TitleMemorandum by Charles Lind, Vicar of West Mersea 1738-1748 concerning tithes
AbstractMemorandum by Charles Lind, Vicar of West Mersea 1738 - 1748 concerning tithes.
Written in the Register for baptisms and marriages 1738 - 1812 [ERO D/P 77/1/2]

In this memorandum, the Reverend Charles Lind, who clearly had difficulties in exacting tithes from West Mersea parishioners, wished to warn future incumbents as to the exact nature of his complaints. He believed a forged copy of the tithe customs had been made to defraud the incumbent.

Of interest, he mentions Hops, Cole Seed (brassica seed), the making of a duck decoy and a detailed account of tithes due on cattle.

He gives the fees for burials, marriages, Churching and registering baptisms.

He complains of misinformation given by parishioners about tithes and the church posts of Clerk and Sexton. He tells of prosecutions over tithes and removing the Parish Clerk and replacing him. He also notes an Overseer had halved the wages due to the Clerk.

A note is added by his successor The Reverend Joseph Brockwell.

Soon after Easter in the year 1738
I was presented to the Vicarage of West Mersey
by Dr John Kidby vacant by the removal
of the rev[eren]d mr Aldrich [Note 1] to the Rectory of
St John Clerkenwell in the County
of Middlesex, I was inducted about
Whitsuntide, & continued minister of that
Parish till the year 1748, when I was
presented by the Right Reverend the Lord
Bishop of London in the month of April
to the Vicarage of Fering in the County
of Essex vacant by the Death of Mr
May the former Incumbent.
During the ten years of my ministry then, I had
but too frequent Occasions to be sensible of the
stubborn Disposition & Inclination to defraud
the minister of his just Rights, which many
of the Parishioners shew'd particularly
some, who never frequented the Church nor
any other place of Divine Worship. In
Justice therefore to my Successors I do declare
the following Customs to have been observed in
my time in that Parish.
Hops & Cole seed [Note 2] & all other small seeds were
payable in Kind. The manner in which the
Tythe of Hops was paid to me, was this. The
Farmer gathered them from the Poles at
his own expence, but the minister paid the
tenth part of the Excise, & the charge of drying
them, & likewise of carrying them to market &
then the /part of\ tenth part of what the Hops
were sold for, deducting as above, was paid
to the minister. In this manner I took the

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Tyth of Hops from Edward May & John Kempston
& once I took the Hops in Kind from John Kempston
As to Cole seed, the farmer Sever'd it from the
Ground; but the tenth part of the Expences
for threshing, the Hair Cloth, [Note 3] & carrying it
to Market was deducted from the ministers
Tyth. In this manner I received it from
John Wakelin, Edward May, Widow Abbot
& several others. No other Small seeds
grew in the Parish, whiles I was there; but
the Tythe of them was confess'd to belong
to the minister had any been sown.
A Decoy was made in the Parish during the
time I was minister, & Six Couple of Ducks
were paid to me yearly, as an Acknowledge
ment for Tythe. At first as many Ducks were
paid me as I wanted for my own usage but
at last by the Agreement of Charles Gray Esq[uire]
to whom the Farm belong'd, & John Cooper
the tenant, the Number was fix'd at Six Couple
Many in the Parish pretended that there was
a Custom, according to which Tythes ought
to have been paid; but when it was Shewn to
Several Lawyers, they all agreed it must be
a Forgery, & could not be a good Custom.
To me it seem'd /to me\ to be a very imper
fect & injudicious Copy of a Decree which
possibly was given against the Rector of
East Mersey, but which could not possibly
affect the Vicar of West Mersey, as
two different Persons were ministers of the
two Parishes at the times (for there were
several very different Copies, which had
different dates, of the decree), when the

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Decree was said to be given. And it w[as]
observable; that no one particular of that
pretended Custom was the usage of the
Parish in my time, nor as far as I could
learn of my Predecessors for many years
back except only four pence half a Cow
in lieu of Tyth Milk & two pence half pence
for a Heifer of her first Calf, which par
ticulars I agreed to not because they
were in the pretended Custom, but because
I found my Predecessors had accepted these
Sums in lieu of these two Tyths. The
Tyth for the Heifers' Calf was paid
besides. As a further proof that the
Custom in other Particulars was not
good, let it be observ'd, that some in the
Parish, namely John Hawes, Edward
Webb, Dredgers, & [blank] Cockeril, a
Cooper refus'd to pay Tythes for their
Yards, because they said it was contrary
to the Custom, but John Hawes, being
threatened with a Prosecution in the
Spiritual Court employ'd one Mr Carter
an Attorney of Coggeshall, to whom
being a Person of a very fair Character
but an entire Stranger to me, the Case
was referr'd, & he adjudg'd that John
Hawes should pay for his Yard ten shillings
& six pence a year /for\ A Prosecution
was actually begun against Edward Webb
but at last at his request it was referr'd
to George Wegge Esq[uire] of Colchester, a

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Counceller who adjudg'd Edward Webb
to pay both Tythes & Charges of such And
[blank] Cockeril being summond before the
Justices for refusal of Tythe employ'd Mr
William Mayhew an Attorney, to whom at
his request, the Cause was referr'd, & Mr
Mayhew adjudg'd that he should pay Tythe
for his Yard, Lands, Wool, Pigs, Poultry
& Geese payable in kind Calves likewise
payable in kind; if the Farmer had less
than Seven, he paid the tenth part of
the value of each Calf, & not two pence
or three pence according to the pretended
Custom. If Seven the minister had a right
to take one, but to pay back to the farmer
the tenth part of the value of as many
Calves as then wanted of ten.
was the Tythe of Bullocks ever offered to be
paid according to the pretended Custom
of two pence half pence a head for no farmer
ever offer'd to me less than a shilling a Head
Two pence a head for ev'ry person above
Sixteen was paid for Easter Offerings, which
were collected by the Clerk, to whom I usually
gave one fourth part for his trouble
A Burial Fee was three shillings, and Six pence
A marriage Fee five Shillings, Churching
& registring one Shilling
During the time I was minister then I remov'd
John Bacon from being Clerk, for refusing to

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do his Duty, & appointed John Gilby in his
Room, nor did any Person in the Parish
dispute my Right of displacing the one
or of choosing the other. Upon the Death
of John Gilby in the beginning of the year
1747/8 I nominated Thomas Harris to succeed
him, who was licens'd accordingly; but then
some said the Parish had a right of choosing
a Sexton, & named one to that Office; but at
the Archdeacon's Visitation in April 1748
it appear'd that one Person had always
executed both offices, was in the Parish
Books call'd sometimes Clerk, & sometimes
Sexton, & had been constantly chosen by
the minister. Thomas Harris, whom
I had namd, was confirm'd, & the ancient
Salary of fifty two shillings a Year was
order'd to be restor'd, which had been
clandestinely by an Overseer upon a private
pique diminish'd to Six & twenty Shillings.
C Lind
There certainly is no Modus of any sort
in W Mersea, nor have I paid any Regard
to a pretended one w[hi]ch I believe the Parish
in general believe they have no Tithes to, at
least tis certain they have not.
Joseph Brockwell [Note 3]

Note 1: Note 2: Stephen Aldrich was Vicar of West Mersea 1733 - 1738
Note 2: Cole seed was cabbage or rape seed
Note 3: Hair Cloth was a coarse fabric made from horse hair and used for drying malt over a kiln; possibly also used for a cloth employed in cheese-making [Source: The Local Historian's Glossary of Words and terms]
Note 4: Joseph Brockwell was Charles Lind's successor and was incumbent from 1748 - 1797

SourceMersea Museum