Shipton: dispute about tithe milk, 1725

The text below comes from Arthur Clear, The King's Village in Demesne (1894), 52-3

About 1730, a disagreement arose between the Rev. James Edmonds, the then Vicar of Winslow, and the inhabitants of Shipton, respecting "Tithe Milk." The ground of the Vicar's claim being, that as the inhabitants of Winslow had long been accustomed to pay a tithe of milk in kind, he maintained that he was also entitled to the same dues from the Township of Shipton. The document goes on to state that:

"The inhabitants of Shipton, —which is a Township within the Parish of Winslow—have, time out of mind, payed for their cow's com(m)on throughout the Feilds belonging to the said Township, to the Vicar of Winslow and Shipton, after the rate of tenpence for each cow's com(m)on per annum, throughout the said Feilds of Shipton, on St. Martin's Day; and that no other demands, within the memory of man, have been payed for Tithe Milk, or for any dues claimed for Cows' Com(m)on within the said Township.

The inhabitants of both Winslow and Shipton by custom, have payed for Easter offerings, twopence a head for everyone that is above sixteen yeais of age, and a garden-penny for every family in lieu of tithes in garden stuff; for every calf at the fall of it 4d.; but no tithe for colts has ever been payed or demanded. The Vicar has every tenth lamb yean'd in the Parish, which he is to take on St. Mark's day, if not otherwise agreed upon; and for sheep wintered in the fields of Winslow-cum-Shipton, every tenth fleece of wool to be taken at shearing time; and for sheep bought in after Candlemas, a groat per month for every hundred sheep so bought, and so in proportion for any lesser quantity.

On Hock Munday, [being the Munday s'night after Easter], they (Winslow, exclusive of Shipton), begin to pay to the Vicar the tenth meal of milk, and so continue to do till the first day of August, when the tithing time for milk ceases untill Michaelmas Day at night, and they begin again as before, untill the 11th day of November, called Martinmas Day, and then no more until the next Hock Munday."

How this dispute was settled does not appear; but in 1743, an Act of Parliament was passed for "Dividing and Enclosing the Common Fields in the Hamlet of Shipton," whereby the the Vicar of Winslow was allotted one close of Greensward, called Smithell Close, and other lands in Shipton, in lieu of tithe.

The dispute actually began in 1725, although it may have dragged on until 1730. A writ was issued on 10 Jan 1725 in response to a complaint from James Edmonds now in the papers of the King's Remembrancer:

National Archives E112/931 no.72

Summary of the complaint: James Edmonds was admitted vicar in June 1720. He claimed that the vicars enjoyed tithes of corn and hay from ancient inclosed grounds, and the small tithes of herbage, calves, sheep, lambs, colts, wool, pigs, milk, game, fowls, eggs, hops, furze, herbs, fruit and garden stuff. In Shipton there was a great common called the Cowpasture, and a great part of the adjoining field was enclosed from the beginning of February to May Day. Parcels of it were held by John Henley, William Elliott, Thomas Whiteaves, Thomas Whorrell butcher, and Richard Lowndes esq. the present impropriator of the rectory. They kept cows yeilding milk and had calves and kept dry cattle. Henley and Whiteaves kept bees from which they had honey and wax. Londes and Henley cut down furze. Lowndes kept sheep from which he had lambs and wool, cut hay in ancient inclosed grounds. Elliott in 1723 and Whiteaves from 1722 sheared sheep. Lowndes and Whiteaves kept mares from which they had colts. They claimed the tithes of hay and cattle belonged to Lowndes. There was no modus [i.e. cash equivalent] for payment of tithe milk for part of the year.

Summary of Robert Lowndes' answer, taken at Winslow 9 July 1725: He did not believe the vicar was entitled to any tithe of corn or hay. He had only a little piece of ancient inclosed ground of half an acre, yearly value 5s, in 1722 the tithe was worth about 2s. The Cowpasture contained 108 acres and did not belong to all the inhabitants. Two of the three common fields were inclosed yearly. After the grain was carried away they were laid open for pasturing cattle.

A smoke penny was paid by each inhabitant at Easter in satisfaction of the tithe of wood and furze burnt in their houses. A penny was paid at Easter in satisfaction of the tithe of fruit and garden stuff except apples, pears and walnuts. [These points are also made by Whiteaves et al.]

Lowndes' titheable produce in 1722:

He sent his servant to ask Edmonds to take the milk. Edmonds would not have it but such satisfaction as Lowndes or his wife was pleased to pay. Lowndes paid him a guinea at Easter when not more than 6d was due.

In 1723:

In 1724:

Witnesses [signed]: Nicho: Merwin, Tho: Edlin, Tho ?Prickett

Answer of Thomas Whiteaves, Thomas Wurrall, John Henley and William Elliott

[Summary] The vicars receive tithes of hay but not corn from ancient inclosed grounds. Shipton Cowpasture contains 108 acres and only those with land there have right of common. The adjoining common field is not inclosed as suggested. Two of the three common fields in Shipton are inclosed yearly, one about Hollontide called the Wheat Field, one about Lady Day called the Bean Field. The third lies fallow. When the corn is carried away, the fields are laid open in common for depasturing cattle.

Henley and Elliott have held land mainly in Shipton from which they had milk, calves, fruit, herbs and garden stuff. They did not keep dry cattle. Henley had bees and furze, Elliott had sheep, wool and lambs.

Whiteaves and Wurrall held land in Winslow tything. Whiteaves had cattle, milk, fruit, herbs, garden stuff, bees, calves, sheep, wool, lambs, 1 colt. Wurrall had milk, 2 calves. He sold one cow the day she calved, the other the day after. Another cow calved in 1724. He kept several dry cattle in 1723-4.

Tithes are due for wool, colts, furze not growing in the Cowpasture which is sold and not burnt, geese, apples, pears, walnuts and other fruit not growing in gardens.

The tithe milk in Winslow tything is the tenth "evening and morning meales milke in kind" from the evening of Hock Monday to Lammas Day and from the evening of Michaelmas to Martinmas. No tithe milk is paid in kind for the residue of the year, but the vicar receives all the milk of each cow milked on Hock Monday evening and the morning following, Michaelmas evening and the morning following, the morning and evening of Lammas Day and Martinmas. He receives the tenth penny of what each calf is sold for which is calved in Winslow tything between the morning after Hock Monday and Lammas Day, and between the morning after Michaelmas and Martinmas. 4d is payable by each inhabitant on Martinmas as a modus for the tithe of calves calved at other times or weaned for rearing.

10d[?] per acre in the Cowpasture is paid to the vicar at Martinmas as a modus for the tithes of milk, herbage and furze growing in the Cowpasture.

If a parishioner has 10 lambs or pigs, the vicar receives one. If they have 9, he receives one and pays back ½d. If they have 8, he receives one and pays back 1d, etc. If the parishioner has 6 lambs, he pays the vicar 3d, if 5 he pays the vicar 2½d, etc.

At Easter, there are due to the vicar 3 eggs for every cock and drake, two eggs for every hen and duck.

The vicar has refused to accept these payments.

John Henly has occupied an orchard in Shipton tything containing 1½ acres, and grazed it but not mowed it. He had 9 acres in the Cowpasture. In 1722:

In 1723:

In 1724:

William Elliott occupied two orchards in Shipton tything containing 2 acres "and no other ancient inclosed grounds which this deft hath yearly grazed and not mowed"

In 1722:

In 1723:

In 1724:

Thomas Whiteaves had an orchard of 1/8 acre whose grass was eaten by his cattle.

In 1722:

In 1723:

In 1724:

Thomas Wurrall had no ancient inclosed grounds, no milk or fruit.

In 1723:

The defendants "do insist on the pecuniary payment aforesaid in leiw of tythable matters and things yearly growing and ariseing in the said common called the Cowpasture". They agree there is due in vicarial tithes "the sum of 1s 9d from this deft Henley and amounting to ye summe of 13s 7d from this deft Elliott and amounting to ye summe of £1 4s 5d from this deft Whiteaves and amounting to ye summe of 5s 10d from this deft Wurrall". For garden fruit, herbs and other garden stuff, if the court does not establish the modus, "this deft Henley submitts to charge himselfe with the summe of £3 11s 4d for ye value of ye tythes thereof  And this deft Elliott submitts to charge himselfe with the summe of £2 14s 8d for the value of the tyth thereof  And this deft Whiteaves submitts to charge himselfe with the summe of £1 1s 6¾d for the value of ye tythes thereof And this deft  Worrall submitts to charge himself with the sume of [blank] for the value of the tythes thereof".

Sworn at Winslow 9 July 11 George before us
[signed] Nicho: Merwin
Thos Edlin
Tho ?Prickett

[signed] John Henly
Wm Elliott
the marke of Thos X Whiteaves
Thomas Worall

See also:

Copyright 26 June, 2019