
a476_7-the-bathers-handbook-markham-colliery-1935x1939

These next two photographs were taken at the National Coal Mining Museum for England near Wakefield, a highly recommended visit.
The pithead baths at this Colliery (no longer in use of course!) certainly put the accidents suffered by both the staff and bath attendants and the miners themselves into context.
lockers

The pithead bath locker rooms could be dangerous places if the miners were eager to get home after their shift!

 

No Money No Soap

A very clear message!

‘Is there any post?’ -FitzHerbert project catch up

The FitzHerbert project has been quiet for some time so I wanted to write a catch up blog to update you on progress and share with you one of the highlights of the collection.

Firstly, I want to mention the title of the post: this is surely a familiar phrase in every British household. Especially with the increase in email usage there is always a keen sense of anticipation when you are expecting something to arrive in the post, especially a letter. When something arrives unexpectedly it is always exciting (except if it’s from the bank!). Continue reading

Dastardly Deeds, Danger and Drinking Dens in Draycott & Church Wilne!

Just in time for Halloween, our Local Studies Library has an intriguing set of booklets on display, describing some of the ‘darker’ history of  Draycott. These have been produced by the Draycott & Church Wilne History Group.

draycott-1

‘Rogues and Miscreants’ starts with an interesting summary of Crime and Punishment including the ‘The Bloody Code,’ the justice system and the types of punishments available to miscreants.

The range of cases make a fascinating read, as does the personal information about the perpetrators.  Among the gory cases are some other interesting types of crimes such as ‘keeping petroleum for sale on premises without a licence, ‘riding without reins’ and ‘removing cattle along the highway without a license.’

 

draycott-2

As with ‘Rogues and Miscreants,’ this booklet starts with a useful historical background – highlighting the press’s tendency to sensationalise the stories and details of unfortunate incidents (as with modern media!)

Some of it makes stomach churning reading, involving injuries and deaths caused by fires (including in a fireworks factory), drowning and traffic accidents. I wonder if there is a place in Derbyshire that is known as the ‘most accident-prone?’ Let us know!

draycott-3

 

Next is some slightly lighter reading, about the pubs of Draycott & Wilne (although there are some accounts of drink-related crimes  thrown in for good measure!). Again there is a really useful general background history ‘How did Pubs Come About?’ and a useful summary of existing sources of information specifically about Draycott’s Pubs.

On the last page, the Draycott & Church Wilne History Group say they are interested in hearing any memories about the pubs in the area – so whether it’s The Cleaver, The Traveller’s Rest or The Coach and Horses you have a story about, please get in touch with them!

Last, but not certainly not least, the History Group have also produced a fabulous Draycott Historical Trail Map.  It’s a really handy size to carry and has over 15 points of historical interest on a really clear map.  What a great excuse to go walking in the area, visit a couple of the public houses, pore over the stories of rogues, miscreants and accidents and toast your health, I’d say!

The History Group also have a Facebook page if you are interested in contacting them via social media.

 

Discovering Ilkeston

Yesterday morning I visited Ilkeston Library to deliver a new workshop  introducing people to the various sources available for researching the history a Derbyshire building. It was a quiet session, with only two in attendance – though one had travelled all the way from Aston on Trent which took me quite by surprise!

With the opportunity to handle examples of all the original sources we talked about, learning how to use the record office catalogue and discussing more specific aspects of the research each was undertaking (one doing a history of their own house, the other looking more generally at their street and surrounding area, including a former laundry and former chapel), it was a very interesting and enjoyable session all round.

So what did we look at? There are a number of key sources we would always recommend consulting whichever part of Derbyshire you are researching – not all of these sources exist for all parts, though these are the ones you are most likely to come across either at the record office, your local library or elsewhere. There is one very useful source not mentioned below, and this is the tithe map and award as there was never one created for Ilkeston                                                                                                                         title deeds … enclosure map and award … land values map and domesday book c1910 … photographs … electoral registers … sale catalogues … building plans … local publications … official town guides … rate books … local authority records … (click an image for more information)

We also looked at the census – available to access for free at your local Derbyshire library – and talked about newspapers available across the county.

Many of the sources we used during the session were picked somewhat at random purely as an example of what was available, but the stories we found we really quite fascinating – I can’t go into details now, though I do hope to be able to do so very soon.

If you want to find out more about doing a building history, we will soon be publishing a series of new research guides on our website, including three guides relating to building history. We will also be re-running this introduction to sources for building history in the coming months so keep an eye out for more information in the next Events brochure. In the meantime, do contact us for more advice if you want to get started now.

 

 

Advent Calendar – Day 7

And behind number 7 is…

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Hilary Marshall’s Palaeography for Family and Local Historians

Hilary Marshall's 'Palaeography for Family and Local Historians' - available in Local Studies

Click image to enlarge

Available on the shelves in the Computer Room, this is a great guide for beginners and intermediates trying to read old handwriting in different documents, all used for family and local history. From parish registers to title deeds, this guide includes handy alphabets showing the different shapes each letter might take, example documents with transcripts and explanations to help you practice.

Key players in the FitzHerbert Family

When you’re cataloguing a large family collection such as this, it’s fair to say there’s always a large number of people involved! The FitzHerbert family is no exception and throughout the listing process where I’ve been looking through all of the material in all the boxes (see my earlier posts), there is certainly a large amount of correspondence.

Some of this correspondence is business related, regarding the Tissington estate (also some of the other estates), Whilst some of the correspondence is private, between friends and family about a whole array of subjects.

This adds to the already catalogued material of this collection and fills what would otherwise be an incomplete gap. Take a look at the catalogue for collection D239 here.It also gives an insight into the lives and personalities of those who are writing the letters. Given that the material in these particular boxes dates rom the late eighteenth century to the 1960s, it is four of the FitzHerbert Baronets who are the main authors of the letters, the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Baronets: Sir William, Sir Richard, Sir Hugo Meynell and Sir William.

Including friends and workers on the Tissington Estate, they correspond with some interesting people, Edward Ford being one significant individual. A gentleman called Col. Weetman is a name frequently mentioned, he was an insurance agent for the FitzHerberts. Why not come and read the correspondence when its all sorted and properly catalogued?

In my next post I hope to tell you about some of the items I’ve discovered which are ‘treasures’…