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Parish 1

Date of Agreement / Award

Date of Confirmation of Apportionment




Date on Map

Scale of Map



6 chains [1]

John Martin of Evershot in the County of Dorset- Valuer

The first apportionment that Martin undertook was at Charminster, a large parish of some 4000 acres which he had inclosed alongside John Baverstock Knight in 1832. Martin was the apportioner and the maps bear his signature. The original is signed in the left lower quadrant with a flourishing “John Martin of Evershot in the County of Dorset Valuer” whereas the copy bears his signature in the right lower quadrant but without the “of Evershot in the County of Dorset Valuer”. The original also bears an endorsement by “Josiah [?] Slade Chairman” and states that this was the map that was adopted at a Parish meeting on 12th February 1839. It too is endorsed by Aneurin Owen in his own hand.

We do not know if or when the inclosure was enrolled as the entry is missing from Kain’s database of inclosures and there is no record in the quarter sessions. The inclosure map however is dated 1837 and it is unlikely that the tithe map was anything more than a rehash of the earlier map. The maps themselves are large but not particularly remarkable.

The parish has two long, large swathes of land pushing into it which belonged to the parish of Frampton. We do not know what happened to the copy map after it was made but it saw some use beyond the purpose for which it was made. Each of the 349 fields on the copy has had it’s name pencilled in and in the larger of the two swathes an outline of the County Asylum that was to be built at what is now Charlton Downe. The old County Asylum, which was still in use in 1839, is shown at the bottom of the map.

The apportionment names four rectors which demonstrate the iniquity of the tithe system. The Revd. George Pickard was paid £510 but he is referred to as an impropriate Rector – in other words he did not claim the tithe as a clerical rector but as a lay impropriator who just happened to be a clerk. He had no religious responsibilities or function in the parish, that being left to the Revd. Robert Albion Cox, a perpetual curate who received just £12 a year. This was about half the wage of an agricultural worker and to make ends meet he was also curate at Stratton and Vicar at Montacute. James Henning another lay impropriator received £130 whilst a third lay impropriator, Thomas Dyer received the tithes of a single field worth five shillings. Finally Elizabeth Sherren got £25 for an estate called Herringston. She was presumably related to “Mr Sherrin” mentioned below.

There is a modus of 4d per cow “in lieu of all Tithes of Cows And all the Meadows and Pasture lands when fed [sic] with cows. This was a common way of expressing things and applied only when the grass lands were grazed. Sometimes there is a specific reference to the fact the cows had to be parochial cows and not brought in from outside. I am pleased to report that the Sun Inn mentioned in the apportionment is still open today.

There are two entries in the 1838 diary for the Charminster commutation. Landowners were free to use, or have adapted for use, old maps and clearly Martin was disappointed on this occasion. One wonders how he dealt with situations where the different maps were at odds with one another. There are no references to surveying or measuring in the diaries so it is probable that the map was compiled from pre-existing maps particularly as Martin had helped inclose the parish in 1832.

22nd August 1838

Charminster Commutation Attending at Charminster to receive Maps of Landowners When Mr James Henning & Mr Sherrin did not produce theirs

29th December 1838

Working on Charminster Village Terrier


List of Commutations under the Tithe Commutation Act

[1] Scales are ‘chains to the inch’. A scale of 6 chains to the inch translates to a scale of 13 inches of map representing a mile on the ground. A scale of 3 chains to the inch translates to a scale of 26 inches of map representing a mile on the ground.