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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


Land Records

Tithe Applotment Books


Tithes were an income tax on farming. Usually about one tenth of the annual income. These were used for the upkeep of the Church of Ireland and were paid from the time of the Reformation. Before the Composition Act of 1823 it was possible to pay them in kind instead of money. From the time of the Composition Act they were supposed to be paid in cash and Tithe surveys were carried out in each Parish to assess what the income for that parish would be. Two people were a appointed by each parish to carry out this assessment.

Both Catholics and Protestants resented this tax - Tax was not payable on all land, and there was even variation on the types of land from place to place. From 1736 grazing land had an exemption - this was usually land held by landlords. Certain crops were taxable, others weren't. Potatoes could be taxable in one parish and not in the one next door.

Tithe books are not comprehensive. People who did not hold land are not listed and some types of land were passed over absolutely. Towns and cities were usually not assessed. They are arranged by townslands and usually give the acreage held by each farmer. However, note here that the measurement used was the plantation or Irish acre which differs in size from the imperial or English acre used in the Griffiths Valuation. The information you get from the Tithe Books is simple:

Some will list the Landlords name as well. The original tithe books for the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland are held in the National Archives in Dublin. Those for the 6 counties of Northern Ireland were transferred to the PRONI in Belfast. Copies remain in Dublin in the National Archives and National Library.

Tithe Defaulters: Both Catholics and Protestants objected to paying of Tithes. In 1830 Catholic Parishioners in Graiguenamanagh in Co. Kilkenny withheld their tithes. In 1832, they were followed by those in most parts of South Leinster and Munster and violence erupted - The 'Tithe War'.

The Church of Ireland Ministers therefore ended up without this money during 1831. It was necessary for them in order to claim from the Clergy Relief Fund to draw up a list of Parishioners who had defaulted on the Tithes.

A total of 499 Lists/Schedules of Defaulters were submitted in order to avail of the relief fund. 127 of these still survive. - Lists of Tithe Defaulters.

They are not written up alphabetically, and it is necessary to go through each book for each county and for some there are a number of books. (Some of these have been produced on CD-ROM. i.e. 53 of these books relate to Kilkenny; 30 to Tipperary; some coverage of Laois, Carlow, Offaly, Meath, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Louth Waterford and Wexford). The Quaker records show lists of those who defaulted on Tithes also.


The information contained in these pages is provided solely for  the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP

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