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Parish 56

Date of Agreement / Award

Date of Confirmation of Apportionment




Date on Map

Scale of Map



6 chains

John Martin

Martin attended Hillfield farm in 1838 when he valued it. He returned in 1843 to apportion the parish but something seems to have gone badly wrong; though it does not appear to be his fault. The parish was over one thousand five hundred acres in size. The eventual amount of rent-charge payable was only seventy two pounds but even so the land and tithe owners could not agree on the sum. An award was made by Aneurin Owen on the basis that the rent-charge did not reflect the value of the tithe over the preceding seven years. Nothing unusual it would seem in that.

There were complications however; part of the land was totally exempt from any form of tithes whilst other lands were exempt from corn, grain and hay tithes. It was the third part of the land exempt from the tithe [named as Hillfield Farm] that was to cause the problems. The tithes of wool and lambs were supposed to be tendered in kind but this obligation was “covered from tender in kind by a composition real” that consisted in the Vicar of Sydling St Nicholas being allowed to graze forty sheep on the farm. For reasons lost in history [1] the tithes of Corn Grain and Hay from Hillfield were due to the Warden and Scholars of St Mary’s College of Winchester as they were the impropriate rector of both Hillfield and Sydling St Nicholas.

All these different parcels of land were written down in three schedules describing these lands and then the apportionment made. However something had gone wrong and Owen was recalled to the Parish. The Tithe Commissioners had agreed to the amount of rent charge but not how it was to be apportioned: “Whereas an Award for the Commutation of the tithes of the Parish of Hillfield in the County of Dorset has been confirmed by the Tithe Commissioners for England and Wales but the apportionment of the Rent charges awarded to be paid in lieu of tithes has not been confirmed AND WHEREAS it has been represented to the Tithe Commissioners that errors have been committed in the said award by the adoption of erroneous schedules to the same whereby a right distribution of the Rent-Charges awarded would be prevented and by omitting to recite that Hillfield Farm in the said Parish is by prescription absolutely exempt from and tender of tithes other than those of wool and lambs.”

Doubtless Owen had a red face after admitting this. The bulk of the rent charge £52 was payable to “Saint Mary’s College of Winchester near Winchester” with £16 going to the Vicar of Sydling St Nicholas. The maps are remarkable in one respect. There is no parish church shown because Hillfield was a chapelry of Sydling St Nicholas. It was customary to start numbering the plots with the church as no 1 and in the absence of a parish church Martin did the next best thing, he started with a 1 ¾ acre plot of meadow called Chapel Close. In the middle of the map was a small undistinguished building with no designation or even mention. The meadow paid 3s 7d in rent-charge and normally of course the church did not pay tithe to the church. This was [and is] St Nicholas church and at some time it was enclosed in it’s own grounds.

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At it’s NW end Hillfield borders Totnell Corner in Leigh where he went in 1832,

19th September 1832

Doing a Little to Maiden Newton Allotting and went to Totnel Corner and bought a Pony cart

Paid for Pony Chaise £34 9s 0d

Paid for Cart &c at Totnel Corner Sale £1 19s 5d

There are three diary entries for Hillfield,

May Accounts 1845

Pd Jacob Andrews of Batcombe for Edwins Board when measuring at Hillfield £3 1s 9d

7th June 1845

Made Hillfield Commn Rate and sent Copies to Mr Sparks and Mr Garland

9th September 1845

Reced of Winchester College Hillfield Rate £12 16s 0d

10th December 1845

Working on the Abbotsbury Town Map and altering the Hillfield Commn Rate

12th December 1845

Reced Mr Stones Commutation expenses Hillfield £11 3s 0d

Do Mr Slys 13s

Mr Sparks, Mr Stone and Mr Slys were landowners but who Mr Garland was is not known.

List of Commutations under the Tithe Commutation Act

1 Hutchins has details.