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Written by Myretta
(1/18/2013 2:55 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Were tithes set at a certain percent..., penned by Adrian
Tithes are, by definition, 10%. In Jane Austen's time, a parson had the right to receive a tenth of the annual gross product of all cultivated land in the parish. This had been the custom since the ninth century.
In certain parishes, this was a pretty good sum. However, in order to collect this, the clergyman had to act like a tax-gatherer, visiting farms regularly and checking on the amount of produce due to him. Then, of course, they had to have a way to convert collected produce into cash. By the late 18th century, clergy were increasingly pulling down or converting their tithe barns and making agreements for monetary payment based on estimated crop yield.
George Austen, apparently did not collect tithes until he was preparing to retire. Then, it appeared to be a source of retirement income.
This information and more from Irene Collins's excellent Jane Austen and the Clergy
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