Land Ownership and Farm Management Units in Upper Cwmyoy circa 1850 by Robert Gant Introduction Observant travellers passing along the minor road through the Honddu Valley from Llanfihangel Crucorney via Llanthony to Capel- y-ffin can readily detect signs of depopulation in the landscape. The shells of deserted buildings, engulfed by bracken, situated high on the valley sides indicate the considerable changes that have occurred since the mid-nineteenth century in the local economy, settlement pattern and structure of rural society. This introductory report uses the Tithe Map and related Apportionments to reconstruct the pattern of agricultural holdings in Upper Cwmyoy in 1850(,). A later report will review the sequence of rural depopulation and the abandonment of settlement. The Tithe Records The Tithe Commutation Act was passed on 13th August 1836. This Act substituted a monetary payment, the tithe rent charge, for payments which, customarily, had been made in kind It applied to large areas of England and Wales where monetary payments in lieu of tithes had not previously been negotiated or where the tithes had not been extin- guished under the terms of a local or Parliamentary Inclosure Act(3). Three Tithe Commissioners were appointed under the Act to admin- ister the process of commutation. Their decisions were informed by local enquiry and field surveys; in the majority of the 11,800 parishes examined they readily secured agreement to their proposals for appor- tioning the tithe rent charge. Three copies of the tithe map and apportionment schedule were made: one was deposited with the Tithe Commissioners; one with the Diocesan Registrar; one with the incum- bent of the parish. The maps and apportionments for a number of Gwent parishes are available for inspection at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. The Tithe Commissioners have retained the associated Tithe Files. These files contain a miscellany of documents for each parish; they include the reports of the Assistant Commissioner on local meetings and enquiries, draft awards and the related correspondence^. Although the Tithe Commissioners had recommended a scale of three chains to one inch for producing the Tithe Maps, the final documents vary greatly in their scale, accuracy and eventual dimensions(5). Each map shows the fields and buildings in the parish, numbered for easy reference to the companion Apportionment Schedule(6). For each land