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Winterbourne Steepleton

Parish 27

Date of Agreement / Award

Date of Confirmation of Apportionment

Winterbourne Steepleton



Date on Map

Scale of Map


1840 original

copy undated

8 chains

John Martin

Clearly the rector and the landowners could not agree as an award was made by Aneurin Owen. No further details other than the usual reason of not reflecting the true value of the tithe was given. This was a large parish of some 1756 acres a large part being farmed in the open or common arable fields. Here we find the archetypal west middle and east fields split up into their furlongs of open strips. However, as is also typical of those Dorset parishes that retained features of the open field system as well as a number of closes.

The apportionment is one of the most interesting that Martin undertook and throws light on how the open field system operated. There was of course a Manor farm of 720 acres and free hold land totalling over 130 acres but large parts were still farmed as open fields and these were divided up into ‘livings’. There are nine of these named, Barrett’s Higher Living, Barrett’s Lower Living, Taskers Living, Champs Living and Champs Half Living, Bennets Living, “Walters’s ½ Living, Whittles half living” [sic] and Box Living .A living was an area that varied between 32 and 37 acres and a half living between 10 and 17 acres. Each living had a small amount of meadow land attached to it typically 2 acres or so for a whole living and the rest of the living was solely arable. Barrett’s Higher Living for example contained two strips of meadow land and twenty seven strips of arable. The meadow land usually comprised two small closes of about 3 acres, and it is found that that the meadow lands are often subdivisions of larger closes. Most grazing however was done inthe common pastures totalling some 565 acres.

The tenures were not always straight forward. James John Lambert for example held Barrett’s Lower Living [36 acres], Tasker’s Living [32 acres] Walters’s ½ Living [17 acres] and Whittles half Living [17 acres], of the Countess of Sandwich and the Earl of Darlington, but he in turn rented it to Levi Groves who did the actual farming.

There are no diary entries for Winterbourne Steepleton. The maps are unremarkable, although only the original map is dated both are signed by Martin. There is a pictorial representation of the church.

List of Commutations under the Tithe Commutation Act