Maps and plans

What records can I find at Denbighshire Archives?

Tithe Maps

Tithe maps are the earliest series of maps held at Denbighshire Archives. The only earlier maps available are the occasional surviving estate map or town map.

Tithes were payments made for the support of the parish church and its clergy. Originally these payments were made in kind (crops, wool, milk, young stock, etc.) and usually represented a tenth (tithe) of the yearly production of cultivation or stock rearing. 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. You can find out more about tithes using the National Archives research guide.

Tithe maps are the most detailed maps for this period. The tithe apportionment, the written accompaniment to the map, details land owners, tenants, property or field names, acreage of land and land use.

Denbighshire Archives holds tithe maps and apportionments for most parishes. These records are part of parish collections which were deposited by the Church in Wales. Copy tithe maps are available to view in the searchroom and apportionments are available to view on microfilm. The originals are not normally issued except in very exceptional cases.

The National Library of Wales is currently working on the Cynefin: Mapping Wales’ sense of Place Project to make these maps available online.

Ordnance Survey Maps

Although the first Ordnance Survey map was published in 1801, it was many years before it had produced detailed maps of the whole country. For many places in Denbighshire, the oldest large-scale Ordnance Survey map dates from 1870s or 1880s. Many different editions of Ordnance Survey maps have been produced since then.

Denbighshire Archives holds published OS maps for the area. These are available on request in the searchroom. Alternatively you can view OS maps online on the People’s Collection Wales website.

Enclosure Maps

Enclosure of land began as early as medieval times, when large areas of land which had previously been farmed communally (common land) began to be enclosed into smaller parcels, to be farmed by one landowner only. Many early enclosures came about by local agreement or because individual landowners decreed it and few records remain of early enclosures.

From 1801, Public General Enclosure Acts were passed. The General Enclosure Act of 1845 appointed permanent Enclosure Commissioners to issue Enclosure Awards. Most Enclosure records which survive are from this period.

Enclosure awards recite the Act of Parliament which has been made, and then list the names of the commissioners; the name of the owner of the land to be enclosed; a description of the land to be enclosed; a list of the allotments of land to be made, and to whom they are to be allotted. They are usually accompanied by a plan.

You can find out more about enclosures using the National Archives research guide.

Denbighshire Archives holds enclosure awards in the Quarter Session records (QSD/DE). These records have been scanned and digital images are available for free here.

Copies of enclosure awards have sometimes been deposited with parish records.

What language were the records written?

Tithe apportionments and enclosure awards are in English. It is our policy to catalogue records in the language they were originally written.

How can I access these records?

The only digital images of these records available online are the Enclosure Awards and Plans. Original enclosure maps and awards are not available to view in the searchroom except in very exceptional cases.

You can view copy tithe maps and OS maps in our searchroom.

If you want to view OS maps, book a searchroom place with a large table.

If you want to view tithe maps and accompanying apportionments, book a searchroom place with a large table and a microfilm reader.

The National Library of Wales is currently working on the Cynefin: Mapping Wales’ sense of Place Project to make these maps available online.

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

There are generally three copies of all tithe maps. One copy was held by the local church and has now been transferred to Denbighshire Archives, one was provided to the Tithe Commissioners, which are now held at The National Archives and one was made for the diocesan registry now held at the National Library of Wales. The National Library is in the process of making the maps and apportionments available online.