I can help with all resources marked [YES] , copyright permitting.

See also Manors and Estates and Maps.

All the surveys of land from the Tithe Surveys of 1836 to the Farm Survey of 1941 were known at some time or other as the “Modern”, “New” or “Second” Domesday with more or less jsutification. A first class book on the three main subjects here is …

Tithe Surveys 1836–c1850

Tithes have been collected by the parish since the dark ages but became enshrined in English law in 855 (King Ethelwulf). It was required that every parishoner gave one tenth of his produce in kind to the parish priest for the maintenance of clergy, the church and all the business of the parish. Over the years many of these payments had been translated into a monetary equivalent or in some cases waived in exchange of grants of land or a capital sum. By the C19th. there was significant objection both from religious dissenters and from farmers who were bearing the load which was not shared by manufacturers in the cities. There was also seen to be abuse by some clergy, some of whome lived in style many miles from their parishes.

In 1836 the “Tithes Commutation Act” was introduced which exchanges all the old tithes for a Rentcharge paid by all parishioners. Land ownership was a significant factor in the equation and to implement the changeover it was necessary to inspect each parish and come to an agreement (if possible) on the scale of commutation. A commission was set up whose task was to survey the land and negotiate (and if necessary arbitrate) each persons liability.

What we are left with is a large quantity of large scale maps, the best that had been seen in the country, and the corresponding Tithe Apportionment books. The maps are now in class IR30 in the PRO and the books in class IR29 and most are duplicated in the County Record Offices.

I have not yet determined the details for West Penwith.

Land Tax Redemption Certificates 1799–1953

The index for these can be found in PRO IR22. The arrangement is by parish not owner’s name. Those for Cornwall are in four volumes IR22/17–20. They list 1) the name of redemptioner; 2) name of occupant; 3) amount of tax redeemed; 4) registered number redemption contract. The contract number is an index into the class IR24. e.g. Registration numbers 144,000 to 144,999 for the years 1866–67 are in class IR24/162. This is a very large book and very heavy held together by two big leather straps. Thanks to Simon Lathlane for this information.

Conveyances, Leases and Mortgages

Mortgages have always been an important means of raising capital against the security of land. Old examples are often valuable for the wealth of incidental detail that they contain. This example from 1854, which has been transcribed and pictured on this site, includes details of an earlier will, a marriage settlement and the investments of a trust. I was also sent a transcript of a sale and gift for the same property and which contains a lot of family details. At a later date I hope to have some examples of leases here as well.

Owners of Land 1872–3

There was a survey of Owners of Land in 1872 ordered by government and undertaken by the Local Government Board. This was published by county for all of England and Wales (except the “Metropolis”) in 1873 and included all people who owned 1 acre or more. It is available on microfiche from [Off Site] MM Publications, Lidgate, Suffolk: 1995. [YES] I have the single fiche for Cornwall. It is also available in searchable PDF format on CDROM from the [Off Site] Archive CD Books Project: 2001. either in single counties or as a full set.

Valuation Office Survey 1909–15

The provisions of the 1909–10 Finance Act imposed a tax on the increase in value of land (excluding crops, buildings etc.) and was payable by the owners to offset the cost of local infrastructure such as roads. This required the Inland Revenue to obtain a base value for all land in private ownership as of 30 Apr 1909. Subsequent sale or other valuation gave the opportunity for the tax to be paid.

The Valuation Office was set up, district valuers appointed and the valuation was completed in 1915. In the event, the whole exercise was a disaster because less was raised in tax than required to cover the Valuation Office expenses so it was abandoned in 1920. But the records remain in the PRO and local record offices!

Each unit of property was assigned an assessment number which was marked on copies of the OS 25" maps of the time. The originals will be in the CRO, and final copies are in the PRO class IR 128/5 (for Cornwall). The piece numbers are as follows, cross-referenced by the OS sheet numbers.

OS Sheet IR 128/5 piece
LXI & LXIA (61) 722–731
LXII (62) 732–748
LXVII (67) 786–797
LXVIII (68) 798–812
LXXIII & LXXIIIA (73) 873–888
LXXIV (74) 889–899
LXXVIII & LXXVIIIA (78) 941–951
LXXIX (79) 952–954

The assessment numbers are an index to the Field Books which are in the PRO class IR 58. These normally include the names of the owners & occupiers, details of tenancy and the area and value of the property. It may include details of buildings and crops and sometimes a sketch.

Parish IR 58 piece
Gulval 84981–5
Ludgvan & Towednack 85105–14
Madron 85118–29
Morvah 85150
Paul 85188–207
Penzance 85218–59
St. Buryan 85362–5
St. Ives 85384–413
St. Just in Penwith 85414–33
St. Levan 85446–7
Sancreed 85463–5
Sennen 85466–70
Uny Lelant 85489–95
Zennor 85515—

In order to assist the process, copies of the Income Tax registers were made available in the form of bound volumes. Other material generated by this survey includes the Valuation Books, Forms 37 (provisional valuations), working maps, Forms 4-Land (the original returns). Some or all of these may be in the CRO

National Farm Survey 1941–43

The second World War generated a need to review the production of food in the country as imports virtually stopped. It was necessary to bring much more land into productive use so a survey was undertaken or all arable and pasture land available and in use. This went into great detail and included records of farm units including tenure, equipment, water and electricity supply, land quality, management, crops, livestock and also included a plan of its boundaries, buildings and fields.

This survey is especially valuable because the National Census of 1941 did not take place.

The farm records can be found in class MAF 32 organised by county. The maps are in class MAF 73 based on the OS 25" reduced to half size indexed from MAF 73/64.

I have not extracted the details for West Penwith yet.