Places of Wales is a website where you can search and discover the items or related information for the collections of The National Library of Wales on a geographic interface. Our intention is to develop the website to include a wide range of information relating to Wales and the Welsh. It is currently centred around a map layer created from the tithe maps of Wales to create a continuous map of Wales for the period around 1840.
What are tithe maps?
Tithes were payments charged on land users. Originally, payments were made using commodities like crops, wool, milk and stock. Tithe maps were produced between 1838 and 1850 to ensure that all tithes were paid with money rather than produce.
These are the most detailed maps of their period and they cover more than 95% of Wales. The apportionments accompanying each map list the payable tithes, the names of the landowners and land occupiers, the land use, and in most cases (75%) the field names.
An almost complete set of the tithe maps for Wales is held in the National Library of Wales as part of the diocesan records of the Church in Wales, who kindly consented to them being digitised as part of the Cynefin project. A complete set of accompanying tithe apportionments was supplied in digital form by The National Archives in London, who had digitised these documents before the start of the project.
The Cynefin Project
The development of this website was made possible by the project ‘Cynefin: Mapping Wales’ Sense of Place’, which ran from 2013-2017 and had its headquarters in the National Library. The project was led by Archives and Records Council Wales, which is an umbrella organisation for all publicly-funded archives in Wales and has members from national institutions as well as local authority and university archives. The Cynefin project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund Wales with additional financial support from Welsh Government.
Between 2013 and 2017, the project surface-cleaned, repaired and digitised 1,224 tithe maps held in the National Library. 1,354 volunteers used a crowdsourcing website to transcribe and georeference these maps, indexing 28,105 pages of accompanying tithe apportionments to produce an impressive total of 1,837,359 index records for the website.
Additionally, as part of the project, six local projects took place across Wales, each taking an aspect of the tithe maps as a starting point for an exploration of their local community and its history. You can find out more about the core project and its six local projects from the People’s Collection Wales website.
Please note that the modern maps used on this website are subject to copyright restrictions and that they must not be copied unless you have obtained permission or an exception to copyright law applies.
Digital reproductions may also be subject to copyright or database rights. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a high quality copies.
The tithe map layer in the map view has been generated using 1,224 tithe maps from the 1,091 parishes in Wales which were surveyed by the Tithe Commissioners (note a small number of Welsh parishes were excluded from the overall survey, usually where the whole parish was owned by one landowner and the tithe payment had been merged with the freehold prior to the Tithe Commutation Act).
In addition to the tithe maps held at the National Library of Wales, these include maps from the following archives:
We would like to thank all of the above for supporting the Cynefin project.
The gazetteer of place names which appears in the 'Find a place' section of the homepage contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right (2016)
Requests for copies and re-use
If you would like to request a copy of any of the primary sources used found on the website or if you wish to use the dataset or any other component of the Places of Wales website, please contact NLW Enquiries.