Tithes were originally a tax which required one tenth of all agricultural produce to be paid annually to support the local church and clergy. After the Reformation much land passed from the Church to lay owners who inherited entitlement to receive tithes, along with the land.
By the early 19th century tithe payments in kind were considered a very out-of-date practice and as such became increasingly unpopular. The 1836 Tithe Commutation Act required tithes in kind to be converted to more convenient monetary payments. The Tithe Survey was established to find out which areas were subject to tithes, who owned them, how much was payable and to whom.
The Act was applied in Wednesfield in 1842 but please note that the schedule only contains those properties for which tithes still applied at that time. It appears to cover all fields and farm buildings, but comparison with the 1841 census shows that it did not cover all of the dwelling houses, some of which were too new to attract a tithe assessment. Another point to note is that occupiers often sublet to other tenants, so the named occupiers in the schedule may not be the people who actually lived in/worked on the property.
Please click here to download and search Wednesfield’s tithe schedule. The tithe plan/map can be seen at Wolverhampton City Archives.