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Frome Vauchurch

Parish 2

Date of Agreement / Award

Date of Confirmation of Apportionment

Frome Vauchurch [Downfrome]



Date on Map

Scale of Map



3 chains

in two parts

John Martin of Evershot in the County of Dorset -Valuer

The original map has two parts to it, but both are drawn one piece of paper/ parchment. On the left side of the map is the main parish of Frome Vauchurch, there is then a vertical inked line, on the right hand side of which is a map of Chantmarle Farm. The map is bounded all the way around with another inked line. The map is endorsed is “Part of Chantmarle Farm in the Parish of Frome Vauchurch” and across the vertical dividing line between the two maps is the signature John Martin in the County of Evershot -Valuer”

Chantmarle farm is some miles from Frome Vauchurch and Martin visited it on many occasions for recreational purposes: it was a popular place for him to go hare coursing. It may be wondered how it became to be a part of Frome Vauchurch? Hutchins says of it: “Chantmarle, anciently a manor now a farm, situated on the river Frome, two miles north from Cattistock, of which manor it was once a member. It had anciently belonging to it divers copyhold tenements in Maiden Newton, Evershot, and Frome Vauchurch”. [1] Hardly an explanation but it does illustrate how manors and places have waxed and waned in their fortunes.

The copy map available through Ancestry does not show Chantmarle farm; it appears to have been cropped out along the vertical inked line. The bounding inked line can be seen continuing after the vertical line for a short distance. Both original and copy maps are drawn to a scale of three chains per inch and this may have caused some confusion at the tithe commission as we will see. This scale produces particularly fine maps and there is a good depiction of the “PARSONAGE” at Frome Vauchurch complete with marked out driveways, paths and gardens on both maps.

At the other end of the housing scale, and unusually on his maps, he has labelled the POOR HOUSE. There are a number of unusual marks on the maps which on the modern satellite map relate to dips in the land where the marks occur. Except for the hachuring of steep slopes and the occasional gravel pit he rarely attempts any topological mapping so this is rather unusual and not particularly successful.

The copy map has two signatures: “John Martin in the County of Evershot -Valuer” is now below the title and does not straddle the vertical line and there is an additional signature – type 1- JOHN MARTIN SURVEYOR in the unusual position of the bottom left corner.

The large scale whilst allowing greater detail to be shown also makes errors and differences less easy to hide. For example the original has PARSONAGE HOUSE whilst the copy has only PARSONAGE on it. An adjacent field has six trees on the original with only four on the copy, yet another has thirty two on the original and twenty six on the copy, a road named on the copy is not named on the original and so on.

24th May 1838

Valuing Frome Vauchurch

21st August 1838

Working on Downfrome Rate

29th August 1838

Went to Downfrome respg State of Property and pasting Paper

30th August 1838

Working on Frome Vauchurch Rate of Tithes

4th September 1838

Working on Batcombe and From Vauchurch Rent charges &c

7th September 1838

Altering the Batcombe Rate [Poor Rate] and working on Downfrome Rent charges

8th September 1838

Working on Downfrome and Batcombe Rent Charges

26th December 1838

Attending Frome Vauchurch with Map for adoption of Landowners

Frome Vauchurch was the occasion of some correspondence between Martin and the Tithe Commission. Perhaps because of its scale [3 chains to the inch] when the map was sent to the London it was seen by Lieut Dawson who clearly thought that the landowners wanted it certified and sealed as a first class map.

Such maps were examined by a group of assistant commissioners who appraised the apportionment against fourteen criteria and the map against five. They then prepared an “Examination Paper” summarising their findings and, if the map failed, recommending what remedial measures needed to be made. Dawson sent a form [2] to Martin on the 2nd February 1839:

When Maps are required to be sealed by the Tithe Commission the original working plans with the chained lines all marked upon them, and the original field books, must be sent to the Office of the Tithe Commission for examination; otherwise the Tithe Commissioners can only prove the accuracy of the work by measuring testing lines upon the ground and the expenses must be borne by the Landowners.

The Tithe Commissioners will not seal Maps to which any of the following objections apply without first testing them upon the ground:

  1. Where the means afforded are insufficient for proving the accuracy of the work, in all its details

  2. Where the Map does not agree with the Field Book

  3. Where the Field Books have been kept in pencil and afterwards penned in.

  4. Where alterations have been made in the Field Books without a satisfactory explanation being afforded.

  5. Where the offsets exceed a Chain in length.

Remarks on the Construction of the Map

If it be the wish of the landowners that this map should be sealed by the Tithe Commissioners the original Working plan and Field books should be sent up for examination.

Robert Kearsley Dawson Asst Tithe Commissioner 2/2/1839

Second class map RKD


Some part of the Parish of Frome Vauchurch was measured some years ago and the remainder recently done and it is not the wish of the landowners that this map be should be sealed

John Martin of Evershot near Dorchester Dorset 4th February 1839.”

John Martin Esquire Evershot & Sherborne Dorset

If nothing else it shows how efficient the post was in 1839. On receipt of the reply Dawson scrawled “Second Class Map” on the note. Interestingly the form also bears another signature by Martin in which he describes himself as of “Evershot and Sherborne”.

List of Commutations under the Tithe Commutation Act

1 Hutchins History of Dorset 3rd ed 1861

2 A copy of this form is to be found in The Tithe Surveys of England and Wales by Kain and Prince.