The Library holds a set of tithe maps and associated schedules for Wales. Tithes were payments charged on land users, and payments were originally made using commodities like crops, wool, milk and stock. Tithe maps were produced between 1838 and 1850 following the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 as a part of the process to ensure that all tithes were paid with money rather than produce.
There are over a thousand tithe maps; these are the most detailed maps of their period and they cover more than 95% of Wales. All tithe maps have associated apportionment documents which list the payable tithes, the names of the landowners and land occupiers, the land use, and in most cases (75%) the field names. They vary in detail and many of them do not contain place names.
Three copies of the tithe maps and apportionment documents were created. The main copy was held by the Tithe Commissioners, these are now kept at the The National Archives. A local copy, originally produced for the local church, and many of these are now held by local archives. A third copy was made for the diocesian registry and these are the copies held at the National Library of Wales.
The Cynefin project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair and digitise approximately 1,200 tithe maps and transcribe over 30,000 pages of apportionment documents. The aim of the project led by the Archives and Records Council Wales (ARCW) "Cynefin: Mapping Wales' sense of Place" is to create an online resource which can be freely accessed to research the tithe maps and their indexes in an efficient and innovative way. In order to create the online resource, a crowdsourcing website was set up to allow anyone to contribute to the project by volunteering online.
The Cynefin project is officially completed, but the Cynefin website will be kept alive until September. All the contributed data can be seen on the National Library of Wales’ new website places.library.wales