References made to this map in the Miscellany and in this present book indicate what a useful source of information it has proved to be. A copy was found in the 1980’s in the attic over the offices of a Monmouth solicitor. It was cleaned, repaired and copied before being housed for safe keeping in a box newly-made by Councillor David Stratton.
The late 18th and early 19th centuries saw many Enclosure Acts going through Parliament and, chiefly to meet legal and military needs, a great increase in the number of systematic surveys of land ownership and usage. An important factor in this development was the passing of the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 in response to the age-old dissatisfaction with the system of tithe payment in kind. The Act commuted such payments to a rent-charge on land, payable by the occupiers of land, whether owners or tenants. (It was only in 1891 that this rent-charge was made payable by the land-owner and no longer by the tenant – except perhaps indirectly through his rent.)
By 1844, the Tithe Commissioners had sent their surveyors to Penallt to map and measure the village to enable “apportionments of rent charges in lieu of tithes” to be made, having regard also to the terms of “our” Enclosure Act of 1810. The results of the survey and consequent apportionments were recorded in a map showing numbered plots of land in Penallt and a 20-page schedule. An Assistant Tithe Commissioner, John Johnes, declared in his introduction to the survey that he found all the lands set forth “exonerated from payment of all Tithes Great and Small.” In their place he made an award of one hundred and fifty-six pounds by way of rent charge to be paid annually to the Vicar – the sum of all the apportionments.
John Johnes say that he held “divers meetings,” due notice being given to landowners and tithe-owners, and “duly considered all the allegations and proof rendered” and “made all enquiries which appears to be necessary….” There is nothing new about “due consultation.” The “tithe map” of Penallt is dated 1847 and was received by the Tithe Commissioners in May, 1848. The accompanying Schedule lists, for each numbered plot, the following information: the landowner, the occupier, the name and description of the land and any premises, the state of cultivation, its area (in acres, rods and poles) and the Rent Charge to be paid annually to the Vicar. An example (out of 541 entries) is that of field numbered 467 named Gravel Meadow being 11 acres, down to grass, owned by “Beaufort The Most Noble Henry Duke of” occupied by William Roper and incurring an annual charge of £1.5s.0d.
The square measure used by the surveyors was the acre of 4840 square yards. It was divided into 4 roods or rods, where 1 rod = 40 poles and 1 pole or perch = 30¼ square yards. The map supporting the schedule is to a scale of 4 chains to the inch where 1 chain = 22 yards. The total land recorded measured 1,495 acres which were described as “cultivated as follows”:- Arable 654, Meadow or Pasture 681, Woodland 160.
To these must be added the orchards (mainly apples and cherry) of which there are 63 entries totalling 73 acres. The grand total of 1,568 acres is about two-thirds of the area of the parish. Much of the balance would have been common land or land deemed unworkable. The years following this survey of Penallt parish saw the development of the Ordnance Survey enabling further enclosures and changes to boundaries to be identified with comparative ease. But it would be difficult to find as comprehensive a picture of Penallt in the1840s as that presented to us by the Tithe Commissioners and Mr. John Johnes.
[from: Penallt Revisited]
see also “More about Tithes“