A North Yorkshire

St Oswald’s Farnham

Parish Meeting Agenda


The full history of Tithes is a complicated matter but some explanation of the subject and its effect on a village like Farnham may be interesting. Originally, Tithes were payments in kind of an agreed proportion (theoretically one tenth) of the yearly produce from farming and was made by the parishioners for the support of the church and clergy. The produce went to the Rector, as the incumbent, of the church. When Nicholas de Cantilupe donated Farnham Church to Beauvale Abbey in 1354, the Abbey became Rector and the recipient of the tithes - but under these circumstances the tithes were divided into Great Tithes, which went to the Rector, and Small Tithes which stayed with the Vicar.

There is evidence that a barn stood close to the village green - but whether this was a tithe barn is not clear. After the Reformation the holdings of the monastic bodies were taken by the King and then passed into lay hands - these lay owners could claim the Rectorial Tithes, leaving the Small Tithes to the Vicar. The Rectorial Tithes were clearly a useful source of income and they were bought and sold over the years. There is a record of such a sale in 1740 when the Tithes were sold by Peter Johnson Esq. to James Collins and Thomas Oastler, Gent. In fairness it should be said that there were some financial obligations that went with the possessions.
In 1836 the
Tithe Commutation Act was passed. this meant the substitution of money payments for the payments in kind that existed previously. The difficulty was how much money had to be paid by each landowner in the parish to the Tithe owner. For most parishes this meant the production of a map showing all the fields, the acreage, the owners name etc. These maps have been of considerable help to local historians - even detailing the field names.

Under some circumstances, agreement on this 'Apportionment' was reached without the need for a map - unfortunately this was the case with Farnham - and there remains just a list of owners and the sums they must pay. These sums were called Tithe Rentcharges. An act in 1936 was passed which began the process of abolishing the payment of Tithes. The scheme was wound up prematurely in 1977.

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