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East Chelborough

Parish 16

Date of Agreement / Award

Date of Confirmation of Apportionment

East Chelborough



Date on Map

Scale of Map



3 chains

John Martin in the County of Dorset-Valuer.

This little vill, distant about two miles north from West Chelborough, is hardly ever mentioned in any of our records…..It does not occur in Domesday.”[1] It’s alternative name was Lewcombe or Leucomb.

In 1826, the previous owners having died out, the trustees of the estate applied to Parliament for an act to allow them to sell the manor. The Revd. Blakely Cooper, Rector of the parish and vicar of Yetminster purchased nearly three hundred acres of the parish. He gradually added to the estate and by the time of the commutation of the total area of titheable land in the parish, nine hundred and forty eight acres, over a half, a total of five hundred and nine acres was owned by him. The majority of this land, three hundred and ninety five acres together with one hundred and fourteen acres of glebe was,‘in hand’, being farmed directly by himself.

There was a general principle “ecclesia decimas non solvit ecclesiae”[2]. All rectors had glebe land in their parish of course but few owned land in their own parishes aside from this. The result for Blakely Cooper was that of the £180 rent-charge agreed for him, £87 10s 0d was paid to him by himself. In fact of course this was little more than an administrative exercise. Owners come and go and the fact that Blakely Cooper owned the land today did not mean he would necessarily own it tomorrow. The principle behind the act was that ever piece of cultivated land should have a rent-charge attached to it. Potentially even glebe land could be sold which was why it also had a rent-charge apportioned to it.

The second unusual part of the apportionment is what appears to be the method of apportionment. Whilst this was usually done on the basis of the lands productive value the TCA allowed any method of apportionment to be agreed upon, providing that two thirds of the landowners agreed. Uniquely among Martin’s commutation the schedule lists “such lands and the names of the respective Owners hereof and the proportional sums at which such lands respectively are rated to the poor”

Landowner Value lands rated to poor. Rent-Charge Ratio Poor Rate/ Rent Charge
Rev Blakely Cooper £378 15s 0d £87 10s 0d 4.32
John Harris £22 10s 0d £5 0s 0d 4.50
Joseph Crew Jennings £70 5s 0d £15 4.68
John Mead £37 10s 0d £8 10s 0d 4.41
John Pilcher £108 0s 0d £19 5.68
Society of Quakers £123 15s 0d £25 4.95

It is not certain that these values were in fact used to apportion the rent-charge, no explanation for the presence of them in the diaries is given but it was certainly possible in theory. The Quakers owned one hundred and fifty five acres in the parish and although there is a rough correlation between the ratio of Poor Rate to Rent-Charge it is not exact. As can be seen Joseph Crew Jennings owned land here, some ninety five acres or so, and after Blakely Cooper died his executors sold the land of the manor together with “lands called ” Castle Grounds,” which formerly belonged to John Gillingham, and other lands in the parish, and the manor of West Chelborough, and lands there, …, to Joseph Crew Jennings and Thomas Robert Jennings of Evershot, gentlemen, for £14000/. in which family it still continues.”

There are no diary entries for East Chelborough but the original and copy maps have some stylistic differences. The North arrow cartouches are of different styles and in plot 157 of the copy map there appears to be the crater of a volcano. We forget that at this time there was no standard way of depicting contours and the crater in fact represents the remains of an old motte and bailey castle. Why it is depicted on the copy and not on the original map is not known. The copy map is especially attractive, and plots 5 & 6 depict the four acres of ‘Lewcombe House, Pleasure Grounds, Gardens and plantations’ where Blakely Cooper lived. Approached by a long private drive the house and gardens are shown in detail and it was a short distance up his own driveway to the church.

List of Commutations under the Tithe Commutation Act

1 Hutchins ibid.

2 The church does not tithe to the church.