Tithe maps are useful for local, building and family history studies. They include the boundaries of fields, woods, roads and rivers and locations of buildings. Most date from the 1840s and follow old parish boundaries.
The maps are usually large scale and vary in detail. They can show you whether there was a house on the site of your own home, who lived in it and what the land was used for.
What are tithe maps?
Tithes were taxes paid to the local church, both in cash and 'in kind' (such as produce of the land). People paid one tenth of everything they produced.
In 1836 the Tithe Redemption Act converted all in kind payments into money payments. To help reassess the tithe payment for each piece of land, maps were drawn of the majority of parishes in East Sussex.
Why tithes were abolished
By the 19th century there was a great deal of resentment towards the payments, particularly from non-Anglicans, who still had to support the church even if they did not attend it. Tithes also discouraged farming improvements because if production went up, so did tithe payments.
Some payments did not even go to the church because the right to receive tithes in some areas had passed into the hands of local landowners.
Tithes were finally abolished in 1936.
Find out more about the history of tithes on the National Archives website.
View tithe maps online
You can search and view tithe maps in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove online. The tithe maps are broken down by parish.
Buy copies of tithe maps on CD
All the tithe maps we have are available to buy on CD. Each CD costs £15 plus postage and packaging:
Land ownership and usage – 'apportionments'
Each map is split in to apportionments, which is a record of how the land was divided up. The apportionment gives the following information for every titheable piece of land on the map:
- the name of the owner
- the name of the occupier
- the name of the field or piece of land
- the type of cultivation
- the acreage
- its tithe valuation
Every plot on the tithe map has a number on it and this matches the entry in the apportionment.
Because of the age of the maps, there is some old-fashioned terminology explaining things like measurement of the land. If you come across a term that you don't understand, you should find it in the glossary.
Some of the maps and documents held by East Sussex Record Office are owned by the County Council, some nationally and others are owned by private organisations/individuals. The copyright in a document refers to the intellectual property rights associated with this. These remain with the creator of the document or his or her successors.
One copy of a document is allowed to be taken by law for private or study use. Copies, either electronic or any physical media may not be further passed on without the express written permission of East Sussex Record Office.
Ordnance Survey maps are Crown copyright and all rights are reserved by the Ordnance Survey. Please see the 'Ordnance Survey statement of purpose' for more information.