Worcestershire Tithe and Inclosure Map Project

Project Methodology, Background and Progress

Project Methodology

The original maps are traced from digital images in to the County Council Geographical Information System (GIS).  Each field and building then becomes a 'cell' into which data can be linked from a database.  The documentary record that accompanied the compilation of the original map (the Apportionment) has been input to spreadsheets so that the data can be linked to the cells on the map.  It is then possible to carry out searches on land ownership, tenancy, field names, land-use and land value.

Currently, the on-line version allows only basic searches. The full system (currently available by appointment at the Historic Environment and Archaeology Service and in the future at the Record Office) allows more sophisticated searches. These can also take advantage of the system to display the mapping in 3D and so bring the landscape of the late 18th and 19th centuries back to life.

The digitised mapping and apportionments are accessible through the internet, corporate GIS and the Worcestershire Historic Environment Record.  The digital images of the tithe maps are available to purchase from the Worcestershire Records Office and the History Centre.  For parishes whose maps have been digitised, as part of this project, a CD of their GIS maps (with apportionment information) is available from the Historic Environment Record office.

The original maps can be huge and the apportionments are unwieldy. Some of the original maps are now in a very delicate condition and the digitisation project will also help prolong their life by reducing demand on them.

Project Background

The Tithe and Inclosure project had humble beginnings back in 1991 when a volunteer researcher in the Archaeology Service, David Guyatt, began the painstaking task of tracing the original maps in Worcestershire Record Office and then transcribing them onto an OS base-map.  The original purpose was to identify field names and field boundaries that might have archaeological significance. These transcribed maps can be viewed, by appointment, at the Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service.

Through the work of another research volunteer, Peter Walker, the tithe apportionment data has been input to spreadsheets.  This process was started in 2004 and completed in early 2009.  The process included checking all existing input against the originals and then finishing the input for the county of Worcestershire, including areas that are no longer within the current county such as Halesowen and Blockley.

These spreadsheets have been published, with an overview of tithes in general and in Worcestershire, through the Worcestershire Historical Society. These spreadsheets have been used to create a county-wide database to link to the GIS maps and include all known information about owners, occupiers and fieldnames and they summarise the amounts of tithes paid.

Progress so far

All parishes in Worcestershire have been transcribed, by David Guyatt, to a scale of 1:10,000 and the field names, from the tithe, inclosure or estate map, have been written on these. These paper transcriptions are available to use for research by appointment at the Historic Environment and Archaeology Service Offices. Please contact the Historic Environment Record for an appointment.

All data from the tithe apportionments for parishes in Worcestershire have been input to spreadsheets, by Peter Walker.  These spreadsheets have been published through the Worcestershire Historical Society. If your parish isn't available then it either means there was no tithe map or it had a different name at the time the map was drawn.