Datchworth Tithe Accounts


Edited by Jane Walker

Hertfordshire Record Society

Volume XXV for 2009 - published 2010




      A typical page from the accounts

      Map based on 1839 Tithe map

      Map of area  c 1700



General editorial method

Abbreviations used in the text and footnotes

References to towns and villages


Datchworth Tithe Accounts Accounts


     Datchworth Glebe Terrier 1607

     Noteworthy landowbers and tenants

     Burials and Wills ...

     Land Tax Returns for 1721

     Poor Relief Payments for 1721

     Notes about Weather and Crops




Hertfordshire Record Society

Index of names

Index of places and subjects

From the dust cover

This volume contains the edited Tithe Accounts of the mid­ Hertfordshire parish of Datchworth, dating from 171 1 to 1747, together with an introduction, commentary and appendices.

Tithes and the sale of glebe produce were important sources of income for a parish priest, in this case, the Revd William Hawtayne, who was rector from 1709 until his death in 1747. For most of that time he kept an account book of his financial transactions which consisted mainly of tithe collection arranged by year (only 1726 and 1739 are missing). Tithes were paid both in kind and by composition agreement. The annual totals of tithe takings reveal both 'good' and 'bad' years affected sometimes by the demise of a high composition payer or possibly reflecting the price of wheat. In the later years of Hawtayne's life his son made a valiant effort to master the tithing system, adding some interesting memoranda of his own.

In the early years Hawtayne took a personal interest in the farming of his glebe and noted his dealings at Hertford market. These demonstrate the crops that he grew and the fluctuating prices that he experienced when selling his produce. They also indicate the crop rotation system that was then customary in Datchworth.

Being an almost continuous 37-year record, the accounts are a rich source of information. Not only local historians but also agricultural and ecclesiastical historians will find much of value about tithe collection and agricultural practices in mid­Hertfordshire in the first half of the eighteenth century. Genealogists will find many family names and details of land and property.


This book is obviously essential reading for anyone whose ancestors lived in Datchworth in the first half of the 18th century. However Datchworth was a typical rural parish, and while the names may be different the general scenario will be similar to that faced by your forebears. The Introduction includes a very full discussion of the history and collection of tithes and also has a good look at farming practices, while the accounts give a good indication of the prices being obtained in Hertford market.

Noteworthy people associated with the parish were the Rev. William Hawtayne (whose account book it was); William Butterfield of Hawkins Hall; Daniel Crawley, yeoman; William Dards/Deards, butcher; John Flindall of Swangleys Farm; William Game of Raffins Green Farm; Edward Harrison of Balls Park, Hertford; Thomas Kimpton of Swangleys Farm; William Kimpton, farmer; Robert King of Raffins Green and Bragbury End; William Robinson Lytton, with links to Knebworth House; William Lytton, rector of Knebworth; Rowland Mardell of Bridgefoot Farm; William Wallis of Datchworthbury and MP for Steyning; James Whitehall at Datchworthbury. Many other people are listed in a comprehensive index.


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