Section 64 of the Tithe Act 1836 required two sealed copies of every instrument of tithe apportionment to be made and deposited, one with the incumbent and churchwardens of the parish to which the instrument related, and the other in the registry of the diocese in which the tithe district lay. The sealed copies made pursuant to this and later tithe Acts were placed under the charge and superintendence of the Master of the Rolls by S36(2) of the Tithe Act 1936.
In exercise of his powers under the 1936 Act, the Master of the Rolls issued the Tithe (Copies of Instruments of Apportionment) Rules, 1946 and 1947 (SRO 1946/2091 and 1947/2785), later replaced by the Tithe (Copies of Instruments of Apportionment) Rules, 1960 (SI 1960/2440). The Rules laid down the procedure for the statutory custodians to deposit tithe documents in record repositories. Until 1959 the Rules were administered by the Public Record Office, which maintained the Tithe Documents Register to record the location of tithe documents. This function was then transferred, along with the Register, to the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.
The Commission continues to administer the Tithe Rules on behalf of the Master of the Rolls. The Tithe Documents Register, however, never more than a partial record, became of little value once the original apportionments, maps and related papers had been transferred to the Public Record Office, and once the great majority of diocesan and parish copies had been deposited in diocesan record offices. Accordingly the Register ceased to be maintained in 1989, and was destroyed in 1997.
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