Differences between tithe accounts and the material reality behind them – the case of the Faeroe Islands

Rolf Guttesen

Abstract


The rules for payment of tithe varied in the 19th century in the Faeroe Islands. Concerning wool tithe, there are some issues, never dealt with before, to be examined, as the tithe was paid for each slaughtered lamb, but the tithe was paid in wool. The problem is that the lambs and older sheep were slaughtered in autumn, while the wool was removed from the older sheep (not the lambs) in May and June. Therefore, the collection of wool could not wait for the slaughter in autumn. How was this problem resolved in practical terms, and how was the collection organized? There was an ‘on account’ system that is described in this article. Another accounting system was practiced when it came to the young of the Manx Shearwater, called lírar in Faeroese. The material base of this tithe consisted of a limited number of units that could not be divided further into smaller units. Therefore, it was necessary over time to keep records of the distributed tithe and the arrears so that the three recipients, king, clergyman and church, could have their rightful share.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18602/fsj.v60i0.8

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