Computation by Parish, Commissioners, Beneficiaries, Amount, Select Vestries.

The sums paid on tithes 1820s was enormous, not all went to the clergymen some went to lay impropriators who puchased tithes as an investment. Of the amount which went to clergymen part was to pay for services such as the care of fondlings burial of the indigent dead and other services.

Father Patrick Hickey in his Mizen history has document in detail this period.

Timoleague Tithes. Commissioners Patrick O’Brien, Michael Enright.

CSO/RP/1829/910 Letter from Rev Charles Ferguson, Bandon, relating to Patrick O’Brien who stands accused of smuggling tobacco. Confidential letter from Rev Charles Ferguson, Prebendary of Timoleague, Timoleague Glebe House, Bandon, [County Cork], to William Gregory, Under Secretary, relating to Patrick O’Brien who stands accused of smuggling tobacco.

Tithes payable to Rev. Charles Ferguson as Prebentry and Vicar of parish.

TCD, FERGUSON Charles 1811 14 Joseph Curator Dublin TCD

Charles Ferguson, Timoleague, 1832 was murdered while attempting to collect his tithes by force.

Involved in litigation with parishioners.

Commissioners set tithes at £413 British sterling, to Rev. Charles Ferguson as Prebentry and Vicar of parish. Unusually the Select Vestry of qualified voters on 1827 agreed a figure of £320 for 21 years, included Jerry Leary, Daniel Leary, ..Long Chairman his mark, Felix Mccarthy. Around this time the pay offered for teacher sin the new National Schools was £28 a year.

1828 Average price of wheat for seven years prior to 1821, £1 18 shillings per barrel 




Tithes were a medieval tax of one tenth of crops.  The benefits went to the clergy who were expected to provide civil services out of it.  In Cork Richard Boyle (ancestor the the Dukes of Devonshire and numerous other lines) managed by underhand methods in the early 17th century to acquire most of the Diocesan tithes.  A large part was ‘impropriate’ and in time were traded as any form of property.  Much of the later trouble with tithes came from the vigorous enforcement to entitlements by tithe proctors who sometime acquired the tithes or received a significant proportion of money collected.

The Tithe Composition Act of 1823 provided that a special Vestry could appoint an arbitrator to determine the amount of tithe.  The exemption of pasture from tithe was abolished in 1824.  The amount of tithe was fixed at 21 years.   Schull implemented tithe composition in 1826.  Kilmoe followed in 1828, Aughadown in 1829 and Kilcoe in 1830.  In Kilcoe the tithe of £215 of which went to the Rector Rev. Henry Stewart the balance to the ‘lay impropriator’, Lord Audley.

The local tithe compositions were extremely high, of Durrus £350 of which £170 to the lay Impropriator originally the Earl of Donoughmore in the 1820 it was divided into Nathaniel Evanson for Durrus and he and Alexander O’Driscoll for Kilcrohane, Schull Parish was £850, Kilmoe £500, Dunmanway £461 in contrast to Watergrasshill near Cork of £43.  Tithes payable Rev. Edward Jones Alcock, Durrus, of £320 Sterling is due and payable by the year to the said Reverend Edward Jones Alcock, the composition from the tithes claimable by him as figure of such part of said Parish as is commonly known by the name of Durrus or Parish of KIlcrohane is payable to the Reverend Alcock Vicar of the said Parish the sum of £170.

After the depression starting at the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 the earlier measure to alleviate tithes was inadequate and widespread agitation broke out.  The Reverend Robert Traill, Rector of Schull wrote, ‘One clergyman within 30 miles of us has been murdered, and another most narrowly escaped with his life by taking refuge in the house of a priest.  The ungodly are rising up, and these poor deluded Roman Catholics are caballing to deprive me of my tithes, alas!.  What wickedness is this?

Tithe agitation drew on the earlier activities of the Whiteboys.  As late as 1822 Richard O’Donovan, of Bawnlahan said the Whiteboys had been caught in a pitched battle with police and troops on January 25th nine had been found guilty of Insurrection Act and hanged.  This was prompted by and Excise raid on a poteen making operation which developed into a running battle with the Whiteboys.

From 1834 the anti tithe meetings combined with Repeal meetings but largely with the same organisers.

The Tithe Act of 1833 reduced tithes by 25% and converted it into a tax into a rent charge to be collected by the Landlord with the rent.

By 1838 there were public meetings in Skibbereen and Bandon where all sides agreed to look for ‘an equitable arrangement of tithes’ and asked parliament to make the necessary arrangements.