The above image of a tithingman might imply that his job was a cross between a spiritual policeman and a royal fool. In fact, his position was one of the most important in Puritan New England and went beyond just policing unruly children.
The key responsibility for a tithingman was to keep order in church during the long services conducted in the meeting house or early church buildings. Most buildings had no heat or fireplace so winter services must have been a challenge. Stifling hot church services were no reason to keep the congregation at home sitting under the shade of an old oak tree.