Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Merging of Land and Tithe

Or Merging Land and Extinguishment of Tithe

This form of Liability  only gets a minor mention on the national archives website  on chancel repair liability and is frequently ignored and yet it is probably the second largest form of liability after the land covered by the record of ascertainments.  This form of liability and not accurately recorded on tithe apportionments. This seems to be the case in some parishes but there are plenty where the liability is quite provable and it seems to be dependent on whether the Vicar was still getting the lesser tithes and the approach of the individual tithe commissioner.


People who owned the land and also owned the tithe coming from the land had the opportunity to merge the land with the tithe and to extinguish paying the tithe to themselves but to transfer the liability into the land . Many land owners decided to do this since it saved administration and money and at the time did not change the liability for the chancel.
By merging the land with the tithe, the liability was moved from the tithe owner to the land owner which at the time made no difference then, but hundred and fifty years later may make a substantial difference. There has been no act of parliament or decision to apportion this liability out and so to this day this liability still stands.

Merging of Tithe Rent charge

In the majority of places the land owners opted to merge tithe rent charge with the land land after commutation and this liability was apportioned out by the record of ascertainments created by  the 1936 tithe act. These two liabilities, 'merged land and tithe' and 'merged land and tithe rent charge' not surprisingly, people find confusing, but the nature of the liability is quite different.

How much liability  for merging of land and tithe?

In theory every small piece of merged land and tithe is liable for the entire chancel but how that would work in practice would be up the various lay Rectors to apportion it and I suspect there may well be very complicated court cases if a PCC ever came to claim some money

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