I find local history fascinating and examining historic maps yields so much information about our past. This is no less so than for our own parish. Stroud has so much history to offer; we have a Roman villa, an ancient woodland, a medieval hedged landscape, ancient common land and also, a long-gone brickworks.
A few years ago, I led a series of village walks looking at our local history and produced a set of maps to hand out. Slightly modified versions of those maps are presented here along with some accompanying interpretive notes.
My first map of the area is a photocopy of the 1808 2” to 1 mile Ordnance Survey Drawing made in Georgian times as a precursor to the published 1” to one mile maps. The 1” map covering our area was published in 1810.
The series starts with the mid-nineteenth century Victorian Tithe map and for this map I combined those portions of the three parishes that formed the precursor of our modern parish. Next, is a set of Ordnance Survey map extracts covering key periods in the development of our parish.
It is important to recognise that maps at different times were made to different protocols for different purposes and so are not always directly comparable. They are also based on the field surveyor’s interpretation of the landscape and after which the maps are drawn by cartographers to meet a printable common standard.
The Tithe maps were made for a specific purpose and so do not show all the features at the time. However, they give a good overview of the land in early Victorian times. Tithes were a tax on agricultural produce paid to the local church and clergy and which tax was later transferred to private landowners, an unpopular move. The 1836 Tithe Commutation Act required tithes to be converted to monetary payments called tithe rentcharge. The Tithe Survey was established to find out which areas were subject to tithes, who owned them, how much was payable and to whom. The resulting manuscript maps and accompanying ‘apportionment schedules’ show the names of the owners and the occupiers of land at this time and the land usage. The map shown here is based on a tracing that I made at the Hampshire Records Office some time ago and prior to modern internet technology. Much of this information has since been made available online.
The history of Ordnance Survey maps is complicated, and maps were produced at various scales originally to support the military and showing features important to an often-walking army. With time, the maps were made to support a civilian population and later to support land planning and recreation. The earlier maps shown in this set were published at a scale of 1:10 560 (6 inches to one mile) and the later maps at 1:10 000 (10cm to 1km), these scales being convenient to represent our parish on a single small sheet. The grid on these maps represent 200m.
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