Introduction to the tithe assessments

City of London Tithe Assessments 1638-72. Originally published by [s.n.], [s.l.], [n.d.].

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The tithes were a levy raised by the Church upon the population to fund its institutions. They were first instituted in the early middle ages, and originally called for the local parish to receive one tenth of the agricultural produce of each parishioner, or a similar proportion of the production 'output' for artisans, essentially acting as a tax on income. Tithes were initially paid in kind, leading to the construction of substantial tithe barns for the storing of goods received, but by the seventeenth century tithes had become a financial burden with sums of money paid according to the rent value of an individual's property (a situation that continued until 1836). All householders were liable to pay tithes unless the property they owned or occupied was specifically exempted due to some long standing custom or association with the parish.

The surviving tithe records provide useful information about householders within a given parish, information which is often amplified by records of tithe disputes which were commonplace in the middle of the seventeenth century. The tithe records for the London parishes of All Hallows Honey Lane and St Mary Le Bow are particularly useful as they provide not only the assessment of each individual's tithe responsibility, but they also provide the rent value of their property, providing a picture of the social composition of the parish (and further organising the information by street).

The records appearing here are transcripts mirroring the tabular format of the manuscripts, including some or all of the following fields:

Title Any honorific or title used to identify the individual
Forename Forename of listed individual
Surname Surname of listed individual
Status Indication of the social status of the individual
Type of property Sometimes the property that an individual is assessed for is commercial rather than residential, and this is recorded here
Property number The unique number that each property is identified by within the 'Historical gazetteer of London before the Great Fire'
Rents moderately valued / Assessment The moderated rent value of the property
Tithe due according to this value The tithe assessment
Tithe paid for the present pa The amount of tithe collected to date

The assessments for 1672-1682 are derived from City of London Record Office, Assessment Box 45, MS 10. The data for All Hallows Honey Lane for 1638 is from Lambeth Palace Library MS. 272: Lists of inhabitants of London parishes 1638, fo. 32 All Hallows Honey La.