Griffith’s & Tithes

Griffith's Valuation Records (Books, Maps & Name-Books) & Tithe Applotment Books

Griffith's & Tithes (G&T)

Tithe Applotment Books:

Page Updated 24/06/2020

Extract from The National Archives Of Ireland website.

Tithes were a tax on agricultural produce which was payable by the occupiers of agricultural land. They were the main source of income for the parish clergy of the Church of Ireland (the largest Protestant church and the church established by law). However, in many parishes a large part of the tithes were ‘appropriate’, which meant that they were payable to a bishop, cathedral chapter or other ecclesiastical recipient, or were ‘impropriate’, which generally meant that they were payable to a local landowner. The parishes used in the Tithe Applotment Books are civil or Church of Ireland parishes, which often differ in name and territory from Catholic parishes,

Acts of Parliament of 1823 and 1832 provided for the conversion of tithes into a fixed charge on land, and specified the average price of wheat or oats in the parish in the seven years before 1821 as the basis on which the tithes would be calculated. They also extended the application of tithes to pasture, where previously they had been levied only on tillage.

About the Tithe Applotment Records

The Tithe Applotment Books are a vital source for genealogical research for the pre-Famine period, given the loss of the 1821-51 Census records. They were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to determine the amount which occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland (the main Protestant church and the church established by the State until its dis-establishment in 1871).
There is a manuscript book for almost every civil (Church of Ireland) parish in the country giving the names of occupiers of each townland, the amount of land held and the sums to be paid in tithes. Because the tithes were levied on agricultural land, urban areas are not included. Unfortunately, the books provide only the names of heads of family, not other family members.
The books have been digitally imaged, and a database giving surname, forename, county, parish and townland created. All of these fields can be searched, and there is also a browse facility, which allows users to survey entire parishes and townlands.
The population of Ireland was recorded in 1841 as 8.2 million. It would have been somewhat less than this during the 1820s and 1830s, when the Tithe Applotment Books were compiled.
The books for Northern Ireland are in the held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, but there are microfilm copies in the National Archives which can be consulted in our Reading Room.
The Tithe Applotment Books are the first in a series of National Archives records of genealogical interest to be digitised by the Genealogical Society of Utah in partnership with the National Archives, and placed online free to access. Others will follow over the coming years; the next will be the Calendars of Wills and Administrations, 1858 - 1922.

This change in the law resulted in the valuation of individual holdings in almost all parishes containing agricultural land, in order to assess the portion of the tithes for which each occupier of land would be liable. The apportionment was recorded for each Church of Ireland parish in a Tithe Composition Applotment Book. The information was collected and the amounts were calculated by two Parochial Commissioners, one of whom was appointed by the cess-payers of the parish and the other by the relevant Diocese of the Church of Ireland. This procedure was carried out in over 2,500 parishes between the years 1823 and 1837.

The Tithe Applotment Books are in a variety of formats, from a few pages sewn together to elaborately bound volumes. In most cases they are written in manuscript throughout, although some consist of manuscript entries on printed questionnaires. The information in the books is broadly uniform and generally includes at least the name of occupier; the size of holding, the valuation and the tithe payable. In some cases more detailed information is provided. Some volumes have maps and most have certificates and correspondence attached.

The sub-divisions of the parish were recorded. Some of these subdivisions, such as ploughlands, ceased to be in official use after the six inch survey of the Ordnance Survey was completed in the 1840s. Only productive land was subject to tithe, and the books usually distinguish between this tithable land and untithable land such as roads or mountains. Tithable land was in some cases classified by quality, and a money value was given to each class. In some cases the proportion of tithe payable to the rector, vicar or lay proprietor of the tithes was set out. The column for observations was sometimes completed, with information about commonage, for example.

There are a number of other points that should be noted. The acreages given in the Tithe Applotment Books are in Irish or Plantation measure, which is 1.62 times larger than statute measure. Only occupiers of land at the time of the tithe composition are recorded, so not all heads of households living in a parish at the time are included. Only rural areas are systematically covered, although inhabitants of towns who held plots of cultivable land are included. The equivalent tax in urban areas, Minister’s Money, has left few records.

The Tithe Applotment Books are an important source of information for a wide variety of researchers of pre-Famine Ireland. They provide the first surviving national list of the occupiers of land, and are used by genealogists as a partial substitute for returns of the 1821 and 1831 censuses of population, which were destroyed in 1922. They also record information on the quality of land, and provide information on pre-Ordnance Survey territorial divisions, some of which were not recognised after the 1840s.

The National Archives hold the original Tithe Applotment Books only for the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland.

The Tithe Defaulters lists (held by the National Archives under Official Papers Miscellaneous Assorted series) detail people involved in the infamous Tithe War of 1831-1838. From 1831 onwards, many people refused to pay the tithe and so began the Tithe War, which was fiercest in Leinster and Munster. The names of people who refused to pay their tithe were recorded by the Church of Ireland clergy.

The Clergy Relief Fund was established in 1832 to assist affected clergy and tithe defaulters are listed in 127 surviving schedules. Each schedule lists the defaulter’s address and the sum due while some also list defaulters’ landholding and occupation. Details of clergy who applied for financial relief under the fund – listed in the 127 schedules – are outlined in ‘The Clergy Relief Fund, 1831: tithe defaulters’ by Suzanne C Hartwick in The Irish Genealogist (volume 8, 1990). A partial list covering twelve counties is available as The 1831 Tithe Defaulters cd-rom compiled and edited by Stephen McCormac (Eneclann, 2004).

National Archives Of Ireland – Search Tithe Applotment Books

Search the Tithe Applotment Books - Click on the Image across to launch.

Parishes & Town lands in Kerry 1827

Lists Tithe Applotment Parishes & Town lands in Kerry 1827 - Click on the Image across to launch.

Family Names at Parishes & Town lands in Kerry 1827

Lists Tithe Applotment Family Names at Parishes & Town lands in Kerry 1827 - Click on the Image across to launch.

Griffith's Valuations Background:                                                     

Extract from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia website. 

Griffith's Valuation was a boundary and land valuation survey of Ireland completed in 1868. Richard John Griffith started to value land in Scotland, where he spent two years in 1806-1807 valuing terrain through the examination of its soils. He used 'the Scotch system of valuation' and it was a modified version of this that he introduced into Ireland when he assumed the position of Commissioner of Valuation.

Tasks in Ireland

In 1825 Griffith was appointed by the British Government to carry out a boundary survey of Ireland. He was to mark the boundaries of every county, barony, civil parish and townland in preparation for the first Ordnance Survey. He completed the boundary work in 1844.

He was also called upon to assist in the preparation of a Parliamentary bill to provide for the general valuation of Ireland. This Act was passed in 1826, and he was appointed Commissioner of Valuation in 1827, but did not start work until 1830 when the new 6" maps, became available from the Ordnance Survey and which he was required to use as provided for by statute.

He served as Commissioner until 1868, when he was succeeded by Sir John Ball Greene CB, who took charge of the ongoing revisions of the valuation on an annual basis. Griffith also served as Chairman of the Board of Works. He conducted two major valuation surveys. First was the townland valuation, which was completed in the 1840s and which took the townland as the geographical unit of valuation. The second and more extensive, was the tenement survey which valued individual property separately for the first time and which also valued all buildings in the townland for the first time, whereas, previously only the larger houses, principally those of the gentry had been valued in the first valuation. The tenement valuations of County Dublin were the first to be published on 5 May 1853 and the last were the valuations of County Armagh on 1 June 1865

The Primary Valuation (also known as Griffith’s Valuation)

Extract from The National Archives Of Ireland website and the ''Ask About Ireland Website'' :

The Primary Valuation (also known as Griffith’s Valuation)

Sir Richard Griffith

Griffith’s Valuation is the name widely given to the Primary Valuation of Ireland, a property tax survey carried out in the mid-nineteenth century under the supervision of Sir Richard Griffith. The survey involved the detailed valuation of every taxable piece of agricultural or built property on the island of Ireland and was published county-by-county between the years 1847 and 1864.

The process of valuation was painstakingly thorough, involving multiple visits by valuation teams to analyse all of the factors influencing the economic status of the property: the chemical and geological properties of the land; average rents paid in the area; distance from the nearest market town. The aim was to get as accurate as possible an estimate of the annual income that each property should produce. This is the “Net Annual Value” figure (in £ s d, pounds sterling, shillings and pence) in the far right column of each valuation record. This was then used as the basis for local taxation, and continued up to the 1970s. The local authorities decided on a percentage of the Annual Value to be paid every year and usually expressed as “pennies to the pound”. For example a rate of 3 pennies to the pound meant that someone in possession of property valued as £10 would have to pay 30 pence, or 2/6.

The individual in economic occupation of the property was responsible for payment of the local taxation based on Griffith’s, with one exception: tenants with a holding valued at less than £5 annually were exempt, but their landlord was liable for the tax. This liability was a powerful incentive for landlords to get rid of smaller tenants in any way they could and certainly contributed to the wave of evictions that took place throughout the second half of the nineteenth century.

The Primary Valuation (also known as Griffith’s Valuation) was published between 1847 and 1864. There is a printed valuation book for each barony or poor law union in the country showing the names of occupiers of land and buildings, the names of persons from whom these were leased and the amount and value of the property held. These records are available to consult on microfiche in our Reading Room and can also be searched free of charge at

The National Archives also holds the following preliminary records for the Primary Valuation: Field Books, House Books, Mill Books, Quarto Books and Tenure Books

The following finding aids to the Tithe Applotment Books and Primary Valuation are available to consult in the Reading Room:

  • List of the Tithe Applotment Books arranged by Church of Ireland parish;
  • List of the Primary Valuation books arranged by civil parish;
  • Combined list of the Tithe Applotment Books and Primary Valuation arranged by county, barony and civil parish;
  • Indexes of Surnames in the Tithe Applotment Books and Primary Valuation books (one or more volumes per county);
  • List of books relating to the preliminary valuation arranged by type and then by county, barony and civil parish.

Full Names lists – Griffiths Valuation 1853: Family Names

Full Names lists - Griffiths Valuation 1853: Family Names at Parishes, Town lands in Kerry.

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Short Names lists – Griffiths Valuation 1853: Family Names

Short Names lists - Griffiths Valuation 1853: Family Names at Parishes, Town lands in Kerry.

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Video Instruction Guide

'Ask About Ireland'  Video Instruction Guide about understanding & using the Griffiths Valuation Search

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Griffiths Name Books.

Griffiths Name Books. Details on Locality Place Names as recorded in the Griffiths Database.
(Excellent & Entertaining Reading)

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The Griffiths Valuation Revision Books  

Griffiths Revision Valuation Records are important and revealing updates to the original 1853 GV Primary Valuation documents. Those span circa 1859-1977.
We will be adding those to the respective family G&T pages as we compile the relevant GV Revision information.


For excellent additional Genealogy Research Resources - Visit this excellent Genealogy page at the National Archives Genealogy Website. From this page, you can now access the Census Records for 1901 and 1911, Census survivals for 1821-51, Census Search forms for 1841-51, the Tithe Applotment Books from 1823 to 1837, the Soldiers’ Wills from 1914 to 1917, and the Calendars of Wills and Administrations from 1858 to 1922.

From 15 September 2016, you can access six major new record series on this site:

  1. Prerogative and diocesan copies of some wills and indexes to others, 1596 – 1858
  2. Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds Indexes, 1623 – 1866
  3. Catholic qualification & convert rolls, 1700 – 1845
  4. Valuation Office house, field, tenure and quarto books 1824 – 1856
  5. Shipping agreements and crew lists, 1863 – 1921
  6. Will Registers 1858 – 1900

All of these records are free to access, through searchable databases and linked images of relevant pages. Eventually, we hope that the site will contain all of the important and easily accessible genealogical material in the custody of the National Archives.


Thomas Larcom, the first director of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, made a study of the ancient land divisions of Ireland and summarised the traditional hierarchy of land divisions thus:

10 acres – 1 Gneeve;
2 Gneeves – 1 Sessiagh;
3 Sessiaghs – 1 Tate or Ballyboe;
2 Ballyboes – 1 Ploughland, Seisreagh or Carrow;
4 Ploughlands – 1 Ballybetagh, or Townland;
30 Ballybetaghs – Triocha Céad or Barony.

This hierarchy did not apply uniformly across Ireland;

HERE  The Term CESS Explained.