[1820s/30s Tithe Applotment Books]
Tithe Records are often seen as census substitutes
for the early part of the nineteenth century and also
as a kind of valuation record. Most family historians
treat it as the former rather than the latter. Either
way, as you will see below, it often falls short on
tithe was not a tax but a charge upon land. The tithe
system, which nominally earmarked one-tenth of the
produce of the land for the maintenance of the clergy,
was introduced in England as early as the eighth century.
It was introduced to Ireland during the reign of Henry
II, although it was not paid outside the area around
Dublin until the reign of Elizabeth I. In Ireland,
because the tithe system was used for the upkeep of
the Established Church only, it caused a great deal
of unrest among Roman Catholics and Presbyterians.
1823, the tithe was paid in kind by occupiers of land
to the Established Church [churchlands and towns being
exempt]. Between 1823 and 1838 a series of Tithe Composition
Acts led to payment in kind being replaced by payment
in cash. This change necessitated the valuation of
the individual townlands within a parish liable for
tithe. The results of this valuation were recorded
in the Tithe Applotment Books and these are organised
by barony and parish. There is not a separate book
for each townland. All townlands within a parish are
in one book. Note also that in Co. Derry some townlands
were not in the same parishes in 1823/38 as they were
in the Griffith's Valuation of 1858/59 - see the paper
Townlands in Co. Londonderry and their Administrative
Divisions [at the Administrative Divisions
link in the top menu] for details.
original books are held in PRONI and are catalogued
under FIN/5/A. Note that the books are also available
on microfilm in PRONI - MIC15AA. The books contain
lists of names but it must be remembered that these
only include the landholders, or to be more accurate
the persons who held the leases in the various parts
of a townland. In my experience, the persons listed
in the Tithe Applotment Books are usually the main
leaseholders in the townland at that time. These leaseholders
would have been responsible for collecting the tithe
from any sub-tenants. Also, the fact that a name is
listed in a particular townland, does not necessarily
mean that the person lived there. Nevertheless, the
Tithe Applotment Books are a valuable source for a
period where evidence is scarce. Note that I am using
the term leaseholder rather loosely here. Many 'leaseholders'
in some townlands were merely tenants-at-will i.e.
they did not have a proper lease. They held their
land on an annual basis. In fact in townlands where
this was prevalent, more names are usually listed.
here to see a copy of part of a page from the
Tithe Applotment Book for the Parish of Maghera. It
lists the landholders liable for tithe in part of
the townland of Gorteade, near Upperlands in South
Derry. The total acreage liable for tithe is shown
in column three, followed by columns which give a
breakdown of the acreages of different qualities of
land within each holding. Note that all of these acreages
are in Irish acres. The final column in the original
document [not shown in this copy] states the amount
of tithe to be paid per acre on each holding. The
average tithe per acre was around one shilling - five
new pence in today's decimal currency. Multiplying
the acreages in the Tithe Applotment Books by 1.62
will convert them to English, statute, acres. In other
areas of the county, such as the townland of Lisbunny
in the parish of Cumber Upper, the acreages were given
in Cunningham acres, which is a Scottish measure.
Multiplying Cunningham acres by 1.3 will convert them
to English, statute, acres. In my experience the acreages
given in Co. Derry parishes tend to be in Plantation
acres [i.e. Irish acres] whereas those in Co. Antrim
tend to be in statute acres [English acres] or Cunningham
acres [Scots]. For an excellent short paper on the
historical background to these various measurements
read this paper What
size is an acre? by George Gilmore of Garvagh
Historical Society. Finally, the PRONI
Information Leaflet on the Tithe Records is worth
a read. I have found that in those Tithe Books where
acreages are given, I can match some of the names
with those in the later c.1860 Griffith's.
many of you probably know there is a database of the
names in this source available from IrishWorld
that covers the six counties of Northern Ireland.
Ancestry includes some parishes for the Ballymoney
area on its website. Whilst these databases are useful
in identifying particular names, it is not possible
to filter out particular localities within counties
which would allow us to compare names in a locality
c.1830 with names in the same locality c.1860 Griffith's
Valuation and, indeed, the 1901 and 1911 Census Returns.
However, I have neither the time or the energy to
create a database covering North & Mid Antrim
plus the whole of Co. Londonderry. What I have done
is for Co. Antrim & Londonderry is outlined below
and work is still in progress.
date I have completed a database that contains an
index of names for the parishes and townlands in the
Baronies of Cary, Lower Dunluce, Upper Dunluce and
Kilconway; plus the parishes and townlands in the
Barony of N. E. Liberties of Coleraine in Co. Londonderry
[a total of 8709 entries].
that, in some cases, I have included the valuation
of holdings and the amount of tithe paid on a holding.
This kind of information is not dealt with consistently
across the parishes - sometimes both the valuation
and the amount of tithe paid is given - sometimes
only the tithe paid is included. Initially I included
this information because, at times, I have found it
useful when trying to identify an individual or locate
a holding. However, the amount of time involved in
recording this type of information can be considerable.
This explains the fact that I have not been able to
complete this part of the database. So, remember,
a blank entry does not mean that the info. is not
available in the original document.
you will find an Excel link and two PDF links to this
that in the PDF 2 file the database is sorted by Standardised
Surname, Barony, Parish and Townland. Note also PDF
2 does not include any of the statistical information
mentioned above. This file is essentially a names
organisation of the PDF 1 file and the Excel file
is very different. Here the database is sorted by
Barony and Parish. Note that the order of the townlands
within each parish is not alphabetical. It reflects
the order of townlands within each Parish Tithe Book.
Note, in particular that the names of the landholders
paying tithe in each townland follow the order of
their names in the Tithe Book.
order of the names and townlands in the Excel &
PDF 1 files will allow you [at townland level] to
compare the names of the landholders in the Tithe
with those in the printed pages of the c.1860 Griffith's
[Tenement] Valuation [available at askaboutireland.ie.].
This is possible because both sets of names follow
some sort of geographical order. You will have to
identify this order using the later Griffith's Valuation
are PDF files which contain the names of the landholders
in a number of townlands within the county where the
tenants paid tithes. It is interesting to
compare the number of landholders [paying tithes]
in a townland with the number of householders in the
same townland in the 1831 Census Returns. It should
illustrate the shortcomings of the Tithe Books as
census substitutes and make us appreciate the value
of the 1831 Census for the county, despite its shortcomings.
Note that the acreages given in these PDF files are
in English, Statute acres and are decimalised. Note
that the acreages in the Co. Londonderry Tithe Books
are in Irish [Plantation] measure. I have converted
them to English [Statute] acres by multiplying the
Irish acres by 1.62. The result is given in a decimalised
form e.g. 2.5 acres instead of 2 acres, 2 roods and
- Dates of Tithe Applotment Books - Names of
landholders who paid tithes [PDF]
have been working on a database of the Tithe Applotment
Book for the entire parish of Ballynascreen in the
Barony of Loughinsholin, Co. Londonderry. Recently
I have added the parishes of Kilcronaghan, Killelagh,
Maghera and Termoneeny. This larger database has 3533
entries. Here I have included the acreages of the
holdings for each landholder within each townland,
as given in the Tithe Book. These acreages are more
consistent because they are usually in Irish acres.
To convert Irish acres to Statute acres, multipy the
Irish acres by 1.62. Note that the Excel file is sorted
by Record No. which reflects the order of both townlands
and names in the Tithe Applotment Book. The PDF file
is sorted by surname as spelt in the Tithe Book.
that the the names in these Tithe Books can often
be matched with the names in my 1831 Census database
and the later 1859 Griffith's Valuation Book, which
is available online.
of names listed within each townland in the 1820s/30s
Tithe Applotment Book for Parishes of Ballynascreen,
Kilcronaghan, Killelagh, Maghera and Termoneeny.