Tithe map training

PUBLISHED: 17:44 28 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:22 15 June 2010

Twenty-five local history enthusiasts and volunteers joined organisers from the Otter Valley Association (OVA) and East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) unit on a Parishscapes Tithe Map training day.

Twenty-five local history enthusiasts and volunteers joined organisers from the Otter Valley Association (OVA) and East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) unit on a Parishscapes Tithe Map training day at Drakes School, East Budleigh, last weekend. The event was fully booked, clearly demonstrating the wealth of interest in our local heritage and willingness to go back to school! "We wanted to find out more about how we can use tithe maps to tell us about our local heritage and past land-use in the Otter Valley," said Nicola Daniel of the OVA, the event organiser. Carron Saunders, Drake School headteacher, opened proceedings by saying how pleased the school was to host this event, which would build on the tithe map work already carried out by the children and on display in the hall. The purpose of the Parishscapes training day was to demonstrate how interested individuals or groups can use our Victorian tithe maps to learn more about their historical landscapes. The conference included presentations by Parishscapes volunteer Martin Smith, who has been creating digital records of the tithe maps so that they can be used more effectively as a learning resource in the future. Each field is numbered on the Tithe map. These numbers are linked to a record known as the 'apportionment', which contained information regarding land tenure and use, crops and field names. The day concluded with a fieldwork exercise to see how land use had changed since 1840. It was difficult to visualise acres of orchards and corn growing on the steep-sided fields around the village.Parishscapes is feeding all this information into a geographical information system, which will allow people to then compare land use and tenure across a given area or parish. The aim is to complete this work across all 29 parishes of the East Devon AONB for the benefit of local communities and history groups by the end of the project.


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