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    The Tithe War in England and Wales, 1881-1936: A Curious Rural Revolt

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    ISBN: 9781837651870
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    AuthorBulaitis, John (Author)
    Pub Date04/06/2024
    Publisher: BOYDELL & BREWER
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    Brings to life a fascinating page of history in a scholarly but highly readable account of the "tithe war".

    During the 1930s, farming communities waged a campaign of "passive resistance" against Tithe Rentcharge, the modern version of medieval tithe. Led by the National Tithepayers' Association, farmers refused to pay the charge, disrupted auctions of seized stock and joined demonstrations to prevent action by bailiffs. The National Government condemned their "unconstitutional action", ruled out changes in the law and mobilised police to support the titheowners. Meanwhile, the Church of England and lay titheowners - including Oxford and Cambridge colleges, public schools and major landowners - sought to vindicate their right to tithe; in a particularly shameful episode, the Church established a secret company to buy taken produce and remove it from farms.

    This "tithe war" was fought outside farms, in the courts, in the press and in the wider arena of public opinion. It posed problems for the Church, legal system, and every political party; split the National Farmers' Union; and provided opportunities for the British Union of Fascists and other sections of the extreme right to cause disturbance.

    Drawing on extensive archival research, accounts in local newspapers, and private papers, John Bulaitis traces the evolution of what has been described as this "curious rural revolt", from the late nineteenth century to its climax in 1936, when the Tithe Act brought an end to this form of tax.

    Prologue: The Battle of the Ducks
    1. The 1836 Tithe Commutation Act
    2. Hops, Pantomime and Martyrs, 1881-86
    3. Wales and Southern England, 1886-91
    4. Tithe after the Great War
    5. The Settlement Unravels, 1927-31
    6. The Bounty and General Dealers
    7. English Agrarianism and Fascism
    8. Pressures for a Settlement
    9. Royal Commission
    10. Aftermath
    Conclusion: A 'Curious Rural Revolt'?

    JOHN BULAITIS is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.