By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The English Peasantry and the Enclosure of Common Fields
Author: Slater, Gilbert
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The English Peasantry and the Enclosure of Common Fields" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


Internet Archive (https://archive.org)

      Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive. See

Transcriber’s note:

      Text in italics is enclosed by _underscores_.

      Text in bold face is enclosed by =equals signs=.

      Text in small capitals is shown in UPPER CASE.

      A detailed transcriber's note is at the end of the book.

  Studies in Economics and Political Science

  Edited by H. J. MACKINDER, M.A., Director of the
  London School of Economics

  No. 14.










  _President of the Board of Agriculture_






The investigations embodied in this book were begun in 1894, on the
suggestion of Mr. Graham Wallas, and at the request of Mr. J. A.
Spender. They were continued in subsequent years, in conjunction
with the London School of Economics, and the results were summarised
in a thesis entitled “The Enclosure of Common Fields in England in
the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” which was submitted to
the University of London in 1904, and approved as a thesis for the
degree of Doctor of Science in Economics. That thesis consisted in the
first place of a series of maps, partially reproduced in this volume
through the kind assistance of the Royal Geographical Society; and
in the second place of manuscript matter which has been revised for
publication in the form of this volume and under the present title. The
original maps are in the custody of the London School of Economics, and
can be seen by those who desire to examine them. They include a series
of county maps, on which parishes in which common fields have been
enclosed by Act of Parliament are coloured and marked according to the
date of enclosure, and maps illustrating the process of Parliamentary
enclosure, and the working of the common field system. Those who are
interested in the enclosure history of any particular county may also
be recommended to consult the Victoria County History.

It is my pleasant duty here to gratefully acknowledge my obligations
to the two gentlemen above mentioned for the original impulse to
study the process of the destruction and decay of English village
communities; to the London School of Economics; and in particular to
its first Director, Mr. W. A. S. Hewins, its present Director, Mr.
H. J. Mackinder, and Mr. Hubert Hall, for assistance, encouragement,
and advice; to many labourers, farmers, clergymen, and other rural
residents, for information and personal kindness; to the Royal
Geographical Society for defraying the cost of the production of
the blocks of the illustrative maps herewith published; and to Earl
Carrington, the President of the Board of Agriculture, for reading the
book in proof, and recommending it to those who are willing to study
rural history because they desire to improve rural conditions of life.

In writing this book I have deemed it a matter of conscience to
preserve the attitude of mind of the student of history, pure and
simple. I have felt, and feel, that historical investigation can only
be rightly carried on when all motives except the simple desire to
know the truth are excluded from the investigator’s mind. Yet the
investigation undertaken having been thus far completed, and its
results placed on record, I cannot refrain from attempting to read out
of them some lessons for the present and the future.

My conclusions have been in large measure expressed for me by Lord
Carrington’s Introduction. The policy of the legislature and of the
Central Government, expressed in the Enclosure Acts of the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries, though it claimed, and on the whole rightly
claimed, that it effected an immediate and great increase in the
country’s output of agricultural produce, and an improvement in the
breeds of sheep and cattle, was nevertheless essentially a policy
directed towards the enhancement of agricultural rents, the building up
of large and compact landed estates, the establishment of capitalist
farming, the uprooting of peasant proprietors and of small holdings
together with the communal use of land, and the multiplication of
the class of landless agricultural labourers. There is need in the
twentieth century for a new agricultural policy. As I read the economic
signs of the time, industrial conditions are beginning to favour a
great agricultural revival in the British Isles. A wise programme of
rural reform is necessary both in order that the possible agricultural
prosperity may be secured, and in order that the nation may reap in
full its possible fruits of physical and moral well-being for the

In all times the fading memories and traditions of the past have
contributed to form in men’s minds the ideals of a possible better
future state of society which are the inspiration of progress. The
memories and traditions of the English village community, together with
its visible relics in the form of commons, commonable meadows, and
(rarely) common fields, have had their influence on the formation of
the ideals of the Labour and Democratic movement of our country from
the time of Cobbett onwards. Through historical research the past may
become more definitely suggestive.

The suggestions borne into my mind for the agricultural policy of the
twentieth century may be summed up in the phrase, British agriculture
must be democratised. By this I mean that the principle of collective
ownership of the soil must be established or re-established; that
agricultural co-operation must be revived in new forms suitable to
modern conditions; that the ancient right of independent access to
the soil for every tiller of it must be restored; that a career of
industrial advance in agriculture must be made possible for the
competent worker. On one important side of the life of the old English
village community I have not touched at all in this book, viz., its
social and recreative side. In this respect also the losses of the
past will probably be recovered spontaneously if the nation aims in
its agricultural policy at the three essentials of wholesome, hopeful,
human work, as opposed to dehumanised toil, Freedom, Training and
Mutual Aid.


  _January 10th, 1907._


  CHAP.                                                            PAGE

      I. ENCLOSURE IN GENERAL                                         1

     II. THE MERCIAN TYPE OF VILLAGE COMMUNITY                        8

    III. THE WESSEX TYPE OF VILLAGE COMMUNITY                        19

     IV. EXTENT OF EXISTING COMMON FIELDS                            36

      V. THE ISLE OF AXHOLME                                         52

     VI. SOME RECENT ENCLOSURES                                      63


   VIII. NORFOLK AGRICULTURE                                         78

     IX. 13 GEO. III. C. 81                                          87

      X. ENCLOSURE AND DEPOPULATION                                  91

     XI. ENCLOSURE AND THE POOR                                     117

    XII. THREE ACRES AND A COW                                      129



     XV. RUN-RIG AND COMMON FIELD                                   164

    XVI. COMMON FIELDS IN NEW ENGLAND                               183


  XVIII. THE RESULTS OF ENCLOSURE                                   261

         *       *       *       *       *



  APPENDIX C. LELAND’S ITINERARY                                    314


  APPENDIX E. A NORFOLK OPEN FIELD PARISH                           331

  INDEX                                                             333





        LAXTON, WEST FIELD, AND PART OF MILL FIELD     _To face_      8

        STRATTON MEADOW                                    ″         25


        LELAND’S ITINERARY                                 ″        161

        EAST MIDLANDS. SECTION I.                          ″        196

        EAST MIDLANDS. SECTION II.                         ″        197

        HAMPSHIRE, SURREY, AND SUSSEX                      ″        233

        PART OF BRAUNTON GREAT FIELD                       ″        250



The enclosure of common fields, and the passing away of the English
Village Community to make room for the agricultural organisation
prevailing to-day, is a subject not merely of historical interest, but
one which touches very closely some of the most vital national problems
of the twentieth century.

During the past five generations mechanical, industrial, and
commercial progress, with the consequent creation of great towns and
cities, has so occupied the national activities, and has made us
to such an extent a nation of town-dwellers, that there has been a
tendency to overlook rural life and rural industries. But in recent
years social reformers have come to see that the solution of many of
the problems of the town is to be found in the country, and increasing
attention is being paid to the causes of the rural exodus and the
best means by which it can be arrested. No industry can be in a
healthy condition which does not provide an opportunity for the small
man to improve his position; and consequently such questions as the
provision of allotments and small holdings, agricultural co-operation,
the preservation of the independence of spirit of the agricultural
labourer, and the securing for him the prospect of a continually
advancing career on the land are recognised as matters of urgent
national importance.

In this book Dr. Slater shows that the movement for the enclosure of
arable open and common fields has been a movement for the sweeping
away of small holdings and small properties; that the “Village
Community” which any Enclosure Act of this character abolished was
essentially an organisation for agricultural co-operation. He shows
that at least in certain parts of the country even in comparatively
recent times enclosure has produced rural depopulation, and has
converted the villager from “a peasant with a mediæval status to an
agricultural labourer entirely dependent on a weekly wage.” He further
makes us doubt whether these little village revolutions, while they
temporarily stimulated agricultural progress by facilitating improved
stock-breeding and the economy of labour, did not also to a certain
extent destroy the opportunities of future progress by separating
farmer from labourer by a gulf difficult to cross, and thus cutting off
the supply of new recruits to the farming class.

At the same time, whatever reasons there may be for regretting the
enclosure of our Common Fields, and for wishing that the interests
of the humbler tillers of the soil had been more sedulously guarded
on enclosure, in the main the process was inevitable. Common field
Agriculture was a survival of customs and institutions which had grown
up when each village lived its life to a great extent in isolation.
It was necessary that the villager should almost forget that he was
a Little Pedlingtonian to realise that he was an Englishman. Village
patriotism had to die down temporarily to make way for national
patriotism; and when the spirit died out of the Village Community its
form could not be preserved.

Now and in the future there is need that local patriotism, pride
in the local community, and willingness to serve it, whether it be
village or city, should be kindled again to its old vigour. With the
revival of the spirit will come a revival of some of the old forms of
village common life, and a creation of new forms in place of those
which will remain among the forgotten facts of the past. The Village
Community is a hope of the future as well as a memory of the past,
and therefore those who are interested in the movement for reviving
British Agriculture on democratic lines and for improving the social
and economic conditions of our villages have reason to welcome Dr.
Slater’s attempt to describe existing and recent survivals of the
English Village Community, and to ascertain the circumstances, causes,
and consequences of its gradual extinction.


  _28th November, 1906._




The internal history of our villages is a more obscure, but not less
important a part of English history, than the internal history of our
towns. It is, indeed, more fundamental. A town is ordinarily by origin
an overgrown village, which never loses the marks of its origin. And
it was by agricultural and social changes in the villages that the way
was prepared for the great industrial revolution, or more properly,
evolution, which is the underlying fact of the history of English
towns, especially during the last two centuries.

The central fact in the history of any English village since
the Middle Ages, is expressed in the word “enclosure.” Primarily
“enclosure” means surrounding a piece of land with hedges, ditches, or
other barriers to the free passage of men and animals. Agriculturally,
enclosure of arable land in the midst of unenclosed arable land is
a preliminary step to its conversion into pasture, the hedge is
erected to keep animals in; enclosure of land in the midst of open
common pasture is a preliminary step to tillage, the hedge keeps
animals out. But in either case the hedge is the mark and sign of
exclusive ownership and occupation in the land which is hedged. Hence
by enclosure collective use, usually accompanied by some degree of
community of ownership, of the piece of land enclosed, is abolished,
and superseded by individual ownership and separate occupation.

The form of enclosure which is familiar to our minds is the enclosure
of land previously uncultivated; in the legal phrase, “enclosure of
waste of a manor,” in the ordinary phrase, “enclosure of commons.”
Enclosure in this sense has been, and is still, a matter of very
vital interest to the urban population, a fact which might be brought
vividly to our minds by a recital of the commons within London and
its immediate neighbourhood which have been lost or preserved with
difficulty. It is sufficient to refer to Epping Forest, Hadley Wood,
Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common, Hayes and Keston Commons, Bostall
Heath and Plumstead Common.

Far more important from a broad national point of view, is the
enclosure of common fields--the enclosure, that is, of land previously
cultivated according to a system which did not involve the separation
of one holding from another by any tangible barrier. Enclosure of this
sort, when suddenly effected, as by a Private Act of Enclosure, is
rightly termed the extinction of a village community. In the following
chapters it will be shown in detail from existing and recent survivals,
what was the nature of the system of cultivation in open and common
fields in different parts of England, up to the time of enclosure;
the question when and how enclosure was brought about in different
counties will be discussed; and light will be thrown upon the result
of the transition from the medieval to the modern system of village
life upon the material and moral condition of the villagers, the
peasants, farmers or labourers, who underwent the change. In these
chapters facts drawn directly from observations and inquiries in the
villages themselves, from the observations of agricultural writers who
speak from direct and intimate knowledge, and from the Enclosure Acts,
will be left in the main to tell their own story. But a generalised
statement will perhaps make that story clearer.

Here is a typical Enclosure Act of the type which encloses common
fields, taken at random, and a good example of the 2565 Acts of its
class enumerated in the Appendix, by which about 3000 parishes were
enclosed. It was passed in 1795 (c. 43) and begins:--“Whereas there
are in the parish of Henlow, in the County of Bedford, divers Open and
Common Fields, Meadows, Pastures, Waste Lands, and other Commonable
Lands and Grounds, containing by estimation, Two Thousand Acres, or
thereabouts.... And whereas the said Open and Common Fields, Lands,
Grounds, Meadows and Pastures, lie intermixed, and are inconveniently
situated, and are in their present state incapable of Improvement,
and the several Proprietors thereof and Persons interested therein
are desirous that the same may be divided and enclosed, and specific
Shares thereof set out and allotted in Lieu and in Proportion to their
several and respective Estates, Rights, and Interests therein; but such
Division and Inclosure cannot be effected without the Aid and Authority
of Parliament. May it therefore please your Majesty----.”

The total area of the parish of Henlow is 2450 acres, and it has
a large park. It appears, therefore, that when the Act was passed
practically the whole of the arable, meadow, and pasture land in the
parish lay entirely open, and was commonable. The more remote and least
cultivable parts of the parish were, no doubt, common pastures; on
these the villagers kept flocks and herds according to some recognised
rule based on the sizes of their holdings in the arable fields. A
drift would lead from the common to the village, passing through
the arable fields, and fenced or hedged off from them. Immediately
behind the cottages, clustering together to form the village, there
would be small closes for gardens or paddocks; beyond these all round
the village would stretch the open, common, arable fields, in area
probably considerably more than half the parish. These were probably
divided into three or four approximately equal portions, and cultivated
according to a three or four year course, imposed rigidly on all
occupiers by a mutual agreement sanctioned by custom. The holdings
would be of various sizes, from three or four acres of arable land
upwards, but all small; and a holding of, say, twenty acres of arable
land would consist of about thirty separate strips of land of from half
an acre to an acre each, scattered over all the three or four arable
fields, but approximately equally divided between each field, so that
each year the occupier would have, for example, about five acres under
wheat, five under barley, five under pulse, and five fallow, provided
that were the customary course of husbandry. Right through the year the
fallow land would be used as common pasture, and the land under crops
would become commonable after the crops were carried.

Along the streams flowing into the river Ivel would be the open
commonable meadows. These would be divided into a number of plots,
half-acres, quarter-acres, or even smaller, marked by pegs driven
in the ground, or stones; and a certain number of these plots were
assigned to each holding, in proportion to the amount of arable land.
During the spring, while the cattle were on the common pasture, the
meadow would be let grow for hay; when the time for hay harvest came,
each peasant cut his own plots, and the meadow became commonable during
the rest of the summer. Some of the peasant occupiers would be small
freeholders, some probably copyholders, others legally annual tenants.
All would meet together on certain occasions to settle questions of
common interest.

We might say, though the expression must not be too rigidly
interpreted, that under the common field system the parish, township,
or hamlet formed one farm, occupied and cultivated by a group of
partners holding varying numbers of shares. It may well be imagined
what a village cataclysm took place when an Act for the enclosure of
the parish was passed, and commissioners descended upon the village,
valued every property and every common right, and carved out the whole
parish into rectangles, instituting the modern system of separate
exclusive ownership and individual cultivation. We shall see that
ordinarily the holdings on enclosure became fewer and larger, that
very many of the peasants were in consequence driven from the village,
or became landless, pauperised agricultural labourers. We shall see
also that the traditions of the common field system where they have
perished as distinct memories, have survived in the form of aspirations
for agricultural reform. In fact, the great rural question for the
twentieth century to determine, is whether there were not beneath the
inconvenient and uneconomical methods of the common field system, a
vital principle essential to true rural prosperity, which has to be
re-discovered and re-established in forms suitable to the present

It is not intended in this book to go into the vexed question of the
origin of the common field system, or of the English village community.
It will be noticed that the researches upon which this book is based
do not as a rule go further back than Leland’s Itinerary in 1536 and
following years. From such materials only hypotheses can be obtained,
which require to be tested by all the evidence from earlier records. A
hypothesis, however, has a certain value as a mental thread by which
the facts can be connected and more clearly conceived.

Judging entirely from eighteenth and nineteenth century evidence,
one is in the first place driven to accept most unhesitatingly the
prevailing theory that the English common field system was based on
co-aration. But one is tempted to very summarily dismiss the theory
of Roman origin. Rather one is inclined to say that as long as a
considerable portion of the villagers of the parish were accustomed to
yoke their oxen or harness their horses to a common plough, the system
was a living one, capable of growth and modification according to the
ideas of the people who worked it. It became, as it were, fossilised
and dead, incapable of other than decaying change, when each occupier
cultivated his own set of strips of land by his own plough or his own
spade. One is therefore inclined to suppose that the introduction of
each new element in the population of a village--Saxon, Angle, Dane,
and in a less degree, Norman--profoundly modified earlier customs, and
that in each part of Britain a local type of village community resulted
from the blending of different racial traditions.

This hypothesis is directly suggested by the evidence of recent
survivals. The most familiar type of village community is
characteristic of the Midlands; I have termed it the Mercian type.
It is most easily conceived as a compound of the pure Keltic system,
known in the Highlands and Ireland as Run-rig or Rundale, and the North
German system traditional among the Angles, in which the two elements
in equal strength are very perfectly blended together. In the South of
England we find a different type, here termed the Wessex type, in which
the influence of Keltic tradition is more strongly seen. The village
community in Norfolk and the adjoining part of Suffolk shows some
remarkable special features, traces of which are found in adjoining
counties, but which appear to be easily accounted for as the result of
the later intrusion of Scandinavian traditions. Further, throughout
the West of England, from Cumberland to Devon and Cornwall, we find
evidence that the primitive type of village community approximated very
closely to the Keltic Run-rig.

Enclosure of the common fields, meadows and pastures, of any particular
village may have taken place in the following ways:--

(1) By Act of Parliament, viz., (_a_) by a private Act, (_b_) under the
authority of the General Enclosure Acts of 1830 and 1836, (_c_) by the
Enclosure Commissioners and their successors, the Board of Agriculture,
under the General Enclosure Act of 1845 and its amending Acts.

(2) By common agreement of all the collective owners.

(3) By the purchase on the part of one owner of all conflicting rights.

(4) By special licence of the Tudor monarchs.

(5) By various forms of force and fraud.

Commonable waste may have been enclosed in any of the above ways, and
also under the Statutes of Merton and Winchester (1235 and 1285), which
give Lords of the Manor the right of enclosing commons provided proof
is given that the tenants of the manor are left sufficient pasture.

Enquiry into the history of Enclosure naturally begins with an
examination of the Enclosure Acts.

The first fact elicited by this examination is that there is a perfect
_legal_ similarity between Acts for enclosing commonable waste, which
may be termed _Acts for extending cultivation_, and Acts such as
that for Henlow, for enclosing all the open and common arable and
other lands of a parish or parishes, which may be termed _Acts for
extinguishing village communities_. About one-third of the Enclosure
Acts belong to the former variety, about two-thirds to the latter.
As from the economic and social points of view, the two classes of
Enclosure Acts are as widely different as they are legally similar, no
statistical summaries of the Acts can have much value until the two
classes are sorted out. To do this involved a separate examination of
all the Acts accessible.

Appendix A contains a statistical summary of the Acts for enclosing
commonable waste passed between 1727 and 1845; Appendix B contains a
list of Acts for enclosing common arable fields with or without other
commonable lands passed between 1727 and 1900.




Perhaps the best surviving example of an open field parish is that of
Laxton, or Lexington, in Nottinghamshire, about ten miles from Newark
and Southwell. It lies remote from railways and high roads, and is
only to be reached by bye roads. From whatever quarter one approaches
the village, one enters the parish through a gate. The village is in
the centre of the parish, and is surrounded by enclosed fields. Other
enclosures are to be found on the most remote parts of the parish,
in some cases representing, apparently, old woodland which has been
converted into tillage or pasture; in other cases portions of the
arable fields. But nearly half the area of the parish remains in the
form of two great arable fields, and two smaller ones which are treated
as two parts of the third field. The different holdings, whether small
freeholds or farms rented from the Lord of the Manor, who owns nearly
all the parish, consist, in part, of strips of land scattered all over
these fields, in a manner which can best be understood by reference
to the map. Within these arable fields cultivation is not carried on
according to the discretion of the individual farmer, but by strict
rules of great antiquity. In each of the fields a three year course is
rigidly adhered to.

First year, wheat.

Second year, spring corn (_i.e._ barley, oats, peas, beans, vetches,
tares, &c.).

Third year, fallow.

If, therefore, Laxton be visited early in June, the following
description of the appearance of the parish will be found correct. The
traveller passes through the boundary gate. He finds his road leads him
through the “Spring corn” field, which lies open on either side of the
road. A phrase which is continually used by old farmers when attempting
to describe common fields will probably occur to him in this field:
“It is like allotments.” But it is like an allotment field with many

[Illustration: LAXTON


  Map of Laxton showing:
    Common Pasture
    Farm nᵒ. 1
    Farm nᵒ. 2
  Approximate Scale 1:9,000]

All the great field is divided up into oblong patches, each patch
growing its own crop, but with no more division or boundary between one
crop and the next than a mere furrow.

If, then, the traveller looks again at a strip of land growing, say,
beans, he will find that this strip consists of one, two, or more
ridges, locally termed “lands.” A “land” in Laxton has a pretty
uniform width of 5½ yards, and a normal length of one furlong; but by
the necessity of the case the length varies considerably. Owing to
this variation in length the various strips of land which make up the
different holdings in the common fields, when their area is expressed
in acres, roods, or poles, seem to have no common measure.

Because the soil of Laxton is a heavy clay it is customary to plough
each “land” every year in the same manner, beginning at the edges, and
turning the sod towards the centre of the “land.” Hence each “land”
forms a long narrow ridge, heaped up in the middle, and the lie of the
“lands” or ridges was at some unknown date so well contrived for the
proper drainage of the land, that it is probable that if the whole of
a field were let to a single farmer, he would still plough so as to
maintain the old ridges.

The same ridges are to be found on the other two fields, one of which
is a stretch of waving wheat; while the third, or fallow field, is
being leisurely ploughed, a number of sheep getting a difficult living
from the thistles and other weeds in the still unploughed portions,
and on the “sicks,” _i.e._ certain grassy parts of the field which are
defined by boundary marks, and are never allowed to be ploughed. In one
extreme corner of the parish is Laxton Heath, a somewhat swampy common
covered with coarse grass. Here, too, sheep are grazed in common,
according to a “stint” somewhat recently determined upon. Before the
stint was agreed to, every commoner had the right of turning out as
many sheep as he could feed in winter, the result being that the common
was overstocked, and the sheep nearly starved. The stint regulates
the number of sheep each commoner may graze upon the common according
to the number he can feed on his other land in the parish. It was not
adopted without opposition on the part of those whose privileges it

This brings us to the question, Who are the commoners? There are two
sorts of claim by which a man may be entitled to common rights, and
to a voice in such deliberations as those by which a stint is agreed
to. One is by a holding in the common open fields, the other is by
the occupation of a “toft-head.” A “toft” is not very easy to define.
One may say that it either is, or represents, an ancient house or
cottage in the village; but that immediately suggests the question, How
ancient? It is well known in the village which cottages are “tofts”
and which are not. Those which are, command a rent about £2 a year
higher in consequence. It is to be noted that if the house or cottage
which is the visible sign of “toft-head” be pulled down, and a new one
erected on the same spot, the new house has the same rights attached
to it. One is naturally led to the hypothesis that up to a certain
date[1] all cottages erected in Laxton carried common rights, but that
after that date no new common rights could be created. There are,
therefore, two classes of commoners: the farmers who hold land in the
common fields, and the labourers who occupy the privileged cottages.
A farmer may possess a number of common rights in respect of (1) his
farmhouse, if it be a “toft,” (2) his arable holding, and (3) any toft
cottages he may own or rent and sub-let to labourers, retaining their
common rights. The labourer has but one common right. Each common right
entitles the holder to one vote, and to one share in the division of
the money revenues drawn from the commonable lands, besides the right
of feeding an indefinite number of sheep on the fallow field, and the
regulated number on the common. The money revenue that comes from the
commonable fields is obtained as follows: The grass lands (“sicks”)
in the two common fields which are under crops cannot be grazed upon
conveniently, because any animals would be liable to stray into the
crops. They are, therefore, mown for hay, and the right to mow them
is sold by auction to one of the commoners, and the price realised is
divided. Recently this has worked out at about 14_s._ per common right.
Each commoner also has the right of pasturing animals upon the two
fields that are under crops, directly the harvest has been carried.

 [1] The following extract from a sixteenth century writer throws some
 light upon this point:

    “Another disorder of oppression
    aduerte this wone wiche is muche odyous,
    A lord geauyn to private affection
    lettinge the pooareman an olde rotten howse,
    which hathe (to the same) profyttes commodious
    its Cloase, and Common, with Lande in the feelde
    but noate well heere howe the pooareman is peelde.

    “The howse shall hee haue and A gardeyne plott,
    but stonde he must to the reperation:
    Close, Comon or Londe fallithe none to his lott;
    that beste might helpe to his sustentation.
    the whoale Rente payethe hee for his habitation,
    as though hee dyd thappertenauncis possesse
    Such soare oppression neadethe speadye redresse.”
                “The Pleasaunt Poesye of Princelie Practise” (1548)
                         WILLIAM FORREST, Chapter III., 21 & 22
                         E.E.T.S. Extra Series, XXXII.

 We have here the practice of divorcing the cottage from its common
 right described as a novelty. The Act of 31 Elizabeth, c. 7, by
 prohibiting the letting of cottages without 4 acres of land, in effect
 prohibited the letting of a cottage without a common right, as the 4
 acres _would_ not be the highly valued Close, and _could_ not, unless
 the rights of other villagers were infringed, be waste or common
 pasture. Four acres in the common arable field was implied, and this
 of course carried a right of common.

The exercise of this right, which appears to be most keenly valued,
as it is found to persist in many parishes after all other traces of
the common field system have died away, obviously opens the door to
quarrels. It is not to be expected that all farmers should finish
carrying their crops on the same day; and the position of the man
who is behind all his neighbours, and so is standing between the
commoners and their right of pasture, is not an enviable one. But a
constitutional system of government exists for the purpose of dealing
with these and other difficulties. A “Foreman of the Fields” and a
“Field Jury” are elected: the field jury settles all disputes between
individuals, while the duties of the foreman include that of issuing
notices to declare when the fields are open for pasturing; on which day
all the gates, by which, as I have previously mentioned, the parish
is entered, must be closed, while all the gates of the farmyards are
thrown open, and a varied crowd of animals winds along the drifts and
spreads over the fields.

It will be noticed that the commonable lands of Laxton include only
arable fields and common pasture. The commonable meadows which the
parish once had, have been partitioned and enclosed at a date beyond
the recollection of the oldest inhabitant. The neighbouring parish of
Eakring still has commonable meadows. In this respect Eakring is a more
perfect example of the open field parish than Laxton, though its common
arable fields have been much more encroached upon; and have, in fact,
been reduced to scattered fragments, so that the rector was unable to
tell me whether there were five, six, or more of them. The villagers,
however, say simply “Three: the wheat field, the bean field, and the
fallow field.” The commonable meadows are, like the common fields, held
in scattered strips intermingled; and are commonable after hay harvest.
The rule in Eakring is that if one man only has any hay left on the
meadows, the other commoners can turn in their cattle and relieve him
of it; but if he can get a neighbour to leave but one haycock also, he
is protected.

The constitution of Eakring differs somewhat from that of Laxton.
There are regularly four toft meetings every year, presided over by
the steward of the lord of the manor, at which all questions relating
to the commonable lands are settled. Further, all toft holders have an
equal right to feed an indefinite number of sheep on the fallow field,
and the other fields when available, but the exercise of the right is
regulated by a species of auction. The number of sheep that can be
pastured with advantage is agreed upon, and since the total number of
sheep which the assembled toft holders desire to put on is sure to
exceed that number, a price to be charged per sheep is by degrees fixed
by mutual bargaining, till the numbers of sheep for which their owners
are willing to pay is reduced to the number that the pasture can bear.
The cottager and toft holder, therefore, who though not holding an acre
of land in the parish, has yet enterprise enough to bid for the right
of keeping a flock of sixty sheep on the common fields, is therefore
heartily welcomed by that section of the toft holders who have no
desire to bid against him, because he forces up the value of their


Up till 1898 an even better example of an open-field parish could be
seen in Northamptonshire. In that year was completed the enclosure
of Castor and Ailesworth, two hamlets forming part of the parish
of Castor, situated three miles from Peterborough on the road to
Northampton. In 1892, when application was made to the Board of
Agriculture, which now represents the Enclosure Commissioners of the
General Enclosure Act of 1845, there were in the two hamlets, out of
a total area of 4976 acres, 2,425 acres of common arable fields, 815
acres of common pastures and meadows, and 370 acres of commonable
waste, and only about 1300 acres enclosed. In Laxton the commonable
land is less than half the area of the parish. The greater amount of
old enclosure in Laxton has had its effect on the distribution of the
population. There are some, though very few, outlying farmhouses. In
Castor and Ailesworth all the habitations and buildings, except a
watermill and a railway station, are clustered together in the two
hamlets, which form one continuous village. At present very nearly all
the land of Laxton and Eakring is in the ownership of the respective
lords of the two manors; in Castor and Ailesworth the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners are the largest landowners; but nearly as much land is
the property of Earl Fitzwilliam, and there are besides a number of
small landowners. Before enclosure all these properties were intermixed
all over the area of the two hamlets, the two chief properties coming
very frequently in alternate strips.

Though the area of commonable land in Castor was so much greater
than in Laxton, those customs of village communal life which we
have described had retained much less vigour; and to the decay of
the power of harmonious self-government the recent enclosure was
mainly attributable. The customary method of cultivation in Castor
and Ailesworth was a three-field system, but a different three-field
system to that described above. The succession of crops was:--First
year, wheat; second year, barley; third year, a “fallow crop,” or as
locally pronounced, “follow crop.” Each year in the spring the farmers
and toft-holders of Castor, and similarly of Ailesworth, would meet
to decide the crop to be sown on the fallow field. One farmer, who
held the position--though not the title--of “Foreman of the Fields,”
kept a “stint book,” a list of all the villagers owning common rights,
and the number of rights belonging to each. The number of votes that
could be cast by each villager depended upon the number of his common
rights. The fallow crop might be pulse or turnips or other roots or
anything else that seemed advisable; but it was essential to the
_farmers’_ interests that they should agree upon some crop. For a
tradition existed in the village that unless the farmers were agreed
as to the crop to be sown on the fallow field, that field could be
treated as though it really were fallow. It could be pastured on all
the year by all the toft-holders, and any crop which any farmer might
sow would be at the mercy of his neighbours’ cattle and sheep. I could
not find that this had ever happened. On the other hand, the farmers
being agreed about the crop, they could also determine the date when
the fallow field should become commonable.[2] The wheat-field and
barley-field became commonable after harvest; the meadows and pastures
were commonable between August 12th and February 14th.

 [2] This is good law. By 13 Geo. III. c. 81 these agreements could be
 made by “a three-fourths majority in number and value.” _See_ Chapter

The reason why the medieval three-field system was retained in Laxton,
but was altered in Castor to an improved three-field system, is to
be found in the nature of the soil. That of Laxton is a heavy clay,
growing wheat of noted quality; that of the Northamptonshire parish
is lighter, in parts very shallow and stony. Another result of the
difference of soil was a different system of ploughing. The Castor
method was that technically known as “Gathering and Splitting,” viz.,
alternately to plough each strip from the margin inwards, turning the
sod inwards, and the reverse way, turning the sod outwards, so that
the general level of the field was not broken into a series of ridges.
In Castor, as in Laxton, no grassy “balk” divided one man’s “land”
from his neighbour’s, the furrow only had to serve as boundary, and
sometimes the boundary was bitterly disputed. Before the enclosure
there was one spot in the common fields where two neighbours kept a
plough each continually, and as fast as one ploughed certain furrows
into his land, the other ploughed them back into his.

Another difficulty occasionally arose when high winds prevailed at
harvest time. The great extent of the open fields, and the slightness
of any opposition to the sweep of the wind, at such times allowed
the corn to be blown from one man’s land, and scattered over his
neighbours’. Indeed it recently happened that one year when peas had
been chosen as the fallow crop, that a storm carried the whole crop to
the hedge bordering the field, and so mixed together in inextricable
confusion the produce belonging to thirty or forty different farmers.

Another source of dispute was one that has been a prolific cause of
trouble in common fields for centuries. Where the extremities of a
series of adjoining “lands” abut on a land belonging to another series
at a right angle, the land so abutted on is termed a “head-land,” and
the occupiers of the lands that abut on it have the right of turning
their ploughs on the headland, and taking the plough from one strip to
another along it. The occupier of the headland therefore has to defer
ploughing it till all his neighbours have finished, and often chafes
at the delay. Recently a farmer in the unenclosed parish of Elmstone
Hardwick, near Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire, attempted to find a
remedy for this inconvenience. He ploughed his headland at the time
that suited his convenience, and then sued his neighbours for trespass
when they turned their ploughs in his land. Needless to say he lost
more by his action than by the trespass.

In Castor quarrelsome farmers were wise enough to avoid the law
courts. Instead, they wrote appealing against their neighbours to
their respective landlords, but the landowners were unable to restore
harmony. The death of a farmer who had won the highest respect of his
neighbours, and who had continually used his great influence to allay
ill-feeling and promote harmony, brought on a state of tension that
gradually became unbearable; and the appointment by the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners of a new agent, who could not understand and had no
patience with the peculiarities of common-field farming, led to steps
being taken for enclosure.

The first step necessary was to obtain the agreement of the great
majority of the people interested. The agent in question, assisted
energetically by the leading farmer in Ailesworth, succeeded in doing
this without much difficulty. In 1892, application was made for an
order to the Board of Agriculture, whose inspector reported warmly
commending the project. The simple statement of the farmers with
regard to their farms, _e.g._, “I hold 175 acres in 192 separate
parcels,” would convince him that a change was necessary. The figures
for holdings are not given by the enclosure award, but a summary of
the facts with regard to some of the smaller properties gives the

The glebe consisted of--

                                                       A. R. P.
  16 scattered strips of land in Wood Field,     area 10  1  16
   5     ″       ″        ″      Nether Field,     ″   3  1  12
   7     ″       ″        ″      Normangate Field, ″   4  0   2
  33     ″       ″        ″      Mill Field,       ″  20  2  28
  34     ″       ″        ″      Thorn Field,      ″  24  2  29
  50     ″       ″        ″      Milton Field,     ″  37  0  37
  18     ″       ″        ″      four meadows,     ″  10  1  20
   2 Lammas closes,                                ″   7  2  24

making a total of 165 outlying parcels of land, scattered far and wide
over a parish of five thousand acres in extent, and yet amounting, with
some small closes near the village, only to 118 acres in area. Further--

                        A.  R.   P.
  Proprietor A owned   17   3   19  in   32 parcels
      ″      B   ″      3   0   16   ″    6    ″
      ″      C   ″     80   1    5   ″  164    ″
      ″      D   ″      9   0   18   ″    8    ″
      ″      E   ″      2   0    2   ″    5    ″
      ″      F   ″      2   3   14   ″    6    ″
      ″      G   ″      1   2   10   ″    5    ″
      ″      H   ″      2   2    3   ″    9    ″
      ″      J   ″      2   1   18   ″    7    ″
      ″      K   ″    166   2   24   ″  217    ″
      ″      L   ″     13   3   37   ″   30    ″

Parliamentary enclosure, however, is not to be obtained without
conditions. That reckless disregard of the wider public interests
both of the locality and of the nation at large in the land to be
enclosed of which the administration of the General Enclosure Act from
1845 to 1874 has been accused, has been dispelled by the vigorous and
ably-conducted agitation to which we owe the preservation of Epping
Forest, Hampstead Heath, and many other priceless commons. In the
enclosure of Castor and Ailesworth, in the first place, Ailesworth
Heath, which occupies the highest and most remote corner of the
parish, was excluded from the operation of the Enclosure Act. It is a
wild little common which, beyond feeding a few sheep and furnishing
a quarry, seems to be fit for nothing but picnics and blackberrying.
Situated at the distance of about five miles from Peterborough, which
again stands on the margin of the fen country, it will probably come to
be valued by the townsmen for its unprofitable wildness.

Next, the parish boasts its antiquities, the remains of a part of the
ancient Roman road from London to York, and certain blocks of stone,
locally known as Robin Hood and Little John. The Enclosure Act provides
for the preservation of these.

A bathing place in the River Nen, which bounds the parish on the
south, selected at the most convenient spot, and three recreation
grounds of 6 acres each, and one of 14 acres, are handed over to the
safe keeping of the parish councils of Castor and Ailesworth, besides
four pieces of land, making 42 acres in all, for allotments and field
gardens. The farmers mournfully point out that these 76 acres thus
reserved for the common use and benefit of the villagers are some
of the best land and the most conveniently situated. The recreation
grounds in particular they scorn as foolishness. Possibly, however,
because the village prides itself on its prowess in the football field,
the indignation against this supposed fad of the central government
is mild compared with that expressed by some of the thrifty people of
Upton St. Leonards, near Gloucester, which was being enclosed at the
same time. Here the recreation ground was dubbed by some the “ruination
ground,” enticing as it did the young lads from digging in their
fathers’ allotments to cricket and football, and so subverting the very
foundation of good morals.

Subject to these deductions, the whole of the open commonable lands
and many of the old enclosures, after being surveyed and valued, and
after roads, where necessary, had been diverted or newly set out,
were redistributed among the old proprietors so as to give each his
proportional share, as far as possible in the most convenient manner.
This was both a lengthy and a delicate task, but it was finally
completed in 1898, six years after the matter first came before the
Board of Agriculture. Each several proprietor was then required to
fence his allotment in the manner prescribed by the commissioners who
make the survey and award. The cost of the survey and allotment usually
works out at about £1 per acre; the cost of fencing may be a great deal
more. Though the Parliamentary expenses are now trifling, the total
cost of abolishing the “system of mingle-mangle,” as Carew called it in
1600, in any parish where it still exists, is not to be lightly faced
in times of agricultural depression.




Dorchester is bounded on the south by Fordington Field. The parish
of Fordington, up to the year 1875, was unenclosed; it lay almost
entirely open, and was divided into about eighty copyholds, intermixed
and intercommonable, the manor belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall. But
in 1875 the Duchy authorities bought out the copyholders, and the old
system disappeared.

About three or four miles from Dorchester, along the road to Maiden
Newton and Yeovil, are the two adjoining villages of Stratton and
Grimstone, forming together the Prebend of Stratton, belonging till
recently to the See of Sarum, which have only been enclosed since
1900. The enclosure was effected without any Parliamentary sanction;
it was brought about, I am told by the present lord of the two manors,
by the refusal of the copyholders, who held by a tenure of lives, to
“re-life.” In consequence, all the copyholds, except a few cottages,
have fallen into the hands of the lord of the manor; all Grimstone has
been let to a single farmer, and Stratton divided into three or four

Besides the very late survival of the common field system in these two
manors, there are two other features which make them specially notable.
In the first place they are, agriculturally, thoroughly characteristic
of the Wessex type of open field village, the type that prevailed
over Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset. In the second place,
the manorial system of village government survived with equal vigour;
the proceedings of the manorial courts and the customs of tillage
and pasturage forming manifestly only two aspects of one and the
same organisation. It is fortunate that the court-rolls for the last
two hundred years have been preserved, and that they are in the safe
custody of the present lord of the manor.

On the south-west the lands of Stratton and Grimstone are bounded by
a stream, the River Frome, flowing towards Dorchester, from which
Stratton Mill has the right of taking a defined amount of water.
Between the stream and the villages are the commonable meadows; on
the north-east of the villages the arable fields, tapering somewhat,
stretch up the hill slope to Stratton and Grimstone Downs. The whole
arrangement is shown very clearly in the tithe commutation map, dated
1839. The two manor farms were separate and enclosed, and lay side by
side along the boundary between the two manors, in each case comprising
about one-third of the cultivated land. The remaining arable land in
each manor formed, so far as fences were concerned, one open field,
divided into three oblong strips, known respectively in Stratton as
the East, Middle, and West Field; in Grimstone as Brewer’s Ash Field,
Rick Field, and Langford Field. The rotation of crops was: (1), wheat;
(2), barley; (3), fallow. The lower part of the fallow field was sown
with clover, and was known as the “hatching ground”--a term we find
elsewhere in the forms “hitch-land” and “hook-land”--the upper part
was a bare fallow. More recently an improved method of cultivation was
adopted. The barley crop every third year was maintained, but after it
was carried Italian rye grass was sown in the upper part of the barley
field (instead of a bare fallow). This was fed off with sheep in the
spring, and then put into turnips; the following year barley was sown
again. The lower part, however, continued to be sown with clover in the
fallow year, this was fed off with sheep, and wheat followed.

The arable fields consisted of “lands” or “lawns,”[3] each supposed
to be 40 “yards” (_i.e._ poles) long, and one, two or four “yards”
broad--hence supposed to be quarter acres, half acres, or acres. Half
acres were the more common; but whatever the area in theory it was
somewhat less in actual fact.

 [3] Mr. A. N. Palmer notes the terms “loons,” “lawnds” and “lownts” in
 N. Wales and Cheshire (“The Town, Fields and Folk of Wrexham,” p. 2).

The West Field in Stratton was somewhat smaller than the other two in
consequence of the extreme portion--that next the down and farthest
from the village--being enclosed. These enclosures in shape and
arrangement exactly resemble the lands in the open field; they are
about one acre each. They are called “The Doles.” Further there are a
series of small square enclosures taken out of the down, called “The
New Closes.” All the Doles and New Closes were in grass.

A remarkable fact is that all the “lands” were scrupulously separated
from one another by meres or balks of turf, which, however, were not
known by these names. Among the people they were, and are, known as
“walls,” but in the court-rolls one finds the term “lanchetts,” which
one connects with “lynches,” and “land-shares,” which seems to explain
the term “launchers” which I have found in Devonshire. In the level
parts of the fields the “walls” were mere strips of turf about a foot
wide; but in the sloping parts they formed steep banks, sometimes
several feet high, and the successive “lands” formed terraces one above
the other.

All the cultivators, except the tenants of the two manor farms, were
copyholders, holding for a tenancy of three lives, the widow of the
holder having the right to continue the holding during the period of
her widowhood. By the custom of the manor the lessee of the manor had
at any time (even though his lease had but a day to run) the right to
grant a copyholder two lives, _i.e._, to accept a fine and substitute
two new names for those of dead or dying persons on the “copy.”

The copyholds, when not “cotes” or simply cottages with common rights,
were either “half-livings,” “livings,” or, in one or two cases, other
fractions of a living. A half-living consisted of four or five nominal
acres in each of the common fields, and common rights upon the meadow,
common fields and common down, in Stratton, for one horse, two cows,
and forty sheep. A whole living consisted of a share about twice as
large in the field and meadow, and a common right for two horses,
four cows, and eighty sheep. But each copyhold, whether a whole or
half-living, included one dole and one new close. There were three
whole livings and twelve half-livings in Stratton, and five “cotes,”
_i.e._, cottages with one or two strips of land in the arable fields
attached to them. In Grimstone there were four whole livings, six
half-livings, one three-quarters living, and one whole and a-quarter
living. In either manor, therefore, if we reckon two half-livings as
equal to one whole, there were nine whole livings in all; those of
Stratton being normally held by fifteen copyholders, those of Grimstone
by twelve, though the number might happen in practice to be less. Thus
at the time of the tithe commutation (1838) there was in each manor one
copyholder who had two half-livings. In all formal documents a “living”
is termed a “place,” and a half-living a “half-place.” The common
rights attached to a living in Grimstone were slightly different from
those in Stratton. They are further explained below.

Once a year, at about Christmas, the tenants of each manor met, the
steward presiding; the elected officials submitted their accounts,
and resigned their offices, and their successors were re-elected. The
most important of these were two “viewers of the fields and tellers of
the cattle,” commonly known simply as the “viewers.” There was also a
“hayward,” and two “chimney peepers” (described in the Court-rolls as
“inspectors of chimnies”). The inspectors of chimneys do not appear in
the rolls of the eighteenth century; instead are the more important
officials the “constabul” (_sic_) and “tythingman,” who ceased to be
appointed presumably after the establishment of the county police and
the commutation of the tithes.

The duty of the “chimney peepers” was, as their name implies, to
see that chimneys were kept properly swept so as not to endanger a
neighbour’s thatched roof. The hayward was in charge of the pound; he
was entitled to charge 4_d._ a head for all stray beasts impounded if
they belonged to the manor, and 8_d._ a head for outsiders.

The “viewers” had more varied duties. In the first place they had
to appoint one villager as “Lacy’s Bridge man.” “Lacy’s Bridge” is a
structure of loose stones at a place where the stream, which for the
most part bounds Stratton meadow, crosses it; and the duty of the
bridge man is to keep it in sufficient repair to enable sheep to cross.
The viewers used to appoint the cottagers in turn, going down one side
of the road to the end of the village and up the other side.

Next the viewers provided the manor bull. They bought the bull, they
charged a fee for his services, and made all necessary regulations. The
breed favoured varied from year to year, and the viewers were never
known to please everybody with their choice.

Then the viewers appointed the common shepherd, in whose charge were
the sheep of the whole manor almost all through the year. And in
general they had to enforce all the decisions of the court with regard
to the times when sheep or cows should be allowed in the meadow, when
the sheep should come into the “hatching ground,” how and where horses
should be tethered, and particularly to see that each tenant sowed his
clover properly. And when the hay in the meadow was ripe, they marked
out to each tenant the plots which fell to his share that year. It
was usual to re-elect one of the viewers, so that though there was an
annual election, each viewer held office for two years, being for the
first year the junior viewer, for the second the senior.

There is much that is interesting in the management of the sheep
flock. From April 6th to September 18th the sheep fed by day on the
down, and were folded by night on the fallow field. The fold began at
the top of the field, and gradually worked downwards, covering about
half-an-acre every night, and so manuring the whole. There being no
other water supply on the downs, all the tenants had to take turns to
carry up water to fill the water-troughs, and the viewers saw that they
did so. On September 18th the sheep came into the “hatching ground,”
on which, as we have seen, clover had been sown; and it is noticeable
that this crop, sown individually by each copyholder on his own lands,
was fed off by the common flock under the supervision of the common
shepherd. In winter the sheep belonging to each tenant had to be folded
separately; and the doles and new closes were used for wintering the
sheep. Some made it a practice to sell off their flock when feed became
scanty, and to buy again the next spring; but the traditional custom
was to keep the sheep till they were four or five years old, at which
age they became fat, perhaps by superior cunning; meanwhile, of course,
they had been yielding wool and manure. In later years, though every
half living was entitled to forty sheep, by a common agreement the
number was limited to twenty-five in spring, and later in the year to
thirty-five, when the lambs reached the age at which they were counted
as sheep in the calculation of common rights.

Perhaps the most curious feature in the local system of agriculture
was the management of the common meadow. Sheep were allowed in it
from March 1st to April 6th (it would only bear ten or eleven), then
they had to come out and join the common flock, and the grass was let
grow to hay. At hay time the viewers went out and by the help of some
almost imperceptible ridges in the soil, and certain pegs driven into
the river banks, they marked out to each tenant the plots on which
he was allowed to cut and gather the hay. There were forty-seven
of these little plots; twenty-seven of them were definite parts of
particular copyholds, but nineteen were “changeable allotments,” each
of which belonged one year to one holding, the next year to another,
according to certain rules; while the remaining allotment, a little
three-cornered plot in the middle called “100 Acres,” amounting perhaps
to five perches in area, was divided among the holders of the adjacent
“Long lands.” On July 6th, the hay having been carried, the cows came
in, and grazed in the meadow till November 23rd, and then the meadow
was watered.

[Illustration: STRATTON MEADOW

  Scale 1:2500]

I have before me the map of the meadow, now somewhat tattered,
being drawn upon a half sheet of thin foolscap, and a little notebook
recording particulars of the different plots in the meadow, and in the
case of the changeable allotments, who were entitled to them each year
from 1882 to about 1905, which the viewers used in partitioning the
meadow. The map I reproduce. The notebook reads[4]:--


Lear Croft Changeable Allotment next the Yard but one to Sparks.[5]

          1882.  Ozzard.
          1883.  Brett.
          1884.  Ozzard.
          1885.  Green.

Water Gates Changeable Allotment No. 1.

          1883.  M. Dean (Newberry).
          1884.  R. Davis.
          1885.  Dean.
          1886.  Davis.

Hole Rush--Changeable No. 1.

          1883.  Mr. R. Davis.
          1884.  Mr. Dean (Newberry).
          1885.  Mr. Davis.
          1886.  Mr. Dean.

Hole Rush No. 2.

          1882.  Ozzard.
          1883.  Brett.
          1884.  Ozzard.
          1885.  Green.

Hole Rush No. 3, or All Rush.

          1883.  R. Davis.
          1884.  Dean (Newberry’s).
          1885.  Davis.
          1886.  Dean.

Hole Rush near the Parish, No. 5.

          1883.  Mr. Dean (Newberry).
          1884.  R. Davis.
          1885.  Dean.
          1886.  Davis.

Hole Rush No. 4.

          1883.  Mr. Kellaway.
          1884.  Brown.
          1885.  Kellaway.
          1886.  Brown.

Hole Rush No 6, near the Parish.

          1883.  Brown.
          1884.  Kellaway.
          1885.  Brown.
          1886.  Kellaway.

Long Lands No. 2.

          1883.  Mr. Dean (Dunn).
          1884.  Brett.
          1885.  Brett.
          1886.  Dean.

Long Lands No. 3.

          1883.  Ozzard.
          1884.  Mrs. Dunn.
          1885.  Mr. Dean.
          1886.  Mrs. Dunn.

Long Lands No. 1.

          1883.  Mr. Tilley.
          1884.  Ozzard.
          1885.  Tilley.
          1886.  Ozzard.

Long Lands No. 5.

          1883.  Ozzard.
          1884.  Tilley.
          1885.  Ozzard.
          1886.  Tilley.

Long Lands No. 4.

          1883.  Mrs. Dunn.
          1884.  Mr. Dean (Newberry’s).
          1885.  Mrs. Dunn.
          1886.  Dean.

The first part of the Three Patches in the Great Horse Shoe is the
“Mill Bars Patch,” containing about 26 perches.

The second part is the narrow strip next to Mr. Channen’s--17 perches.

The third part is the lower patch adjoining Mr. Channen’s--1 rood 10

Total, 2 roods 13 perches.


The Three Patches are one part.

Three Patches.

          1883.  Ozzard.
          1884.  Mr. Dean (Dunn).
          1885.  Mr. Tilley.
          1886.  Mill.
          1887.  Tilley.
          1888.  Mill.
          1889.  Ozzard.
          1890.  Brett.

The Square Patch is joining the patch by the Mill Bars, may be called
the fourth part of the “Great Horse Shoe,” it contains about 2 roods
and 4 perches.

          1883.  Mr. Tilley.
          1884.  Mill.
          1885.  Ozzard.
          1886.  Brett.
          1887.  Ozzard.
          1888.  Green.
          1889.  Tilley.
          1890.  Mill.

The Stake Weir is one part of the “Little Horse Shoe,” about 1 rood and
9 perches changeable.

          1882.  Ozzard.
          1883.  Dean (Newberry’s).
          1884.  Tilley.
          1885.  Mill.

The “Little Horse Shoe” changeable. The narrow strip and the strip
round the corner next to Stake Weir patch is one part.

          1883.  Mill.
          1884.  Ozzard.
          1885.  Dean.
          1886.  Tilley.

     Narrow strip, 16 perches.
     Patch round the corner, 1 rood 22 perches.

The small strip of land called “Hundred Acres” is a part of the Long
Lands and is divided amongst the half-acres.

The nine Cantons under the Parks Hedge are about 10 perches each.

 [4] I give only four years, or a complete cycle, which is usually one
 of two years, but sometimes of four, and in two cases of eight years.

 [5] “Parks” in map.

About the agricultural merits of the whole system of managing common
fields, down and meadow, there is naturally a difference of opinion.
An old labourer says that before the old customs began to decay “they
made the most of everything,” that the crops are not so good now, and
“you can’t get the butter or the cheese” which used to be produced. The
butter nowadays goes rancid immediately, and the cheese has no taste.
On the other hand, the enterprising young farmer who now holds the
manor farm at Stratton, who has himself been a “viewer,” says: “They
always had two crops,” _i.e._, the corn crops had to struggle with
couch grass, which partly for want of sufficient ploughing, and partly
because it had a secure foothold in the “walls,” was never properly got
rid of.

That the life of the old system was gradually dying out before
it was ended by the extinction of the copyholds appears from two
circumstances: the old habit of mutual help in ploughing, one tenant
lending his horse to another, had died out; and the viewers had
difficulty in getting their expenses refunded. The wonder is that its
vitality was so persistent.

The history of the manors can be pretty fully traced by means of
the Court rolls, from 1649, when a Parliamentary survey was held, to
the present day. In 1649 Stratton had one copyhold tenant holding a
place and a-half, four holding one place each, and ten holding half
a place each, making 10½ “places” or “livings” altogether. There
were, besides, 12 copyholders who each held a “customary cottage with
thappurtenances.” During the next two hundred years (from 1649 to 1838)
the number of “livings” diminished from 10½ to 9; the actual number of
holders of livings or half-livings diminished only from 15 to 14; but
the twelve “customary cottages with thappurtenances,” which included
one or two acres of arable land and corresponding common rights,
diminished to five “cotes.” The other cottagers, however, retained the
right of cutting as much furze on certain “sleights” on the down, at
any one time, as they could carry home on their head and shoulders; and
the total number of cottagers was just two less in 1838 than in 1649.

The Court rolls contain, besides declarations of rights of the manor
to water from the stream, and to the allegiance of certain residents
outside, and a record of the changes in the tenantry, the names of the
officers elected, and regulations agreed upon for the management of
the land. Thus, there is usually some regulation as to the length of
the rope by which a horse may be tethered in the common fields; mares
are continually being prohibited from being kept in common or common
field; pigs must not be allowed to stray; cow dung must not be removed
from the meadow, nor certain thorny bushes in the meadow be cut, nor
may ducks or geese be fed in it. The penalty for each of these offences
is a fine of 5_s._ or 10_s._ The neglect to carry water up to the down
for the sheep is another punishable offence. In 1748 it was found that
the sheep pond needed to be mended; the viewers accordingly had to see
to its repair, and penalties were agreed upon for refusing to pay the
proper share of the cost.

Previous to 1765 the dates for, _e.g._, turning cows into the meadow
or sheep into the “hatching ground” varied from year to year; but the
settlement then arrived at was maintained for a succession of years.
The jury

“PRESENT that the Common Meadow be broke with horses on November
22nd,[6] that it be laid up on January 5th and continue unfed till
February 5th, then be broke and fed with sheep.

“That the Hatching Ground be laid up on January 5th, and not be fed
again till September 19th.

“That the Cow leaze must not be fed with sheep in time of sheep
shearing, nor with horses or mares at winnowing time.”

 [6] At this time the Court met in October.

The year 1789 was a comparatively important date in the agricultural
history of Stratton during the eighteenth century. At the Court held
on October 9th, it was agreed that “the tenants shall meet in the West
Field on the 14th inst. between 9 and 10 in the morning, to bound out
the several lands, and afterwards each shall leave a lanchett of a
furrow between his and the adjoining land under penalty of a fine of
20_s._ And no tenant shall turn his plough on his neighbour’s land
after the 21st of November.” It would appear that the scrupulous
observance of the “walls” dividing one man’s land from another, which
was such an exceptional feature of Stratton and Grimstone Common
Fields, dates from this meeting.

Fordington parish, until the extinction of the copyholds, had many
features which compare curiously with those of Stratton and Grimstone.
It is very much larger; for whereas Stratton and Grimstone together
have an area of only about 1200 acres, the area of Fordington is
2749 acres, of which, up to 1876, nearly 1800 acres was common field
and common meadow, and 618 acres commons adjoining the common field.
Fordington is also peculiarly divided into three portions: the arable
field and common pastures lying immediately south of Dorchester, the
meadows forming a detached area by the side of the River Frome, and the
village itself a third detached area.

The copyholds in Fordington were known, some as “whole-places,”
“half-places,” as in Stratton and Grimstone, but others as “farthing
holds.” One cannot help asking what were the original meanings of these
terms, and how they are related to the “virgates” of Domesday, and to
the “yardlands” of the Midlands, and the “broad” and “narrow oxgangs”
of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Concerning these terms it appears to
be established that a “yardland” or “virgate” was originally one
quarter of a “carucate,” or ploughland, _i.e._, the amount of arable
land (about 120 acres in average soil) which a plough team of eight
oxen could plough in a year, together with its due share of meadow
and common pasture. A broad oxgang was about 24 acres of arable land,
and therefore apparently the northern representative of a yardland or
virgate; and a narrow oxgang was about 12 acres of arable, or half a
broad oxgang.

In Stratton, as we have seen, every “whole place” or “whole living”
had common rights for two horses, four cows, and eighty sheep; every
half-place common rights for one horse, two cows, and forty sheep. The
areas of land attached to the three whole places were respectively 18
a. 3 r. 35 p., 19 a. 2 r. 3 p., 22 a. 0 r. 11 p., averaging just 20
acres; the half-places varied from 9 a. 0 r. 19 p. to 13 a. 2 r. 25 p.,
the smaller half-places having an advantage in quality of soil, and the
average being almost exactly 11 acres.

In Grimstone the common rights as well as the area of land belonging
to particular whole or half-places varied somewhat. The half-places
consisted respectively of--

                          Area.        Common Rights.
                       A.  R.  P.   Horses. Cows. Sheep.
  A                    11   0  28      1      2     56
  B                    12   0   7      1      3     48
  C                    16   3   7      1      3     60
  D                    12   3   1      1      2     44
  E (two half-places)  19   2  27      2      5     96
                  (average 12 acres)

The Whole Places.

  A                    21   1  25      2      5    104
  B                    21   1  38      2      5     96
  C                    21   0  19      2      4     96
  D                    20   2  32      2      5     96

The “whole and a-quarter place” had 26 a. 0 r. 13 p. of land
and rights for three horses, five cows, and 120 sheep, and the
“three-quarter place” 16 a. 1 r. 2 p., with rights for one horse, five
cows, and eighty sheep. If these be added together and divided by two
we arrive at two whole places of 21 a. 0 r. 27 p., with the common
rights for two horses, five cows, and 100 sheep. This may be taken
as the typical whole place, and the half-place is just a little more
than the mathematical half of a whole place. The fact that the common
rights attached to a given unit were more extensive in Grimstone than
in Stratton is the natural consequence of the fact that Grimstone had
244 acres of down and 35 acres of cow-common, Stratton only 190 acres
of down and 26 acres of cow-common.

But when we compare these with the whole places, half-places, and
farthing holds of Fordington, we find rather a puzzling discrepancy. In
the latter parish the fourteen whole places each had, in 1841, the date
of the Tithe Commutation, rights for four horses, three cows, and 120
sheep, except one, which had no common rights at all, but, apparently
by compensation, had 66 acres of arable land, eleven more than any of
the others. The smallest of the others had 42 a. 3 r., the largest 55
a. 0 r. 22 p., the average being about 48 acres; in other words, in
Fordington a whole place had more than twice as much arable land as
in Stratton or Grimstone, and carried a common right for four horses
instead of for two.

Each of the twenty-one half-places in Fordington had common rights
for three horses, two cows, and sixty-six sheep--which more closely
approximates to three-quarters than to a half of the rights of a whole
place. The area of land attached to a half-place is, however, on the
average somewhat less than half that attached to a whole place, the
largest having 25 a. 1 r. 6 p., the smallest 15 a. 1 r. 36 p., the
average being just under 21 acres. It happens curiously that the
largest “farthing holds” had more land than the smallest half-places,
as their areas range from 11 a. 1 r. 7 p. to 17 a. 3 r. 35 p. There
were nineteen of them, and their average area was 14½ acres. Each had a
common right for two horses, two cows, and forty sheep.

The following tentative hypothesis may be suggested as an explanation.
It is based on the presumption that the _names_ represent a more
ancient set of circumstances than the actual facts recorded in the
tithe apportionment.

I think it, on the whole, more probable that these units of holdings
are based upon ploughing by horses than upon ploughing by oxen. In
other words, I think that the system of co-aration persisted unimpaired
in these particular villages after horses had superseded oxen for
ploughing purposes, which might have happened at a very early date.
This seems plainly indicated by the fact that during the 190 years from
1649 to 1839 the majority of the copyholders in Stratton and Grimstone
had only one horse apiece, therefore they must have combined to work
even a two-horse plough; and, as I have said above, the practice of
helping one another with horses for ploughing only died out in very
recent years.

I think further, that in all three manors, a “whole place” or “whole
living” meant the land cultivated by one plough, but that in Stratton
and Grimstone the plough was a light and shallow one drawn by two
horses only, and in Fordington a heavier plough drawn by four horses.
The soil in Stratton and Grimstone is very thin and stony, and would
not bear deep ploughing; that of Fordington is much deeper and heavier.
Further, Stratton and Grimstone fields lie on the steep slopes
descending from the downs; Fordington field is gently undulating.
Therefore, a four-horse plough in Fordington would plough more than
twice as much land as a two-horse plough in the other villages. A whole
place then in Fordington naturally would have common rights for four
horses; in Stratton and Grimstone for two horses only.

A half-place in Stratton and Grimstone was, therefore, the holding
allotted to the tenant who had one horse, and it carried a common
right for one horse. Though a half-place in Fordington carried in 1841
a common right for three horses, I am inclined to believe that it
originally was the holding of a tenant who had two horses, _i.e._, half
a plough team, and originally had a common right for two horses only;
and, similarly, though a farthing hold in 1841 had a common right for
two horses, I am inclined to think it originally was the share of the
man who had one horse only, and only carried a common right for one
horse. That is to say, I think the _names_ here a better guide than the
nineteenth century common rights. If one were to adopt the opposite
view on this point, one would infer that a “half-place” was a misnomer
for a “three-quarter place,” and was the allotment of the man who had
three horses, and that a “farthing hold” should properly be called a
half-place. But on this assumption it would be hard to explain the fact
that the arable land attached to a half-place is, on the average, a
little less than half that attached to a whole place, and that attached
to a farthing hold only a little more than one quarter.

It seems quite probable that when in the course of the gradual
improvement of horses and ploughs in Fordington, the stage was
reached at which three horses were sufficient for a plough, the
holders of half-places already possessing two horses each endeavoured
to emancipate themselves from the necessity of joint-ploughing, by
obtaining an additional horse; and that when they had generally
succeeded in this they obtained the right of pasturing three horses
each on the commons and common-field; and when a two-horse plough had
come into general use, the holders of farthing holds would naturally
take similar steps, and so acquire common rights for two horses each.

There is one other noteworthy fact with regard to Fordington revealed
by the Tithe Apportionment. Certain lands scattered over the fields
of a total area of 4 a. 2 r. 20 p. were the property of the parish
constable for the time being; the churchwardens similarly held 1 r. 7
p., the parish hayward 1 a. 3 r. 18 p., and the parish reeve 3 a. 0 r.
17 p. These ancient village offices were therefore in Fordington not
entirely unremunerated.[7]

 [7] The Boldon Book shows that in the Bishopric of Durham in the
 twelfth century, the pounder, carpenter and smith generally occupied
 holdings of about 12 acres in virtue of their callings, to remunerate
 their services to the manor and to the common ploughs of the manor.

In its main features the common-field system of Stratton and
Grimstone appears to be typical of that prevailing before enclosure
in the counties of Dorset, Wilts, Hants, Berks, Oxfordshire, and

The report of the Select Committee on Commons Enclosure gives a map
of a “rotation meadow,” in which each strip was held in rotation by
different occupiers, in Shilton, Berkshire; and one of a “lot meadow,”
in which the rotation was not by rule, but by lot, in Bestmoor,



A “Return of the Acreage of Waste Lands subject to Rights of Common and
of Common Field Lands in each Parish of England and Wales, in which
the Tithes have been commuted under the Tithe Commutation Acts, so far
as the same can be ascertained from the Maps, Agreements, Awards, and
Apportionments relating to the Commutation of Tithes in the custody
of the Tithe Commissioners for England and Wales, deducting any lands
inclosed under the General Enclosure Acts since the Commutation; also
the estimated Total Acreage of such lands in the remaining Parishes
of each county,” dated 27th November, 1873, ordered by the House
of Commons to be printed, April 13th, 1874, gives us the following

│                   │   Number of     │                │   Estimated   │
│      County.      │ Parishes stated │  Area of such  │ Area of other │
│                   │ to have Common  │ Common Fields. │ Common Fields │
│                   │    Fields.      │                │ in the County.│
│                   │                 │                │               │
│   ENGLAND.        │                 │                │               │
│                   │                 │                │               │
│ Bedford           │        9        │     7,056      │     12,925    │
│ Berkshire         │       21        │    13,227      │      2,705    │
│ Buckingham        │       16        │     2,315      │      2,365    │
│ Cambridge         │        9        │     4,798      │      2,678    │
│ Cheshire          │       16        │       599      │        116    │
│ Cornwall          │       16        │       895      │          6    │
│ Cumberland        │       22        │     1,177      │        868    │
│ Derby             │       11        │     1,119      │        638    │
│ Devon             │       15        │     1,125      │         32    │
│ Dorset            │       29        │     6,793      │        810    │
│ Durham            │        6        │     1,936      │        171    │
│ Essex             │       48        │     4,614      │        295    │
│ Gloucester        │       33        │     4,327      │      2,986    │
│ Hereford          │       32        │     2,309      │        189    │
│ Hertford          │       39        │     9,311      │      1,785    │
│ Huntingdon        │        4        │     1,336      │      2,336    │
│ Kent              │       21        │     4,183      │        126    │
│ Lancashire        │       22        │     2,125      │      1,173    │
│ Leicester         │        3        │        42      │         93    │
│ Lincoln           │       24        │     6,258      │     10,823    │
│ Middlesex         │        6        │       697      │        870    │
│ Monmouth          │        2        │        64      │          3    │
│ Norfolk           │       52        │     3,560      │        394    │
│ Northampton       │        3        │     4,103      │     13,446    │
│ Northumberland    │        1        │        44      │          7    │
│ Nottingham        │       14        │     4,282      │      6,617    │
│ Oxford            │       12        │     4,120      │      4,839    │
│ Rutland           │        6        │     3,930      │      5,726    │
│ Shropshire        │       12        │       485      │         40    │
│ Somerset          │       77        │     7,794      │        728    │
│ Southampton       │       25        │     5,725      │        663    │
│ Stafford          │       26        │     1,138      │        402    │
│ Suffolk           │       34        │     2,395      │        184    │
│ Surrey            │       19        │     3,732      │        277    │
│ Sussex            │       22        │     2,969      │        122    │
│ Warwick           │        5        │     1,232      │      1,208    │
│ Westmoreland      │        8        │       425      │        359    │
│ Wiltshire         │       44        │    18,167      │      4,503    │
│ Worcester         │       20        │     3,092      │      1,161    │
│ York, City and    │                 │                │               │
│   Ainsty          │        4        │       187      │        372    │
│ York, East Riding │       14        │     4,046      │      7,359    │
│ York, North Riding│        7        │       547      │        240    │
│ York, West Riding │       44        │     6,488      │      4,361    │
│                   │                 │                │               │
│     WALES.        │                 │                │               │
│                   │                 │                │               │
│ Anglesey          │        2        │       414      │         33    │
│ Brecon            │        2        │     1,549      │          5    │
│ Cardigan          │        4        │       372      │          0    │
│ Carmarthen        │        8        │       489      │         38    │
│ Carnarvon         │        1        │       100      │          7    │
│ Denbigh           │        4        │       278      │         18    │
│ Flint             │        5        │       297      │          4    │
│ Glamorgan         │       10        │       783      │         40    │
│ Merioneth         │        2        │       110      │          8    │
│ Montgomery        │        3        │     1,885      │         24    │
│ Pembroke          │        8        │       642      │         18    │
│ Radnor            │        3        │     6,167      │        158    │


│         │    Number of    │                │   Estimated   │         │
│         │ Parishes stated │  Area of such  │    Area of    │         │
│         │ to have Common  │ Common Fields. │  other Common │         │
│         │     Fields.     │                │    Fields.    │         │
│         │                 │                │               │         │
│ England │       853       │    153,867     │    97,001     │ 250,868 │
│ Wales   │        52       │     13,086     │       353     │  13,439 │
│         │                 │                │               │         │
│         │       905       │    166,953     │    97,354     │ 264,307 │

We have therefore the assurance of the Copyhold, Inclosure and Tithe
Commission that in the year 1873 common fields existed in 905 parishes
of England and Wales, of a total area of 166,953 acres, and that there
was reasonable ground for inferring the existence of 97,354 acres of
common field land, scattered presumably over some four or five hundred
more parishes; in other words, that about one parish in every ten in
England and Wales presented an example of the medieval system of land
holding and cultivation similar, though as a rule on a smaller scale,
to the survivals described above.

The statement is amazing, and would be received with incredulity by
anyone familiar with the rural districts of any county of England, so
far as it relates to that county. The Commission invites our suspicion
of its statistics. The main purpose of the return was to give the
acreage of surviving commons; these are estimated at 2,368,465 acres.
As late as 1871, however, the Commission had declared, on the basis
of an estimate made in 1843, that 8,000,000 acres of commons still
existed, and 1,000,000 acres of common field or meadow. A little
scrutiny of some details confirms one’s suspicions.

Thus, to take a single county, Kent has from the early days of the
enclosure controversy been famous as a well enclosed county. The author
of the “Discourse of the Common weal of this Realm of England” mentions
“those countries that be most inclosed, as essex, kent, devenshire”
(1549). Skipping two and a-half centuries, we find the reporter of the
Board of Agriculture in 1793 declaring that such a thing as a common
field did not exist in Kent.[8] We are confirmed in our acceptance of
this statement by finding that there have been no enclosures in Kent
of common fields by Act of Parliament, either before 1793 or since.
Yet the return gives Kent twenty-one parishes having common fields of
an ascertained area of about 4183 acres. It therefore is necessary to
criticise the methods by which the figures in the return were arrived

 [8] Boys’ “Kent,” 2nd edition, 8vo. (1786), p. 53.

They are based on the tithe maps, the Commissioners remarking that “the
common field lands are generally distinguishable by the particular
manner in which they are marked on the Tithe maps, and their area has
been estimated from those maps.” The Tithe Commission was appointed in
1836 (6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 71), and the tithe maps and apportionments
were made mostly before 1850; we are told “the total area embraced
by the Tithe Documents is 28,195,903 acres. The total area of the
remaining parishes is 8,961,270 acres.”

In order, therefore, for the Commission to have obtained a correct
result, it was necessary--

(_a_) that the common field lands should have been _rightly_
distinguished from other lands;

(_b_) that their area should have been _rightly_ estimated;

(_c_) that due allowance should have been made for enclosures between
the date of the tithe apportionment and the date of the return;

(_d_) that the area of common field in the parishes for which there are
no tithe maps should have been estimated on correct principles.

Not one of these conditions was satisfied.

(_d_) Taking these in reverse order, it is assumed in calculating the
area of common fields in parishes that have no tithe maps, that they
have the same ratio of common field to other land as those which have
tithe maps. This principle is entirely wrong for two reasons: (1)
because Private Enclosure Acts usually arranged for tithe commutation,
so that parishes enclosed by such Acts before 1830 are ordinarily
among those without tithe maps--and equally among those without common
fields; and (2) the existence of unenclosed common fields would be a
reason for demanding a commutation of tithe. The importance of this
may be shown by taking Bedfordshire as a test case. For sixty-eight
Bedfordshire parishes there are no tithe maps, and the Commission
estimates that these sixty-eight parishes have 12,925 acres of common
fields. But sixty-six out of these sixty-eight parishes were enclosed
by Private Acts, leaving two parishes only, of a combined area of 3578
acres, in which a survival of common field might reasonably be deemed
possible, though even in these extremely improbable. Instead of 12,925
acres of common field for this part of the county, the only reasonable
estimate would be 0.

Similar statements might be made with regard to any other county which
was mainly enclosed by Act of Parliament, as Northampton, to which
13,446 acres of common field are attributed to the non-tithe map
parishes; Lincoln, to which 10,823 acres are similarly attributed;
Berkshire, with 2705 acres; Buckingham, with 2365 acres; Cambridge,
with 2678 acres; Huntingdon, with 2336 acres; Nottingham, with 6617
acres; Oxford, with 4839 acres; Rutland, with 5726 acres, and the East
Riding of Yorkshire, with 7359 acres. For this cause alone by far the
greater part of the 97,354 acres added on to the total estimated from
tithe maps must be rejected, and of course any error of over-statement
that we find with regard to parishes which have tithe maps will still
further reduce the remainder.

(_c_) Due allowance has not been made for enclosure between the date
of the tithe apportionment and the date of the return. It is of
course very difficult to say how this could have been done without an
elaborate and expensive local enquiry, so far as relates to enclosure
without Parliamentary authority. As a matter of fact, no allowance at
all has been made for this sort of enclosure. This is justifiable;
but at least a general statement should have been made to the effect
that a very large deduction had to be made on this account in order to
obtain a correct idea of the position. Further, great carelessness was
shown even in allowing for Parliamentary enclosures subsequent to the
tithe apportionment. Thus, to take one glaring instance, 1500 acres of
common field are credited to Beddington and Wallington, near Croydon,
in Surrey. These common fields were enclosed by an Act dated 1850, and
the award, dated 1853, was at the time of the return deposited with the
Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission.

(_a_) and (_b_) But it is in distinguishing the common fields and in
estimating their area from the tithe maps that the worst mistakes have
been made. The Commission says that “the common fields are generally
distinguishable by the particular manner in which they are marked on
the tithe maps.” From a comparison of a good many tithe maps with the
figures given in the return, I infer that those to whom the duty of
distinguishing the common fields was entrusted, were told that areas
divided into sub-divisions on the maps by means of dotted lines were
common fields. These dotted lines indicate a division of ownership
marked by some slight boundary and not by a hedge. They might indicate
allotments, for example, or a number of other local circumstances,
besides common fields. The statements that 4183 acres of common field
were to be found in Kent, and 13,439 acres in Wales, being specially
in direct contradiction of all other evidence that I had collected, I
tested these by two instances. In Kent 1400 acres were assigned to the
parish of Northbourne. By a close examination of the tithe map I could
find nothing indicating any common field at all; the only excuse for
the statement was a few dotted lines, which by a reference to the Award
were proved to indicate only that some fields were inadequately hedged.
For Wales, I got out the map and award for Llanerlyl, in Montgomery,
credited with 1675 acres of common field. Here there was something to
be found on the map looking exactly like common field, but the Award
showed that these dotted strips of land were “turbaries.”

We have seen that the open field parish in its perfection, as Castor
and Ailesworth before enclosure, possessed common arable fields,
common meadows, common pasture, and frequently commonable waste, like
Ailesworth Heath. Where the parish as a whole becomes enclosed without
an Act of Parliament, particularly if the enclosure is gradual, the
waste frequently remains common. Thus we have the numerous commons
of Kent, Surrey, and other counties. Less frequently, but still in a
considerable number of cases, the common meadows remain open commonable
and unenclosed. Port Meadow at Oxford is a familiar instance. These
common meadows are included in the return under consideration among
the common fields. Thus, for instance, the surprise with which one
receives the information that Tottenham, in 1873, had 300 acres of
common fields, disappears when it is perceived that the marshes along
the River Lea are meant.

It will also be noticed later on that in parishes where the common
field system has disappeared for generations, there are frequently
still remaining in the midst of enclosed fields strips of land of
different ownership from the rest of the field, but let to the same
farmer, and without any visible demarcation. Such fields in Wales and
the north-west of England are called “quilleted fields.” The tithe
map records, with its dotted lines, the area and position of the
“quillets.” Such fields are included under “common fields” in this

In at least the great majority of cases where the supposed common
fields are small, it is probable that nothing more notable than
quilleted fields existed at the time the tithe map was made; and even
this survival would, in most cases, have disappeared since. Out of the
905 alleged cases of common fields, in 670 cases the areas given are
under 100 acres.

In fine, this return of commons and common fields, which gives such
a fair promise of numerous surviving common fields, in reality gives
little assistance, because there is but the remotest probability in
any particular case that those common fields exist. The probability
is sufficient in some cases to encourage one to make local enquiries,
but these enquiries nearly always end in disappointment. The following
cases in which common arable fields theoretically survive, are chiefly
interesting as illustrating the phenomena of the decay of the common
field system in villages where it has not died a sudden death through
enclosure. I omit the case of Hitchin, made famous by Mr. F. Seebohm.


Clothall is a parish lying on the north slope of the chalk hills of
Hertfordshire, just off the Great North Road, which passes through
the adjoining parish of Baldock. Approaching it from the south, one
gradually ascends the long slope from Hertford, and suddenly at the
summit has before one a far-stretching view over the flat country of
Bedfordshire and adjoining counties. The road descends steeply and
passes through the Clothall common fields. At the time of my visit the
harvest (of barley) was being gathered in; the arrangement of the field
was clearly visible. The long, narrow strips of stubble, never quite
straight, and never quite of uniform width, were divided by “balks” of
grass, grown tall and gone to seed. Each balk was reduced to as narrow
dimensions as it could be, without endangering its continued existence,
for the sake of separating one strip from another. A view of this field
is shown in Mr. Seebohm’s “English Village Community.”

But there is in Clothall the husk only, and no surviving kernel of the
English village community. The whole of the field, estimated at about
600 acres, is let to a single farmer, who cultivates it on modern
principles, but who is bound to preserve the balks. There are but three
owners of land in the field. Fifty-six acres are glebe, the remainder
belongs in alternate strips to the lord of the manor (the Marquis of
Salisbury) and to a gentleman to whom possession passed by marriage,
from a family which had been engaged in brewing. The land is famous
for barley, and the owner of a local brewery in the early or middle
part of the nineteenth century gradually bought up nearly all the land
in the common field that did not belong to the lord of the manor.
Application was made in 1885 to the Board of Agriculture for enclosure,
the manorial authorities and the vicar both desiring it, but the other
owner objected.

It is interesting to find that the villagers still hold to the
tradition that they have rights of common upon the balks, a tradition
which is probably well founded. But they dare not attempt to exercise
those rights. An enclosure here, accompanied by the provision of ground
for allotments and recreation, would be a boon for the villagers; and
it would probably pay the landowners to get rid of those balks, which
are as great a nuisance agriculturally as they are interesting from an
antiquarian point of view.

The counties of Hertford and Bedford have been, in recent years,
particularly rich in survivals of common field, for the enclosure of
Totternhoe (p. 63) was only completed in 1891; Yelden had a common
field of about 600 acres up till about the year 1881, when the chief
proprietor, by buying out or compensating all the other proprietors or
owners of common rights, obtained exclusive ownership of the unenclosed
land; and at Studham and Renhold similar voluntary enclosures were
carried out under the pressure of the chief landowners within the
memory of old inhabitants. Fragments of commonable pasture in three
different parts of Renhold parish, and a common of about 60 acres in
Studham, remain as memorials.


Beneath the long sloping hillside of Clothall lies the little town of
Baldock, adjoining Letchworth and the “Garden City”; and on the other
side of Baldock is the parish of Bygrave; which is, like Clothall,
still unenclosed, and for the same reason; the Marquis of Salisbury
being here again the lord of the manor, and the other Clothall
proprietor the next largest landowner. But in Bygrave the farms, as
well as the properties, are very much intermixed. Here and there there
are grassy balks between adjacent properties; and in places the growth
of bushes on these has almost made them into hedges, but as a rule
there is no boundary between strips belonging to different holdings and
different properties. A road through the open fields at one point cuts
off the end of a strip of land belonging to Lord Salisbury from the
rest of that strip; it forms a triangular plot too small to repay the
trouble of bringing the plough across the road to plough it; and the
men who hold the adjoining land revere the rights of property too much
to touch it; it therefore remains a refuge for all manner of weeds.

As in Clothall, no common rights are exercised over the common fields
of Bygrave by the poor of the parish, nor could I hear of any tradition
of rights belonging to the poor or to cottagers. But the different
occupiers of land in the common fields have, and exercise, the right of
shackage, _i.e._, of grazing cattle after harvest, over one another’s
holdings. And the lord of the manor has a special right of “sheep-walk”
over the whole, for a month, from the first week in May and October.
This right is let with one of the farms. It is not actually exercised,
because the other occupiers of lands in the open field buy exemption.

The hamlet of Luffenhall, also near Clothall, has “shack lands” held
under similar conditions.

The next parish to Clothall on the east, Wallington, is also
unenclosed. It has a small common on which cottagers have the right
to keep a cow and a calf, but so far as the rest of the parish is
concerned, the only surviving feature of the externals of the common
field system is the wide, breezy stretch of open land, under wheat,
roots and grass; and of the spirit of the “village community” there is
nothing. There are but two farms; the wages paid are only 10_s._ to
12_s._ per week. Such wages, so near London, naturally fail to keep
the labourers in the village; and the population is now (1903) less
than 100, though the church has seats for 260. As the men go, more and
more land is laid down in grass, and machinery is more and more used;
the absence of hedges of course facilitates the use of certain kinds of
agricultural machinery. The unenclosed parish of Wallington, in fact,
represents in an extreme degree the triumph of all those tendencies
against which the opponents of enclosure waged war--great farms,
absolute dependence of the labourer, low wages, rural depopulation.


The parish of Castor, or Caister, includes, besides the hamlets of
Castor and Ailesworth, the enclosure of which has been described,
the townships of Sutton and Upton. Sutton had not at the time of the
enclosure of Castor and Ailesworth been legally enclosed, and the
parish is described from the tithe map as consisting of 450 acres of
common field and 150 acres of common, out of a total of 888 acres.
The vicar, who had bought nearly all the land in the parish, and also
the manorial rights, in 1899 applied for an Act of Enclosure, which
he obtained in 1901. There were in Sutton certain lands belonging to
the township, intermixed with those in private ownership. The rents
of these were paid with the poor rates. Up till 1880 the two farmers
who between them occupied nearly the whole of the cultivated land,
used to confer every year and agree upon their course of tillage.
They were then persuaded by the vicar to disentangle their farms, and
cultivate them in the ordinary way. At that time there ceased to be in
Sutton any visible sign of any exceptional features in the system of
landownership. The lands belonging to the township are recorded in the
tithe map, and their measurement in the tithe award, but no balks to
mark them are preserved.

I am indebted to the vicar of Sutton for the following illustration of
the possible evils of the common field system. It occurred in a parish
where he had formerly been resident, which he did not name.

In this parish two adjacent strips of land were occupied respectively
by a farmer and a shoemaker. The farmer, who was a careful and diligent
cultivator, having well manured and laboured his strip, sowed it with
wheat, and as harvest approached saw the prospect of an exceptionally
good crop. The shoemaker left his strip entirely untouched. But when
the farmer was about to begin to reap, the shoemaker intervened, and
claimed that the strip which was cultivated was his, and the untilled
strip belonged to the farmer. The field jury was summoned, and the
extreme positiveness and assurance of the shoemaker carried the
day, and the shoemaker reaped the wheat. The farmer then begged his
successful adversary for some compensation for his lost labour and
expense, but was told that he might consider himself lucky not to be
prosecuted for trespass. The farmer then proceeded to make the best of
his bad bargain, and set to work to plough up the weeds and thistles
that covered the strip of land awarded him. But as he ploughed he
continually turned up pieces of leather, corners wasted in cutting
out “uppers,” and other refuse of a shoemaker’s workshop. These he
collected and brought before the field jury. The previous decision was
then reversed and the shoemaker was compelled to make restitution to
the man he had wronged.


Elmstone Hardwicke is an extremely interesting example of the common
field system in a state of natural decay. Very nearly the whole
parish belongs to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, but the holdings
are intermixed and in small parcels, over a large part, perhaps 1000
acres, of the parish, the farms having been granted on leases of three
lives. The farmers would be glad to consolidate their holdings and
enclose, but the Ecclesiastical Commissioners effectually discourage
this, as I was told, by exorbitant demands for increase of rent. On the
other hand, I was informed that the Commissioners themselves desired
to enclose, but did not care for the expense of proceeding by Act of
Parliament, and they were endeavouring to obtain their object by
refusing to “re-life,” in order that the leases might fall in, and be
converted into leases for short terms that might be made to terminate
simultaneously. Thus an old farmer who had a lease of 60 acres in
100 different parcels scattered over the common fields, informed me
of the negotiations that had been entered into with him. He was by
no means disposed to readily part with his lease, as he had two good
lives remaining, both being his nephews, one aged 40 and the other 50.
“They’ll both mak’ ’ighty,” he said, that being his own age, though he
looked a score of years younger.

This one farmer still (in 1899) followed what had been the customary
course of cultivation for the parish--a four years course of wheat,
beans, wheat, fallow; this being a modification of a still earlier
course of wheat, beans, barley, fallow, the soil being more suitable
to wheat than to barley. The other farmers followed no fixed rule,
each one cultivating his farm as he chose, subject, however, to the
right that was still recognised and exercised, that each occupier could
turn horses, cattle and sheep on to the common fields after harvest
until the first of November. In consequence of the abandonment of the
traditional course of cultivation the common use of the fallow-field
has been dropped by general consent, for the last forty or fifty years.
The institution of the field jury has also disappeared; though the
above-mentioned old farmer still posts the notices declaring the fields
open or closed, and so may be said to fill the post of “foreman of the
fields,” he does so by right of inheritance rather than of election, in
succession to his father.

Various controversies have arisen recently in Elmstone Hardwicke with
regard to the rights of various persons interested. I have referred
above to the case of the farmer who, in the spring of 1899, occupying
a “headland” in the common fields on which various strips belonging to
his neighbours abutted, instead of following the customary practice
and waiting to plough till the last, ploughed his headland before
the abutting lands were ploughed, and then sued for damages when his
neighbours turned their ploughs on his land.

Another farmer who occupied a very small holding in Elmstone
Hardwicke, and a much larger holding in an adjoining parish, made a
practice of turning great numbers of sheep on the Elmstone Hardwicke
common fields in the open time, which he was able to keep in the
close time on his other land. The question arose whether this unfair
procedure was lawful. The coming into force of the Parish Councils Act
of 1894 also had the effect of suggesting enquiries into the claims of
labourers to share in common-right privileges.

The vicar, the Rev. George Bayfield Roberts, accordingly obtained the
opinion of Sir Walter Phillimore on the subject. It was as follows:--

“As far as I can gather from the facts laid before me, I think that
every freeholder and copyholder has a right to turn cattle upon every
part of the common field, and that the right is not confined to the
particular field or part of the common field in which he holds land.

“This right passes to the tenant or occupier under each freeholder or
copyholder. The tenant, or occupier, has it, not in his own right but
merely as claiming under his landlord.

“I know of no rule of law which would give this right to farmers as
such, and deny it to cottagers as such, if the latter have holdings on
which they can keep their beasts during close time. But the right to
turn on to Lammas lands (as this common field is) can only be exercised
in respect of beasts used in the cultivation or manuring of the holding
in respect of which the claim is made (_Baylis_ v. _Tyssen-Amhurst_,
Law Reports 6 Ch. D. p. 500).

“As the cottagers are said to be tenants of the farmers, the latter
can make it clear in all future lettings that they do not let with the
cottages the right to pasture in the common field.

“(2) The tenant of the Barn farm should keep his land unenclosed during
open time, and anyone who has a right to turn on cattle can sue him
if he obstructs (_Stoneham_ v. _London and Brighton Railway Co._,
Law Reports 7 Q. B. p. 1), or can pull down the fencing (_Arlett_ v.
_Ellis_, 7 B. & C. p. 346).

“(2a). I do not think it would be wise to pull down a whole fence,
or sue for the damage caused by the fence, if substantial and easy
openings were made during open time. But there is some authority for
saying that the whole fence must be removed (_Arlett_ v. _Ellis_, cited

“(3) The only _locus standi_ for the Parish Meeting is, if it has been
given by the County Council all the powers of a Parish Council under
section 19, sub-section 10, of the Local Government Act, 1894 (56 & 57
Vict. c. 73), to apply to the Board of Agriculture under section 9 of
the Commons Act, 1876 (39 & 40 Vict. c. 56).

“This power is given to Parish Councils by section 8, sub-section c, of
the Local Government Act, 1894.

“Section 9 of the Commons Act, 1876, enables the Inclosure
Commissioners (whose place is now taken by the Board of Agriculture)
to give information and direction ‘upon application’ in order to bring
about ‘the regulation of Commons’; and for this purpose Lammas lands
are included as Commons, as they also came under the Inclosure Acts.

“By section 3 a Provisional Order made by the Board for ‘regulation’
may provide for the ‘adjustment of rights,’ and section 4 shows how
much can be done upon such an adjustment.”

This opinion was given in March, 1897. The very significant passage
which pointed out that since the cottagers held their cottages from the
farmers, they could not effectively claim any rights which the farmers
did not choose to grant them, threw cold water on the agitation.

Elmstone Hardwicke is apparently another case in which something would
be gained and nothing lost by an Act of Enclosure.


Rather more than half this parish, near Wallingford, is legally in the
condition of open common fields, and there is besides a very extensive
“cow-common” on which is a golf course. The neighbouring parishes of
Bensington[9] and Berwick Salome had until 1852 common fields which
were in part intermixed with those of Ewelme, and there were commons
commonable to all three parishes. In 1852 an Act was passed which was
carried into effect in 1863 for the enclosure of Bensington and Berwick
Salome, and the parts of Ewelme which were intermixed with these.
Ewelme is owned by a number of small proprietors who chiefly farm their
own land. These made a voluntary division,[10] but they still enjoy
certain rights of common and of shooting over one another’s land. No
labourers enjoy rights of common.

 [9] The Vicar of Bensington has the custody of a remarkable eighteenth
 century map of the three intermixed parishes.

 [10] Exchanges of land in common fields so as to enable proprietors to
 consolidate their properties are authorised by 4 & 5 Will. IV. c. 30.

There are two significant facts about this parish.

In the first place, one particular farm enjoys a special right of
pasturing sheep on the cow-common, not shared by other farms. This
is significant when taken into consideration with the facts for
Cambridgeshire and elsewhere related below.

Secondly, this gives a typical instance of the effect of enclosure of
_commonable waste_ on the poor. One of the commons enclosed was known
as the “Furze Common,” and it supplied the poor of the neighbourhood
with their fuel, for _every_ inhabitant had the right of cutting furze
on it. After enclosure the Furze Common was allotted to one man, who
allowed no trespass on it, and the _owners_ of cottages were awarded
allotments of land in consideration of rights which the _cottagers_
had exercised. The lands so allotted became part of ordinary farms,
and the poor simply lost their supply of fuel without any compensation
whatever. This was done under the sanction, not of an Enclosure
Act rushed through Parliament before 1845, but of the Enclosure
Commissioners, appointed expressly to prevent any injury to the class
least able to guard its own interests, as well as to facilitate



To catch the spirit of the common field system, to see that system no
mere historical survival, but developing in harmony with modern needs,
one must go to the Isle of Axholme. Starting from Doncaster eastwards,
through somewhat devious roads, one descends gradually to a wide belt
of reclaimed fen. Between this fen on the west, and the river Trent
with more fen on the east, is a ridge of low hills, comprising the four
large parishes of Haxey, Epworth, Belton and Owston. These constitute
the Isle of Axholme--an island, indeed, up to the time of the great
drainage operations of Vermuyden in the reign of James I. It was, no
doubt, a very ancient home of fishermen and fowlers, who gradually
brought the island itself into cultivation, using the plough as a
subsidiary means of subsistence. The strenuous opposition offered by
the people of Axholme to the work of the Dutch engineer is well known.
Even after they were beaten, and the greatest drainage scheme of the
seventeenth century was carried through, the four Axholme parishes
retained extensive fens, used as common pastures.

When in the eighteenth century the great trade of driving Scotch
cattle to the London market, in which Sir Walter Scott’s grandfather
was a pioneer, sprang up, the route followed diverged from the great
north road in Yorkshire, in order to avoid turnpikes, and the cattle,
grazing as they slowly plodded southwards, and fattening on the
roadsides, came through Selby, Snaith and the Isle of Axholme. To
protect their fields the islanders hedged them along the roadsides,
leaving only narrow thoroughfares; then, to make these thoroughfares
passable for themselves, they laid down for footpath a stone pavement
which still exists for twenty miles. But the old hedges have in many
places disappeared, so that the fields lie open to the road; and in
particular, the gates which then guarded every entrance to the fields
are now generally represented by gaps.

At the end of the eighteenth century by far the greater part of
the island proper was in the condition of open arable fields, with
properties and holdings intermixed, as in the open fields of Laxton;
though near each village there were enclosed gardens, and closes of
pasture. It would appear that the original system of cultivation was
a four-year course of husbandry, so that one-fourth of the arable
land was at any time fallow, and used as common pasture, and common
rights were exercised on two of the other three-fourths after harvest;
one-fourth probably being under turnips. On the margin of the hill
there were perhaps commonable meadows, though I cannot trace them.
Beyond, the common fens and marshes, used mainly for grazing horned
cattle, extended over an area of about 14,000 acres.

Arthur Young visited the island at this time, and thus describes it:

“In respect of property, I know nothing more singular respecting it
(the County of Lincoln), than its great division in the Isle of Axholm.
In most of the towns there, for it is not quite general, there is much
resemblance of some rich parts of France and Flanders. The inhabitants
are collected in villages and hamlets; and almost every house you see,
except very poor cottages on the borders of commons, is inhabited by
a farmer, the proprietor of his farm, of from four or five, and even
fewer, to 20, 40, and more acres, scattered about the open fields, and
cultivated with all that minutiae of care and anxiety, by the hands of
the family, which are found abroad, in the countries mentioned. They
are very poor respecting money, but very happy respecting their mode of
existence. Contrivance, mutual assistance, by barter and hire, enable
them to manage these little farms, though they break all rules of rural
proportion. A man will keep a pair of horses that has but 3 or 4 acres
by means of vast commons and working for hire.

“The enclosure of these commons will lessen their numbers and vastly
increase the quantity of products at market. Their cultivated land
being of uncommon fertility, a farm of 20 acres supports a family very
well, as they have, generally speaking, no fallows, but an endless
succession of corn, potatoes, flax, beans, etc. They do nearly all
their work themselves, and are passionately fond of buying a bit of
land. Though I have said they are happy, yet I should note that it was
remarked to me, that the little proprietors work like Negroes, and do
not live so well as the inhabitants of the poor-house; but all is made
amends for by possessing land.”[11]

 [11] “Agricultural Survey of Lincolnshire,” p. 17.

In 1795 the chief landowners took steps to obtain an Act for enclosing
all four parishes. There were stronger reasons for enclosing than
in the majority of the East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire parishes all
around, in which Parliamentary enclosure was being pushed furiously
on, for the fens were capable of enormous improvement. But in the Isle
of Axholme it was not possible for the chief landowners to overbear
the opposition of the villagers. One peculiar feature of the locality
was that every cottage had a common right, and there were no rights
attached to land apart from cottages. This fact, and the peculiarly
wide distribution of property, caused the decision to rest with the
peasantry. They raised no objection to the division and drainage of the
marshes, perceiving that their allotments would be far more valuable
after drainage than their common rights before; so this part of the
scheme was generally agreed to. But on the question of the enclosure of
the arable fields they were not complacent. They saw that the expense
of hedging a small allotment would be heavy, and the injury done by
the hedge to a small plot, of say 1 or 2 acres, by shading the land
and sheltering it from the wind would more than counterbalance the
advantage of having that holding in one piece instead of in two or
three, to say nothing of the loss of the space given up to hedges. They
also probably feared that the arable land, if enclosed, would largely
be laid down to grass, and so the benefit of an increased demand for
labour and higher wages promised by the enclosure of the marshes
would be lost, at least in some degree, through the enclosure of the
fields. Accordingly the necessary consent of a “three-fourths majority
in number and value” of the owners was not obtained, and the proposal
to enclose was defeated. It would appear that all the educated,
intelligent, and influential people did their best to overcome this
“ignorant prejudice.” But on the other hand there were the votes of
all those cottagers who did not as yet possess strips in the common
fields, but who hoped to be able to purchase them. They saw that while
thousands of acres of land lay immediately round the villages in acre,
half-acre, and rood strips, there was a chance of buying one, and so
taking the first upward step from the rank of the landless labourer. On
enclosure those strips would give place to closes of at least several
acres each, and the closes would be quite out of their reach. Blind,
obstinate, wilful, and prejudiced as the villagers seemed to their
betters, the event shows that they were entirely accurate in their view
of the situation.

Arthur Young’s account of these proceedings is as follows: “In the Isle
of Axholm there is an immense inclosure on the point of beginning,
the Act and survey having been passed of no less than 12,000 acres of
commons in the four parishes of Haxey, Hepworth, Belton, and Owston. I
passed these commons in various quarters, and rode purposely to view
some parts; they are in a wretched and unprofitable state, but valued,
if inclosed, in the ideas of the islanders at 10_s._ or 11_s._ an acre.

  In Haxey there are 305 claims on account of 3810 acres.
  ″  Hepworth     ″  236      ″        ″      2285 acres.
  ″  Belton       ″  251      ″        ″      3664 acres.
  ″  Owston       ″  229      ″        ″      4446 acres.

“_Cottage rights are claims, but lands without a cottage have none._
It was a barbarous omission that when the Act was procured they
resisted a clause to divide the open arable fields subject to rights
of common. But they have here, by a custom, a right of inclosure which
is singular; every man that pleases may enclose his own open field
land notwithstanding the rights of common upon it while open; and
accordingly many do it when, by purchase, they get five or six acres
together, of which I saw many examples.” (“Agricultural Survey of
Lincolnshire,” p. 79.)

Somewhat later a second attempt was made in the parish of Owston to
obtain an enclosure with partial success. Three of the four fields
were divided and enclosed: but the same motives which prevented the
enclosure of the four parishes at the previous attempt were strong
enough to secure that one field should remain open. It was in 1811, I
was locally informed, that the Owston Enclosure took place. I can find
no record of the Act.

As we saw above, the old system (probably a four-field course) of
cultivation had dropped into disuse even before the beginning of the
nineteenth century, but still, up to about the year 1850, the custom
remained that on one of the four fields, that under wheat, after the
crops had been carried, the “Pindar” gave notice that “the fields
are to be broken,” and over that field common rights of pasture were
exercised for about a month, from some day in October to Martinmas
(November 23rd). Then the Pindar kept watch over the grazing animals
night and day, and by night built up enormous bonfires, with all the
boys of the village clustering round and roasting potatoes.

But about 1850 even this custom disappeared, and now every holder of
lands in the open fields cultivates them as he chooses, but they must
be under some form of tillage as long as they remain open. But the
tendency, observed by Arthur Young, for the larger owners of lands in
the common fields to buy, sell and exchange strips with other owners
with the object of getting some half-dozen acres in one continuous
piece and then enclosing them, has continued up to the present day.
Such enclosures are laid down in grass, and in this way the area of the
open fields has gradually been reduced.

The strips of land in the open fields are known as “selions,” the
auctioneers’ notices of a sale reading, “All that selion piece of
land,” etc. They are also known as “acres,” “half-acres,” “roods,”
etc., but these terms must not be taken as exactly defining their area.
A nominal acre varies in area from a minimum of about half an acre to a
maximum of an acre and a half. As the half-acres and roods similarly
vary, it follows that the largest “half-acres” are bigger than the
smallest “acres.”

The general aspect of the fields is well shown in the photograph taken
for me by Mr. Newbit, of Epworth. I asked in a bar-parlour in Haxey,
“Are these allotments both sides of the road?” A labourer answered,
“Yes, but there are seven miles of these allotments.” But the publican
corrected him. “Well, it’s not allotments exactly, it’s _a very old
system_, that’s what it is.” Further conversation with one man and
another gave me a strong impression that the people of Axholme are
proud of their “very old system.” That they have some reason to be
proud of it Mr. Rider Haggard bears witness:

“The Isle of Axholme is one of the few places I have visited in England
which may be called, at any rate in my opinion, truly prosperous in an
agricultural sense, the low price of produce notwithstanding, chiefly
because of its assiduous cultivation of the potato.”[12]

 [12] “Rural England,” Vol. II., p. 186.

Axholme may be described as a district of allotments, cultivated, and
in great part owned, by a working peasantry. The “assiduous cultivation
of the potato” is rather an indication of the real strength of Axholme
agriculture, than a true explanation of it. At the time of Arthur
Young’s visit, the isle was noted for the cultivation of flax and hemp;
and this continued to be a feature of the local agriculture till about
thirty or forty years ago, when the “assiduous cultivation of the
potato” succeeded it. Now, as Mr. Rider Haggard notices, experiments
are carried on with celery. The small holders, I was assured on all
sides, cultivate the land much more thoroughly than large farmers do
their farms, and the very look of the crops confirmed this eloquently,
even to my unskilled observation. Mr. Rider Haggard quotes a local
expert, Mr. William Standring, as saying, “Wheat crops in the isle
_averaged seven quarters_ (56 bushels) an acre, the oats nine or ten
quarters, the clover hay, which grew luxuriantly, two or three tons an
acre, and the roots were splendid.” He continues, “That Mr. William
Standring did not exaggerate the capacities of the isle, I can testify,
as the crops I saw there were wonderfully fine throughout, particularly
the potatoes, which are perhaps its mainstay.”[13]

 [13] “Rural England,” Vol. II., p. 194.

The secret of the agricultural success of Axholme is clearly _la
carrière ouverte aux talens_, which is secured to agricultural
labourers by the open fields. The spirited and successful cultivation
of varying crops follows naturally.

How the upward ladder is used, was well explained by a Mr. John
Standring, himself a holder of ten acres, before the Select Committee
of the House of Commons on Small Holdings in 1889.

It is first to be noticed, however, that the general level of wage is
exceptionally high for a purely agricultural district at a considerable
distance from any considerable town. The customary wage, I was informed
in 1903, was 3_s._ per day. Mr. Rider Haggard, in 1901, found it “2_s._
9_d._ a day for day men, 18_s._ a week for horsemen, and 16_s._ a week,
with cottage, for garth-men. Men living in the house with foremen and
owners receive about £24 per annum and food, and horsemen £30 per annum
and food.”

But when the labourer who has been living in marries and takes a
cottage, he also takes up a holding in the fields. He begins with one
“land,” then takes a second, a third, and so on. The following table,
showing the way in which land is held in the parish of Epworth, was
submitted to the Select Committee[14] by Mr. J. Standring:--

  Of holdings over 200 acres there are 2 occupiers.
      ″        ″   100   ″   and under 200, there are 12 occupiers.
      ″        ″    50   ″        ″    100      ″     14    ″
      ″        ″    20   ″        ″     50      ″     31    ″
      ″        ″    10   ″        ″     20      ″     40    ″
      ″        ″     2   ″        ″     10      ″    115    ″
      ″        ″     ½   ″        ″      2      ″     80    ″

 [14] Report, p. 189.

The eighty holders occupying from half an acre to two acres would all
be men in regular employment, as a rule, agricultural labourers. A
body of these sent their deposition to the Select Committee in the
following form:--

“We, the undersigned, being agricultural labourers at Epworth, are
in occupation of allotments or small holdings, varying from 2 roods
to 3 acres, willingly testify to the great benefit we find from our
holdings. Where we have sufficient quantity of land to grow 2 roods
each of wheat, barley and potatoes, we have bread, bacon, and potatoes
for a great part of the year, enabling us to face a long winter without
the dread of hunger or pauperism staring us in the face.”

But the more enterprising of these labourers do not rest content with
so small a holding, and these pass into the next class, those who hold
up to 10 acres. “Many such,” says Mr. J. Standring, “keep a horse and
a cow and a few pigs. And on some of the stronger land two or three of
these will yoke their horses together and work their own land, and also
land belonging to other men similarly situated who do not keep horses.
As a rule they have done very well--I scarcely know a failure.” The
payment for horse-hire is usually made in labour.

The most successful of these again recruit the ranks of the larger
farmers. “I do not believe there is one in ten in my parish, and in the
adjoining parish, among those who are renting from 50 to 100 acres, but
what, in my time, has been an agricultural labourer or an agricultural
servant before he was married; and each of them, to my own knowledge,
has commenced with two or three acres, and in some cases not more than
one acre ... one man who is now occupying 200 acres was a labourer in
his early days.”

These bigger farmers sometimes move elsewhere, and take larger farms,
or bring up their sons in other occupations than farming, so that the
farm of 150 to 200 acres becomes again available for division into
small holdings. Thus, in spite of the continual growth of the holding
occupied by individual men at different stages in their career, the
average size of holdings does not show any tendency to increase. This
is well shown by the figures given for Epworth, respectively, by Arthur
Young and Mr. J. Standring, at about an interval of a hundred years.
There were only 236 claimants of allotments in the Epworth commons at
the end of the eighteenth century; in 1889 there were 291 occupiers of
the 5741 acres in the parish, occupying therefore, on an average, less
than 20 acres each.

The same eagerness to own land which Arthur Young noticed has also
continued to prevail. Land is bought on the building society principle,
money for the purpose being borrowed usually at 5 per cent. per annum,
very frequently through the lawyer who conducts the sale. In the days
of agricultural prosperity land in the open fields of Haxey, Epworth,
and Belton was sold at £130 per acre; land in the one remaining open
field of Owston as high as £140 per acre. Even now, in spite of the
tremendous fall in price of agricultural produce, the ordinary price is
about £70 to £75 per acre; which is about twenty-five years’ purchase
of the rent.

It is obvious that a man who borrows money at 5 per cent. to buy land
which can only be let at 4 per cent. on the purchase price embarks
on a speculation which from the purely commercial point of view, can
only be profitable provided the land is appreciating in value. There
were naturally cases of men who, at the time when prices were falling
most rapidly, were unable to keep up their payments of interest and
instalments of principal, and who had in consequence, after a severe
struggle, to forfeit their partially won property. At this time the
Isle of Axholme won the evil repute of being “the paradise of lawyers.”
But it would, I believe, be fair to say that the peasantry on the whole
stood the strain of agricultural depression exceptionally well, and
that their prosperity, with steadier prices, revived exceptionally

The Isle of Axholme has been singularly successful in preserving the
spirit of the common field system--social equality, mutual helpfulness,
and an industrial aim directed rather towards the maximum gross produce
of food than towards the maximum net profit; while at the same time
it has discarded those features of the system which would have been
obstacles to agricultural progress. The “barbarous omission” to enclose
the open arable fields has been abundantly justified.


The parish of Soham, in Cambridgeshire, is another example of a great
development of small holdings in connection with the persistence of
open arable fields. This parish, unlike most Cambridgeshire parishes,
has never been enclosed by Act of Parliament, and the tithe map
indicates the survival of about 1100 acres of common field and 456
acres of common in a total of 12,706 acres. Since the tithe commutation
the area of common has shrunk to about 236 acres, but from the Ordnance
map it appears that there is still a very large area of open field
land in four large fields, known as North Field, Clipsatt Field, No
Ditch Field, and Down Field; and a smaller one, Bancroft Field. Mr.
Charles Bidwell gave the Special Committee on Small Holdings (1889) the
following account of holdings in this parish:--

  Under 1 acre              195 holdings.

  Over  1 and under 5 acres  77    ″
    ″   5     ″    10   ″    34    ″
    ″  10     ″    20   ″    43    ″
    ″  20     ″    50   ″    57    ″
    ″  50     ″   100   ″    32    ″
    ″ 100     ″   200   ″     6    ″
    ″ 200     ″   500   ″     8    ″
    ″ 500     ″    --   ″     5    ″
  (Appendix, p. 501.)

Thus the total area of the parish is held by 457 occupiers, who
therefore hold, on an average, 28 acres each. In this case it is
stated that the occupiers of the smallest holdings derive considerable
benefit from the common. A German enquirer who visited Soham as an
example of an unenclosed parish, found it less poverty stricken than
the other parishes in the neighbourhood, on account, he was told, of
the existence of the common pastures. (W. Hasbach, Die englischen
Landarbeiter, 1894.)


The idea occurs to one, whether it would not have been possible to
secure by an Act of Enclosure for a common field, the abolition of
common rights which hindered each farmer or peasant from cultivating
his holding to the best of his ability, and the laying together of the
scattered strips which formed each holding, without ruining the small
proprietors and small farmers, or encouraging the laying down of tilled
land under pasture.

We find _one_ example of such an attempt. The parish of Weston Zoyland,
in Somerset, in 1797 enclosed 644 acres of commonable pasture, and at
that time and in that neighbourhood the enclosure of Sedgemoor was
being rapidly pushed on, as rapidly, in fact, as the local farmers
could be induced to take up the land. Perhaps in consequence of this
quenching of the land hunger of the farmers with capital, when in
1830 it was resolved to deal with the common fields, the Act took the
form of one for _dividing and allotting_, but not enclosing, Weston
Field. The consequence is that this great field of 500 acres still
remains open and unenclosed; the land is specially fertile, there are
an exceptionally large number of small properties in it, and it is all
kept under tillage. I am informed that one of the first acts of the
Weston Zoyland Parish Council, when, on coming into existence, it took
over the custody of the parish maps and documents, was to re-define
the roads that passed through the field, in accordance with the
Commissioners’ map and award.




This enclosure took place at the same time as that of Castor and
Ailesworth, and was completed in 1899. The common fields consisted of
1120 strips of arable land, total area 520 acres, and the “balks” or
“meres” separating the strips were estimated at 14 acres. There were
more than eighty owners.

No recognised course of husbandry had been followed for about sixty
years previously. It is believed that before that time a four-year
course obtained, but when mangel wurzels were introduced to the
neighbourhood the recurring fallow was discontinued. The right of
common after harvest was, however, still maintained. If any cultivator
chose he might grow turnips, but he did so at his own risk, and had to
keep a boy to guard them from the opening of the fields to the time
they could be pulled. Old mere stones are found in the meadows of this
parish, and various local traditions remain belonging, apparently, to a
period when the village customs resembled those described for Stratton
and Grimstone.


The Enclosure Act was passed in 1886, and the award is dated 1891.
Before enclosure Totternhoe was a typical open-field parish; there were
only 370 acres of old enclosure, to 1797 acres of common field arable,
and 193 acres of common. The situation of Totternhoe is like that of
Clothall, on the steep northern slope of the Hertfordshire chalk hills,
which here have an almost mountainous appearance. The greater part of
the parish was in the ownership of the lord of the manor, but there
were forty owners of land altogether, the others being chiefly yeomen.
The movement for enclosure came from these yeomen. They took this
step in order to protect themselves against the tenants of the lord
of the manor, who, whether from ignorance or otherwise, endeavoured
to prevent the exercise of well-known rights of common over land in
their occupation. The hill top was saved as an open space, and is a
favourite picnic resort for the people of Dunstable. Recreation grounds
and land for allotments were also set out, as has been the rule since
the passing of the Commons Act of 1876. I asked one of the yeomen,
who had taken a leading part in bringing about the enclosure, whether
it had benefited the parish. He said undoubtedly it had done so, but
“the parish has not recovered from it yet.” Questioned as to how
this could be, he gave me to understand that the actual increase to
the cultivators in annual value was not equal to the interest on the
capital expended on carrying out the enclosure; that the assessment
had gone up, and the burden of rates and taxes was consequently
increased. The land allotted to the lord of the manor still, in the
summer of 1900, was mainly unenclosed, and one could get something of
the impression of the “champion” country, an impression of great open
fields sweeping up to bare downs.


The first steps towards the enclosure of these three parishes were made
immediately after the passing of the 1876 Act; the Enclosure Act was
passed in 1878, and the awards were made in 1881 and 1882. Out of 5480
acres in the three parishes, 4800 were common-field arable, a heath
claimed by both Barrowden and South Luffenham occupied 390 acres, and
much of the remainder was commonable meadow and pasture. Two systems
of cultivation obtained. Part of the land being heavy clay was on a
three years’ course of wheat, beans, etc., and fallow, as at Laxton and
Eakring; the lighter land was under a six years’ course. The report
of the Enclosure Commissioners says of Barrowden that the 1240 acres
of arable land “is divided in 2790 strips, some not more than 12
feet wide, each divided from its neighbour by a green balk, which is
a nursery of weeds.” Old farmers, however, assured me that the balks
were mostly gone before enclosure. Field reeves were elected, and they
settled any dispute that arose in consequence of the absence of balks,
and individual farmers quickly detected, by pacing across their strips,
if a furrow had been appropriated by a neighbour.

Here, again, I asked whether the enclosure had been a benefit, and
I was told that the labourers had benefited by the allotments and
recreation grounds; that the lord of the manor of South Luffenham had
benefited, because he got the disputed moor, but that farmers, as
farmers, had gained nothing, and as common-right owners they had lost
through the enclosure of the moor.

Enclosure in this case originated in what may be called the normal
way, _i.e._, on the initiative of the lords of the manors. It was the
doubtful ownership of the Barrowden and Luffenham moor which had until
1876 prevented enclosure; then the respective lords agreed to combine
to obtain an enclosure of all three parishes, and let the Commissioners
determine to which parish the moor belonged. It was awarded to
Luffenham, but the Luffenham freeholders lost it just as much as those
of Barrowden; it is now the private property of the lord of the manor.


A curious case of enclosure by Act of Parliament unconnected with the
General Enclosure Acts is that of Ham Field by the “Richmond, Petersham
and Ham Open Spaces Act, 1902” (2 Edward VII., c. ccliii.). It is
entitled, “An Act to confirm agreements for vesting common and other
land in the local authorities of the districts of Richmond and Ham,
and the Surrey County Council as public open spaces, and for other
purposes.” But while it does incidentally confirm these agreements,
the “other purposes” comprise the main object of the bill, which is
to allow the owners of Ham Common, of whom the Earl of Dysart is the
principal, to enclose Ham Common Field, and convert it into building

The preamble is similarly misleading. The first sentence runs, “Whereas
the prospect from Richmond Hill over the valley of the Thames is of
great natural beauty, and agreements have been entered into with a
view to preventing building on certain lands hereinafter mentioned”--a
sentence admirably framed to disguise the fact that the effect of
the Act is to extinguish the common rights over Ham Field which had
previously prevented building, and so to convert the middle distance of
the famous view from Richmond Hill into an expanse of roofs, perhaps of
villa-residences, and perhaps----!

The agreements recited in the Act represent the consideration for which
the public authorities mentioned bartered away the beauty of the view.
Kingston Corporation gets nine acres for a cricket field; Richmond
Corporation is confirmed in the ownership of Petersham Meadows, which
was formerly a subject of dispute, and acquires a strip of land
along the river; and the Surrey County Council acquires 45 acres of
riverside land. The meadows and riverside land in each case are to be
maintained as open spaces by the authorities. Ham itself merely gets
the freehold of Ham Common, which means, in effect, that what slight
danger there might have been of the enclosure of this part of the open
and commonable land of the parish is removed.

The Earl of Dysart, at the cost of a sacrifice that is probably
apparent rather than real, obtains by this Act the right to convert
some 200 acres of arable common field into a valuable building estate;
the smaller owners acquire a similar right without any compensating
sacrifice at all; and the only losers by this profitable transaction
are the people of London, who were not consulted in the matter.


The parish of Merrow, adjoining Guildford on the east, is stated in
the return of 1873 to have had 350 acres of common field. The land
in question covers the lower slopes of the chalk hill, the higher
portion of which is Merrow Down; beneath it is Clandon Park, the seat
of Lord Onslow. Up to about the year 1873 this common field did exist;
the properties of Lord Onslow, the chief proprietor, were very much
intermixed with those of smaller proprietors; the farm holdings were
similarly intermixed with one another, and with a number of strips of
land occupied by labourers and cultivated as allotments. But no common
rights were exercised over these lands, either by the occupiers over
one another’s lands, or by the villagers, within living memory; nor,
except that the whole of the field was in tillage, was there any common
rule for its cultivation. The existence of a great extent of common
is in itself a sufficient explanation of the disappearance of common
rights over the tilled land.

In 1870 the present Lord Onslow came into the property, and when a year
or two later he attained his majority, he proceeded to consolidate
his property in Merrow Field, by buying out the other proprietors, or
giving them land elsewhere in exchange. The field is still bare of
hedges, and under tillage; but enclosure, in the technical sense, has
been completely carried without an Act of Parliament.

Since the enclosure the allotments, which had been numerous, have
generally been given up; but the labourers do not attribute this to
the enclosure, but to the industrial evolution. “There are no farmers
nowadays, only land spoilers. They’ve turned market gardeners, and they
sell _milk_” (with intense scorn). “The land ought to grow beef, and
barley to make good beer, that’s what Englishmen want,--yes, and wheat
to make bread. But now they all grow garden stuff, what’s the good of
an allotment to a man? If you have anything to sell, you can’t sell it.
It’s no good growing any more than you can eat.”

It may be added that along the river Wey, from Guildford down to
Byfleet, there are some very extensive lammas meadows, known by
such names as Broad Mead and Hook Mead. The holdings in these are
intermixed, individual pieces sometimes not exceeding an acre.


That part of Berkshire which lies between the valley of the Kennet and
the Thames would appear, from the return of 1873, to be specially rich
in surviving open fields. The Blue Book assigns to

  Brightwell                 1000 acres of common field.
  West Hagbourne              550      ″        ″
  East Hendred               2794      ″        ″
  West Hendred               1900      ″        ″
  East Ilsley                1400      ″        ″
  Wallingford St. Leonard     570      ″        ″
  Yattenden                   252      ″        ″

As Brightwell was enclosed in 1811, and East Hendred in 1801, the
statement with regard to these two parishes plainly is incredible; but
in view of the undeniable fact that Steventon, which lies almost in the
centre of this district, was not enclosed till 1883, there seemed so
much possibility of survivals in the other parishes that in July, 1904,
I traversed the whole district in search of such survivals. But the
search was entirely unsuccessful; it was plain that Steventon was at
the time of its enclosure the last remaining example of the old system
in this part.

Here, as in the Hertfordshire district described above, and in
the Wiltshire district dealt with in Chapter X., “Enclosure and
Depopulation,” enclosure is one aspect of a change of which the most
vital aspects are the engrossing of farms and the consolidation of
properties. In each parish this movement proceeds along the line of
least resistance; in one parish all impediments in the way of the most
profitable management of estates are swept away by the drastic remedy
of an Enclosure Act; in others they are removed gradually.

The latter method I was enabled, by the help of Mr. Bridges, to trace
in detail in the case of Yattenden. The Board of Agriculture return,
as we have seen, assigns 252 acres of common field to Yattenden. The
tithe map, dated 1845, on which this is based, shows in one corner
of “Yattenden Great Field” about 20 acres of intermixed ownership
and occupation, forming part of one “furlong,” remaining in the
characteristic common-field arrangement; the rest of the so-called
“Yattenden Great Field” and “Everington Field” were in part divided
into hedged fields, and in part into compact stretches of about 20
acres each, still unhedged, with here and there single acres detached
in the midst of them; many of these single acres being glebe.

An older manorial map, dated 1773, showed that at that date nearly
half the parish was open; the eastern part was already divided into
closes, except for a small stretch of lammas meadow, divided into small
intermixed holdings, by the river Pang; but the western part, Yattenden
and Everington fields, were almost entirely open, and divided in
furlongs, and the furlongs in acre and half-acre strips. These strips
on the map are all marked with the letters of the alphabet, to indicate
whether they are held by the lord of the manor, by his tenants, or by
other owners.

In other words, the process of gradual enclosure, which began before
1773, was continued afterwards, and was nearly complete in 1845. The
end came about the year 1858, when Frilsham Common, in an adjoining
parish, was enclosed. About half of the intermixed strips in Yattenden
Great Field belonged to a yeoman, who was, his brother told me, “a
great man for defining his boundaries.” The enclosure of Frilsham
Common gave the slight stimulus to the mind of Yattenden necessary to
overcome its mental inertia, and make change possible, so the yeoman
in question was able to effect the exchanges he desired, and others
following his example, the lay properties were all separated. But still
the glebe consists in part of an acre here and an acre there in the
midst of lands belonging to laymen. These are let with the lands in
which they lie; they have no mark to distinguish them, nor boundaries
to limit them; the tithe map and award preserve the record of them, and
the vicar receives their rent.

This circumstance of the glebe lying in part in separate unfenced
strips scattered over the parish, let with the lands in which they
lie, and so not influencing the agriculture of the parish, though
testifying to the past system, is by no means uncommon in the parishes
not enclosed by Act of Parliament.[15]

 [15] Mr. A. N. Palmer, in “Ancient Tenures of Land in the Marches of
 North Wales,” gives a list of parishes in one Hundred containing, or
 known to have contained, “quilleted fields,” _i.e._ fields containing
 strips of land belonging to a different owner from the rest of the
 field, these strips being usually glebe.

In general the results of the two different methods of enclosure
in this district are practically identical. Superficially the
characteristic features of the “champaign” or “champion” country
remain. The population is concentrated in the villages; the sites of
which appear to have been originally selected for convenience of water
supply; outside the villages are the long sweeps of open fields of
barley, wheat or beans, lying generally open to the roads, and to one
another, and to the open down, though one notices a tendency to an
increased use of wire fencing. The monotony is broken by the beautiful
curves of the hill slopes, and by clumps of trees; here and there, on
steeper inclines, lynches are clearly visible, and occasionally what
looks like an inconsequent hedge, beginning and ending in the middle of
the field--an old “mere” or “balk” on which bushes happened to grow.

On the other hand, the farms run generally from 200 to over 1000 acres
each; machinery is extensively used; the supply of labour, though not
so superabundant as a generation or two ago, is still sufficient, the
customary wage being 2_s._ per day. The men themselves struck me as
being of finer physique than the agricultural labourers I have seen in
any other part of the South or Midlands of England; but they appear
to be as completely shut out from any rights over the land, from any
enterprise of their own upon the land, or from any opportunities for
rising into the farmers’ class as can well be conceived. Only one
man whom I met could remember a different condition. He, a labourer
of seventy-three, said that in North Moreton before the enclosure
(completed in 1849) every villager who could get a cow could keep it in
the open fields, and all the villagers also had rights of cutting fuel.
Under the Enclosure Act some moneys were set aside to provide the poor
with fuel in compensation for these rights, but latterly the amount
provided had much diminished.

Steventon, which lies in the centre of this district, is to some extent
exceptional. The manor has always been in ecclesiastical hands, from
the first time when the village was founded as a settlement from the
Abbey of Bec in Normandy to the present day, when it is held by the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In the intervening period it belonged to
Westminster Abbey.

No doubt it was in consequence of this that through the greater part
of the nineteenth century, while all the other parishes passed into
their present condition of large farms, the farms and properties in
Steventon remained small. Up to about 1874 there were some eighteen
yeomen farmers in the parish, which comprises 2,382 acres, fully
three-quarters at that time being arable. In addition, the lands
belonging to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were divided into small
holdings, and all these were intermixed. The system of cultivation was
very simple. The arable land was divided into two fields, one known
as the “white corn field,” growing wheat or barley, the other as the
“black corn field,” growing pulse or some other crop.

In the severe agricultural depression that followed 1874, culminating
in 1879, the yeomen were obliged to borrow in order to continue
farming, and they mortgaged their lands to certain gentlemen in the
neighbourhood who had money to invest. As one bad season followed
another, loan had to be added to loan, till the security was exhausted,
and the land passed into the possession of the mortgagee. In this way
the number of landowners was reduced to five. Then enclosure, which had
been proposed and rejected in the forties, was resolved upon. The Act
was obtained in 1880, and the award was made in 1883.

There was considerable disappointment among those who carried out the
enclosure at the results. They were surprised and disgusted at the
amount of land reserved for allotments and recreation ground; they
were also surprised at the expense, which amounted, I was told, to
nearly £10,000. Some were unable to meet the calls upon them, and went
bankrupt. But a large portion of the cost was for road-making, and
when this had been paid for, the chief advantage which had been gained
by the whole proceeding, economy in horse labour, was realised. Where
previously it had taken three horses to get a load of manure to a given
spot in the open fields, along the tracks assigned for that purpose,
one horse could draw the same load to the nearest point on the metalled
roadway, and a second horse hitched in front would enable it to reach
its destination.




  Map of England and Wales showing land enclosed:
    before the General Enclosure Act of 1801.
    between 1802 and 1845.
    under General Enclosure Act of 1845.
  Scale 1:5,000,000 or 1 inch = 79 Stat. miles.]

A glance at the accompanying Enclosure Map of England will indicate
the importance of common fields in the social life of rural England at
certain dates. It was prepared in the following manner: On the Ordnance
County diagrams each parish which had an Enclosure Act by which common
field arable was enclosed was coloured; if the Act was passed between
1700 and 1801 it was coloured yellow; if passed after the general
Enclosure Act of 1801 and before that of 1845, it was coloured green;
if after 1845, purple. A map of England was drawn summarising the
results of the county maps. On this _at least_ all purple patches
showed parishes which possessed open field arable in 1845; _at least_
all the green and purple area combined indicated parishes which had
open field arable in 1802; _at least_ all the coloured area had open
field arable in 1700. In the printed map these colours are represented
by three forms of shading. Of the unshaded area one can simply say
that the Enclosure Acts throw no light upon its agricultural history
so far as the land under tillage is concerned. To a very great extent
it was undoubtedly being enclosed otherwise than by Act of Parliament
simultaneously with the progress of Parliamentary enclosure, but to a
still greater extent it either never passed through the common field
system or was enclosed before 1700. This statement raises questions
which are dealt with below. For the present I have to deal with the
general history of those parishes which did pass through the common
field system.

The original Board of Agriculture, which was an association on similar
lines to those of the Royal Agricultural Society, but enjoying a grant
from the Treasury, was founded in 1793, with Arthur Young as secretary
and Sir John Sinclair as president. It immediately took in hand the
work of making an agricultural survey of Great Britain, county by
county. Some counties were surveyed several times, but the original
survey of England was completed in the years 1793 and 1794. William
Marshall, the ablest agricultural writer of the time, single-handed
accomplished an agricultural survey of England, ignoring county
divisions and dividing the country according to natural divisions
marked by similarity of soil, crops and agricultural methods. The two
surveys together give us ample information on the different methods of
cultivating open or common fields at the end of the eighteenth century.

On the whole, the most general system, particularly in the midland
counties where common fields remained most numerous, was the following
form of the three-field system:--

“One part” (or one of the three fields) “is annually fallowed, a moiety
of which is folded with sheep and sown with wheat; another moiety is
dunged and sown with barley in the succeeding spring. The part which
produces wheat is broken up and sown with oats, and the part which
produces barley is at the same time generally sown with peas or beans,
and then it comes in routine to be again fallowed the third year.”[16]
This gives us the following rotation of crops: (1), wheat; (2), oats;
(3), fallow; (4), barley; (5), peas or beans; (6), fallow. This was the
system prevailing in Huntingdon.

 [16] Maxwell, “Huntingdon,” p. 9.

The same system prevailed in the heavy clay lands of Bedfordshire,
but in the lighter lands sometimes a four-field course was adopted,
sometimes the half of the nominally fallow field that had the previous
year given crops of wheat and oats was sown with turnips, and clover
was sown with barley the succeeding year.[17]

 [17] T. Stone, “Bedfordshire,” p. 8.

The commonest four-field course is that described for Isleham,
Cambridgeshire: (1), wheat; (2), barley; (3), pulse or oats; (4),
fallow; the fallow field being dunged or folded with sheep. At Castle
Camps, also in Cambridge, a two-field course of alternate crop and
fallow obtained.[18]

 [18] Vancouver, “Cambridgeshire,” p. 33.

Coming further south for Hertfordshire, we are told that the “common
fields are mostly by agreement among the owners and occupiers
cultivated nearly in the same way as in the enclosed state.”[19] In
Buckinghamshire the regular three-fields course was followed in some
parts, but in Upton, Eton, Dorney, Datchett, Maysbury and Horton, “the
occupiers have exploded entirely the old usage of two crops and a
fallow, and now have a crop every year.”

 [19] D. Walker, “Hertfordshire,” p. 49.

Two Buckinghamshire parishes underwent experiences which have been
wrongly cited as typical of the inconveniences of common fields,
whereas they are rather instances of the lawless conduct of village
bullies. Steeple Claydon had 2500 acres of common field, on which the
customary course was one crop and a fallow. “About fourteen years ago”
(_i.e._, about 1779) “the proprietors came to an agreement to have two
crops and a fallow, but before the expiration of ten years one of the
farmers broke through the agreement, and turned in his cattle upon the
crops of beans, oats and barley, in which plan he was soon followed by
the rest.”[20] The agreement, if that of a three-fourths majority (see
below), was legally binding on all owners and occupiers, and the first
farmer was liable to the same pains and penalties as if he had turned
his cattle into crops standing on enclosed fields belonging to another
farm. Possibly, however, the crops were a failure, and feeding them off
with cattle was as good a way of dealing with them as another.

 [20] William James and Jacob Malcolm, “Buckingham,” p. 30.

A still more difficult case to understand is that of Wendon (3000 acres
common field). It is reported as follows:--“About fourteen years
ago the parishioners came to an agreement and obtained an Act to lay
the small pieces of land together.... When the division took place,
the balks were of necessity ploughed up, by which a great portion of
the sheep pasture was destroyed.[21] It then became expedient, and
it was agreed upon at public vestry, to sow clover and turnips as
a succedaneum for the balks. Two years since, one of the farmers,
occupying 16 acres of these common fields, procured in the month of May
a large flock of lean sheep, which he turned on the clover crops; being
then nearly in bloom, the greater part of which they devoured.”

 [21] James and Malcolm, “Buckingham,” p. 29. I have been unable to
 find any trace of this Act.

Of Oxfordshire we are told “the present course of husbandry is so
various, particularly in the open fields, that to treat of all the
different ways of management would render this report too voluminous.
It may suffice generally to remark that some fields are in the course
of one crop and fallow, others of two, and a few of three crops and
a fallow. In divers unenclosed parishes the same rotation prevails
over the whole of the open fields; but in others, the more homeward
or bettermost land is oftener cropped, or sometimes cropped every
year.”[22] Where one crop and a fallow was the custom the crop might
be wheat, barley or oats; and sometimes tares were sown on the fallow
field and cut green. The three and four-field systems prevalent were
those described above.

 [22] Richard Davis, “Oxfordshire,” p. 11.

In Berkshire a six-year course, evidently evolved from an older
three-years course, was found:--(1), wheat; (2), barley; (3), oats,
with seeds; (4), clover, mowed, and then grazed upon in common; (5),
oats or barley; (6), fallow.

An agreement to withhold turning out stock during the time in which
a field was commonable by ancient custom, in order that turnips,
vetches, etc., might be grown, was practised, and termed “hitching
the fields.”[23] We get the same expression for Wiltshire, where
a part of a field set aside for vetches, peas, beans, turnips, or
potatoes was called a “hookland” or “hitchland” field.[24] In Wiltshire
customs similar to these described as surviving recently in Stratton
and Grimstone were prevalent; clover was generally substituted for
fallow, and was partly mowed for the individual benefit of particular
occupiers, and partly fed upon by the village flock. The following
systems are reported:--

(_a_) First, wheat; second, barley with clover; third, clover part
mowed, part fed.

(_b_) First, wheat; second, barley; third, oats with clover; fourth,
clover part mowed, part fed.

(_c_) First, wheat; second, barley with clover; third, clover mowed;
fourth, clover fed (one-third or a quarter of this field being

 [23] William Pearce, “Berkshire,” p. 29.

 [24] Thomas Davis, “Wiltshire,” p. 43.

 [25] Thomas Davis, “Wiltshire,” p. 43.

Turning northwards again from the centre of England, in Rutland the
old three-year course of two crops and a fallow was universal in
the unenclosed parishes;[26] in Lincoln two, three and four-field
systems were practised;[27] the two-field course was also prevalent in

 [26] John Crutchley, “Rutland,” p. 8.

 [27] Thomas Stone, “Lincoln,” p. 26.

 [28] Isaac Leatham, “East Riding,” p. 40.

A singular practice was followed in the East Riding Wolds. “The greater
part of the Wold townships which lie open have a great quantity of
out-field in leyland, _i.e._, land from which they take a crop every
third, fourth, fifth, or sixth year, according to the custom of the

 [29] Isaac Leatham, “East Riding,” p. 42.

In contrast we may mention the Battersea common fields, which were
“sown with one uniform round of grain without intermission and
consequently without fallowing.”[30]

 [30] James and Malcolm, “Surrey,” p. 48.



When we come to Norfolk we find hints at so many special features that
Norfolk agriculture demands separate treatment. The preamble of a
Norfolk Enclosure Act is remarkably different from those for the rest
of the country. A typical one is 1795, c. 67:

“Whereas there are in the parish of Sedgeford in the county of Norfolk
divers lands and grounds, called whole-year lands, brecks, common
fields, half-year or shack lands, commons and waste grounds.... And
whereas there are certain rights of sheep-walk, shackage and common,
over the said brecks, half-year or shack land, commons and waste
grounds. And great part of the said whole-year lands, as well as the
brecks, common fields, and half-year or shack lands, are inconveniently
situated,” etc.

Or again 1804, c. 24:

“Whereas there are in the parish of Waborne in the county of Norfolk
divers lands and grounds called whole-year lands, common fields, doles,
half-year or shack lands, commons and waste grounds.”

“Whereas the said common fields, doles, half-year lands, shack lands,
commons and waste grounds, are subject to certain rights of sheep-walk,
shackage and common, and great part of the said whole-year lands,
common fields, and half-year or shack lands are inconveniently situated
for the various owners and proprietors thereof....”

Other Norfolk acts mention doles, ings, carrs, and buscallys. Buscallys
we may take to mean woods in which rights of common for fuel were
practised. Dr. Murray’s Dictionary gives us bushaile or buscayle, from
Old French _boschaille_, Low Latin _boscalia_, shrubberies, thickets,
etc. “Dole,” is connected etymologically both with “deal” and with the
word “run-dale,” concerning which see below. The word is frequently
found elsewhere, as in the “dolemeads” at Bristol and Bath, and usually
means meadows, the ownership of which is intermixed in small parcels,
which are commonable after hay harvest, but sometimes the word is
used of arable land (see below). The Act for Earsham, Ditchingham and
Hedenham (Norfolk, 1812, c. 17) has the sentence, “The said dole meadow
lands lie intermixed and dispersed.” The “ings” and “carrs” are best
understood by the help of the old Ordnance Survey map for Norfolk. The
carrs are the lowest, swampiest part of the common pastures which reach
down to the rivers; the ings, while also low-lying, are separated from
the rivers by the carrs, and intervene between the carrs and the tilled

There remain the expressions whole-year lands, half-year or shack
lands, and brecks, to interpret.

Half-year lands obviously means lands commonable for half the year,
_i.e._, after the crop has been carried. They are also “shack” lands,
or lands on which right of “shackage” exists. “Shack” is connected with
“shake,” and right of shackage appears to be the right to carry off the
gleanings after the crop has been carried and the fields are thrown
open. It is, however, to be noticed that half-year or shack lands are
mentioned as something distinct from common fields. The distinction
is said to be that common rights on shack lands can be exercised only
by the owners or occupiers of those lands. Shack lands may be termed
common fields, but the term common field may be reserved for those
fields over which cottagers or toft holders or others also possess
rights of common.

“Brecks” are asserted by William Marshall (“Rural Economy of Norfolk,”
Vol. I., p. 376) to be “large new-made enclosures,” but as is seen from
the wording of the Acts quoted, they are enclosures still “subject to
certain rights of shackage, sheep-walk, and common.”[31] Lastly, what
are “whole-year lands”?

 [31] 1820, c. 29 (Blakeney, Wiverton and Glanford) mentions
 “whole-year lands, whole-year brecks, whole-year marshes.” In this
 case, apparently, brecks are not commonable.

Since half-year lands are lands which for half the year are common, and
for half the year are in individual ownership and use, one would argue
that whole-year lands must be lands which are in individual ownership
and use the whole year; for if they were common the whole year they
would be termed simply “commons.” We get further light by comparing
the preambles of other Norfolk Acts. Some instead of whole-year lands
mention every-year lands, others speak of “whole-year or every-year
lands,” while finally Icklingham in Suffolk (1813, c. 29) gives us
“every year lands or Infields.”

Now “infields” is a familiar expression in Scottish agriculture.
Even in the Lothians, up to the middle of the eighteenth century the
cultivated land was divided into infield and outfield. The outfield,
like the outfield on the Yorkshire Wolds, only bore occasional crops,
and was never manured, all the manure being reserved for the infield,
which was made to bear a crop every year. In Haddington the customary
course was: (1) pease; (2) wheat; (3) barley; (4) oats; and then the
land was dunged and planted with pease again; and leases stipulated for
“the preservation and regular dunging of the mucked land shotts.”[32]
Such lands might obviously be described as every-year lands, and since
this method of cultivation implies that immediately one crop is carried
preparation must be made for the next, and therefore is not easily
consistent with common rights, so these lands are also “whole-year
lands.” It may be noted that the Norfolk preambles (as in the
Sedgeford example, quoted above), while stating that the “whole-year
lands,” as well as the brecks, common fields and half-year lands are
inconveniently situated, _i.e._, are intermixed, by implication give
us to understand that they are not subject to rights of shackage,
sheep-walk, and common.

 [32] George Buchan Hepburn, “Agriculture of East Lothian,” 1794, p. 49.

It is the more curious to find that Norfolk and the adjoining part
of Suffolk followed a traditional method of cultivation in this
respect similar to that of the East of Scotland, because there are
so few traces of anything similar in the intervening counties. I find
infields mentioned twice in Northumberland, once in Lincoln, whole-year
lands once in Huntingdon. There is also mention of half-year lands
in Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire. The Wessex custom of “hitching the
fields,” or “cropping the homeward or bettermost part of the common
fields every year” is not the same thing, because there, as we saw
in the case of Stratton and Grimstone, the extra crop was raised for
common, not for individual, benefit. Battersea common fields were
worked as every-year lands, and so are the Axholme fields to-day; but
in these cases the custom was locally derived from some other form of
cultivation; whereas in Norfolk and Suffolk the peculiar customs must
have been indigenous and ancient.

One is also tempted to ask whether it is a coincidence that Norfolk
farmers in the latter half of the eighteenth century, and Lothian
farmers in the nineteenth, enjoyed and deserved an extremely high
reputation for scientific, enterprising, and skilful agriculture.
The ancient custom of raising crops every year from the same land
must have necessitated the gradual accumulation of knowledge on the
best ways of preventing exhaustion of the soil, by marling, manuring,
deep ploughing, and various rotations of crops. When turnip culture
was introduced into England, it was to Norfolk that the new idea was
brought. There was no obstacle to growing turnips on the Norfolk
whole-year lands, such as would have arisen if toft holders had the
right to turn horses, cattle and sheep on to the lands at Lammas; and
the intervention of a new crop which gave an opportunity for getting
the land clean of weeds, and increased its fertility for grain crops,
was a far more obvious boon there than on lands subject to a periodic

But to return to the typical Norfolk Enclosure Act preamble. We have
only half explained the problem suggested by the four different names,
each evidently with a distinct meaning, but all meaning arable land in
which ownership is intermixed as in an ordinary common field, viz.,
whole-year lands, half-year lands or shack lands, brecks and common
fields. The rest of the explanation is, I think, to be looked for
in the direction suggested by the prominence given to the statement,
“They are subject to rights of sheep-walk.” Elsewhere one finds a close
connection between sheep and common fields. Thus we have seen that at
Eakring certain common right owners make a speciality of pasturing
sheep on the common fields. The Swedish traveller Kaln, whose account
of his visit to England has recently been translated into English,
observed the same thing on the open field parishes of Hertfordshire and
Bedfordshire in the year 1748 (p. 302). But in 1793 where there were
open chalky downs in open field parishes the right of pasturing sheep
on the downs and of having the combined flock of the village folded
over the arable in the common field was valued too highly by every
occupier to be ceded to an individual speculator (Davies, “Wiltshire,”
pp. 8, 15, 61, 80). In these cases right of common for sheep has been
democratically shared.

But this is not universal. The Enclosure Commissioners, in their
thirty-eighth report (1883), record the application for an Enclosure
Act for Hildersham, Cambridgeshire. In this parish the two _manor
farms_ had the right of turning their sheep every sixth year on to the
stubbles of the other farms. Similarly, I am told by Major Barnard, of
Cheltenham, that in the Cambridgeshire parish of Bartlow, where he was
born, which was enclosed with Shudy Camps and Castle Camps in 1863,
that the right of feeding sheep on the common fields belonged to the
lord of the manor only. These Cambridgeshire parishes are close to the
borders of Norfolk and Suffolk, and the following passage from Tusser’s
“Champion and Several” (date 1573) suggests the same rule as applying
to Norfolk and the “champion” (_i.e._, open field) part of Suffolk:--

    _In Norfolk behold the despair_
      Of tillage, too much to be born,
    By drovers, from fair to fair,
      And others, destroying the corn,
    By custom, and covetous pates
    By gaps and by opening of gates.

    What speak I of commoners by
      With drawing all after a line;
    So noying the corn as it lie,
      With cattle, with conies and swine,
    When thou hast bestowed thy cost
    Look half of the same to be lost.

    _The flocks of the lords of the soil_
      Do yearly the winter corn wrong,
    The same in a maner they spoil
      With feeding so low and so long,
    And therefore that champion field
    Doth seldom good winter corn yield.

If it be urged that the two italicised lines are not necessarily
to be read together, in view of the other topics touched on in the
intermediate lines, the argument is not much affected, for Tusser shows
no knowledge of any “champion” counties other than Leicestershire,
Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk, and elsewhere in the poem he deals with
the special evils afflicting the two former counties.

I may also refer to the Act, 25 Henry VIII. c. 13, to limit the number
of sheep which may be possessed by a single owner, in which occurs the

X. Be it also further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no
manner of Person or Persons, of what Degree soever he or they be, being
Lord or Lords, Owner or Owners, Farmer or Farmers, of or in any Liberty
of Fold Courses within any Town, Tything, Village or Hamlet within any
of the Counties of Norfolk or Suffolk, from and after the Feast of the
Nativity of our Lord God next coming, shall take in farm, for term of
years or otherwise, any Quillets of Lands or Pastures, that is to say,
any number of Acres of Land or Pasture appertaining to any other Person
or Persons, lying and being within the limit Extent or Precinct of
the said Liberty of the said Fold Courses; but that they shall permit
and suffer the said Persons, having or being, for the time, Owner or
Owners, Lessee or Lessees of the said Quillets, to manure and pasture
the said Quillets; and also to suffer sheep of the said Owner or
Owners, Farmer or Farmers of the said Quillets, after the Rate of the
said Quillets, to go with the Flock of the Owner, Farmer or Occupier
of the said Liberty or Liberties of the said Fold Courses, paying the
customary charge for the same, after the Rate and Use of the Country,
there commonly used, without any interruption therein to be made by
the said Owner or Owners, Farmer or Farmers, or Occupiers of the said
Liberties, upon pain of forfeiture for 3_s._ 4_d._ for each offence.

“XI. Provided ... it shall not ... be available to any tenant Owner
or Occupier of any such Quillet or Quillets to claim, have or use
hereafter any such pasture, or Feeding of his sheep, in or with any
such Fold Courses, but only where the tenants, Owners and Occupiers of
any such Quillets have had, or might have had heretofore of Right and
Duty, or used to have Pasture and Feeding in the said Fold Courses,
by reason of their tenures, and Occupations of the said Quillet and
Quillets, and none otherwise; and where they have not used, nor ought
to have any Sheep fed or kept within such Fold Courses, by reason of
the said tenures, that the Owners or Occupiers of such Fold Courses may
take such Quillets, lying within their Fold Courses, in Farm, agreeing
with the Owners or Occupiers of the said Quillets for the same.”

It would appear from these clauses that there had been in still earlier
times generally throughout Norfolk and Suffolk a right pertaining
to the Lord of the Manor of feeding flocks of sheep over the whole
manor, that this right, in the reign of Henry VIII. was frequently
sold or leased under the denomination “A Liberty of Fold Courses”;
secondly that the exercise of this right was apt to interfere with
the cultivation of peasants’ holdings in the common fields; thirdly
that it was customary for the sheep belonging to the peasants to be
pastured and folded with the flock of the Lord of the Manor for a fixed
customary fee.

There is yet another respect in which Norfolk agriculture shows
a difference, but of degree, not kind, from other common-field
agriculture. Complete enclosure of common-field arable involves three

(1) The laying together of scattered properties, and consequent
abolition of intermixture of properties and holdings;

(2) The abolition of common rights;

(3) The hedging and ditching of the separate properties. This third
process is the actual “enclosing” which gives its name to a series of
processes which it completes.

But sometimes the hedging and ditching takes place independently of
the other two processes, and strips of an acre, two or more acres, and
even half-an-acre are enclosed in the middle of the common-fields,
and, what is more remarkable, the little enclosed strips are sometimes
the property of several individuals. In the collection of maps of open
field parishes belonging to certain Oxford Colleges, published by Mr.
J. L. G. Mowat, several such instances may be noticed.

Such enclosures were at first commonable; but common rights were of
course exercised over them with greater difficulty than over the
open parts of the enclosed fields, a fact on which the above quoted
opinion on the Barn farm at Elmstone Hardwicke incidentally throws
some light. The maintenance of these common rights is a sort of test
of the democratic vigour of the village, and it may be noticed that
old enclosures subject to common rights were particularly numerous in

Norfolk was remarkable for the extent to which actual hedging and
ditching preceded legal enclosure. The Board of Agriculture reporter
says, “for notwithstanding common rights for great cattle exist in all
of them,[33] and even sheep-walk privileges in many, yet the natural
industry of the people is such, that wherever a person can get four
or five acres together, he plants a white-thorn hedge round it, and
sets an oak at every rod distance, which is consented to by a kind of
general courtesy from one neighbour to another.”[34]

 [33] _I.e._, of the enclosures he is going to describe.

 [34] Nathaniel Kent, “Norfolk,” p. 22.

Two Acts incidentally show to what an extent such hedges enclosed
lands belonging to two or more proprietors. One Norfolk Act has the
provision, “All enclosures where two or more proprietors are connected
and where the property is not separated by a hedge or ditch shall be
deemed to be Common Field.” The same clause differently expressed
occurs in the Act for Ormesby and Scratby (1842, c. 9): “All old
enclosures within the said parishes in which there are lands belonging
to different proprietors, shall be deemed to be open Fields.”

A brief account of a surviving Norfolk open field parish is given in
Appendix E., p. 331.


13 GEO. III. C. 81.

One of the most striking and interesting features of the open field
village life is the existence of a self-governing constitution for the
settlement of disputes, and the most profitable use of the village
lands--the annual meetings of farmers and common-right owners; the
institution of field reeves and field juries; the division among
commoners of the profits of the common property. One cannot but look
upon this as the survival of an ancient village communal life, which
must have been much stronger and more vigorous in earlier days, when
each village was more of a self-contained and isolated economic unit;
and particularly while the co-operative ploughing persisted, from
which the intermixture of lands in common field arable is admitted
to have originated. Even in its degenerate state, when co-operative
ploughing has been extinct for generations, the open field parish
involves a certain partnership among the cultivators, necessitating
some recognised rules, mutual consultation, and organised combination:
how much more binding the necessity must have been in the Middle Ages?
Hence from the very necessity of the case, there must have been a bond
between the village workers, such as is conveyed by the words “village
community,” which probably preceded, and underlay as a foundation,
the better known manorial and parochial institutions, the manorial
organisation arising from the contact between the village community
and the Central Government, or outside enemies, the parochial from its
contact with the Church.

But while these features of common-field management in general are
survivals of “the village community,” it is possible _in any particular
village_ that such institutions and customs were the creation of the
legislature since the latter part of the eighteenth century. For in
the year 1773 a noteworthy Act was passed for the better regulation of
the culture of common arable fields. It enacts that “where there are
open or common field lands, all the Tillage or Arable lands lying in
the said open or Common Fields, shall be ordered, fenced, cultivated or
improved, in such manner as three-fourths in number and value of the
occupiers shall agree, with consent of the owner and tithe-owner.”

Such agreements were to be binding for six years, or two _rounds_,
“according to the ancient and established course of each parish or
place”; _i.e._, presumably, in a parish where the ancient customary
course had been one crop and a fallow, the agreement was binding for
four years; where it had been three crops and a fallow, for eight
years. Further, every year between the 21st and 24th of May a field
reeve or field reeves were to be elected. These field reeves, acting
under the instructions of a three-fourths majority in number and value,
might delay the opening of the common fields, might give permission
for any balks, slades or meers (those words are synonyms) to be
ploughed up, an equivalent piece of land being laid down in common, and
boundary stones being put down instead. Since this Act was designed
in the interest of better cultivation, and for the advantage of the
proprietors and large occupiers, special provision is made that if the
cottagers owning common rights feel themselves prejudiced, they may
claim to have a separate piece of land set out as a common for them.

The effect of the Act was to enable the common-field system to be
adjusted to the new agriculture of the eighteenth century, which was
marked by the introduction of turnips, artificial grasses, and the
abandonment of frequent fallowing. A precise account of the adoption of
a scheme under the Act is given us by the prime mover.

In the township of Hunmanby, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the
cultivators had fallen into one of the besetting temptations to which
“champion” farmers were liable. They had gradually extended the arable
fields at the expense of the common pasture, till the manure produced
by the latter was insufficient for the needs of the former, and the
land was losing its fertility. Isaac Leatham got his brother farmers
to agree to abandon the old (three-year) course of husbandry, and to
substitute the following six-year course:--

  1. Turnips, hoed, and fed off with sheep.
  2. Barley with grass seed.
  3. Grass.
  4. Grass.
  5. Wheat.
  6. Oats or peas.

The grass seed sown with the barley was bought in common, and paid for
proportionately. From the time the barley was carried until it was
time to plough for the wheat crop, one gathers that the grass, which
had been sown with the barley, was being fed with sheep; therefore, at
any particular time after the course was established, half the common
field area was feeding sheep, or growing turnips for sheep, and half
was growing grain or pulse. The sheep flock was managed in common; each
occupier was allowed to contribute sheep to it in proportion to his
holding; the whole was under the care of two shepherds, who folded the
sheep nightly upon different strips of land in succession, so that all
occupiers received equal benefit. Field reeves were appointed.

“Thus,” says Isaac Leatham, “an open field is enjoyed in as beneficial
a manner as if it were enclosed ... two persons are fully sufficient
to attend the sheep-stock, instead of many ... the precarious rearing
of fences is avoided, and the immense expense of continually repairing
them saved.”[35]

 [35] Isaac Leatham, “East Riding,” p. 46.

I take it that Isaac Leatham, who, by the way, was a strong advocate of
enclosure in general, meant that the open field was, _on the whole_,
enjoyed in as beneficial a manner as if it were enclosed, because
there still remained the great disadvantage that each occupier had
his lands in widely scattered strips, and had to waste much time and
labour in cultivating them; cross-ploughing, which might, or might not
have been desirable, was any way impossible; the village lands had to
be treated as one whole, so no enterprising and original man was able
to experiment with new ideas, nor could any further improvement be
adopted without the consent of a three-fourths majority; and, perhaps,
the keeping of sheep in a common flock put obstacles in the way of
improving the breed.

I may add that an Act for the enclosure of Hunmanby was passed in the
year 1800, so that Isaac Leatham’s course was abandoned just seven
years after he wrote about it so triumphantly.

The Act of 1773, therefore, was, perhaps, not a brilliant success in
Hunmanby; perhaps, on the other hand, improved agriculture excited an
appetite for further improvement, and one novelty having been accepted,
the stiff conservatism which might have postponed enclosure, was broken
down. But, as a glance at the map for the East Riding will show, the
whole countryside was subject to a rage for enclosure, and the famine
prices for grain of 1796, doomed to recur again in 1800–1, in 1812, and
1817, were acting as a powerful solvent to all old agricultural customs.

It is quite obvious that the Act of 1773 was an endeavour to select out
of the customs and traditions prevailing in different villages those
which were most in harmony with advanced agriculture, to further amend
these, and to make them universal.

So far as I know, Hunmanby is the only place where it has been recorded
as having been put into execution, and it has been doubted whether
it was not practically a dead letter. My own impression is that
the distribution of the “sicks” at Laxton was consciously arranged
in accordance with the provisions of the Act, that originally the
method of choosing the fallow crops in Castor and Ailesworth was an
application of it, and also the six years’ course used for part of
the fields of Barrowden and Luffenham, but I can bring no evidence to
support this view. If, however, it is correct, the Act may have been
of considerable use to many other parishes also by clearly defining
methods of procedure which otherwise would be determined by custom



The very word “enclosure” to a historical student suggests
“depopulation.” The two words are almost treated as synonyms in Acts of
Parliament, tracts, and official documents of the sixteenth century.
In the seventeenth century we find the proverbs, “Horn and thorn shall
make England forlorn,” “Inclosures make fat beasts and lean poor
people,” while the superstition grew up that inclosed land was cursed,
and must within three generations pass away from the families of “these
madded and irreligious depopulators,” these “dispeoplers of towns,
ruiners of commonwealths, occasioners of beggary ... cruell inclosiers.”

After the Restoration, the literary attack on enclosure becomes more
feeble, the defence more powerful. W. Wales in 1781, the Rev. J.
Howlett in 1786, published statistics to show that enclosure had the
effect of increasing the population, the latter tract being widely
quoted; there ceased to be any opposition from the Central Government
to enclosure, and private Acts were passed in continually increasing
numbers; finally the one practical measure carried through by the Board
of Agriculture was the General Enclosure Act of 1801, to simplify
and cheapen Parliamentary proceedings. Dr. Cunningham sums up the
case as follows: “He (Joseph Massie) was aware that enclosing had
meant rural depopulation in the sixteenth century, and he too hastily
assumed that the enclosing which had been proceeding in the eighteenth
century was attended with similar results; but the conditions of the
time were entirely changed. Despite the reiterated allegation,[36]
it is impossible to believe that enclosing in the eighteenth century
implied either more pasture farming or less employment for labour.
The prohibition of export kept down the price of wool; the bounty on
exportation gave direct encouragement to corn-growing; the improved
agriculture gave more employment to labour than the old.”[37]

 [36] By the opponents of enclosure.

 [37] “Growth of English Industry and Commerce,” Vol. II., p. 384

Taken in one sense, I must admit the substantial accuracy of this
opinion. On the other hand I am disposed to maintain the general
accuracy of the statements with regard to depopulation made by the
opponents of enclosure, (_a_) provided these statements are understood
in the sense in which they are meant, and (_b_) statements only with
regard to the part of the country the writer is familiar with are
regarded, and his inferences with regard to other parts are neglected.

For it must be remembered that side by side with the movement for the
enclosure of arable fields, there was going on a movement for the
enclosure of wastes. From Appendix A. it will be seen that 577 Acts for
enclosing wastes and common pastures were passed between 1702 and 1802,
and over 800,000 acres were so added to the cultivated area of England
and Wales. There were besides enclosures occasionally on a large scale
by landed proprietors of wastes on which either common rights were not
exercised, or on which they were too feebly maintained to necessitate
an Act. The Board of Agriculture report for Notts records that 10,666
acres had recently been so enclosed from Sherwood Forest alone.[38]
Lastly there was the continual pushing forward of cultivation by
farmers, squatters, etc. It is impossible to do more than form a vague
guess as to the quantity of land so enclosed, but reasons will be given
later for the belief that it was far greater than the area of commons
and waste enclosed by Act of Parliament.

 [38] Robert Lowe, “Nottingham,” Appendix.

Now the opponents of enclosure of the sixteenth, seventeenth _and_
eighteenth centuries almost without exception opposed simply the
enclosure of arable common fields; they usually expressly approve
the enclosure of waste, as increasing the means of subsistence of
the people. The advocates of enclosure on the other hand are equally
concerned in advocating both kinds of enclosure. Hence we have
statements to the effect that the enclosure of arable fields in the
“champion” districts of England (_i.e._, the part much shaded on
the map) caused rural depopulation, met by statistics and arguments
to prove that all kinds of enclosure proceeding over all parts of
England and Wales, on the whole, tended to increase population,
urban and rural. Through looseness of wording on both sides, the
controversialists seem to be contradicting one another; whereas, in
reality, both might equally be right.

At the present day this particular issue is dead, though a similar
question, the question whether by means of the modern representative of
the open field, viz., the allotment field, and modern representative
of the ancient co-operative ploughing, viz., co-operative purchase of
machines, manures and seeds, borrowing of capital, sale of produce,
and perhaps co-operative stockbreeding, the decay of the agricultural
population can be arrested, is a living issue. Nor is there any period
of the nineteenth century in which any serious rural depopulation as a
result of enclosure, and consequent laying down in pasture, of common
fields, could be asserted. Since Free Trade began to seriously affect
the prices of British grain--and that was not for a good many years
after 1846--the common fields have been too few, and the other forces
tending towards rural depopulation too great, for this particular force
to be felt. And if it were felt, no one would seriously urge that the
hardly pressed farmer should be compelled to cultivate the land in
a manner wasteful of labour, in order that more labourers might be
employed. In the earlier part of the nineteenth century war, protection
and a rapidly growing wealth and population so effectively encouraged
tillage that attempted prohibition of conversion of arable to grass
would have been superfluous.

Yet much, I think, can be learnt on the historical question from the
present aspect of the country, even by anyone who merely travels by
express train through the Midlands. Having spent a day in traversing
the length and breadth of the great fields of Castor and Ailesworth,
yellow with wheat and barley or recently cut stubble, I went straight
through the county of Northamptonshire, seeing on either side scarcely
anything but permanent pasture. From Northampton to Leicester was the
same thing; again from Leicester to Uppingham. Just beyond Uppingham
the cornfields become far more extensive; what were the Rutlandshire
common fields till 1881 are still mainly under tillage. All this
country of permanent pasture was mainly enclosed during the eighteenth
century. Very frequently one can see on heavy land the old ridges piled
up in the middle, ending in the middle of one field, crossing hedges,
and showing plainly that very little, if any, ploughing has been done
since the enclosure was effected.[39] The impression made on my mind
by this apparent confirmation of all that the denouncers of “cruell
Inclosiers” alleged was a very powerful one.

 [39] Arthur Young (“Eastern Tour,” Vol. I., p. 54) noticed this in
 1771 in the great pasture closes of Northamptonshire: “All this fine
 grass on so excellent a soil lies all in the broad ridge and furrow.”

Before examining the evidence for and against rural depopulation in
particular parts of England as the result of the extinction of common
fields, it is well to consider the _a priori_ arguments put forward by
Dr. Cunningham.

It is urged, in the first place, that owing to the relatively high
price of corn and low price of wool, there was no motive for lay-down
arable as pasture. Dr. Cunningham seems to ignore the fact that sheep
and cattle produce mutton, beef, milk, butter, cheese, and hides, as
well as wool, and it is by the profit to be derived from all of these
products together, and not from any one of them, that the question of
laying down in pasture will be determined. That laying down arable
in pasture was profitable is indicated by the surprise Arthur Young
expressed in 1768 that landlords did not enclose, and put the land
to grass, on passing through Bedfordshire,[40] and by Adam Smith’s
reference in “The Wealth of Nations” to the exceptional rent commanded
by enclosed pasture.[41] We have, further, the clear statement of the
Board of Agriculture: “Whereas the price of corn from 1760 to 1794
was almost stationary, the products of grass land have risen greatly
throughout nearly the whole of that period.”[42] William Pitt, again,
in a pamphlet published by the Board in 1812 on the “Food Produced from
Arable and Grass Land,” says that through the “increased luxury of the
times more beef and mutton and butter are used than formerly, even by
equal numbers, and consequently more inducement to throw all the best
corn to grass” (p. 35). William Culley adds in a footnote that “In the
Northern Counties more rent per acre is given for ploughing than for
grazing farms ... more rent is given for grazing than for arable farms
in the Southern Counties.” If this was so when famine prices were paid
for wheat, how much more in normal times?

 [40] “Northern Tour,” 2nd. ed., p. 56.

 [41] McCulloch’s ed., p. 69.

 [42] “General Report on Enclosures,” p. 41.

It is said, in the second place, that “the new agriculture gave more
employment to labour than the old.” No doubt such an improvement as the
substitution of well-hoed turnips for a fallow, the sowing of grass
seeds with barley so as to produce a second crop, or feed for cattle
after the barley was carried, both gave increased employment to labour,
and tended to increased prosperity for the labouring as well as other
classes. But these changes, as we have seen, and as Dr. Cunningham
himself points out, might take place independently of enclosure, and
might not follow if enclosure did take place. Whether they usually did
follow upon enclosure is a question that has to be settled by an appeal
to contemporary evidence. In taking this evidence reference must always
be carefully made to the _time_ and the _place_.

The Board of Agriculture’s General Report on Enclosures (1808) quotes
with approval an anonymous pamphlet published in 1772: “The advantages
and disadvantages of enclosing waste lands and common fields,” by “A
Country Gentleman.” This tract appears to be a very able and impartial
attempt to estimate the effects of enclosure on all the classes
interested. The way in which Acts then originated, and the manner in
which proposals were received, is described thus:--

“The landowner, seeing the great increase of rent made by his
neighbour, conceives a desire of following his example; the village
is alarmed; the great farmer dreads an increase of rent, and being
constrained to a system of agriculture which neither his experience nor
his inclination tempt him into; the small farmer, that his farm will
be taken from him and consolidated with the larger; the cottager not
only expects to lose his commons, but the inheritable consequence of
the diminution of labour, the being obliged to quit his native place
in search of work; the inhabitants of the larger towns, a scarcity of
provisions; and the Kingdom in general, the loss of inhabitants” (p. 1).

The general conclusion seems to be that all these anticipations and
fears, with the exception of the last two--a scarcity of provisions for
large towns, and a general loss of inhabitants for the kingdom, are
well founded. With regard to the landowner and tithe-owner:--

“There can be no dispute that it is the landowners’ interest to promote
inclosures; but I verily believe, the improprietor of tithes reaps
the greatest proportional benefit, whilst the small freeholder, from
his expenses increasing inversely to the smallness of his allotment,
undoubtedly receives the least” (p. 25).[43]

 [43] This is badly expressed. He refers to the fact that a small
 allotment is more expensive to fence, proportionally to its size, than
 a large one.

Of the small farmer:--“Indeed I doubt it is too true, he must of
necessity give over farming, and betake himself to labour for the
support of his family” (p. 31).

With regard to the increase or diminution of employment for labourers,
he gives the following statistical table, an estimate based on his

│                           │ Before Enclosure │ After Enclosure │
│      1,000 Acres of       │      gives       │      gives      │
│                           │  Employment to   │  Employment to  │
│ A Rich Arable Land        │   20 families    │    5  families  │
│ B Inferior Arable         │   20    ″        │   16¼    ″      │
│ C Stinted Common Pastures │     ½ a family   │    5     ″      │
│ D Heaths, Wastes, etc.    │     ½     ″      │   16¼    ″      │

It will be seen that his observation is that enclosed arable employs
16¼ families per 1000 acres, open field arable 20 families per 1000
acres; that common pastures, heaths, wastes, etc., employ only 1 family
per 2000 acres; but enclosed pasture employs 5 families per 1000 acres.
It will also be seen that his observation is that after enclosure rich
land becomes pasture, inferior land arable.[44]

 [44] This is in harmony with all other eighteenth century information
 with regard to the Midland Counties. As one example we may cite the
 Vale of Belvoir, the north-eastern corner of Leicestershire. Here, in
 consequence of enclosure, “all the richest land in the vale, formerly
 under tillage, was laid down in grass, but the skirtings of the Vale,
 formerly sheep-walk, were brought into tillage.” The landlord, the
 Duke of Rutland, forbade any land worth more than a guinea per acre to
 be tilled. The enclosure of the twelve parishes in the Vale took place
 between 1766 and 1792. (William Pitt, “Agriculture of Leicestershire,”

With regard to the effect of this on population, he names in one
passage[45] Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire perhaps,
as containing “an infinitely greater proportion of common fields, while
Northumberland, Westmoreland and Yorkshire exceed in moors, heaths
and commons,” and in another he mentions Oxfordshire, Buckingham,
Northamptonshire and part of Leicester as counties in which rich arable
land would be the main subject of an Enclosure Act. A typical parish
in this district might include 1000 acres of rich arable land, 500
acres of inferior arable, 500 acres of stinted common, with no heath or
waste. Before enclosure it would provide employment for 30¼ labouring
families according to the table, after enclosure to 15⅝. If eight such
parishes were enclosed, 117 families would be sent adrift--families
of poor and ignorant labourers, looking for new homes under all the
disabilities and difficulties springing from Acts of Settlement, and a
Poor Law administration based on the assumption that those who wander
from their native place are all that is implied in the words “vagrants”
and “vagabonds.” Not eight, but a hundred and twenty-six Acts for
enclosing common fields were passed for the four counties he names in
the ten years 1762–1772, immediately preceding the publication of this
pamphlet. Assuming the accuracy of the “Country Gentleman’s” statement,
this would mean that some 1800 odd families, comprising about 9000
individuals, would, in consequence of enclosure, be sent adrift in that
short period in the four counties. The quotations given below from
three other authors, indicate that even this was an under-statement.
The process continued without intermission for many years afterwards.

 [45] Page 43.

A specially interesting tract, published in 1786, entitled “Thoughts
on Inclosures, by a Country Farmer,” gives a detailed account of the
results of one case of enclosure. The locality is not named, but it is
pretty clear that it was within this Midland country in which enclosure
was attended by the conversion of arable to pasture.

On the general question the writer says:--“To obtain an Act of
Parliament to inclose a common field, two witnesses are produced, to
swear that the lands thereof, in their present state, are not worth
occupying, though at the same time they are lands of the best soil in
the kingdom, and produce corn in the greatest abundance, and of the
best quality. And by inclosing such lands, they are generally prevented
from producing any corn at all, as the landowner converts twenty small
farms into about four large ones, and at the same time the tenants
of those large farms are tied down in their leases not to plough any
of the premises, so lett to farm,[46] by which means of several hundred
villages, that forty years ago contained between four and five hundred
inhabitants, very few will now be found to exceed eighty, and some not
half that number; nay some contain only one poor decripid man or woman,
housed by the occupiers of lands who live in another parish, to prevent
them being obliged to pay towards the support of the poor who live in
the next parish” (p. 2).

The profit of enclosing, he maintains, was dependent upon simultaneous
conversion into pasture, for “In some places the lands inclosed do
not answer the ends of pasturage, and in that case tillage is still to
be pursued; because the rents cannot be raised so high as in respect
of pasturage, therefore the landowner has not the advantage as in case
the land turns out fit for pasturage, and is oftener the loser by that
proceeding than the gainer.”[46]

 [46] Arthur Young (“Eastern Tour,” 1771, p. 96) remarks that in
 Leicestershire “Landlords in general will not allow an inch to be
 ploughed on grazing farms.”

The particular enclosure he cites is that of a parish enclosed about
forty years previously. Before enclosure it contained eighty-two
houses, of which twenty were small farms and forty-two were cottages
with common rights. It had 1800 acres of common field arable, 200
acres of rich common cow pasture, and 200 acres of meadow, commonable
after hay harvest. The common pasture fed two hundred milch cows and
sixty dry ones till hay harvest, at which time they were turned into
the meadows, and their place taken by about one hundred horses. Twelve
hundred sheep were fed on the stubbles.

The gross produce of the parish before enclosure he values as follows:--

                                                         £   _s. d._

  1,100 quarters of wheat at 28_s._ per quarter        1,540  0  0
  1,200 quarters of barley at 16_s._ per quarter         960  0  0
  900 quarters of beans at 15_s._ per quarter            675  0  0
  250 todds of wool at 16_s._ per todd                   200  0  0
  600 lambs at 10_s._ each                               300  0  0
  5,000 lbs. of cheese at 1½_d._ per lb.               31  5  0
  6,000 lbs. of butter at 5_d._ per lb.                  125  0  0
  100 calves at 20_s._ each                              100  0  0
  150 pigs at 12_s._ each                                 90  0  0
  Poultry and eggs                                        80  0  0
                                                      £4,101  5  0

The quantities estimated are eminently reasonable, and in harmony with
other statements available with regard to the produce of the common
fields of the Midlands; the prices also are clearly not over-stated.

As the result of enclosure the twenty farms were consolidated into
four, the whole area was devoted to grazing, sixty cottages were pulled
down or otherwise disappeared, and the necessary work was done by four
herds (one for each farm) at £25 a year each, board included, and eight
maidservants at £18 a year each, board included.

The gross produce of the parish after enclosure was:--

                             £  _s. d._
  Fat beasts                960  0  0
  Sheep and lambs           760  0  0
  Calves                    165  0  0
  Wool                      235  0  0
  Butter                    190  0  0
  Cheese                    100  0  0
  Horses                    250  0  0
                         £2,660  0  0

But while the gross produce was thus reduced by about one-third, the
gross rent was raised from £1137 17_s._ 0_d._ to £1801 12_s._ 2_d._[47]

 [47] According to the “Country Gentleman’s” calculations, the gross
 produce of the 1800 acres of common field and 200 acres of common
 pasture would be before enclosure £1419 8_s._, and after, £3000,
 which agrees very closely with the “Country Farmer’s” statement, the
 absolute amounts being greater, the ratio between them practically

Though unfortunately the parish is not identified, and the witness
is anonymous, the whole statement appears to have been carefully and
exactly made. In this case we have no fewer than sixty families of
small farmers or agricultural labourers expelled from their homes in a
single parish of about 2300 acres.

An even more striking example of local depopulation caused by enclosure
is supplied by the Rev. John Howlett, one of the strongest advocates of
enclosure. He quotes from a private correspondent: “As to Inclosure,
I can mention two villages in this County (Leicestershire) within two
miles of each other, Wistow and Foston,[48] which formerly contained
thirty-four or thirty-five dwellings, but by enclosure Foston is
reduced to three habitations: the parsonage house accommodates one
family, and the two other buildings are occupied by shepherds, who
manage the stock for their different renters, as the whole of the
parish belongs to one person. And as to Wistow, the thirty-four
mansions have vanished in a very few years, and no dwelling remains
but the late Sir Charles Halford’s hall house, who owns the lordship;
and these are called improvements, for double or treble rents ensue.”
(“Enclosures and Depopulation,” p. 12.)

 [48] Each of these was enclosed without an Act of Parliament.

What became of these farmers and labourers? The “Country Farmer” says:
“Many of the small farmers who have been deprived of their livelihood
have sold their stock-in-trade and have raised from £50 to £100, with
which they have procured themselves, their families, and money, a
passage to America.”

John Wedge, the Board of Agriculture reporter for Warwick, says seven
years later: “About forty years ago the southern and eastern parts of
this county consisted mostly of open fields. There are still about
50,000 acres of open field land, which in a few years will probably
all be inclosed.... These lands being now grazed want much fewer
hands to manage them than they did in the former open state. Upon all
enclosures of open fields the farms have generally been made much
larger; from these causes the hardy yeomanry of country villages
have been driven for employment to Birmingham, Coventry, and other
manufacturing towns.”[49] Such information, given by the representative
of an enclosure-advocating corporation, circulated among the members
for correction before final adoption, is unimpeachable evidence for the
particular time and place.

 [49] John Wedge, “Warwickshire” p. 40 (1793).

The rising industries of Birmingham and other Midland towns found
employment, no doubt, for many of the exiles from the villages. On
the whole, the ruling opinion seems to have found all this very
satisfactory. The gross produce of food by these Midland parishes
might be diminished on enclosure, but the net produce, as was shown
by the increase of rent, certainly increased, and an abundant supply
of labour was furnished for those metal working industries which were
of the greatest importance in times of war.[50] When we think of the
horrible sanitary conditions of English towns during the eighteenth
century, of Fielding’s description of the London lodging-houses, of
Colquhoun’s attempts at a statistical account of London thieves, of
Hogarth’s pictures, which interpret for us the meaning of the terrible
fact that right through the eighteenth century the deaths “within the
bills of mortality” regularly far exceeded the births, we feel that
there was another side to the shield, though possibly the sanitary and
social condition of Midland towns was less terrible than that of London.

 [50] 1756–1763, 1775–1784, 1792–1815 were times of war.

The connection between enclosure of common fields and rising poor
rates in the eighteenth century is illustrated repeatedly in Eden’s
“Condition of the Poor.”

In Buckinghamshire we find the two neighbouring parishes of Maids
Morton and Winslow. The former contained 30 acres of old enclosure, 60
to 70 acres of commons, and the rest of the parish, about 800 acres,
was common field. The poor-rates in the years 1792 to 1795 were 3_s._
6_d._, 3_s._, 3_s._, 3_s._ 6_d._ There were “several roundsmen.” Wages
were nominally 1_s._ to 1_s._ 2_d._ per day, but piecework was general,
and 1_s._ 3_d._ to 1_s._ 6_d._ was generally earned. The rent of farms
varied from £17 to £90 per farm, and from 18_s._ to 20_s._ per acre.

Winslow contained 1400 acres, and was entirely enclosed in 1744 and
1766. Only 200 acres remained arable. The farms varied from £60 to
£400 per annum each, the wages were 6_s._ to 7_s._ per week, “most of
the labourers are on rounds,” and the poor rates from 1792 to 1795
were 5_s._ 8_d._, 4_s._, 5_s._, and 6_s._ “The rise of the Rates is
chiefly ascribed to the Enclosure of common fields; which it is said
has lessened the number of farms, and from the conversion of arable
into pasture, has much reduced the demand for labourers. An old man of
the parish says, before the enclosures took place, land did not let for
10_s._ per acre.” (Vol. II., pp. 27–33.)

In judging the rise of poor rate, it must not be forgotten that where
the rent rises at the same time as the nominal rate, the sum of money
actually raised for Poor Law purposes is increased in a greater ratio
than the nominal poor rate. If, for example, by enclosure the rental
of a parish is increased 50 per cent., but the poor rate doubled, the
yield of the poor rate is increased threefold. And if a considerable
number of labourers are driven elsewhere, the amount of destitution
produced by the change is far greater even than that indicated by a
threefold increase in the amount of relief given.

The latter side of the process is illustrated in the case of Deddington
in Oxfordshire. Here, “the high rates in this parish are ascribed to
the common field of which the land principally consists; whereas the
neighbouring parishes have been enclosed many years, and many small
farms in them have been consolidated; so that many small farmers
with little capitals have been obliged, either to turn labourers or
to procure small farms in Deddington, or other parishes that possess
common fields. Besides this, the neighbouring parishes are, many of
them, possessed by a few individuals, who are cautious in permitting
new comers to obtain a settlement.” (Vol. II., p. 891.)

In Leicestershire the complaint is naturally more loud and general. In
the account of Kibworth Beauchamp we read as follows:--

“No account of the Rates in any of the divisions, previous to the
enclosure of the common fields, can be obtained; but it is said that
they were not one-third of what they are at present; and the people
attribute the rise to the enclosures; for they say ‘That before the
fields were enclosed, they were solely applied to the production of
corn; that the poor had then plenty of employment in weeding, reaping,
threshing, etc., and could also collect a great quantity of corn by
gleaning; but that the fields being now in pasturage, the farmers have
little occasion for labourers, and the poor being thereby thrown out
of employment, must of course be employed by the parish.’ There is
some truth in these observations: _one-third or perhaps one-fourth_ of
the number of hands which were required twenty years ago, would now be
sufficient, according to the present system of agriculture, to perform
all the farming work of the parish.”

He adds that if it were not for the fact that many labourers were
getting employment in canal cutting, the rates would be much higher
still, and “the tradesmen, small farmers, and labourers are very loud
in their complaints against those whom they call monopolising farmers
and graziers, an evil which, they say, increases every year.” (Vol.
II., p. 383.)

In Northamptonshire we find the case of Brixworth, enclosed in 1780,
a parish of 3300 acres. Before enclosure it consisted almost entirely
of common fields. At the time of Eden’s writing, sixteen years
later, only one-third remained arable. The expenditure on the poor
in 1776, before the enclosure, was £121 6_s._, in the six years 1787
to 1792 it averaged £325 (Vol. II., p. 529). Again, with regard to local
urban opinion, he notes that “the lands round Kettering are chiefly
open field: they produce rich crops of corn. The people of the town
seem averse to enclosures, which they think will raise the price
of provisions, from these lands being all turned to pasture, when
inclosed, as was the case in Leicestershire, which was a great corn
country, and is now, almost entirely, converted into pasture.”

Arthur Young, a little more than twenty years previously (in “Political
Arithmetic,” published in 1774), while arguing in favour of enclosure
on the depopulation count, makes an admission against it with regard
to pauperism. “Very many of the labouring poor have become chargeable
to their parishes, but this has nothing to do with depopulation; on
the contrary, the constantly seeing such vast sums distributed in this
way, must be an inducement to marriage among all the idle poor--and
certainly has proved so.” (Pp. 75, 76.)

As a general rule it may be said that where after enclosure pasturage
was increased at the expense of tillage, rural depopulation resulted;
where the amount of land under tillage was increased the rural
population increased. Further, that enclosure in the northern and
western parts of England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
increased the area under tillage; that the balance between the
production of bread and meat for the whole country, so disturbed, was
maintained by the conversion into pasture, on enclosure, of much of the
“champion” corn growing land, particularly in those midland counties
nearest to the northern and western ones in which the complementary
change was taking place. By means of the Enclosure Acts, interpreted by
the light of the above statements, we can trace these two compensating
movements through the eighteenth century.

The following passage in Arthur Young’s “Political Arithmetic,”
published in 1774, at the time, that is, when he was an eager advocate
not only of enclosure of all sorts, but also of the engrossing of farms
and the raising of rents, sums up the two movements:--

“The fact is this: in the central counties of the kingdom,
particularly Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, and parts of Warwick,
Huntingdonshire, and Buckinghamshire, there have been within thirty
years large tracts of the open field arable under that vile course,
1. fallow, 2. wheat, 3. spring corn, inclosed and laid down to grass,
being much more suited to the wetness of the soil than corn.” Here
he admits local depopulation takes place, though he claims that a
greater _net_ produce is, as the result of enclosure, supplied by
such districts to the rest of the kingdom. But then, he asks with
regard to the opponents of such enclosure, “What will they say to the
inclosures in _Norfolk_, _Suffolk_, _Nottinghamshire_, _Derbyshire_,
_Lincolnshire_, _Yorkshire_ and all the northern counties? What say
they to the sands of _Norfolk, Suffolk and Nottinghamshire_, which
yield corn and mutton from _the force of INCLOSURE alone_? What say
they to the Wolds of _York_ and _Lincoln_, which from barren heaths at
1_s._ per acre, are _by INCLOSURE alone_ rendered profitable farms?
Ask _Sir Cecil Wray_ if without Inclosure he could advance his heaths
by sainfoine from 1_s._ to 20_s._ an acre:--What say they to the vast
tracts in the peak of Derby which _by INCLOSURE alone_ are changed
from black regions of ling to fertile fields covered with cattle? What
say they to the improvements of moors in the northern counties, where
INCLOSURES alone have made these countries smile with culture which
before were black as night?”

He then proceeds to ridicule the view of his opponents, that the
enclosure of waste, though desirable in itself, should as far as
possible be so conducted as to create small farms and small properties,
a view with which in later years, and after his tour in France, he very
much sympathised. Into the merits of this controversy we need not go;
what we have to note here is Arthur Young’s evidence to the fact that
from about 1744 to 1774 there was simultaneously proceeding a rapid
enclosure of waste in Norfolk, Suffolk, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire,
Yorkshire, and Lincolnshire and the northern counties, by which
the acreage under tillage was vastly increased, and a compensating
enclosure of arable common fields in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire,
Warwickshire, Huntingdonshire and Buckinghamshire, involving the
conversion of arable to pasture, of small farms into much larger ones,
and of the peasantry into urban labourers.

It only remains to be added that the former movement, if it was on
at all as great a scale as Arthur Young gives us to understand (and
I don’t see why one should doubt this) must have proceeded largely,
if not mainly, without the intervention of Parliament. This is in the
first place antecedently probable. Secondly, whereas between 1727
and 1774 there were 273 common field parishes enclosed by Acts of
Parliament in the five counties of Northamptonshire, Leicestershire,
Warwick, Huntingdonshire and Buckinghamshire, the commons, fens,
moors, etc., attached to only 109 parishes in Norfolk, Suffolk,
Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Durham and
Northumberland were so enclosed. Unless the area of about 100,000 acres
thus enclosed in these 109 parishes was merely a fraction of the total
area of waste enclosed by all sorts of methods in this latter group of
counties, Arthur Young was misleading his readers, for he certainly
intends to give the impression that the enclosure of arable fields
in the Midlands was on a much smaller scale than the reclamation of
heaths, moors and fens in the northern and eastern counties. Thirdly,
with regard to Norfolk, Arthur Young specifies enclosure without
Acts of Parliament as one of the causes of the great agricultural
improvement in parts of Norfolk (“Eastern Tour,” 1771, Vol. II., p.
150):--“From forty to sixty years ago, all the Northern and Western and
a great part of the Eastern tracts of the country were sheep-walks, let
so low as from 6_d._ to 1_s._ 6_d._ and 2_s._ an acre. Much of it was
in this condition only thirty years ago. The great improvements have
been made by reason of the following circumstances:--(1) By inclosing
without assistance of Parliament.”

Six other reasons follow, then the remark: “Parliamentary enclosures
are scarcely ever so complete and general as in Norfolk,” _i.e._, as
the enclosures without the assistance of Parliament in Norfolk. I have
only been able to find eleven Acts of Enclosure for Norfolk before
1771; seven of these were for the enclosure of common field parishes,
and four for the enclosure of waste. In other words, the Parliamentary
enclosure of these sheep-walks at the time when Arthur Young wrote had
proceeded to a merely trifling extent.

We have, then, by Arthur Young’s confession, in the five counties of
Northampton, Leicester, Warwick, Huntingdon, and Buckingham enclosure
admittedly accompanied by decay of tillage and rural depopulation.
From “A Country Gentleman’s” list we can add Oxfordshire and parts of
Lincolnshire. That the same prevailing economic motive operated in
Bedfordshire can be shown from Arthur Young’s “Tour through the North
of England.” The country in June, 1768, from St. Neots to Kimbolton
was in general open--“the open fields let at 7_s._ and 7_s._ 6_d._ per
acre, and the _inclosed pastures_ about 17_s._ Hence we find a profit
of 10_s._ an acre _by inclosing and laying to grass_.” He might here
ask, as he does with regard to the district in Buckinghamshire between
Aylesbury and Buckingham, which he found in 1771 in the condition of
open field arable, under a course of fallow, wheat, beans, fallow,
barley, beans. “As to the landlords, what in the name of wonder can
be the reason of their not inclosing! All this vale would make as fine
meadows as any in the world.”

As for Gloucestershire, William Marshall (“Rural Economy of
Gloucestershire,” 1789, p. 21), estimates the rents in the Vale of
Evesham at 10_s._ to 15_s._ per acre for common field arable, 10_s._
to 20_s._ per acre for enclosed arable, and 20_s._ to 50_s._ per acre
for enclosed pasture. Here again there can be no doubt that enclosure
implied laying down at least all the good land in grass.

A Select Committee of the House of Commons appointed to consider the
high prices of food in December, 1800 (1800 and 1801 being famine
years), made enquiry, by the help of the parish clergy, into the
increase or decrease of land under different crops, and of cattle,
sheep, and pigs in the districts which had been enclosed in the
previous 45 years by private Acts (_i.e._, since 1755). The total
result showed a net gain in area under wheat in 1,767,651 acres
enclosed of 10,625 acres; the area under wheat being before enclosure
155,572 acres; after, 165,837 acres. But these figures included all
sorts of enclosure. The Board of Agriculture (“Gen. Report,” pp. 39 and
232), by leaving out cases where waste only was enclosed, obtained the
following result for cases of enclosure of all commonable lands, under
Acts passed between 1761 and 1799, in parishes where commonable arable
was included. Taking the counties in groups we have:--

│                    │     Wheat Acreage     │     Wheat Acreage     │
│                    │       Increased       │       Decreased       │
│      ----          ├───────────┬───────────┼───────────┬───────────┤
│                    │ in Cases. │ by Acres. │ in Cases. │ by Acres. │
│ MIDLAND COUNTIES.  │           │           │           │           │
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ Rutland            │      0    │       --  │       10  │       596 │
│ Warwick            │      2    │        93 │       30  │     2,871 │
│ Leicester          │     11    │       453 │       63  │     4,340 │
│ Northampton        │     11    │       450 │       75  │     7,016 │
│ Nottingham         │     14    │       923 │       28  │     1,823 │
│ Oxford             │      8    │       285 │       11  │       508 │
│ Buckingham         │      6    │       161 │       32  │     3,085 │
│ Bedford            │      7    │       668 │       23  │     1,801 │
│                    ├───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┤
│      Total         │     59    │      3033 │      262  │  22,036   │
│                    ╞═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╡
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ EASTERN COUNTIES.  │           │           │           │           │
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ Norfolk            │     8     │       627 │     1     │        10 │
│ Suffolk            │     3     │       150 │     0     │           │
│ Huntingdon         │     7     │       469 │     9     │       530 │
│ Cambridge          │     7     │       895 │     2     │       184 │
│ Essex              │     1     │        40 │     0     │           │
│ Hertford           │     3     │       174 │     1     │         7 │
│                    ├───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┤
│      Total         │    29     │     2,355 │    13     │       731 │
│                    ╞═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╡
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ NORTHERN COUNTIES. │           │           │           │           │
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ Northumberland     │     2     │        80 │     1     │        93 │
│ Durham             │     1     │        20 │     2     │       172 │
│ Yorkshire          │    40     │     3,411 │    22     │     1,991 │
│ Lincoln            │    48     │     2,422 │    41     │     2,843 │
│ Derby              │     3     │        60 │    10     │       345 │
│                    ├───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┤
│      Total         │    94     │     5,993 │    76     │     5,444 │
│                    ╞═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╡
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ SOUTHERN COUNTIES. │           │           │           │           │
│ (South of Thames). │           │           │           │           │
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ Berkshire          │     5     │       312 │     3     │       249 │
│ Wiltshire          │    12     │       884 │    11     │       528 │
│ Hampshire          │     6     │       256 │     2     │        90 │
│ Dorset             │     4     │       105 │     5     │       177 │
│ Somerset           │     1     │        50 │     1     │        33 │
│ Sussex             │     1     │       180 │     0     │           │
│                    ├───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┤
│      Total         │    29     │     1,787 │    22     │     1,077 │
│                    ╞═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╡
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ WESTERN COUNTIES.  │           │           │           │           │
│                    │           │           │           │           │
│ Gloucester         │    17     │       948 │    20     │       988 │
│ Hereford           │     1     │        40 │           │           │
│ Shropshire         │     2     │       115 │           │           │
│ Staffordshire      │    --     │       --  │     1     │       300 │
│ Worcester          │     9     │       345 │     3     │       155 │
│      Total         │    29     │     1,448 │    24     │     1,343 │
│                    ╞═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╪═══════════╡
│      GRAND TOTAL   │   239     │    14,507 │   407     │    30,894 │
│                    ╘═══════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╡

In estimating the significance of these figures it must be borne
in mind that the figures for acreage in wheat after enclosure were
collected at a time of famine prices for wheat. Probably many thousands
of acres of old arable common field, which had been enclosed and laid
down in grass, in each of these counties, were again ploughed under the
stimulus of wheat prices exceeding 100_s._ per quarter.

So much with regard to the connexion between depopulation and enclosure
in the second half of the eighteenth century. With regard to the first
half, the following account is supplied by a certain John Cowper,
“Inclosing Commons and Common field lands is contrary to the interest
of the Nation” (1732):--

“When these commons come to be inclosed and converted into pasture, the
Ruin of the Poor is a natural consequence; they being bought out by the
lord of the _Manor_, or some other person of substance.

“In most open field parishes there are at a medium 40 farmers and 80
cottagers who hold their lands in common, and have right of commonage
one with another. Suppose each person employs 6 labourers, we have in
all 660 persons, men, women and children, who besides their Employment
in Husbandry, carry on large branches of the Woollen and Linnen

With regard to the plea that hedging and ditching will employ many
hands, he says: “This is so contrary to constant experience, that it
hardly deserves to be taken notice of. I myself, within these 30 years
past, have seen above 20 Lordships or Parishes inclosed, and everyone
of them has been in a manner depopulated. If we take all the inclosed
Parishes one with another, we shall find hardly ten inhabitants
remaining, where there were an hundred before Inclosures were made.
And in some parishes 120 families of Farmers and Cottagers, have in a
few years been reduced to four, to two, aye, and sometimes to but one
family. And if this practice of inclosing continues much longer, we may
expect to see all the great estates ingrossed by a few Hands, and the
industrious Farmers and Cottagers almost intirely rooted out of the
kingdom. Raising Hedges and sinking ditches may indeed employ several
hands for a year, or hardly so long, but when that is once over, the
work is at an end.... Owners of inclosed Lands, if they have but a
little corn to get in, are already forced to send several miles to open
field parishes for Harvest men.”

Six open field farms, averaging 150 acres each, and the little holdings
of twelve cottagers, would be let together, after enclosure, as one
grazing farm, and the total rent thus be raised from £300 to £600.
But whereas one acre of arable land would previously have produced 20
bushels at 3_s._ per bushel, a gross return of £3; after enclosure it
would contribute to the fattening of a bullock to the extent of 25_s._
The gross produce is decreased; but the net produce is increased. Of
the £3 produced by the acre of common field under wheat, 50_s._ would
go in expenses, leaving 6_s._ 8_d._ to the landlord and 3_s._ 4_d._
to the tenant. Of the 25_s._ produced by the same acre enclosed under
grass, 13_s._ 4_d._ would go to the landlord, 11_s._ 8_d._ to the

It is interesting in passing to note the association of common field
agriculture with manufacture in the domestic stage indicated by this

We have also direct evidence of the same movements in the seventeenth
century. On the one hand Walter Blyth (“The English Improver,” 1649,
p. 40) has the passage:--“Consider but the Woodlands, who before
Enclosure, were wont to be relieved by the Fieldon, with corne of all
sorts. And now growne as gallant Corne Countries as be in England,
as the Western part of Warwickshire, and the northern parts of
Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and
all the countries thereabouts.” On the other hand, from the controversy
between the two John Moores on the one hand, and Joseph Lee and an
anonymous controversialist on the other, we can pick out certain
statements of matters of fact that passed uncontradicted.

This controversy arose out of the enclosure of Catthorp, a parish
in the extreme south-west corner of Leicestershire, bordering on
Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. Lee was the parish priest of
Catthorp, and a party to the enclosure. In his “Vindication of
Regulated Inclosure,” he gives a list of fifteen parishes within three
miles of Catthorp which had been enclosed. He also gives a list of
nineteen parishes, enclosed from twenty to fifty years, in which
depopulation had not yet taken place. This second list, as John Moore
remarks, “they were forced to fish up out of the counties of Leicester,
Warwick, Northampton, etc.,” and it is significant that two only of
the fifteen parishes enclosed near Catthorp are asserted by Lee not to
have been attended by depopulation. If we go a little earlier we find
in 1607 an insurrection against enclosures, followed by a searching
enquiry by James I.’s government, and no doubt by renewed vigilance,
for a while, in the enforcement of the Depopulation Acts. It may be
regarded as axiomatic that in a corn-growing country,[51] enclosure
which does not diminish tillage, does not provoke riot and insurrection.

 [51] Riots may occur on the enclosure of waste, where the enclosed
 waste gave a livelihood to a considerable specialised population,
 as in Hatfield Chase and the Fens. See Dr. Cunningham’s “Growth of
 English Industry and Commerce,” Vol. II., pp. 187, 188.

While, however, enclosure which does not diminish the land under
tillage does not, as a rule, cause rural depopulation, it is a rule
not altogether without exception. One of the most striking passages in
Cobbett’s “Rural Rides” is that written in August, 1826, in which he
describes the valley of the Wiltshire Avon:--

“It is manifest enough, that the population of this valley was, at
one time, many times over what it is now; for, in the first place,
what were the twenty-nine churches built for? The population of the
twenty-nine parishes is now but little more than one-half of the
single parish of Kensington,[52] and there are several of the churches
bigger than the church at Kensington.... In three instances, Fifield,
Milston, and Roach-Fen, the _church porches_ would hold all the
inhabitants, even down to the bedridden and the babies. What then,
will any man believe that these churches were built for such little
knots of people?... But, in fact, you plainly see all the traces of
a great ancient population. The churches were almost all large, and
built in the best manner. Many of them are very fine edifices; very
costly in the building; and, in the cases where the body of the church
has been altered in the repairing of it, so as to make it smaller, the
tower, which everywhere defies the hostility of time, shows you what
the church must formerly have been.... There are now no less than nine
of the parishes out of the twenty-nine, that have either no parsonage
houses or have such as are in such a state that a parson will not,
or cannot, live in them.... The land remains, and the crops and the
sheep come as abundantly as ever; but they are now sent almost wholly
away.... In the distance of about thirty miles, there stood fifty
mansion houses. Where are they now? I believe there are but eight,
that are at all worthy of the name of mansion houses.... In taking my
leave of this beautiful vale I have to express my deep shame, as an
Englishman, at beholding the general extreme poverty of those who cause
this vale to produce such quantities of food and raiment. This is, I
verily believe it, the worst-used labouring population upon the face of
the earth.”[53]

 [52] Just above he states it at 9,116.

 [53] “Rural Rides,” 1830 edition, pp. 375–390.

When Cobbett wrote, the process of Enclosure for this corner of
Wiltshire was practically complete. Thomas Davis, whose account of the
agriculture of Wiltshire is the most interesting of the whole series
of county surveys, wrote when the process was in its early stage, and
wrote predicting depopulation. He says, “The greater part of this
country was formerly, and at no very remote period, in the hands of
great proprietors. Almost every manor had its resident lord, who held
part of the lands in demesne, and granted out the rest by copy or
lease to under tenants, usually for three lives renewable. A state of
commonage, and particularly of open common fields, was particularly
favourable to this tenure.... The north-west of Wiltshire being much
better adapted to inclosures and to sub-division of property, than the
rest, was inclosed first; while the south-east, or Down district, has
undergone few inclosures and still fewer sub-divisions.”[54]

 [54] Thos. Davis, Wiltshire, p. 8.

The common field system was called “tenantry.”[55] The tenants
ordinarily were occupiers of single “yardlands,” rented at about £20
a year each. A typical yardland consisted,[56] besides the homestead,
of 2 acres of meadow, 18 acres in the arable fields, usually in 18 to
20 pieces, a right on the common meadows, common fields, and downs
for forty sheep, and as many cattle as the tenant could winter with
the fodder he grew.[57] His forty sheep were kept with those of his
neighbours, in the common flock of the manor, in charge of the common
shepherd. They were taken every day to the downs, and brought back
every night to be folded on the arable fields, the usual rule being
to fold one thousand sheep on a “tenantry” acre (but ¾ of a statute
acre) per night. In breeding sheep regard was had to what may be termed
folding quality (_i.e._, the propensity to drop manure only after being
folded at night) as much as to quality or quantity of wool or meat.[58]

 [55] _Ibid._, p. 14.

 [56] Contrast with such farms those described by Cobbett 30 years
 later: “At one farm 27 ricks, at another 400 acres of wheat stubble in
 one piece, at a third a sheepfold about 4,000 sheep and lambs, at a
 fourth 300 hogs in one stubble, a fifth farm at Milton had 600 qrs. of
 wheat, 1,200 qrs. of barley of the year’s crop, and kept on an average
 1,400 sheep” (pp. 363, 4, 5). “The farms are all large” (p. 361).

 [57] _Ibid._, p. 15.

 [58] _Ibid._, p. 61.

On the enclosure of such a manor the common flock was broken up, and
the position of the small farmer became untenable. It is true, says our
author, that he has the convenience of having his arable land in fewer
pieces; but if he has his 18 acres all in one piece instead of in 20,
he cannot plough them with fewer than the three horses he previously
ploughed with. Then he has no enclosure to put his horses in; he no
longer has the common to turn them on. His right on the down would
entitle him to an allotment of sheepdown of about 20 acres, perhaps
two miles from home. This is too small for him to be able to take it
up, so he accepts instead an increase of arable land. But now he has
no down on which to feed his sheep, no common shepherd to take charge
of his sheep, which are too few to enable him individually to employ a
shepherd. He, therefore, must part with his flock and then has no sheep
to manure his land; further, having no cow-common, and very little
pasture land, he cannot keep cows to make dung with his straw. Lastly,
the arable land being in general entirely unsuited to turn to grass,
he is prevented from enclosing his allotment, and laying it down in
pasture.[59] Obviously in such circumstances the small farmer, after
for a few years raising diminishing crops from his impoverished arable
land, must succumb, and in some cases help as a labourer to till his
fields for another man, in other cases drift to the towns or enlist.

 [59] _Ibid._, p. 80.

The contemporaneous decay of rural manufacturing industry,[60] of
course, greatly aggravated the depopulating effects of enclosure. It
may even have precipitated enclosure by weakening the position of the
small farmer during the period of the French wars: during a time,
that is, in which a combination of causes, apart from enclosure,
was favouring the extension of large farms at the expense of small

 [60] “The villages down this Valley of Avon, and indeed, it was
 the same in almost every part of this county, and in the North and
 West of Hampshire also, used to have great employment for the women
 and children in the carding and spinning of wool for the making of
 broadcloth. This was a very general employment for the women and
 girls, but it is now wholly gone.” (Cobbett, “Rural Rides,” p. 385,
 1830 edition, written August, 1826.)

 [61] These causes were (_a_) the great fluctuations in prices of
 agricultural produce; (_b_) the custom of using poor relief as a
 supplement to agricultural wages. The way in which these operated is
 ably dealt with by Dr. Cunningham.

In the south-east of Wiltshire, then, enclosure was followed by no
increase of pasture farming, but it was followed by local depopulation.
Whether the depopulation was merely local, or national as well, would
depend upon whether, after enclosure, the total production of food of
the parish were increased or diminished. Thomas Davis tells us that in
many cases it was diminished, the reason, no doubt, being that there
was a lack of farmers with sufficient enterprise and control of capital
to absorb the small farms, as their occupiers began to drift towards
bankruptcy. That such a result as this was felt to be an impending
danger is shown by his statement:--“In some late inclosures allotments
of arable land to small farmers have been set out adjoining to each
other, directing the same to remain in an uninclosed state with a
common right of sheep-feed over the whole, and a common allotment of
down land and another of water-meadows, and some inclosed pasture to
each if necessary.”

In this district, consisting of open downs, stretching for miles
along the summits and higher slopes of the chalk hills; intersected
by winding rivers bordered by flat alluvial land of naturally rich
pasture, but converted by irrigation into the famous Wiltshire water
meadows, the long lower slopes of the hills, as it were, decreed by
nature to be noble corn fields, cultivation had to be on a large scale;
the unit of cultivation had to be a piece of land of reasonable width,
stretching from the river to the summit of the downs. Hence small farms
could not exist without some degree of organised mutual help. When that
organisation, which in this district was furnished by the common field
system, was terminated by Enclosure Acts, consolidation of farms became

Nowhere else are these conditions present in quite so fully developed
a degree as in Wiltshire, which contains the central hub from which
radiate the three great belts of chalk down, the South Downs, the North
Downs, and the range containing the Chilterns, the chalk hills of
Hertfordshire, the Gog-Magogs of Cambridgeshire, and their continuation
into Norfolk. But the most essential feature of Wiltshire agriculture,
viz., the combination of sheep down and arable field, may be said to
be characteristic of all this country. This is the country from which
in the sixteenth century came the great indignant outcry against
enclosure, which in More’s “Utopia” enters into the classic literature
of our country. When it is remembered that the economic motive of
enclosure then was the high price of wool, that private individuals
are stated to have owned flocks of ten thousand, twenty thousand, and
even of twenty-four thousand sheep[62], it is easy to conceive of whole
parishes being converted into great sheep runs.

 [62] Preamble to 25 Henry VIII. c. 13.



    “The Poor at Enclosure do Grutch
        Because of abuses that fall.”

    TUSSER, “Champion and Several.”

During the nineteenth century the controversy with regard to enclosure
did not turn upon the question whether it did or did not injure
the mass of the rural poor of the locality, in their capacity of
agricultural labourers, by depriving them of employment; but whether
it injured them by depriving them without compensation of rights which
they had enjoyed before enclosure, but which could not be legally
established; and whether poor owners of common rights have received
compensation: the question, in fact, whether the poor are justified
in “Grutching at Enclosure,” because of real abuses in the method of
carrying it out. On this question no distinction need be drawn between
the two classes of Enclosure Acts.

I do not think that much complaint can be made with regard to the
administration of the Enclosure Acts since 1876 by the Board of
Agriculture. By the provision of adequate allotment grounds and
recreation grounds compensation is made to those villagers who can
claim no specific rights of common; and though no doubt many of the
owners of single common rights are dissatisfied with the plots of land
assigned to them, there seems to be no reason for doubting that the
Commissioners appointed have endeavoured to deal with rich and poor
with equal fairness. Further, a great deal of the work of the Board
in its capacity of Enclosure Commissioners has been the regulation of
commons; and to a certain degree they have become a body for preserving
instead of destroying commons. They may even be described as the most
potent force for the preservation of existing common-fields, simply by
insisting on a certain method in the division and allotment, which may
be too expensive.

But this verdict of “Not guilty” only applies to the enclosure
authority since it was chastened and corrected by the movement for
the preservation of commons. All the early reports of the Enclosure
Commissioners, or the Enclosure, Tithe and Copyhold Commissioners
give abundant evidence of the hard, legal spirit in which the
claims of cottagers were considered, and the slight reasons which
were considered good enough for refusing recreation grounds and
allotments. The twenty-seventh annual report--the _apologia_ of the
Commissioners--pleads, as we have seen above, that 8,000,000 acres of
commons, and 1,000,000 acres of commonable arable fields or meadows
still existed, which was absurdly inaccurate, and that “of all modes
of tenure in a fully peopled country there is none more prejudicial
to improved culture than that of holding in common.” Again, the
thirty-second report makes a great deal of the fact that the 590,000
acres of common and commonable land dealt with since the Act of 1845
had been distributed among 26,000 separate owners; which, however,
only proved that the number of people who owned rights over unenclosed
land had been greater than the number of owners of a corresponding
area of enclosed land--but whether that was because commons and common
fields favoured the creation or preservation of small properties (as
it certainly does in many cases), or whether because a multiplicity of
owners favours the preservation of commons and common fields (which is
always the case), no credit was due to the General Enclosure Act, or to
the body administering it.

We find that between 1845 and 1875, out of a total area of 590,000
acres divided and allotted, just 1758 acres were set aside for
recreation grounds, and 2195 acres for field gardens and allotments.
The administration of the Act since 1877 is, therefore, a very severe
condemnation of its administration in the earlier period.

We have seen in the case of Ewelme and the neighbouring parishes, how
the cottagers were injured on enclosure, by losing their source of
fuel, without getting any compensation. I am indebted to Mr. John Swain
for the following description of the effects of enclosure of a Welsh

“The parish of ----, in the county of Montgomeryshire, is about five
miles long by two miles broad. It consists for the most part of a hill,
lying between a river and one of its tributaries. The hill rises to
about 900 feet above sea level, and contains no unenclosed land. We
have, therefore, in this parish, two strips of low-lying meadow land,
land of a moderate quality on the hill slopes, and rough pasture land
near the summit. On this hill most of the cottage holdings are to be
found, usually in some sheltered hollow near a spring or a running

“Previous to the Enclosure Act, passed early in the nineteenth century,
the greater part of the hill was open. The farms occupied the bottom
lands, and the foot of the hill, up which they crept, their boundary
fences forming an irregular line on the hillside, being higher or lower
as the nature and quality of the land tempted enclosure. The unenclosed
portion of the hill was used as a common pasture by all the farmers
whose land adjoined it, and the amount of stock each one was allowed to
feed on it was roughly regulated by the size of his holding.

“About 120 years ago a number of the poorer peasantry began settling on
this common land. There was a general understanding that if a house was
raised during the night so that the builders were able to cause smoke
to issue from the chimney by sunrise, they thereby established a right
of possession which none could gainsay. Timber in the neighbouring
woods was abundant and cheap, so an intending squatter had little
difficulty in procuring the material for building his cottage. With the
help of his friends he procured sufficient wood for the framework, and
then selected a convenient site in a sheltered spot with a southern
aspect, and marked down the foundations of his future dwelling. When
all preparations were made he gathered together all the help he could,
and in the dusk of the evening had all his materials conveyed to the
selected spot. Rough stonework was laid to form the foundations and
chimney end of the cottage, and then the framework was quickly set
up. The panels were interwoven with stout laths, and covered with
clay, over which was smeared a coating of lime-plaster, while a roof of
thatch completed the edifice. Windows were not for a time considered
necessary, but the entrance was carefully secured by a stout door. Then
just as the dawn was breaking, a fire was kindled on the hearth, and
the curl of smoke above the rude chimney told the workers that they
could now relax their efforts....

“A dwelling-house having been erected, the next step was to appropriate
a few acres of land surrounding it.... The difficulty of obtaining
sufficient land for the keep of a cow was no more than the labour of
enclosing and reclaiming it.

“In this way some thirty or forty families were settled in cottages
built by themselves, around which were three or four fields, where for
many years they lived in undisturbed possession. By patient labour the
gorse and fern were got rid of, trees were planted round the cottage,
or allowed to grow where they sprang up in suitable places in the
hedgerows; by cultivation and manuring the herbage was improved.

“With the Enclosure Act there came a disturbance of this state of
affairs. The partition of the unappropriated land seems to have been
carried out fairly, by adding to each farm a quantity of land in
proportion to the amount of pasturage the occupier enjoyed on the
common.... When, however, we come to consider the case of the cottager,
his treatment was by no means fair. Enclosures of over twenty-one
years’ standing were not interfered with, and their owners were left
in undisturbed possession, but such as had been enclosed for a shorter
period were claimed by the Lord of the Manor, who lived some twelve
miles away, and possessed little or no land in the parish. He advanced
his claim cautiously, asking only a nominal rent, and as unlettered
peasants felt the inequality of a contest in the matter, this rent
was paid. Consequently more than half the cottage holdings fell into
his hands, and the poor occupiers were deprived of the ownership of
the dwellings they had erected, and of all the improvements they had
put into the land they had enclosed. None of them had to leave their
holdings, and the rent at first charged was trifling; but except in
cases where life-leases were granted, the cottagers had lost all their
rights, and they and their holdings were left entirely in the hands of
a large landowner.”

The Enclosure Act, of course, prevented the creation of any more
cottage holdings. The fertility of the soil in these small holdings,
Mr. Swain says, is enormously greater than that of the land, naturally
similar, on the other side of the hedge. Usually the cottager gets a
neighbouring farmer to plough half an acre of his holding for him,
paying for this service in labour at harvest time; and keeps the rest,
except the garden plot, under grass. The average size of the holding
is about six acres; which is found sufficient for two cows, a heifer,
a calf, several pigs, thirty fowls, and a dozen ducks. The produce
supplies all the vegetables, fruit, milk, butter, eggs and bacon
consumed by the family, and brings in the following money returns, on
Mr. Swain’s calculations:--

                                                             £  s. d.
  One cow and one calf sold per annum (the
    other calf being reared to replace the
    cow sold)                                               14  0  0

  Six pounds of butter per week, at 1_s._ per lb.           15 12  0

  1 pig, sold at a net profit of                             2 10  0

  20 fowls                                                   2  5  0

  400 eggs (allowing 600 for home consumption)               1  8  0
                                                           £35 15  0

As Mr. Swain writes from an intimate personal knowledge, I have no
hesitation in accepting his statement as approximately accurate.

The injury to the cottagers does not end with the prevention of the
creation of fresh holdings, and the transfer of the ownership of most
of those already existing to the lord of the manor. For the landlord,
managing his estate in the ordinary way, through the intermediaries of
steward and agent, is almost invariably led into merging such small
holdings into larger farms, in spite of the high rents which would
often be gladly paid.

It will be seen that these two cases are in the nature of things
typical. Similar hardships may be regarded as the almost inevitable
effect of any enclosure which included any considerable quantity of
waste land; and if the enclosure is necessary or highly desirable,
some compensating advantages ought to be provided for the inhabitants
as such. The smallness of such provision between 1845 and 1875 is very
significant. And it makes one seriously doubt whether in their zeal for
furthering improved culture, the Commissioners were as considerate as
was desirable to the cottager who had a legal common right. But on that
point we can apply no statistical test.

If we turn from enclosures since 1845 to enclosures before, we have
a verdict from the old Board of Agriculture in its General Report
on Enclosures published in 1808, which, so far as it is biassed, is
biassed entirely in favour of enclosure. It says: “The benefit (of
enclosure) in this case (to the poor) is by no means unmixed.”

The loss of fuel is declared to be the chief injury; and besides, “In
some cases many cows had been kept without a legal right, and nothing
had been given for the practice.”

“In other cases, where allotments were assigned, the cottagers could
not pay the expense of the measure, and were forced to sell their

“In others they kept cows by right of hiring their cottages, or common
rights, and the land going, of course, to their proprietor, was added
to the farms, and the poor sold their cows. This is a very common

 [63] “General Report on Enclosures,” pp. 12, 13.

The results are given of an investigation into the results of
sixty-eight Enclosure Acts, chiefly in the Eastern Counties; testimony
having been obtained from the clergy and others considered to be
impartial witnesses. In fifteen cases it is asserted that the poor were
not injured by the enclosure; in fifty-three cases that they were. The
general tenour of the statement in these cases is to the effect that
the condition of the poor has become very much worse, that they have
lost all their cows,[64] and they no longer are able to buy milk for
their children. Here are a few of the more striking descriptions:--

 [64] This is specifically asserted in 17 cases.

Ackworth, Yorkshire. The parish belonged to near 200 owners; nearly the
whole of whom have come to the parish since the enclosure, or changed
the quantity of their lands.

Todenham, Gloucester. Nothing increased but the poor. Eight farmhouses
filled with them.

Tingewick, Bucks. Milk to be had at 1_d._ a quart before; not to be had
now at any rate.

Passenham, Northamptonshire. (The poor) deprived of their cows, and
great sufferers by the loss of their hogs.

Tulvy, Bedfordshire. Cows lessened from 110 to 40.

Letcomb, Berkshire. The poor can no longer keep a cow, and they are
therefore now maintained by the parish.[65]

 [65] “General Report on Enclosures,” pp. 150–152.

Alconbury, Huntingdon. (1791, c. 70.) Several who kept cows before
were, upon enclosure, forced to part with them, and have kept none
since. The cottage allotments going to the landlords were thrown
together, and the inhabitants left without cows or land. Those who had
allotments given in lieu of their rights, not being able to enclose
them,[66] were forced to sell, and became as the rest in this respect.
Before enclosure milk could readily be bought, poor people could lay
out a half-penny or a penny every day, but nothing of the sort could be
got since.[67]

 [66] Because of the expense.

 [67] “General Report,” p. 154.

With regard to Buckingham in general, we have the following statement
from a later survey for the Board of the County:--

“The poor and persons with little capital (such as butchers, common
shepherds, etc.) derive benefit from open fields and commons, by being
enabled to keep horses, cows, and sheep.... It will be difficult to
prove that in any case the poor have been benefited (by enclosure).
No instances of benefit on this score have been stated to me. On the
contrary, an increase of poor (_i.e._, of paupers) has been the general

Similar evidence is given by two professional Enclosure Commissioners.
Mr. Forster, of Norwich, “lamented that he had been accessory to
injuring 2000 poor people, at the rate of twenty families per parish.
Numbers in the practice of feeding the commons cannot prove their
right; and many, indeed most who have allotments, have not more than
one acre, which being insufficient for the man’s cow, both the cow
and land are usually sold to opulent farmers. The right sold before
the allotment produced much less than the allotment after it, but the
money is dissipated, doing them no good when they cannot vest it in

 [68] “General Report,” p. 157.

Mr. Ewen, another Commissioner, “observed that in most of the
enclosures he has known the poor man’s allotment and cow are sold
five times in six before the award is signed.” A third Commissioner,
Mr. Algar, declared that he made it a practice to give an allotment
whenever a cottager could merely prove that he had been in the practice
of cutting turf. But one wonders whether Mr. Algar did not find this
custom of his prejudicial to the demand for his professional services.

In estimating the weight of this evidence, both as to depopulation
and as to injury to the poor, it must be borne in mind that it is
taken almost entirely from the mouths of advocates, and mostly very
enthusiastic advocates, of enclosure. They are admissions of men
who feel that the general case in favour of enclosure is so strong
that they may well candidly admit the existence of some drawbacks.
Of course, some advocates of enclosure are not disposed to make any
admissions at all. Many urge the moral evils engendered by waste
lands, as: “Where wastes and commons are most extensive, there I have
perceived the Cottagers are the most wretched and worthless; accustomed
to relie on a precarious and vagabond subsistence from land in a
state of nature, when that fails they recur to pilfering, and thereby
become a nuisance to their honest and industrious neighbours; and if
the father of a family of this sort is withdrawn from society for his
crimes, his children become burthensome to the parish. It may truly be
said that for cottagers of this description the game is preserved, and
by them destroyed; they are mostly beneath the law and out of reach
of detection; and while they can earn four or five shillings, and
sometimes more, in a night, by poaching, they will not be satisfied
with 10_d._ or 1_s._ a day for honest labour.”[69] A not unusual style
of argument is the following:--

 [69] D. Walker, “Hertfordshire” (1794), p. 53.

“To deprive the poor of that benefit, which, in their present state,
they derive from the waste lands, must no doubt, at first view, sound
harsh. But it ought to be remembered that in this wealthy county, where
there is so much work to be done, and so few hands comparatively to
do it, there are few poor that do not deserve to be so. Those persons
who are disqualified to provide for the calls of human nature by the
feebleness of infancy, the crushing hand of disease, or the infirmities
of old age, cannot be said to be poor, because _all_ the landed
property, situate within their respective parishes, is always liable to
be charged with their maintenance.”[70]

 [70] John Clark, “Hereford” (1794), p. 27.

After reading of the good fortune of these Herefordshire labourers,
so much in demand in a wealthy county that the benefits derived from
wastes and commons are of little concern to them, one naturally
inquires, what were their wages? Day labourers earned in summer, “6_s._
a week and a gallon of drink to each man”;[71] in winter, 5_s._ a week
and three quarts; in harvest, 14_d._ a day and meat and drink: the
hours of labour being in harvest time and in winter as early and as
late as they could see; in summer, not harvest, from 6 to 6. Leaving
out the cider, this works out at a penny an hour, and a penny in 1794
would not buy very much more of the ultimate necessaries of life in
Herefordshire than it will to-day.

 [71] _Ibid._, p. 29. “Drink” of course means cider.

There seems, underlying John Clark’s words, a notion that if any injury
is done to the poor by enclosure, proper and sufficient compensation
will be made in the ordinary course to the persons injured out of the
poor-rates. The logical deduction is that the profits of enclosure
should contribute to the poor-rates, and I have noted thirteen
enclosures of wastes and commons in which this was done. Another
logical deduction was that the poor rate in parishes in which waste was
enclosed was, in part at least, a species of common property belonging
to the poor; and to deprive them of this property was robbery, unless
the commons were restored. This view was vigorously expressed by
Cobbett in his “Political Register,” at the time of the introduction of
the Poor Law of 1834, and from him became part of the traditional stock
of political ideas handed down through the Chartists to the Labour
movement of recent times.

Arthur Young, in a pamphlet published in 1801,[72] not only insists
upon the injury to the poor from Enclosure Acts as ordinarily drawn and
put into execution, but pleads for enclosure on methods which would
tend to the social elevation of the labourer. His proposals, which
strike one as, for the time, wise and statesmanlike, though they ignore
some considerations which would be of great importance to-day, were:

(1) That in the case of small commons in the midst of an enclosed
country, labourers should be allowed to absorb the whole by gradual
encroachments, thus building up small properties for themselves.

(2) In the case of extensive wastes, procedure must be by Act of
Parliament, but all Acts should secure enough land for every cottager
to keep a cow both summer and winter, such land to be _inalienable from
the cottage, and the ownership to be vested in the parish_.

 [72] “Enquiry into the propriety of applying wastes to the better
 support and nourishment of the poor.”

I have found one Act which realises Arthur Young’s ideal of an
Enclosure Act. It was passed in 1824 for Pottern in Wiltshire, and
though it was an Act for the enclosure of a common only, no commonable
meadow or common field being included, I give its provisions here on
account of its intrinsic interest.

The ownership of the whole common was vested in the Bishop of
Salisbury, who was lord of the manor, the vicar and churchwardens,
in trust for the parish. The trustees were required to lease it in
small holdings, with or without rent, to poor, honest, and industrious
persons, who had not, except in cases of accident or illness, availed
themselves of Poor Law relief.

The following Acts, all (except that for Earsham) for “extinguishing
village communities,” _i.e._, for enclosing all the commonable lands
of the parishes or townships, which in each case include commonable
arable fields, have special provisions to safeguard the interests of
the poor:--

1757, c. 53. Wimeswould, Leicestershire. Cottagers who have no land are
to have a share together within one fence, which they may afterwards
separately enclose if they like. This is specially interesting as
anticipating the modern practice of providing allotments for such

1767, c. 49. Carlton in Lindrick, Nottingham. Three acres (out of a
total of 2492 acres) are to be set aside for building cottages for the
benefit of the poor.

1779, c. 89. Evenley or Bury Manor, Northampton. Lands to the value of
£10 per annum (out of £1200) are to be set aside for the most deserving
poor not receiving poor-relief.

1785, c. 56. Eight parishes in Wiltshire enclosed by one Act. Not more
than ten acres in each parish is to be set aside, free of taxes, for
fuel for the poor.

1805, c. 19. Palling, Norfolk. One-twentieth of the whole area is to be
vested in the lord of the manor, vicar, and overseers, in trust for the
poor, for common of pasture and fuel.

1807, c. 18. Herringswell, Suffolk. An allotment is to be made for fuel
for the poor.

1809, c. 7. Barton Turf, Norfolk. Thirty acres is to be reserved for
common for the poor.

1810, c. 55. Great Sheepey, Leicestershire. _Every cottage to have not
less than 3 acres allotted to it._

1812, c. 3. Little Brandon, Norfolk. Ten acres to be set aside for the
benefit of the poor, partly to be used as common for fuel, or to be
leased to pay for fuel; another part to provide a common pasture for
the poor inhabitants; while the _remainder_ (how much? one wonders)
was to be leased in aid of the poor-rates.

1812, c. 17. Earsham, Norfolk. Five acres to be set aside to be leased
to buy fuel for the poor.

Also in the Acts for Northwold, Norfolk (1796, c. 14), Lower Wilbraham,
Cambridge (1797, c. 89), and Barnady, Suffolk, allotments were made
inalienable from the cottages for which they were assigned. At
Northwold land capable of supplying annually 12,000 turves per annum
was reserved as a common turbary for the poorer owners of common

 [73] I must here refer to the extraordinary Act by which Pickering
 Moor (Yorkshire, West Riding) was enclosed in 1785 and divided equally
 among all owners of common rights, the poorest cottager owning an
 ancient cottage getting as much as the largest landowner. Before
 enclosure the yeomen of Pickering had pastured such animals on the
 moor as they could provide with winter keep. The great tithes were
 rented by an enterprising lessee, who conceived the idea of parcelling
 the moor into small farms which would grow corn and yield tithes. In
 spite of the disinclination of the yeomen to any change, he procured
 the passing of an Enclosure Act, in which it was declared that the
 moor was equally the property of all ancient cottages and messuages,
 and was required to be divided equally among the owners of all of
 these. A peculiar clause in the Act enacted that no part of the moor
 should be “deemed barren in respect of tithes.” The larger yeomen
 felt themselves to be cheated, and were very indignant, but through
 inertness and lack of co-operation they failed to take steps to
 prevent the Act being executed. This they presumably might have done
 by an appeal to Quarter Sessions.

This list of Acts containing special provisions for the benefit of the
poor is not a complete one, but if it were it would not, I believe,
include more than one per cent. of the Enclosure Acts passed prior
to 1845. Arthur Young did not over-state the case when he wrote: “By
nineteen Enclosure Acts out of twenty, the poor are injured, in some
grossly injured.... The poor in these parishes may say, and with truth,
_Parliament may be tender of property, all I know is, I had a cow, and
an Act of Parliament has taken it from me_.”[74]

 [74] “Enquiry into the propriety of applying wastes to the better
 support and maintenance of the poor,” 1801, p. 42.



That the poor were not always the only sufferers from an Enclosure Act,
is shown by the account given by the General Report on Enclosures of
the way in which farmers were affected. After referring to the idea
that opposition from farmers is usually to be ascribed to ignorant
prejudice, the report proceeds:--

“In many instances they have suffered considerably for four, five,
or six years. From the first starting the project of an Enclosure Act
to the final award, has, in numerous cases, taken two, three, four,
and even five or six years; their management is deranged; not knowing
where their future lands will be allotted, they save all their dung
till much of it is good for little; they perform all the operations of
tillage with inferior attention; perhaps the fields are cross-cropped
and exhausted, and not well recovered under a course of years. Rents
are greatly raised and too soon; so that if they do not absolutely lose
five years they at least suffer a great check. In point of profit,
comparing the old with the new system, attention must be paid to their
capitals; open field land is managed (notwithstanding the inconvenience
of its pieces) usually with a less capital than enclosures; and though
the _general_ profit of the latter exceeds that of the former, yet this
will entirely depend on the capital being adequate. In cases where the
new enclosures are laid down to grass, all this becomes of tenfold
force; to stock rich grass lands demands a far greater sum than open
field arable; the farmer may not possess it; this has often happened,
and drove them to seek other investments, giving way to new-comers more
able to undertake the new system introduced; and if profit be measured
by a percentage on the capital employed, the old system might, at the
old rents, exceed the profits of the new; and this is certainly the
farmers’ view of the comparison. He also who had given the attention
of a life to the regular routine of open field arable, without 10
acres of grass ever having been in his occupation, may find himself
much at a loss in the regular purchase and sale of live stock, the
profit of which depends so much on habitual skill. Add to all this the
previous circumstance of laying down to grass, the business of all
others of which farmers know the least, of which I have many times
seen in new enclosures striking instances; and if all these points be
duly considered, we shall not find much reason to be surprised at the
repugnance shown by many farmers to the idea of enclosing.” (Pp. 31,

While the whole of this description of the ordeal that the farmers had
to pass through is interesting, the point I desire here to emphasize
is the need of a larger capital after enclosure. Those who had the
requisite skill, knowledge, energy and capital survived the crisis;
they were able to take up the farms which their weaker neighbours
were compelled to relinquish; to send, in almost every case, a larger
_surplus_ of food from the lands of the parish to maintain the state
and power of England, and to pay higher rents. In perhaps the majority
of cases they raised a larger gross produce, and provided maintenance
and employment for a larger population than before. In some cases even
(though these were rare exceptions) the labouring population gained
in material prosperity as well as in numbers. But in any case the
relationship between employer and employed was notably altered.

In the open field village the entirely landless labourer was scarcely
to be found. The division of holdings into numerous scattered pieces,
many of which were of minute size, made it easy for a labourer to
obtain what were in effect allotments in the common fields. If he had
no holding, he still might have a common right; if no acknowledged
common right, he might enjoy the advantage of one in a greater or less
degree. From the poorest labourer to the richest farmer, there was,
in the typical open field village, a gradation of rank. There was no
perceptible social gap between the cottager who worked the greater part
of his time for others, and for the smaller part of his time on his own
holding, who is therefore properly termed a labourer, and his neighbour
who reversed that distribution of time, and is therefore to be deemed a
farmer. It was easy for the efficient or fortunate man to rise on such
a social ladder; equally easy for the inefficient or unlucky to slip

After enclosure the comparatively few surviving farmers, enriched,
elevated intellectually as well as socially by the successful struggle
with a new environment, faced, across a deep social gulf, the labourers
who had now only their labour to depend upon. In the early part of
the nineteenth century, at any rate, it was almost impossible for a
labourer to cross that gulf; on his side the farmer henceforward,
instead of easily becoming a farm labourer if bankrupt, would rather
try his fortune in the growing industrial towns.

Our “Country Farmer” gives us a vivid picture of one side of the social
change (“Thoughts on Enclosure,” p. 21). Of the farmer after enclosure
he says:

“Their entertainments are as expensive as they are elegant, for it is
no uncommon thing for one of these new created farmers to spend ten or
twelve pounds at one entertainment; and to wash down delicate food,
must have the most expensive wines, and these the best of their kind;
and to set off the entertainment in the greatest splendour, an elegant
sideboard of plate is provided in the newest fashion. As to dress
no one that was not personally acquainted with the opulent farmer’s
daughter can distinguish her from the daughter of a Duke by her dress,
both equally wishing to imitate something, but they know not what.

“View the farmer before the land was inclosed, and you will find him
entertaining his friends with a part of a hog of his own feeding, and a
draught of ale brewed from his own malt presented in a brown jug, or a
glass, if it would bear it, which was the utmost of his extravagance:
in those happy days you might view the farmer in a coat of the growth
of his flock; and spun by his industrious wife and daughters, and his
stockings produced from the same quarter of his industry, and his wife
and daughters clad from their own hands of industry and their own

As for the other side of this social change, the labourer’s side, it
seemed so serious an evil to many even of the progressive landlords
and agriculturists who strongly advocated enclosure, that they busied
themselves to find a remedy.

In 1897 the Board of Agriculture drew the attention of its members to a
typical case. Mr. Thomas Bernard communicated an “Account of a Cottage
and Garden near Tadcaster.” The cottager had held two acres of land
and a common right at Poppleton for nine years, and there had lived
comfortably and brought up six children. The enclosure of the parish
turned him adrift, but he prevailed upon a landlord to let him have
a piece of roadside waste for a garden, saying, “I will show you the
_fashions_ on it.” The landlord was so delighted afterwards with the
way in which this garden was cultivated, that he offered the man to let
him have it rent free. Particular attention was directed to the man’s
reply:--“Now, sir, you have a pleasure in seeing my cottage and garden
neat: and why should not other squires have the same pleasure in seeing
the cottages and gardens nice about them? The poor would then be happy
and would love them and the place where they lived; but now every nook
of land is let to the great farmers; and nothing left for the poor but
to go to the parish.” (“Communications to the Board,” Vol. I. p. 404.)

It was by “going to the parish” that the labourer could bring home to
the landlord the idea that the spirit of ambition and self-reliance
fostered by the possession of two acres and a common right was of
value to the nation. The national emergency due to the famine prices
of food during the French War, which produced the complete change in
the spirit of the administration of the Poor Law associated with the
“Speenhamland Act of Parliament,” also forced into public attention the
desirability of both providing agricultural labourers with some other
supplement to their wages, and of encouraging them to avoid pauperism.
We accordingly find the Board of Agriculture offering for 1800 three
gold medals:--

“To the person who shall build on his estate the most cottages for
labouring families, and assign to each a proper portion of land, for
the support of not less than a cow, a hog, and a sufficient garden--the
Gold Medal.”

“To the person who shall produce the most satisfactory account of the
best means of supporting cows on poor land in a method applicable to
cottagers--the Gold Medal,” (doubts having been raised with regard to
the practicability of cottagers keeping cows except on rich soil).

“The Board having received information that the labouring poor of
Rutland and Lincolnshire, having land for one or two cows, and a
sufficiency of potatoes, have not applied, in the present scarcity, for
any poor law relief; and it appearing to be a great national object
to spread so beneficial a system, the Board will give to the person
who shall explain, in the most satisfactory manner, the best means for
rendering this practice as general through the kingdom as circumstances
will admit--the Gold Medal.” (“Communications,” Vol. II.)

Each of these medals was again offered in subsequent years.

The question appears to have been first brought before the Board
of Agriculture by the Earl of Winchilsea, in a conversation at the
Farmers’ Club with Sir John Sinclair, President of the Board, in 1795.
At Sir John Sinclair’s request, the Earl of Winchilsea put his views in
writing, and they were submitted to the Board, in the form of a letter,
dated Jan. 4th, 1796. This letter is a convincing statement in favour
of the case for “three acres and a cow,” and deserves the attention of
politicians of to-day.

Beginning by stating that he has made further enquiries, since the
conversation with Sir John Sinclair, into the practice of agricultural
labourers keeping cows, he continues:--“I am more and more confirmed
in the opinion I have long had, that nothing is so beneficial, both to
them and to the landowners, as their having land to be occupied either
for the keeping of cows, or as gardens, according to circumstances.
By means of these advantages, the labourers and their families live
better, and are consequently more fit to endure labour; and it makes
them more contented, and gives them a sort of independence, which makes
them set a higher value on their character.... When a labourer has
obtained a cow, and land sufficient to maintain her, the first thing he
has thought of has been how he could save money enough to buy another;
... there are from 70 to 80 labourers upon my estate in Rutland, who
keep from 1 to 4 cows each.... I am informed that those who manage
well clear about 20_d._ per week, or £4 6_s._ 8_d._ per ann. by each

 [75] Milk being valued at 1_d._ per quart; it seems clear also that
 what is consumed at home is not included in this calculation.

If the cow died, it was, he says, a great misfortune for the labourer,
but he contrived to beg or borrow the money necessary to obtain another
cow--“I scarcely ever knew a cow-gait given up for want of ability to
obtain a cow, except in the case of old and infirm women.”

He classifies the situation of labourers, in order of felicity, as

(1) Those who have a sufficient quantity of grass enclosed land to
enable them to keep one or more cows winter and summer, and a garden
near their house; a grass field allotted to a certain number being as
advantageous, or nearly so, as separate small enclosures.

(2) Those who have a summer pasture for their cow, and some arable
land, on which they grow the winter provision. This is slightly less
advantageous than (1), because tilling the arable land takes up more

(3) Those who have a right of common for the summer keep of the cow,
and a meadow, or arable ground, or the share of a meadow in common,
for the winter provision. If it were not that commons are usually
over-stocked, this would be equivalent to (1) or (2).

(4) Those who have a right of common, but no cow, and a garden. In this
case geese and pigs can be kept.

(5) Those who have a right of common and no garden. In this case the
value of the right of common depends upon whether fuel is obtained from
the common or not.

(6) Those who have several acres of arable land, and no summer pasture
for a cow. This, he maintains, is of little value, because of the large
expenditure of labour necessary for cultivating the land, but he admits
that many would differ from him on this point.

(7) Those who have a garden near the house.

(8) Those who have no land whatever. “This is a very bad situation for
a labourer to be placed in, both for his comfort and the education of
his children.”

Then he continues, in words which seem in general as true and weighty
now as when written or as at any time within the last hundred
years:--“In countries where it has never been the custom for labourers
to keep cows, it would be very difficult to introduce it; but where
no gardens have been annexed to the cottages it is sufficient to give
the ground, and the labourer is sure to know what to do with it, and
will reap an immediate benefit from it ... there should be as much as
will produce all the garden stuff the family consumes, and enough,
with the addition of a little meal, for a pig. I think they ought to
pay the same rent that a farmer would pay for the land, and no more.
I am persuaded that it frequently happens that a labourer lives in a
house at 20_s._ a year rent, which he is unable to pay, to which, if a
garden of a rood was added, for which he would have to pay five or ten
shillings a year more, that he would be enabled, by the profit he would
derive from the garden, to pay the rent of the house, etc., with great
advantage to himself.

“As I before mentioned, some difficulties may occur in establishing
the custom of labourers keeping cows in those parts of the country
where no such custom has existed; wherever it has or does exist
it ought by all means to be encouraged, and not suffered to fall
into disuse, as has been the case to a great degree in the midland
counties, one of the causes of which I apprehend to be, the dislike
the generality of farmers have to seeing the labourers rent any land.
Perhaps one of their reasons for disliking this is, that the land, if
not occupied by the labourers, would fall to their share; and another,
I am afraid, is, that they rather wish to have the labourers more
dependent upon them, for which reasons they are always desirous of
hiring the house and land occupied by a labourer, under pretence, that
by that means the landlord will be secure of his rent, and that they
will keep the house in repair. This the agents of estates are too apt
to give in to, as they find it much less trouble to meet six than sixty
tenants at a rent day, and by this means avoid the being sometimes
obliged to hear the wants and complaints of the poor.” ... The landlord
naturally yields to this pressure ... “and it is in this manner that
the labourers have been dispossessed of their cow-pastures in various
parts of the midland counties. The moment the farmer obtains his wish,
he takes every particle of the land to himself, and relets the house to
the labourer, who by this means is rendered miserable, the poors rate
increased, the value of the estate to the landlord diminished, and the
house suffered to go to decay.... Whoever travels through the midland
counties, and will take the trouble of enquiring, will generally
receive the answer, that formerly there were a great many cottagers who
kept cows, but that the land is now thrown to the farmers; and if he
enquires still further, he will find that in those parishes the poors
rates have increased in an amazing degree, more than according to the
average rise throughout England.”

Sir John Sinclair,[76] President of the Board of Agriculture, did not
agree that a plot of a few acres of arable land was, by itself, of
little value to the agricultural labourer. He estimates that two cows
can be kept on 3¼ acres of arable land, and that the net produce,
valuing milk at 1_d._ per quart, would amount to £21 per annum, about
as much as the man’s wages. He advocated spade labour, and recommended
that the cottager should rather hire men to dig for him, than get the
land ploughed. In confirmation of this opinion Sir Henry Vavasour
cited an example of a cottager holding 3 acres who kept two cows and
two pigs. The butter alone paid the rent, and the gross produce was
estimated at £54 per annum, exclusive of milk and vegetables consumed
at home.

 [76] “Communications to the Board of Agriculture,” IV., p. 358.

It is of course practically impossible to calculate how much effect
this landowners’ agitation for the policy of “Three acres and a cow”
had on the number of such cottage holdings. Lord Brownlow[77] writes:
“In all open field lordships there have always been pastures in which
the cottagers have had their share of benefit; but the practice
of enabling cottagers to keep cows in inclosed parishes, is in my
neighbourhood rare, and of recent date.” Accounts are sent of cottage
holdings provided by the Earl of Carrington, and of large allotments
provided by Mr. Thomas Estcourt; but I cannot say how extensively their
example was followed.

 [77] “Communications to the Board of Agriculture,” IV., p. 367.

Mr. W. E. Bear’s report to the recent Labour Commission, on the
agricultural labourers of the Southwell Union, contains the
following passage, in which we probably see some fruits of the
Earl of Winchilsea’s movement:--“Small holdings, of three to ten
acres commonly, are let with cottages in a few parishes, and called
‘cottagers.’ This custom appears to be a very old one, dating back far
beyond the time when the term ‘three acres and a cow’ was invented.
In Ossington, Mr. Richardson told me, it was 50 years old or more;
but he said it was falling into disuse. I found some ‘cottagers’ in
Averham, Ossington and Hockerton, and heard of them in another parish
or two. They usually consist of grass land, and are best so, as the
labourer can leave his wife to manage the cow or two kept on them,
and work for wages regularly. In Averham some of these small holdings
have been given up, apparently because they were partly arable, and
occupiers found that they could not keep regular places and also attend
to their land. But where the land is all pasture, they are excellent
institutions, providing families with milk, and adding to the incomes
by means of milk or butter, poultry, eggs and pork sold. These little
holdings are let from £2 10_s._ to £3 an acre, including the cottage”
(par. 51 A).

The same Commissioner found in Leicestershire a system of common
cow-runs for cottagers which also probably dates from the eighteenth
century, being in some way a survival from the common field system. He
describes it as follows:--

“There are cow plots let with cottages in several parishes. Some have
already been referred to as existing on the Earl of Dysart’s estate.
One example is to be found at Saxby, where cow runs of 6 a. 3 r. 12 p.,
each in common, are let with a cottage and garden at £10 per annum. At
Grimston I visited some which are let by Mr. Wright or Mr. Reckitts,
who appear to be somehow connected on the same estate.... Some of
these cow-plots are 3½ acres in extent, and their holders are allowed
to keep only one cow, as three or more of them occupy a pasture in
common, having a portion of their 3½ acres each year to mow and another
portion to feed. The rent, including cottage and garden, is £10. There
are some other cow plots of 8 acres on which two or three cows are
kept, the rent being £15. In these cases, too, the pasture is common
to several holders, each one having a piece to mow, while they run
their cows together on the portion devoted to grazing. As an example of
the advantage which a cow plot may sometimes be to a labourer and his
family, I may mention the case of a widow who has 3½ acres and a very
good cottage for £10 per annum. Last year she had an exceptionally good
cow, and she sold milk at the rate of 6_d._ a gallon, amounting to £15
10_s._, fattening a calf which sold at £4 10_s._; altogether the return
was £20, besides what milk was consumed in the cottage.”

Another probable survival of the Earl of Winchilsea’s movement is thus
described by Mr. Rider Haggard:--

“The system of cottage holdings was introduced about a hundred years
ago on the Burley estate” (Rutlandshire) “and was copied by the late
Lord Tollemache, who was brother-in-law of the late Mr. Finch. It is in
force in the parishes of Burley, Egleton, Hambleton and Greetham. In
1901 there lived in those parishes forty-three small occupiers, whose
acreage varied from 5 acres to 40 acres, the holdings being all grass.
Originally there were many more, the Hambleton cow pasture, which is
102 acres in estate, being divided into 80 cow commons. Some of the
holders occupy two or more small fields, but the general custom has
been for tenants to graze large fields in common, and to have separate
small fields reserved for mowing hay in the winter. In the fields which
are grazed in common, five roods have been taken as sufficient to keep
a cow.” (“Rural England,” Vol. II. p. 260.)



In this table the cross-heading A includes Acts up to and including
the year 1801, in which year a general Act facilitating enclosure
was passed; cross-heading B, Acts from 1802–1845; cross-heading C,
enclosures under the General Enclosure Act of 1845 and subsequent
amending Acts. No Act or enclosure is included unless the enclosure was
partly of arable common field, but in some few cases, as will be seen
from the Appendix giving the chief particulars of each Act, the arable
land formed only a trifling part of the area dealt with.

Where the area enclosed is not stated, and cannot even be approximately
inferred from the wording of the Act, it is estimated on the assumption
that the average area per Act where the area is not stated, is the
same as for Acts relating to the same county where the area affected
is stated, enclosures under the Act of 1845 being left out of account.
This method, I believe, gives more satisfactory results than any other
would; but it must be confessed that in the case of Norfolk the Acts
in which the area is not stated are so many, and those in which it is
stated are so few, that the average obtained is not trustworthy. In
this case I believe the figure arrived at is too large. The counties
are arranged in order of prevalence of Parliamentary enclosures.

│               │ Area stated.│  Area not   │    Total.   │ Percentage │
│               │             │   stated.   │             │ of Area    │
│               ├─────┬───────┼─────┬───────┼─────┬───────┤ of County. │
│               │Acts.│ Acres.│Acts.│ Acres.│Acts.│ Acres.│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ NORTHAMPTON.  │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │ 137 │237,211│   6 │ 10,306│ 143 │247,517│            │
│   ″    B      │  40 │ 66,807│   7 │ 12,023│  47 │ 78,830│            │
│   ″    C      │   3 │  4,704│  -- │   --  │   3 │  4,704│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │ 180 │308,722│  13 │ 22,329│ 193 │331,051│    51·5    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  HUNTINGDON.  │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  30 │ 50,147│   7 │ 11,392│  37 │ 61,539│            │
│   ″    B      │  25 │ 39,364│   2 │  3,255│  27 │ 42,619│            │
│   ″    C      │   3 │  3,855│  -- │   --  │   3 │  3,855│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  58 │ 93,366│   9 │ 14,647│  67 │108,013│    46·5    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   RUTLAND.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  20 │ 33,857│   2 │  3,323│  22 │ 37,180│            │
│   ″    B      │   2 │  2,700│  -- │   --  │   2 │  2,700│            │
│   ″    C      │   6 │  7,344│  -- │   --  │   6 │  7,344│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  28 │ 43,901│   2 │  3,323│  30 │ 47,224│    46·5    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   BEDFORD.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  30 │ 55,470│  13 │ 21,229│  43 │ 76,699│            │
│   ″    B      │  21 │ 27,810│  15 │ 24,495│  36 │ 52,305│            │
│   ″    C      │   5 │  8,309│  -- │   --  │   5 │  8,309│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  56 │ 91,589│  28 │ 45,724│  84 │137,313│    46·0    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   OXFORD.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  54 │ 96,596│  22 │ 35,277│  76 │131,873│            │
│   ″    B      │  20 │ 22,064│  22 │ 35,277│  42 │ 57,341│            │
│   ″    C      │  18 │ 23,578│  -- │   --  │  18 │ 23,578│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  92 │142,238│  44 │ 70,554│ 136 │212,792│    45·6    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  YORKS, EAST  │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    RIDING.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │ 108 │227,009│   6 │ 12,148│ 114 │239,157│            │
│   ″    B      │  25 │ 42,277│   7 │ 14,173│  32 │ 56,450│            │
│   ″    C      │   4 │  5,193│  -- │   --  │   4 │  5,193│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │ 137 │274,479│  13 │ 26,321│ 150 │300,800│    40·1    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  LEICESTER.   │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │ 124 │175,280│   9 │ 12,437│ 133 │187,717│            │
│   ″    B      │  10 │  9,896│   2 │  2,764│  12 │ 12,660│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │ 134 │185,176│  11 │ 15,201│ 145 │200,377│    38·2    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ CAMBRIDGE.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  20 │ 45,230│   3 │  5,789│  23 │ 51,019│            │
│   ″    B      │  21 │ 33,885│  55 │106,128│  76 │140,013│            │
│   ″    C      │   9 │  8,298│  -- │   --  │   9 │  8,298│            │
│    Total      │  50 │ 87,413│  58 │111,917│ 108 │199,330│    36·3    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ BUCKINGHAM.   │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  47 │ 71,323│  23 │ 35,834│  70 │107,157│            │
│   ″    B      │  20 │ 33,090│  10 │ 15,580│  30 │ 48,670│            │
│   ″    C      │   6 │  7,014│  -- │   --  │   6 │  7,014│            │
│    Total      │  73 │111,427│  33 │ 51,414│ 106 │162,841│    34·2    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ NOTTINGHAM.   │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  64 │112,880│  18 │ 29,217│  82 │142,097│            │
│   ″    B      │  17 │ 18,596│   7 │ 11,362│  24 │ 29,958│            │
│   ″    C      │   3 │  3,269│  -- │   --  │   3 │  3,269│            │
│    Total      │  84 │134,745│  25 │ 40,579│ 109 │175,324│    32·5    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ NORFOLK.      │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  28 │ 71,904│  36 │ 76,066│  64 │147,970│            │
│   ″    B      │  16 │ 21,966│ 114 │240,877│ 130 │262,843│            │
│   ″    C      │   6 │ 12,173│  -- │   --  │   6 │ 12,173│            │
│    Total      │  50 │106,043│ 150 │316,943│ 200 │422,986│    32·3    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ LINCOLN.      │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │ 175 │354,048│  15 │ 29,240│ 190 │383,288│            │
│   ″    B      │  53 │ 90,398│  11 │ 21,443│  64 │111,841│            │
│   ″    C      │   2 │  1,331│  -- │   --  │   2 │  1,331│            │
│    Total      │ 230 │445,777│  26 │ 50,683│ 256 │496,450│    29·3    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ BERKSHIRE.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  12 │ 13,651│  23 │ 28,980│  35 │ 42,631│            │
│   ″    B      │  33 │ 42,652│  20 │ 25,200│  53 │ 67,852│            │
│   ″    C      │  10 │  9,119│  -- │   --  │  10 │  9,119│            │
│    Total      │  55 │ 65,422│  43 │ 54,180│  98 │119,602│    26·0    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  WARWICK.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  85 │116,919│   6 │  7,909│  91 │124,828│            │
│   ″    B      │  12 │ 10,950│   8 │ 10,546│  20 │ 21,496│            │
│   ″    C      │   3 │  3,235│  -- │   --  │   3 │  3,235│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │ 100 │131,104│  14 │ 18,455│ 114 │149,559│    25·0    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  WILTSHIRE.   │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  18 │ 30,949│  47 │ 80,211│  65 │111,160│            │
│   ″    B      │  27 │ 45,849│  30 │ 51,199│  57 │ 97,048│            │
│   ″    C      │   6 │  3,925│  -- │   --  │   6 │  3,925│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  51 │ 80,723│  77 │131,410│ 128 │212,133│    24·1    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  GLOUCESTER.  │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  53 │ 78,645│  30 │ 37,724│  83 │116,369│            │
│   ″ B         │  18 │ 20,616│  30 │ 37,724│  48 │ 58,340│            │
│   ″ C         │  11 │  4,419│  -- │   --  │  11 │  4,419│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  82 │103,680│  60 │ 75,448│ 142 │179,128│    22·5    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  MIDDLESEX.   │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   5 │ 11,854│   3 │  4,114│   8 │ 15,968│            │
│   ″    B      │  12 │ 12,251│   5 │  6,913│  17 │ 19,164│            │
│   ″    C      │   1 │    625│  -- │   --  │   1 │    625│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  18 │ 24,730│   8 │ 11,027│  26 │ 35,757│    19·7    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  WORCESTER.   │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  29 │ 36,942│  10 │ 11,317│  39 │ 48,259│            │
│   ″    B      │   9 │  6,066│  24 │ 27,161│  33 │ 33,227│            │
│   ″    C      │   7 │  4,009│  -- │   --  │   7 │  4,009│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  45 │ 46,017│  34 │ 38,478│  79 │ 85,495│    16·5    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   DERBY.      │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  37 │ 45,028│   9 │ 13,312│  46 │ 58,340│            │
│   ″    B      │  25 │ 46,675│  -- │   --  │  25 │ 46,675│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  62 │ 91,703│   9 │ 13,312│  71 │105,015│    15·9    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  HERTFORD.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  11 │ 20,524│   4 │  6,103│  15 │ 26,627│            │
│   ″    B      │   8 │  8,464│   5 │  7,628│  13 │ 16,092│            │
│   ″    C      │  17 │ 10,775│  -- │   --  │  17 │ 10,775│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  36 │ 39,763│   9 │ 13,731│  45 │ 53,494│    13·1    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  YORKS, WEST  │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   RIDING.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  67 │ 82,389│  17 │ 23,736│  84 │106,125│            │
│   ″    B      │  55 │ 88,453│   7 │  9,774│  62 │ 98,227│            │
│   ″    C      │   4 │  2,102│  -- │   --  │   4 │  2,102│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │ 126 │172,944│  24 │ 33,510│ 150 │206,454│    11·6    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   DORSET.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   9 │ 13,704│   8 │  8,533│  17 │ 22,237│            │
│   ″    B      │  23 │ 20,426│   8 │  8,532│  31 │ 28,958│            │
│   ″    C      │   6 │  3,786│  -- │   --  │   6 │  3,786│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  38 │ 37,916│  16 │ 17,065│  54 │ 54,981│     8·7    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   SUFFOLK.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   4 │  6,400│   6 │  9,876│  10 │ 16,276│            │
│   ″    B      │  14 │ 13,356│  24 │ 39,505│  38 │ 52,861│            │
│   ″    C      │   5 │  2,450│  -- │   --  │   5 │  2,450│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  23 │ 22,206│  30 │ 49,381│  53 │ 71,587│    7·5     │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ HAMPSHIRE.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  12 │ 15,459│  23 │ 25,649│  35 │ 41,108│            │
│   ″    B      │  13 │ 12,856│   8 │ 10,664│  21 │ 23,520│            │
│   ″    C      │   4 │  1,512│  -- │   --  │   4 │  1,512│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  29 │ 29,827│  31 │ 36,313│  60 │ 66,140│    6·4     │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   SURREY.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   4 │  5,140│   2 │  2,562│   6 │  7,702│            │
│   ″    B      │  11 │ 14,078│   5 │  6,406│  16 │ 20,484│            │
│   ″    C      │   5 │  2,796│  -- │   --  │   5 │  2,796│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  20 │ 22,014│   7 │  8,968│  27 │ 30,982│     6·4    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ YORKS, NORTH  │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   RIDING.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  24 │ 33,257│   9 │ 15,279│  33 │ 48,536│            │
│   ″    B      │  14 │ 31,171│   3 │  5,093│  17 │ 36,264│            │
│   ″    C      │   2 │  1,034│  -- │   --  │   2 │  1,034│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  40 │ 65,462│  12 │ 20,372│  52 │ 85,834│     6·3    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  HEREFORD.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   5 │  3,920│   1 │    708│   6 │  4,628│            │
│   ″    B      │   6 │  3,870│  14 │  9,915│  20 │ 13,785│            │
│   ″    C      │   3 │    378│  -- │   --  │   3 │    378│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  14 │  8,168│  15 │ 10,623│  29 │ 18,791│     3·6    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  SOMERSET.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  12 │ 16,225│   3 │  2,644│  15 │ 18,869│            │
│   ″    B      │  23 │ 14,623│   4 │  3,525│  27 │ 18,148│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  35 │ 30,848│   7 │  6,169│  42 │ 37,017│     3·5    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  STAFFORD.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  10 │ 10,924│   1 │    996│  11 │ 11,920│            │
│   ″    B      │   7 │  6,001│   3 │  2,987│  10 │  8,988│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  17 │ 16,925│   4 │  3,983│  21 │ 20,908│    2·8     │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    ESSEX.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   4 │  6,551│  -- │   --  │   4 │  6,551│            │
│   ″    B      │   4 │  6,190│   3 │  4,777│   7 │ 10,967│            │
│   ″    C      │  10 │  4,652│  -- │   --  │  10 │  4,652│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  18 │ 17,393│   3 │  4,777│  21 │ 22,170│     2·2    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   SUSSEX.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   1 │  1,400│  -- │   --  │   1 │  1,400│            │
│   ″    B      │  18 │ 13,537│   4 │  3,145│  22 │ 16,682│            │
│   ″    C      │   2 │    248│  -- │   --  │   2 │    248│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │  21 │ 15,185│   4 │  3,145│  25 │ 18,330│     1·9    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│NORTHUMBERLAND.│     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   4 │  9,657│  -- │   --  │   4 │  9,657│            │
│   ″    B      │   4 │ 12,691│  -- │   --  │   4 │ 12,691│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │   8 │ 22,348│  -- │   --  │   8 │ 22,348│     1·7    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  CUMBERLAND.  │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   1 │  4,000│   1 │  2,175│   2 │  6,175│            │
│   ″    B      │   3 │  4,700│  -- │   --  │   3 │  4,700│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │   4 │  8,700│   1 │  2,175│   5 │ 10,875│     1·1    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│   DURHAM.     │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   5 │  4,437│  -- │   --  │   5 │  4,437│            │
│   ″    B      │   1 │    200│  -- │   --  │   1 │    200│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │    -- │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │   6 │  4,637│  -- │   --  │   6 │  4,637│     0·7    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ WESTMORELAND. │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│   ″    B      │   4 │  3,237│  -- │   --  │   4 │  3,237│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │  --   │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │   4 │  3,237│  -- │   --  │   2 │  3,237│     0·6    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  CHESHIRE.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│   ″    B      │   2 │  3,326│  -- │   --  │   2 │  3,326│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │   2 │  3,326│  -- │   --  │   2 │  3,326│     0·5    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│  MONMOUTH.    │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   1 │    780│  -- │   --  │   1 │    780│            │
│   ″    B      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│   ″    C      │   3 │    513│  -- │   --  │   3 │    513│            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │   4 │  1,293│  -- │   --  │   4 │  1,293│     0·4    │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ SHROPSHIRE.   │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│ Period A      │   3 │  1,670│  -- │   --  │   3 │  1,670│            │
│   ″    B      │   2 │  1,140│  -- │   --  │   2 │  1,140│            │
│   ″    C      │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │  -- │   --  │            │
│               │     │       │     │       │     │       │            │
│    Total      │   5 │  2,810│  -- │   --  │   5 │  2,810│     0·3    │

Lancashire, Kent, Devon and Cornwall have no Acts for Enclosure of
Common Fields.



On the map of England, in Chapter VII., enclosures of common field
parishes by Act of Parliament before the General Enclosure Act of 1801
are shaded vertically, such enclosures from 1802 to 1845 are dotted,
and subsequent enclosures under the General Enclosure Act of 1845 are
black. In other words, all the shaded area represents the area of
parishes which had arable common fields up to the year 1700, all the
dotted and black area represents the area of parishes which had arable
common fields up to 1801, and all the black area represents the area of
parishes which had arable common fields up to 1845.

What about the area which is not shaded at all?

An inspection of the map yields certain striking results.

In the first place, we see that the shaded districts lie in a broad
band across England from north-east to south-west, from the East Riding
of Yorkshire to Dorset and the east part of Somerset.

Secondly, we see that there is a perfectly sharp line of demarcation
between the shaded and the non-shaded area, running through Suffolk,
Essex, passing through London, and along the border between Surrey
and Kent. This line becomes indefinite as it passes through the Weald
of Surrey and Sussex, but its termination can be traced in the part
of Sussex which lies on the southern slope of the South Downs. In the
white area to the south-east of this line there are but two shaded
patches--the parishes of Iken and Orford, in Suffolk, situated close
together, in the peninsula formed by the estuaries of the rivers Alde
and Deben.

Thirdly, we can trace an equally sharp line of demarcation between the
shaded and the non-shaded area in the south-west, running from the
Bristol to the English Channel, across Somerset and Dorset. South-west
of this line there is no shaded patch--_i.e._, there is no case of
common field enclosed by Act of Parliament.

Fourthly, on the north-west side of the shaded belt, towards Wales and
Scotland, there is no sharp line of demarcation between the shaded and
the non-shaded area, but as one travels further and further from the
central axis of the shaded area to the north-west, the shaded patches
become sparser and sparser; but still some shaded patches are to be
found in every English county on this side of the shaded belt, except

Fifthly, it is to be noticed that along the central axis of the shaded
belt the vertical shading--indicating enclosure by Act of Parliament
in the eighteenth century--greatly predominates, and most of all the
shading is overwhelmingly vertical in the very centre of the shaded
area. Dotted and black patches, indicating Parliamentary enclosure
in the nineteenth century, and particularly black, indicating the
latest group of Parliamentary enclosures, show more prominently in the
edges or fringes of the coloured area. In other words, when the great
movement of Parliamentary Enclosure began in the eighteenth century,
its chief field was the very centre of the district over which it
ultimately spread.

It is obvious that there must be certain broad historical reasons for
these striking facts. The map, in fact, presents to us a series of
definite puzzles for solution.

1. How and when was the south-eastern corner of England enclosed?

2. How and when was the south-western corner enclosed?

3. How and when was the great district in the north-west, in which
Parliamentary enclosure is the exception, enclosed?

4. How and when were the numerous parishes within what we may call the
Parliamentary Enclosure belt, which escaped Parliamentary enclosure,

And lastly, there is the question which sums these up, and presents the
problem on the other side--

5. Why were special Acts of Parliament necessary for the enclosure
of some three thousand of the English parishes, in the geographical
position indicated by the map?

And it is important that it should be clearly understood that this is
the more natural way of putting the question, because the surprising
fact is not that the common field system should gradually and quietly
disappear in parish A, but that it should persist in parish B, until
ended by the very expensive and troublesome measure of a special Act of

In order to proceed as far as possible from the known to the unknown,
we will first consider the various methods of common field enclosure
operating within the belt of Parliamentary Enclosure of common fields.
But before beginning this enquiry, attention may be drawn to a ray
of light which the map throws upon the social history of England in
the Tudor period. The reader of the history of that period is tempted
to suppose that the districts from which the greatest complaints,
and still more riots and insurrections, arose against enclosures,
were those in which enclosure was proceeding most rapidly. Now, the
most formidable of these popular agitations began in the reign of
Edward VI. in Somersetshire, and spread northwards and eastwards,
growing in intensity, till it reached its climax in Ket’s rebellion
in Norfolk.[78] The earlier complaints also come from counties within
the Parliamentary Enclosure belt--Oxford, Buckingham, Wiltshire and
others. The map suggests that a possible interpretation of these
popular movements is, that an industrial and economic change involving
normally the enclosure of common fields was in the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries gradually spreading over the southern and midland
counties; that in some parts it met with little or no resistance; but
that in other parts popular resistance was roused to some features
of this change, including the enclosure of arable fields, and that
popular resistance was in a very great degree successful in causing
the postponement of such enclosure. Briefly, a special outcry against
enclosure in a particular locality shows, not necessarily that
enclosure was proceeding with special rapidity there, but possibly that
there it was specially obnoxious; and being there specially obnoxious,
proceeded more slowly than elsewhere.

 [78] “Can it be denied that the fyrst rysynge this yeare was in
 Somersetshire, ffrom Somersetshire it entred into Gloucettershire,
 Wylshire, hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Worcestershire, Essex,
 hertfordshire, and dyuers other places?” (John Hale’s Defence,
 “The Commonweal of this Realm of England,” Miss Lamond’s edition,
 p. lviii.) This is to prove that the rising was not caused by the
 Enclosure Commission of 1549. The Commissioners were sent to Oxford,
 Berkshire, Warwick, Leicester, Buckingham, and Northampton.


But to return to our own subject. We have shown that enclosure by
Act of Parliament was greatly to the landlord’s interest; but it is
perfectly obvious that the landlord’s interest was much more served by
an enclosure without all the expense, loss of time, labour and anxiety
involved in Parliamentary proceedings. Obviously, therefore, if one
landlord could acquire all the open and commonable land in the parish,
he would enclose without an Act of Parliament. The only difficulty
in his way would be in arranging leases so that they should all fall
in simultaneously, or, failing this, in overcoming the resistance of
any tenant whose lease gave him the power of resisting, if he were
unwilling to agree. We have noticed that even in recent years the
common fields of Yelden in Bedfordshire have disappeared in this way;
that the Duchy of Cornwall in 1876 bought out all the copyholders
holding lands in Fordington Field; that Earl Manvers is similarly
acquiring by degrees all the common rights in the common fields of
Laxton, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are endeavouring in this
way to procure the enclosure of Elmstone Hardwicke; that Stratton and
Grimstone were thus enclosed since 1900, and that the common fields
of several Berkshire parishes have thus disappeared within the last
half-century. The same process can be watched on a much larger scale
with regard to common rights over commons proper. The buying up of
the rights of commoners over Dartmoor by the Duchy of Cornwall is
one striking example; similar purchases of common rights over the
Wiltshire downs on a very large scale have come into notice through the
approach to Stonehenge being affected.

The enclosure of common fields in this way is proceeding slowly merely
because the remains of common fields are now so small.

And it is obvious that through the last two hundred years the
restraints of law and public opinion upon the freedom of the country
squire or great landowner, in doing as he likes with the villages
under his control, have been gradually and continuously strengthened.
In looking back over the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries, we are
looking back at a greater and greater proportion of local autocratic
power accompanying any given degree of local pre-eminence in wealth and
landed property.

If we look back to the beginning of the eighteenth century we find the
principles generally accepted by the landowning class with regard to
the general management of their estates, and particularly with regard
to common fields, thus clearly laid down by Edward Lawrence in “The
duty of a Steward to his Lord”:--

Article XIV. “A Steward should not forget to make the best Enquiry
into the Disposition of any of the Freeholders within or near any
of his Lord’s Manors to sell their Lands, that he may use his best
Endeavours to purchase them at as reasonable a price as may be for his
lord’s Advantage and Convenience ... especially in such Manors where
Improvements are to be made by inclosing Commons and Common fields....
If the Freeholders cannot _all_ be persuaded to sell yet at least an
Agreement for Inclosing should be pushed forward by the Steward” (p. 9).

“The Steward should not suffer any of the Lord’s lands to be let to
Freehold Tenants within or near his Lord’s Manor” (p. 34).

“The Steward should endeavour to lay all the small Farms, let to poor
indigent People, to the great ones” ... but “It is unwise to unite
farms all at once, because of the odium and increase of Poor-rates. It
is much more reasonable and popular to stay till such farms fall into
Hand by Death” (p. 35).

And to facilitate this process, “Noblemen and Gentlemen should
endeavour to convert copyhold for lives to Leasehold for lives” (p. 60).

The significance of this last recommendation may be illustrated
by the passage in William Marshall’s account, in “Agriculture of
Gloucestershire,” published about sixty years afterwards, of the
Cotswold Hills:--

“Thirty years ago this district lay almost entirely in an open state;
namely in arable common field, sheep-walk, and cowdown. At present it
may be said to be in a state of inclosure, though some few townships
yet remain open.

“The difficulties of Inclosure were not, in this case, numerous or
great. The sheep-walks and cowdowns were all of them stinted by
‘yardlands’ in the arable fields: there was not, perhaps, one unstinted
common on these hills. They were, formerly, many of them, or all of
them, occupied by leasehold tenants for three lives renewable. A
species of tenancy I have not met before. Many of these leaseholds had
fallen in. The removal of those which remained, was” (_sic_: he means,
of course, “removed”) “the main obstacle of inclosure.”

Because the number of Acts for Enclosure gradually increases through
the eighteenth century, and reaches its maximum at the opening of
the nineteenth century, it has been hastily assumed by some that the
process of enclosure was similarly accelerated. But it is on _a priori_
grounds at least as probable that there was no acceleration in the rate
of extinction of common fields, only a gradual change in the prevailing
method of procedure.

Thus very few Acts of Enclosure are extant previous to 1727, the
year in which Edward Lawrence recommends to Stewards and Landlords a
vigorous enclosure campaign. That that campaign was being carried on
at the time can be shown by two contemporary extracts from writers
on opposite sides. The Rev. John Laurence of Yelvertoft, in the “New
System of Agriculture,” 1726, writes:--

“The great quantities of ground that have been of late and are daily
inclosing, and the increase of Rent that is everywhere made by those
who do inclose, sufficiently demonstrate the benefit and use of
Inclosures. In the Bishopric of Durham nine parts in ten are already
inclosed”[79] (p. 45).

 [79] This statement is confirmed by the Board of Agriculture reporter:
 “In this county the lands, or common fields of townships, were for
 the most part inclosed soon after the Restoration.” (Joseph Granger,
 “Agriculture of Durham,” 1794.)

John Cowper, in “Inclosing Commons and Common fields is contrary to the
interest of the Nation” says:--“I myself within these 30 years past”
(_i.e._, 1702–1732), “have seen above twenty Lordships or Parishes
inclosed ... I have been informed by an eminent Surveyor that one third
of all the land of England has been inclosed within these 80 years.”

Perhaps what the eminent Surveyor said to John Cowper is not very
convincing evidence. But in considering the estimate of the amount
of enclosure in the “last 80 years,” _i.e._, from 1652, the first
year of peace after the Civil War, to 1732, the time when John Cowper
wrote, we have to bear in mind, firstly, that there was an important
enclosure movement going on in the Commonwealth period; and secondly,
that in 1660, with the Restoration, the country gentry came by their
own again. The King’s ministers during the reigns of Charles II., James
II., William III. and Anne would scarcely have dared, even if they had
desired, to check any proceedings on the part of landowners, with the
object of raising rents. The whole policy of Parliament was, in fact,
in sympathy with this object, as may be seen from all the legislature
affecting agriculture.

For the first part of this period there is further evidence of
the progress of enclosure in John Houghton’s “Collection for the
Improvement of Husbandry and Trade.” In repeated issues he strongly
advocates Enclosure; in that for September 8, 1681, he says: “Oh that I
had sufficient influence to put it” (_i.e._, a General Enclosure Act)
“to the trial, if it did not succeed I’d be content not to be drunk
this seven years” ... “Witness the many enclosures that have of late
been made, and that people are daily on gog on making” (pp. 15, 16). It
will be remembered that a General Enclosure Act for Scotland was passed
in 1695.

To sum up, it is clear that the Parliamentary enclosure of a given
parish indicates that the lord of the manor, or principal landlord, had
not secured such a complete or preponderating influence over the parish
as to enable him to effect an enclosure without an Act of Parliament.


And yet, on the other hand, it does not appear that the absence of
any lord of the manor, or of any single landowner superior in wealth
to the others in the parish was favourable, through the seventeenth,
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to the continuance of common
fields, except where many of the properties were extremely small.

We have seen that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in Elmstone
Hardwicke, while desiring themselves to enclose the parish, discourage
enclosure by the tenants on their own account, by raising the rents
to a prohibitive extent. Similarly Edward Lawrence in 1727, while
urging, as we have seen, the steward to procure a general enclosure
of his lord’s manor, declares that it is the duty of the steward,
particularly if his lord is the owner of the Great Tithe, to prevent
gradual enclosure by yeomen--“He should be ever on his watch to prevent
(if possible) the Freeholders inclosing any part of their land in the
common fields (Article xxiv.).” “Partial enclosure should never be
permitted without a general agreement to do the whole.”

The objection of the Tithe Owner to enclosures in the common fields
was that by increasing the pasture, and decreasing the arable area,
they diminished the produce of grain and so diminished the tithe. John
Houghton (September 16, 1681, p. 16) also refers to the objection of
the tithe owning clergy to enclosure. And this objection was probably
one of the strongest forces against enclosure at that time.

Again, going back a century and a quarter, John Norden’s “Book of
Surveying,” published about 1600, in one place recommends general
enclosure, on the ground that “one acre enclosed is woorth one and a
half in Common, if the ground be fitting thereto” (Book III., p. 97),
in another declares “Also enclosures of common fields, or meddowes
in part, by such as are most powerful and mighty, without the Lord’s
licence, and the Tenants’ assents, is more than may be permitted”
(_ibid._, p. 96).

The reason of course is, firstly, that the holder of lands in common
fields or common meadows, who fenced his holding, or parts of it,
thereby prevented the other holders from exercising their rights of
pasturing their cattle upon the fenced portions, without giving up his
recognised right to pasture cattle on his neighbours’ holdings, very
likely indeed turning out all the more cattle in the summer and autumn,
because better supplied with winter feed; and, secondly, because the
shade of his hedges, if he set quickset hedges, injured his neighbours’
crops. In “Select pleas in the Manorial Courts” we find numerous cases
of complaints against manorial tenants for attempting to make hedges,
banks, or such barriers.

At Bledlow, in Northamptonshire, “it is presented that John Le Pee
has unlawfully thrown up a bank” in 1275 (p. 23). In Hemingford
(Huntingdon) that “William Thomas Son has planted willows in the bank
unlawfully” in 1278 (p. 90), and in the same manor “Elias Carpenter
has wrongfully planted trees on a boundary” (p. 92). In Weedon Beck
(Northamptonshire) in 1296 “Walter Mill complains of John Brockhole and
says that he has raised a wall and hedge between their tenements to his

One is tempted to associate the early and complete enclosure of Kent,
without Acts of Parliament, with the proverbial wealth and importance
of the Kentish yeomen, and the custom of Gavelkind (_i.e._, the equal
inheritance of landed property by all sons), which necessarily tended
to multiply small properties.

William Marshall’s description of the enclosure of the Vale of
Pickering, the most fertile part of the North Riding of Yorkshire,
occupying the southern slopes of the Yorkshire Wolds, shows a similar
association. In “Rural Economy of Yorkshire,” published in 1788, we
read:--“A century ago the marginal townships lay perhaps entirely open,
and there are vestiges of common fields in the area of the vale. The
West Marshes, church property, have been longer under inclosure; and
the central townships were probably inclosed long before those of the
margin; the soils of that part being adapted to grass; and while the
surrounding country lay open, grass land was of singular value. At
present the entire vale may be said to be in a state of inclosures (p.

“Lands are much in the hands of small owners, in general, in the
occupation of yeomanry; a circumstance, this, which it would be
difficult to equal in so large a district” (p. 19).

He notices (p. 20) that it was the custom to divide lands among all the
children, and (p. 24) that the custom of sale of tenant right existed.

“In the present century, more especially in the last fifty years,
enclosure has made a rapid progress.... In my own remembrance more than
half the vale lay open” (p. 50).

The township of Pickering itself lay open at the beginning of the
century. It then had 2376 acres of common field arable, stinted
pastures, and 3700 acres of common. “The common fields and common
meadows have been gradually contracting by amicable changes and
transfers, and are now, in a manner, wholly inclosed. The stinted
pastures have, at different times, been inclosed ‘by commission,’
namely, by the unanimous reference to arbitrators.”[80]

 [80] An older description of piecemeal enclosure is given by John
 Houghton: “Would they who plough in champain grounds but change their
 little parcels; would they who have 6 or 8 acres together make a
 ditch of 6 or 7 foot wide and deep, and fill it if they would with
 water, and carry away the bank that it might not be thrown in again,
 hedges might chance to thrive, and in 2 years (tho’ they to please the
 people might at certain times lay it open) they would raise more money
 than they use to do in six.” (Collections, September 16th, 1681, p.
 16.) This gives me a pretty fair idea both of the profit and of the
 unpopularity of such enclosure at the time.

In general, it may be said, that the Parliamentary enclosure of a given
parish indicates that the manorial authority was exercised during a
long period antecedent to the enclosure, to prevent gradual enclosure
by individual tenants; and that the existence of important rights
and properties belonging to the lord of the manor prevented a common
agreement to enclose by the actual cultivators of the soil from being
reached and put into execution.

It may also be noticed that in a parish or township where there is no
one principal landlord, but a number of landowners owning moderate
properties, there is comparatively little likelihood of the net profit
of an Enclosure Act seeming to any one owner worth the trouble of
initiating a movement to promote one; and a comparatively greater
likelihood of some owner or owners being found disposed, from private
grudges or on public grounds, to oppose the proceedings.

This distribution of property in a common field parish increases the
probability that enclosure will proceed in a piecemeal fashion, instead
of by an Act.


In 1836 a general Act (c. 115) was passed “to facilitate the Inclosure
of Open and Arable Fields in England and Wales.” By this Act two-thirds
in number and value of the proprietors of lands and common rights
in Arable Common Fields could appoint Commissioners for Enclosure,
provided such fields were not within ten miles of the centre of
London, or three miles from the centre of some town of over 100,000
inhabitants, or within certain smaller distances of smaller towns.
Enclosure so effected was only recorded locally. Awards had to be
deposited in the parish churches; but no confirming Act was needed. If
seven-eighths in number and value of the proprietors were agreed upon
enclosure, it was not necessary for them even to appoint Commissioners,
if they could come to an agreement as to the redistribution of

In 1840 an amending Act (c. 31) was passed, providing that persons who
took possession of the allotments awarded them in enclosures under the
Act of 1836 must be deemed to have waived the right of appeal from the
award. The scope of the Act of 1836 was also extended to Lammas meadows.

As these Acts were in operation from 1836 to 1845, the enclosures
effected by special Acts of Parliament during this period must have
been greatly outnumbered by those effected during that period without
being recorded by the central Government. Between 1845 and 1852 the
enclosure of lands which were neither commonable all the year round
nor subject to any common rights not regulated by a stint, could be
effected by the Enclosure Commissioners without being reported to
Parliament; but after 1852 the Enclosure Commissioners had to report
all their proceedings.


The arable common fields, and in consequence the commonable meadows
with intermixed ownership, which were situated in districts
predominantly pastoral, tended, other things being equal, to be divided
and enclosed earlier than the common fields in the predominantly
corn-growing districts. For this there are various reasons:--

Firstly, as may be seen from the maps of Castor and Ailesworth, of
Laxton, of Braunton (p. 250), or of any maps of any common-field
parishes, piecemeal enclosure tends to begin in the arable fields (_a_)
close to the village, and (_b_) on the outermost margin of the fields.
The greater the extent of the fields, the longer, _ceteris paribus_,
will it be before piecemeal enclosure completely obliterates them.

Secondly, enclosure in a pastoral district does not arouse the same
resentment and popular resistance that it does in a corn-growing
district. This is easily seen from all the controversial writings
of the whole period during which enclosure has been a matter of
controversy, up to about the middle of the nineteenth century. It was
not enclosure as enclosure that offended, but enclosure as causing,
or as being intended to result in, the laying down of arable land in
grass; as being, in the words of Joseph Bentham of Kettering, “the
inhuman practices of madded and irreligious depopulators”[81] which
robbed the king of subjects and the country of corn and cattle. Those
who enclosed were “monsters of men, dispeoplers of towns, ruiners of
the commonwealth as far as in them lyeth, occasioners of beggars and
beggery, cruell inclosiers, whose Adamantine hearts no whit regard
the cries of so many distressed ones.”[82] Such denunciation would be
out of place, and the passions which gave rise to it would never have
arisen, in a predominantly pastoral district, because there would be
in such a district comparatively few persons thrown out of employment
even if the enclosure were of the arable fields only; and because it is
scarcely possible that while enclosure of the arable fields was going
on, there would not be simultaneous enclosure of waste land, which
would have to be repeatedly ploughed and tilled even if the intention
were to ultimately convert it into permanent pasture. In other words,
while enclosure in a predominantly corn-growing district is associated
with “depopulation,” in a pastoral district it is associated with
increased employment, increased local population, a larger production
of food, and on the whole increased local prosperity. Thus, though
there was a rebellion in Devon and Cornwall in 1549, the same year
as Ket’s rebellion, enclosure was not one of the complaints of the
rebels. And this was not because enclosure had not begun in Devon and
Cornwall, because, as a matter of fact, enclosure had advanced further
in Devon and Cornwall than in most other counties. The attitude of
the Cornishmen is thus expressed by Carew:--“They fal everywhere from
Commons to Inclosure, and partake not of some Eastern Tenants envious
dispositions, who will sooner prejudice their owne present thrift,
by continuing this mingle-mangle, than advance the Lords expectant
benefit, after their terme expired.”[83]

 [81] “The Society of the Saints,” p. 67.

 [82] “The Society of the Saints,” p. 98.

 [83] Carew, “Cornwall” (1600), p. 30.

Thirdly, there was, during one period in the sixteenth century, a law
specially guarding the corn-growing districts from enclosure, from
which other districts were exempt.

The Statute 7 Henry VIII., c. 1, was the Depopulation Act in force
for the 20 years 1516–1536. It derives special importance from the
Inquisition into Enclosures which followed its enactment, in 1517. It
applies only to parishes “Whereof the more part was or were used and
occupied to tillage and husbandrie”; and it required the land to be
tilled “after the maner and usage of the countrey where the seyd land
lyeth.” This restriction drops out of the next Depopulation Act, 27
Henry VIII., c. 22, passed in the year 1536.


  Map of England and Wales showing Leyland’s route, with:
      Moor, Fen, Marsh, Forest or Heath.
      Cultivated and probably open.
  Scale 1:5,000,000 or 1 inch = 79 Stat. miles.]

In the year 1536 Leland, the King’s Antiquary, began his Itinerary,
which lasted till 1542. Whether in consequence of special instructions
or not, he almost everywhere notes the condition of the country he
traverses with regard to enclosure. A summary of his observations
is shown in the form of a map; Devon, Cornwall, West Somerset,
South Wales, Hereford, Worcester, the north-west of Warwick, South
Lancashire, the country round Southampton, and near Hampton Court, with
parts of Yorkshire, are shown to be the most enclosed districts which
are described; and the districts described by Leland as champaign are
those which were later largely enclosed by Act of Parliament.

The general movement of agricultural progress, it may safely be
assumed, up to Leland’s time, was from the south-east of England
northwards and westwards. The extreme south-east corner was certainly
very early enclosed, as one would naturally expect, but we also find
remote western districts, where one would naturally expect to find old
customs linger comparatively late, precede the central districts in the
abandonment of the “village community,” by many years.[84]

 [84] How long the enclosure of certain western counties preceded
 the enclosure of the east midlands, is shown by comparing the two
 following extracts. Of the former, Joseph Lee, in “A Plea for
 Regulated Inclosure,” published 1656, asks, “Are not many places in
 England, Essex, Hereford, Devonshire, Shropshire, Worcester, wholly
 enclosed?” (p. 31). Of the latter the “General Report on Enclosures,”
 published 152 years later, “A village of farmers and labourers
 surrounding a church and environed by three or four and in a few cases
 by five open fields, form the spectacle of Cambridge, Huntingdon,
 and Northampton shires, as much as on the Loire and on the plains of
 Moscow” (p. 25).

Whether much of the enclosure which Leland saw in 1536 had been the
work of the previous twenty years, it is of course impossible to
say; but making any reasonable allowance for progress in hedging
and ditching in the western counties where agriculture was mainly
pastoral during those twenty years, and assuming that the Act of 1516
had effectually stopped enclosure in that period in the corn-growing
districts, one can hardly resist coming to the conclusion that if
Leland had made his journey in 1516 he would then also have found
enclosure most advanced in those districts which were most enclosed in

What we have, then, to ask is whether the priority of enclosure in the
western counties is to be attributed entirely to the fact of their
being devoted more to grass and less to tillage, or whether there
was some difference in the primitive village community of the west
which caused cultivated land to pass more easily into the condition
of exclusive ownership and separate use. Obviously we must look for
the answer to this question beyond the boundaries of England. To
understand the differences between the village life of those parts of
England which were once the Danelagh, Mercia and Wessex, from those
which were then West Wales and Strathclyde, which may be regarded as at
least semi-Celtic, we must examine the purely Celtic type of village

But it must also be noticed that there is one characteristic feature of
the typical English village community, namely the importance attached
to the right of common pasturage on the fallow field, and in the
other arable fields after harvest, which would probably never have
developed in any part of the country where only a small proportion of
the land was ploughed. There would be too little profit and too much
inconvenience attached to the exercise of the right for it to have a
chance of being established, or if established, of persisting.

Lastly, it seems to me impossible to account for the perfect definition
of the two boundaries between parishes early enclosed, without special
Acts, and parishes enclosed late by special Acts, the one in the
south-east, passing through Suffolk, Essex, and between Surrey and
Kent, and the other in the south-west, passing through Somerset and
Dorset, except on the assumption that the enclosure movement beginning
in these two corners of England, was suddenly checked when it had
reached the limits indicated, by the Tudor series of Depopulation
Acts, and by the Inquisitions and other measures taken to enforce them.
These Acts specially stipulated for the continuance of the ancient
customary methods of tillage. A summary of their provisions which
affect enclosure will be found in Appendix D.



It is a familiar fact that the early open field system of agriculture
of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, known as run-rig or rundale, differed
in some important features from the common field system of England.

The mere fact suggests a series of questions with regard to the
relationships between common field and run-rig; whether, for instance,
the more complex common field system was evolved from the more simple
and primitive run-rig system; or supposing the two not connected,
whether a boundary can be defined on one side of which the early
agriculture was of the English type and on the other of the Celtic
type; and again, if so, which parts of England lie on the Celtic side
of the boundary, and which, if any, of Wales and Scotland lie on the
English side.

Obviously before considering such questions it is necessary to have a
clear grasp of the nature of run-rig, and of the differences between it
and the English system.

In the year 1695 the Scotch Parliament passed an Act allowing anyone
“coterminous heritor” owning a share in a “commonty” to have his
portion separate from the rest, and to enclose it; and a series of
cases established a defined system of computing the share of the
“commonty” to which the lord of the manor as such was entitled in
lieu of manorial rights. This caused the process of the separation
of intermixed properties in open fields to proceed without the
intervention of special Acts of Parliament, except for Royal burghs.
Also while in England under Enclosure Acts or agreements to enclose
the three processes of (_a_) the separation of intermixed and
intercommonable properties, (_b_) the separation of intermixed and
intercommonable holdings, and (_c_) the hedging or fencing of the
separated properties, were accomplished by one continuous series of
actions on the part of those concerned, in Scotland it was otherwise.
The separation of properties where necessary was first accomplished,
and for long afterwards the system of run-rig was followed by groups
of tenants on the same estate. After run-rig had been abandoned, the
separate holdings remained open and unenclosed, and the process of
building dykes or planting hedges was carried out at a later date, and
by slow degrees.

The abandonment of run-rig was general, according to the reports to
the Board of Agriculture, in the lowlands of Scotland about the year
1730. In the county of Perth up to the year 1744 “the land was always
occupied in run-rigg, either by the different tenants on the same farm,
and sometimes by coterminous heritors. The houses were in clusters for
the mutual protection of the inhabitants.” (James Robertson, D.D.,
“Agriculture of the Southern District of Perth,” 1794, pp. 22, 23.)
In the northern and Highland counties the transition was naturally
later. Sir John Sinclair (“General View of the Agriculture of the
Northern Counties and Islands of Scotland”) describes the cultivated
land of the Islands as being open almost everywhere, except in the
case of the “mains” or manor farms, the glebe lands, and the farms
of a few principal tacksmen. Of Caithness he says, “The greater part
of the arable land in this county is occupied by small farmers who
possess it in _run-rig_, or in _rig and rennal_, as it is here termed,
similar to the common fields of England, a system peculiarly hostile
to improvement” (p. 207). But in the Orkneys “Much of the land that
formerly lay in the state known in Scotland under the name of run-rig
land has been divided, but much still remains in the same situation”
(p. 227); and the process of enclosing had begun even in the Shetlands
(p. 252).

Turning westwards, we find that in the inner Hebrides 1850 was the
date at which the run-rig system finally died out, in a manner and
under conditions which will demand further attention. But it survived
in the Outer Hebrides to a considerably later date. A very full and
interesting description by Mr. Alexander Carmichael is given in
Skene’s “Celtic Scotland,” Vol. III. chapter x.

“Old systems are tenacious. They linger long among a rural people and
in remote places. Of these is the land system of run-rig (Mor Barann)
which characterises more or less the land system of the Western Isles.
The outer Hebrides are called the Long Island. They are a series of
islands 119 miles in length, and varying from half-a-mile to twenty
miles in breadth. This kite-like chain of forty inhabited and upwards
of a hundred and fifty uninhabited islands contains a population of
40,000. Much of this land is held by extensive tacksmen on leases (Fir
Baile), and there being no intermediate tenantry, the rest of the land
is occupied by small tenants at will without leases. These number
4,500, the majority of whom fish as well as farm.

“The country is divided into townlands of various extent. The arable
land (Fearann Grainsich) occupied by the small tenants of these
townlands is worked in three ways--as crofts wholly, as crofts and
run-rig combined, and as run-rig wholly. In Lewis and Harris the arable
land is wholly divided into crofts: in Uist and Barra the arable land
is divided in part into crofts, and in part worked in run-rig; while
in the townlands of Hosta, Coolas Paipil, and the island of Heisgeir
in North Uist, the arable land is worked exclusively upon the run-rig
system of share and share alike. The grazing land of the tenants of
each townland throughout the Long Island is held in common (in Lewis
called Comhpairt).

“The soil varies from pure sand to pure moss. Along the Atlantic there
is a wide plain of sandy soil called _Machair_. This merges into a
mixture of sand and moss (Breacthalamh, or mottled soil), which again
merges into pure moss (Mointeach) towards the Minch. As the soil is
dry and sandy, if the summer is dry the crop is light. On the other
hand, if the summer is moist the crop is heavy and good. In order
that all may have an equal chance, the _Machair_ belonging to them
is equally divided among the tenants of the township. Obviously the
man who is restricted to his croft has fewer advantages than the man
who, together with his croft, has his share of the _Machair_, and
still fewer advantages than the man who has, rig for rig with his
neighbours, the run of the various soils of his townland, which gives
name to the system. Consequently a wet or dry season affects the tenant
of the croft system more than the tenant of the combined system, and
the tenant of the combined system more than the tenant of the run-rig

“The townland of Hosta is occupied by four, Ceolas Paipil by six, and
the island of Heisgeir by twelve tenants. Towards the end of autumn,
when harvest is over, and the fruits of the year have been gathered
in, the constable calls a meeting of the tenants of the townland for
Nabachd (neighbourliness). They meet, and having decided upon the
portion of land to be put under green crop next year, they divide it
into shares according to the number of tenants in the place, and the
number of shares in the soil they respectively possess. Thereupon
they cast lots, and the share which falls to a tenant he retains for
three years. A third of the land under cultivation is thus divided
every year. Accordingly the whole cultivated land of the townland
undergoes revision every three years. Should a man get a bad share he
is allowed to choose his share in the next division. The tenants divide
the land into shares of uniform size. For this purpose they use a rod
several yards long, and they observe as much accuracy in measuring
their land as a draper in measuring his cloth. In marking the boundary
between shares, a turf (Torc) is dug up and turned over the line of
demarcation. The _torc_ is then cut along the middle, and half is taken
by the tenant on one side, and half by the tenant on the other side,
in ploughing the subsequent furrow; similar care being afterwards
exercised in cutting the corn along the furrow. The tenant’s portion of
the run-rig is called Cianag, and his proportion of the grazing ground
for every pound he pays Coir-sgoraidh.

“There are no fences round the fields. The crop being thus exposed
to injury from the cattle grazing along the side, the people have
a protecting rig on the margin of the crop. This rig is divided
transversely into shares, in order to subject all tenants to equal
risks.... Occasionally, and for limited bits of ground, the people
till, sow, and reap in common, and divide the produce into shares and
draw lots. This is called _Comachadh_, promiscuous. The system was not
uncommon in the past, though now nearly obsolete.

“In making their own land arrangements for the year, the tenants set
apart a piece of land towards the support of the poor....

“In reclaiming moor-land the tenants divide the ground into narrow
strips of five feet wide or thereby. These strips, called lazy-beds
(Feannagan, from feann, to scarify), the tenants allot among themselves
according to their shares or crofts. The people mutually encourage one
another to plant as much of this ground as possible. In this manner
much waste ground is reclaimed and enhanced in value, the ground
hitherto the home of the stonechat, grouse, snipe and sundew, is
made to yield luxuriant crops of potatoes, corn, hay and grass. Not
unfrequently, however, these land reclamations are wrested without
acknowledgment from those who made them.

“The sheep, cattle and horses of the townland graze together, the
species being separate. A tenant can only keep stock conformably to his
share in the soil. He is however at liberty to regulate the proportions
of the different kinds, provided that his total stock does not exceed
his total grazing rights. He can keep a greater number of one species
and a corresponding smaller number of another. Or he can keep a greater
number of the young, and a corresponding less number of the old of the
same species, or the reverse. About Whitsuntide, when the young braird
appears, the people remove their sheep and cattle to the grazing ground
behind the arable land. This is called clearing the townland. The
tenants bring forward their stock (Leibhidh) and a souming (Sumachadh)
is made. The _Leibhidh_ is the tenant’s stock, the _Sumachadh_ the
number he is entitled to graze in common with his neighbours. Should
the tenant have a croft, he is probably able to graze some extra stock
thereon, though this is demurred to by his neighbours. Each ‘penny’ of
arable lands has grazing rights of so many soums. Neither, however, is
the extent of land in the penny, nor the number of animals in the soum
uniformly the same.”

A soum consists of a cow and her progeny; in some places the cow and
her calf only: in some a cow, her calf, her one-year-old progeny
(called a _stirk_) and her two-year-old _quey_; in other places again,
the cow, calf, stirk, quey and a three-year-old heifer. At four years
old the heifer becomes a cow, and so originates a fresh soum.

In making souming calculations, it is assumed that one cow is equal
to two queys or to four stirks or to eight calves, or to one heifer
and one stirk. Also one cow is equal to eight sheep, or to twelve
hoggs (one-year-old sheep) or to sixteen lambs or to sixteen geese.
One mature horse is equal to two cows; also to eight foals, or to four
one-year-old colts or fillies, or to two two-year-olds, or to one
three-year-old and one colt or filly. The cow is entitled to her calf;
and if one tenant has two cows without calves they are entitled to take
one stirk instead.

Those tenants who are found at the souming to have overstock must
either buy grazing from a tenant who has understock or may be allowed
by the community to let the overstock remain on the grass till he
can dispose of it. In that case payment must be made, according to a
recognised code, into a common fund which is used to buy bulls or tups
or for some other common purpose. The souming is amended at Lammas, and
again at Hallowtide.

In Lewis and Harris similar arrangements with regard to stock obtain
among the _crofters_, the amount of stock allowed to each crofter being
regulated according to the rent paid.

During the early summer the herds are put at night into enclosures,
according to the species, and two tenants, chosen in rotation, keep
watch to prevent them from straying over the open fields. If they
escape, the watchmen are fined and have to make any damage good, but
the fines, and the amount assessed for damages, both go into the common

Early in June, the tillage being finished, the people go to the hill
grazing with their flocks. The scene is vividly described by Mr.
Carmichael, the general excitement, the men shouting directions, the
women knitting and chatting, the children scampering about. Sheep lead
the procession, cattle come next, the younger ones preceding the older,
the horses follow. Implements and materials are carried to repair the
summer huts. When the grazing ground is reached the huts are repaired,
fires lit, and food cooked. The people bring forward their stock into
an enclosure, and the constable and another man stand at the gate of
the enclosure and count each man’s stock separately to see that he has
brought only his proper souming. Then the cattle are turned out to
graze, and the “Shealing Feast” is celebrated by the singing of hymns
and the eating of cheese. The summer huts are of a beehive shape, and
are sometimes constructed of stone, and sometimes of turf and frail

 [85] The ruins of beehive huts all over Dartmoor, and of enclosures
 like Grimspound, are conceivably evidence of similar customs in
 Devonshire. Now, however, the care of the cattle pastured on Dartmoor
 by the occupiers of adjacent farms, is a distinct occupation. Those
 who follow it are called “Moor-men.”

Each tenant under the run-rig system is responsible for his own rent
only. Formerly the rent was paid partly in money, partly in meal,
partly in butter and cheese, and partly in cattle.

The common functionaries, the shepherd, cattleherd and marchkeeper,
are paid by their co-tenants for their services in seaweed, land and
grazing. The business of the marchkeeper is to watch the open marches
of the townland and prevent trespass. He may also have the duty of
watching the shore to see when the seaweed is cast upon it. Then he
erects a pole with a bunch of seaweed at the end, and the people
come down to the shore to collect the weed for manure. No tenant is
permitted to take seaweed till his neighbours arrive, unless the custom
prevails of collecting the weed in common, dividing it into shares and
casting lots.

When required by the proprietor or the people, the constable convenes a
meeting of the inhabitants. At such meetings the questions in dispute
are settled, after full discussion, by votes; lots are drawn if the
votes are equal.

“The closer the run-rig system is followed, the more are the unwritten
customs and regulations observed. The more intelligent tenants regret a
departure from them....

“The houses of the tenants form a cluster. In parts of Lewis the houses
are in a straight line called _Straid_, street, occasionally from one
to three miles in length. They are placed in a suitable part of the
townland, and those of the tenants on the run-rig system are warm,
good and comfortable. These tenants carry on their farming operations
simultaneously, and not without friendly and wholesome rivalry, the
enterprise of one stimulating the zeal of another....

“Not the least pleasing feature in this semi-family system is the
assistance rendered by their neighbours to a tenant whose work has
fallen behind through accident, sickness, death, or other unavoidable

“Their mode of dividing the land and of equalising the stock may seem
primitive and complex to modern views, but they are not so to the
people themselves, who apply them amicably, accurately and skilfully.
The division of the land is made with care and justice. This is the
interest of all, no one knowing which place may fall to himself, for
his neighbour’s share may become his own three years hence.

“Whatever may be the imperfections, according to modern notions, of
this very old semi-family system of run-rig husbandry, those tenants
who have least departed from it are the most comfortable in North Uist,
and, accordingly, in the Outer Hebrides.”

Mr. Carmichael informs me that the whole of this description held good
at least up to May, 1904.

The brief descriptions and other references to the run-rig system
of the agricultural writers whom Sir John Sinclair and Arthur Young
enlisted in the service of the Board of Agriculture at the end of the
eighteenth, and the beginning of the nineteenth century, are sufficient
to show that in all essential features it was fundamentally identical
in different parts of Scotland. Sir John Sinclair’s own description
is meagre and unsympathetic: “Were there twenty tenants and as many
fields, each tenant would think himself unjustly treated unless he
had a proportionate share in each. This causes treble labour, and as
they are perpetually crossing each other, they must be in a state of
constant quarrelling and bad neighbourhood. In order to prevent any of
the soil being carried to the adjoining ridge, each individual makes
his own ridge as high as possible, which renders the furrow quite bare,
so that it produces no crop, while the accumulated soil in the middle
of the ridge is never stirred deeper than the plough. The proprietors
begin to see the inconveniences of this system, and in general intend
to remedy it, by dividing the land into regular farms.”[86]

 [86] “General View of the Agriculture of the Northern Counties and
 Highlands of Scotland,” p. 205.

This is obviously a description of run-rig in a state of decrepitude;
the communal spirit has died out of it, and apparently the practice
of periodic redivision of the land has fallen into desuetude. In
another passage[87] we find a variation of the method of guarding the
crops which again, when compared with Mr. Carmichael’s description of
the “promiscuous rig,” appears to show the decay of the system. “The
tenants have a miserable sort of fence, made of turf, which separates
their arable land from the adjoining waste; but it requires constant
repairs, and when the corn is taken off the ground, is entirely
neglected, and the country becomes one immense common, over which
immense numbers of cattle are straggling in search of food, greatly to
the injury of the soil.”

 [87] _Ibid._, p. 207. This passage and the next occur in the
 description of Caithness, but they appear to be intended to apply to
 the whole district.

William Marshall, the rival as an agricultural writer and bitter critic
of Arthur Young, supplied the “General View of the Agriculture of the
Central Highlands of Scotland.” He supplies us with one significant
hint, if we need it, with regard to the fundamental basis of run-rig:
“Not the larger farms only, but each subdivision, though ever so
minute, _whether ‘plow-gait,’ ‘half-plow,’ or ‘horse-gang,’_ has its
pittance of hill and vale, and its share of each description of land,
as arable, meadow, green pasture and muir” (p. 29). By the way, even
smaller farms than the “horse-gang,” _i.e._, one quarter of the arable
land which could be ploughed by a four-horse plough, together with the
corresponding proportion of meadow, pasture and moor, were to be found
on the Royal burghs where intermixed ownership was exempt from the
operation of the Act of 1695. On these the smallest farms consisted of
a “horse’s foot” of land, _i.e._, one sixteenth part of a “plow-gait.”

Dr. James Robertson defines run-rig as “Two or three or perhaps four
men yoking their horses together in one plough, and having their ridges
alternately in the same field, with a bank of unploughed land between
them, by way of march.”[88]

 [88] “Agriculture of the Southern Districts of Perth” (1794).

James McDonald, writing in 1811 a later report on the Agriculture of
the Hebrides, published in 1811, gives an account of the beginning
of the disappearance of run-rig in those islands. “Mr. Maclean of
Coll insisted upon some of his tenants dividing among them the land
which they formerly held in common, or run-rig, and which they were
accustomed for ages to divide annually by lot, for the purposes of
cultivation. They obeyed with great reluctance, and each tenant had
his own farm to himself. Three or four years’ experience has convinced
them now that their landlord acted wisely.... The same thing happened
on various other estates, and especially in Mull, Tyree and Skye”
(p. 133). But the general disappearance of run-rig in these islands
took place about the middle of the nineteenth century, and was the
consequence of the temporary prosperity produced by the rise of
the kelp industry. This led to extreme subdivision of holdings by
sub-letting, the body of small crofters so created relying in the main
upon the kelp industry for a livelihood, and using their crofts as a
subsidiary means of subsistence (Skene, “Celtic Scotland,” Vol. III.,
ch. x.).

It is clear that the two essential features of run-rig are (1) that
it is based upon co-aration, several farmers yoking their horses to
one plough, and tilling the land in partnership; just as the English
common-field system was also based upon co-aration, with the difference
that in England, in general, at the time that co-aration was practised,
the plough was generally drawn by eight oxen instead of by four horses.

(2) That run-rig has a special distinctive feature in the periodical
division and re-division of the land, and that in the Hebrides, at
least, this feature survived after co-aration had become obsolete.[89]
In this respect the Scotch agricultural community resembles that of
Great Russia, where also the periodical re-division of the open fields,
so as to make the shares proportional to the working power of each
family, persists after co-aration has disappeared.

 [89] Mr. A. N. Palmer, in his important work, “A History of Ancient
 Tenures of Land in the Marches of N. Wales,” expresses the opinion
 that co-aration and the shifting of land disappeared simultaneously in
 North Wales, and had come to an end by the reign of Henry VI. (p. 36,

That throughout the British Isles, and indeed throughout Northern
Europe, the earliest tillage of the soil by ploughs was accomplished by
the method of co-aration, scarcely admits of doubt; nor is it easy to
doubt that before the possibility of improving the crop by manure was
discovered, there was no permanent occupation by one of the partners in
the ploughing, of any particular set of strips so ploughed.

But it is also obvious that whereas we know that in some places, as
in the Hebrides and in Russia, the idea of common occupation of the
land persisted, after co-aration had ceased, and displayed itself in
the form of periodic or occasional re-division of the arable land, it
is equally possible for the permanent occupation of certain strips of
land to be definitely allotted to some individuals, while the practice
of co-aration is still persistent among other individuals of the same
community. In the latter case when individual cultivation begins, the
peasant who drives his own plough team, drives it over the same set of
strips of land as had previously been ploughed by the common plough;
he feels more than ever that they are his own, and that he must guard
them against encroachment; though, perhaps, he is not averse, when
occasion offers, to widen his strips at the expense of his neighbours.
The consequence is that by the time individual cultivation has entirely
superseded co-operative ploughing in any particular village, freeholds
and copyholds are definitely arranged as we know them in the English
common fields. Particularly is this likely to be the case if a long
interval of time elapses between the first beginning of individual
ploughing and the last disappearance of combined ploughing.

If on the other hand the practice of periodic re-allotment of the land
persists up to the time when co-aration ceases, it will obviously be
natural for the peasants when they dissolve their plough-partnership,
to allot their land to one another with some regard for convenience
as well as equity. They will naturally--as Sir John Sinclair noticed
they did--allot to each household a share in each particular sort of
soil which had previously been cultivated in common, but each man’s
share in each field is likely to be allotted to him in one piece, or
at least in a few, and not in a number of strips intermixed with those
of his neighbours. Then when at a later period hedging and ditching
begin, each man has his land in a form convenient for enclosure; and
by enclosing it he forms a series of irregular fields, roughly square,
or when oblong, with the length not many times exceeding the width. No
throwing of the parish into the melting pot, either by a private Act of
Parliament or by a voluntary submission to a Commission, was necessary
in order to effect enclosure.

On the one hand, then, it is obvious that the great inequality of the
holdings held by servile and semi-servile tenures from the time of
Domesday onwards, was favourable to the creation of the conditions
necessary to make piecemeal enclosure difficult. The _socmanni_
or _francigenae_, who held a whole carucate or ploughland apiece,
presumably also had, as a rule, a whole ploughteam, and were able to
plough for themselves, while their neighbours, who held yardlands and
half-yardlands, _i.e._, one-quarter or one-eighth of a ploughland,
could only have their lands ploughed by the common village ploughs.
As soon as the _socmanni_ and _francigenae_ began to permanently
improve the soil, as for instance by marling, the beneficial results
of which were believed in the eighteenth century to last for at least
twelve years, they would naturally become a practically insuperable
obstacle not only to any re-division of the land, but also to any
minor variation in the exact position of the ridges which comprised
the different holdings. Once one such holding was definitely located,
the fixing of all other holdings which were intermixed with it would
follow: every increase of certainty would be an encouragement to any
given tenant to improve his land, and every expenditure of effort by a
tenant on permanent improvement would be an additional motive to him to
resist any changes in the position of his ridges.

On the other hand, in the case of land first brought into cultivation
at a later date, when servile tenures had become obsolete, by “tenants
at will” of the lord of the manor, the assured continued occupation
of a defined set of ridges in land so reclaimed would not arise, even
if the original tenants practised co-aration; and if the original
cultivators worked independently, of course no intermixture of holdings
would ever arise on such holdings.

Hence the very close connection between copyholds, _i.e._, the commuted
servile tenures, and common fields, which was observed as long as
common fields were numerous.

To sum up, it is clear that on _a priori_ grounds there are certain
defined conditions in which alone we can expect to find the peculiarly
English type of open-field arable, the type which most obstinately
resists dissolution, persisting until destroyed by (_a_) the absorption
of all properties into the hands of a single owner, or (_b_) a general
valuation and redistribution of properties and holdings. These are that
the land must originally have been tilled by the method of co-aration,
and that co-aration must have persisted until after some at least of
the holdings had become a definite set of strips of land, the position
of which was not shifted from year to year. These conditions, as
Seebohm shows, are the characteristics of the typical English village
community. But they are not to be found in open arable fields of the
Celtic type of run-rig; and they are not to be expected in lands first
brought into cultivation after the disappearance of serfdom.

We may therefore expect to find enclosure of arable land proceeding
easily, without the necessity for special Acts of Parliament, and at
a comparatively early stage of social evolution, on the one hand in
Devon and Cornwall, the counties bordering on Wales, and in Cumberland,
Westmoreland and Lancashire; and on the other hand in districts like
the Weald of Surrey, Kent and Sussex.

That this inference agrees with the facts will be shown in detail.

Traces of run-rig, however, both in the form of characteristic terms,
and of records of local custom, are not confined entirely to the
counties within or near the borders of Wales or West Wales. The Act
(1770 c. 59) for Matton in Lincolnshire has for its object to enclose
certain commons and “forty-five acres or thereabouts of antient
Toftheads and small Inclosures called the Town Rig.” To the Act for
Barton in Westmoreland (1819 c. 83), which encloses “certain open
common fields or town fields,” which mentions “the dales or parcels of
land in the said common fields or town fields,” there is a parallel
in the Act (1814 c. 284), for Gateshead in Durham to enclose “certain
common or town fields, and other commonable lands and grounds.” These
phrases are all reminiscent of the fact that lands held, or which had
previously been held, in run-rig in Scotland, or in rundale in Ireland,
are known as town lands.[90]

 [90] “The Town Fields” indifferently with “The Common Fields” is the
 name by which the ancient arable area of Wrexham is called in old
 deeds, and the same name is applied to the ancient common fields in
 many places in North Wales. (See A. N. Palmer, “History of Ancient
 Tenures of Land in the Marches of North Wales,” pp. 1, 2.)

Much more striking, however, is the local custom at Stamford, described
in the following passage by Arthur Young: “Lord Exeter has property
on the Lincoln side of Stamford, that seems held by some tenure of
ancient custom among the farmers, resembling the _rundale_ of Ireland.
The tenants divide and plough up the commons, and then lay them down
to become common again; and shift the open fields from hand to hand
in such a manner, that no man has the same land two years together;
which has made such confusion that were it not for ancient surveys it
would now be impossible to ascertain the property” (“General View of
the Agriculture of Lincolnshire,” p. 27). William Marshall’s comment
is perhaps worth adding: “In regard to commons, a similar custom has
prevailed, and indeed still prevails, in Devonshire and Cornwall; and
with respect to _common fields_, the same practice under the name
of ‘Run-rig’ formerly was common in the Highlands of Scotland, and,
perhaps in more remote times, in Scotland in general.”

Lastly, it is to be noticed that there is no mention in any description
of run-rig of the arable fields being used as a common pasture after
harvest, or during a fallow year. We shall find later the same absence
of this custom characteristic of English Common Field, from open arable
fields in Cumberland, Westmoreland, Lancashire, Wales and Devonshire;
_i.e._, from the Celtic part of England and Wales. This may, of course,
be a mere coincidence, and the true explanation may in each be that
the stubble was not needed for pasture. But in any case the absence
of rights of pasture over arable fields removes a great obstacle to
piecemeal enclosure.


In the chapter on Norfolk agriculture it is shown that the distinction
between Infield and Outfield, which was characteristic of the
agriculture of the Lothians, was also characteristic of the agriculture
of Norfolk; and that a great part of the uninclosed intermixed arable
land was not subject to rights of common, and was made to bear a crop
every year, such land being known as Every Year lands, Whole Year
lands, or Infields.

Here again we were obliged to look to Scotland for further light upon
the customs of an English county, but in this case we cannot attribute
the resemblance between the customs of Norfolk and the east of Scotland
to a common Celtic influence. The hypothesis would be a difficult one,
and a different explanation presents itself.

Seebohm points out that the ancient characteristic agriculture of
Westphalia, East Friesland, Oldenburg, North Hanover, Holland, Belgium,
Denmark, Brunswick, Saxony and East Prussia, a vast area comprising
all districts from which the Anglo-Saxon conquerors of Britain are
believed by any historians to have come, is that known among German
scholars as “Einfeldwirthschaft,” the “one field system.” Crops,
usually of rye and buckwheat, are continually grown year after year,
in the strips in the open fields, the fertility being maintained by
marling and the application of peat manure.[91]

 [91] “The English Village Community,” p. 372.

It is therefore natural to attribute the whole year or every year lands
of Norfolk, and the infields of Scotland, alike, to the influence of
Saxon, Anglian or Danish conquest and settlement. If it is asked why
the same agricultural feature was not more widely produced, the obvious
answer is that when people of different races are mixed together in the
occupation of the same villages, it is by no means certain that the
agricultural customs which will afterwards prevail will be those of
the conquerors, or of the race which is in the majority. The customs
of the first occupiers had been modified by the environment, and had
to some extent modified the environment, till something like harmony
was created. After a conquest by another race, if any of the conquered
race remain, the _easiest_ course is to continue the existing mode of
husbandry. It is more likely that the customs of the conquered race
should remain as the basis of the future practice, though altered to
some extent in form and more in spirit, than that the previous customs
of the conquerors, which they had followed in other circumstances on a
different soil and amidst other surroundings, should be imposed on the
conquered people.

The following are the Acts for places outside Norfolk which specify the
existence of Whole Year lands, Every Year lands, or Infields.

1740, c. 19. Gunnerton, _Northumberland_. This Act is to enclose 1300
acres of Ingrounds, and 1000 acres of Outgrounds.

1752, c. 27. Enclosing Wytham on the Hill, Infield, _Lincolnshire_.

1761, c. 32. Enclosing Norham Infields. Norham was nominally in
_Durham_, but it is on the Scottish border.

1807, c. 18. Herringswell, _Suffolk_. “Divers old inclosed meadow and
pasture grounds, and old inclosed whole year or every year arable
lands, open or common fields, half year or shack lands, common meadows,
heaths, warrens, fens, commons, and waste grounds.”

1811, c. ccxix. Great Waddingfield c. Chilton and Great Coniard,
_Suffolk_, “divers open fields called Whole Year lands and Half Year

1813, c. 29. Icklingham, _Suffolk_. “Open and Common fields, Infields
or Every Year lands, Common Meadows, Heaths, Commons and Wastes.”

1819, c. 18. Yelling, _Huntingdon_, “Whole year lands.”

Further, Arthur Young (“Agriculture of Suffolk,” appendix, p. 217)
tells us that the parish of Burnham, near Euston, in Suffolk, contained
in 1764--

  Infield arable, inclosed      381 acres,
  Outfield arable              2626   ″
  Meadow and Pasture            559   ″
  Heath or Sheep-walk          1735   ″
                      Total    5302

And William Marshall (“General View of the Agriculture of the Central
Highlands of Scotland,” 1794, p. 38) remarks: “The every year lands as
they are called, of _Gloucester_, may be said to be clean compared with
those of Breadalbane.” Now, William Marshall knew the agriculture of
Gloucestershire well; and he was an extremely accurate observer, and
more interested in the local variations of common field cultivation
than other agricultural writers of his time; his authority may
therefore be considered good enough to establish the existence of lands
known as every year lands in Gloucestershire.

It is also to be noticed that Acts of Enclosure for Gloucester and
Oxford frequently specify, not “open and common fields” but “an open
and common field,” perhaps of between two and three thousand acres;
and further, as we have previously noted, the Board of Agriculture
reporter for Oxfordshire says: “In divers uninclosed parishes the same
rotation prevails over the whole of the open fields; but in others,
the more homeward or bettermost land is oftener cropped, or sometimes
cropped every year.” Of Gloucestershire, William Marshall says: “In the
neighbourhood of Gloucester are some extensive Common fields which have
been cropped, year after year, during a century, or perhaps centuries,
without the intervening of a whole year’s fallow. Hence they are called
Every Year’s land. Cheltenham, Deerhurst, and some few other townships,
have also their Every Year’s lands.” On these lands no regular
succession of crops is observed, except that “a brown and a white
crop--pulse and corn--are cultivated in alternacy” (“Rural Economy of
Gloucestershire,” Vol. I., p. 65).

It may be suggested, further, that a four-year course, such as we have
seen was customary in many places, might possibly have originated
from the custom of cropping the land every year. The difficulties of
maintaining the fertility of the land, and of keeping it clean, under
perennial crops, might very well have been found insuperable before
the introduction of turnip culture, and the natural remedy, suggested
by the two-or three-year course in neighbouring parishes, would be a
periodic fallow. It is, however, so far as any evidence that can be
supplied from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries goes, equally
possible that the four-year course was a modification of the three-year
course, or that the two-, three-and four-years systems are all equally
ancient; and that the varying customs, not only of systems of tillage,
but also of occupation of meadow land and regulation of common of
pasture, as found in different parts of the country, have grown up in
each district as the result of the inter-action of Keltic, Anglo-Saxon,
and Norse tradition.

If we take this view, which appears to me antecedently probable, we can
see in the Midland or Mercian system a complete blend of Anglo-Saxon
and Keltic custom, in which the specific features of both of the
original strains are lost, and an intermediate, but perfectly distinct,
type of village community resulted. The Wessex system, both in its
feature of lot or rotation meadow, and in the customs of individual
cultivation of land for common benefit, as in the sowing of clover by
each occupier to be fed on by the village flock, compared with the
Mercian system, shows a much closer affinity with Keltic run-rig; while
the Norfolk customs are quite easily accounted for as the result of
a fresh infusion of Teutonic tradition, re-introducing the original
one-field system into villages where that system had previously been
blended with Keltic custom.



A certain amount of light upon the question when the common field
system lost its vitality, its advantages being completely overshadowed
by its disadvantages, so that only the obstructive forces which we
have considered prevented its disappearance, is furnished by the fact
that the original settlers of New England, who presumably derived
their ideas of agriculture from the eastern counties of England,
reproduced in America a form of the English village community. No
doubt their poverty and early difficulties compelled them to revert
to a further degree of dependence on mutual help, and so perhaps the
form of community which they there established may have been of a more
primitive type than that which they had left behind, and allowance must
be made for this possibility; and also for the possibility of effects
of the sojourn of the Pilgrim Fathers in Holland.

The following accounts of the New England common fields are taken from
two papers by Mr. Herbert B. Adams:--

“Vestiges of the old Germanic system of common fields are to be found
in almost every ancient town in New England. In the town of Plymouth
there are to this day some 200 acres of Commons known as Town Lands.
This tract is largely forest, where villagers sometimes help themselves
to wood in good old Teutonic fashion.... In the old town of Sandwich,
near Cape Cod, at the point where the ship canal was projected in 1880,
there is a little parcel of 130 acres known as the Town Neck. This is
owned by a company of twenty-four proprietors, the descendants and
heirs of the first settlers in the town, and this tract is managed to
this day as a common field. Originally the Town Neck with other common
lands belonged to the whole town. In the MS. town records of Sandwich
I find under date May 22, 1658, this vote: ‘If any inhabytant wanteth
land to plant, hee may have some in the Towne Neck, or in the Common
for six yeare and noe longer.’ Later, in 1678, April 6, townsmen are
given liberty to improve Neck lands ‘noe longer than ten yeares ...
and then to be at the townsmen’s ordering again.’ In the year 1695,
the use of the Town Neck was restricted to the heirs of the original
proprietors, and the land was staked out into 38 lots. The lots
were not fenced off, and the whole tract continued to lie under the
authority of the entire body of proprietors, like the arable fields of
a German village community. In 1696, April 4, it was agreed that the
Town Neck should be improved for the future by planting and sowing as
a common field, until the major part of those interested should see
cause otherwise to dispose or improve the same. The common fence was
to be made up, and a gate to be provided by the first of May. A field
driver or hayward was to keep the Town Neck clear of creatures and to
impound for trespass. In 1700 it was voted that the Neck be cleared
of creatures by the 16th of April, and that no part of the land be
improved by tillage other than by sowing.

“And thus from the latter half of the 17th century down to the present
day (May 9, 1881) have the proprietors of Sandwich Town Neck regulated
the use of their old common field. Every year they have met together
in the Spring to determine when the fences should be set up and how
the pasture should be stinted. The old Commoners’ records are for the
most part still in existence as far back as the year 1693, and before
this time the town records are full of agrarian legislation, for the
Town Neck was then virtually town property. There arose in Sandwich
and in every New England village community the same strife between
old residents and new comers, as between the Patricians and Plebeians
of ancient Rome. The old settlers claimed a monopoly of public land,
and the new comers demanded a share. In most old New England towns
the heirs of original settlers or of citizens living in the community
at a specified date retained a monopoly of the common lands for many
years until finally compelled by force of public opinion to cede their
claims to the town. In Sandwich, however, a vestige of the old system
has survived to this day. Every Spring, for many years, has appeared a
public notice (I saw one in the _Seaside Press_, May 8, 1880) calling
together the proprietors of the Town Neck at some store in the village
to choose a moderator and a clerk, and to regulate the letting of cow
rights for the ensuing year....

“There were for many years in the town of Salem certain common fields
owned by associated proprietors just as in the case of Sandwich Town
Neck. Such were the north and south fields in Salem. The old Commoners’
records of the south fields are still preserved in the library of
the Essex Institute, and date as far back as 1680. Under the date
of October 14th of that year, I find the following: ‘Voted that the
proprietors have liberty to put in cattle for herbage--that is to say
6 cows, 4 oxen, 3 horses or yearlings, or 24 calves to 10 acres of
land, and so in proportion to greater or less quantities of land; and
no person shall cut or strip their Indian corn stalks after they have
gathered their corn, on penalty of forfeiting herbage.’

“The so-called great pastures of Salem, some 300 acres, are to this day
owned and managed by a small company of proprietors in common, of whom
Dr. Wheatland of the Essex Institute has been for some years the clerk.
He has in his hands the records of the proprietory, extending back for
many years.

“These records are full of old time regulations in regard to common
fencing, common pasturage, cow commons, sheep commons and the like.”
(“The Germanic Origin of New England Towns” p. 33.)

Perhaps still more conclusive are the following decrees of the
legislative body of Massachusetts, which Mr. Adams quotes. In the
spring of 1643 the Massachusetts General Court ordered “For preventing
disorder in corn feilds wᶜʰ are inclosed in common ... that those who
have the greater quantity in such fields shall have power to order the
whole, notwithstanding any former order to the contrary, & that every
one who hath any part in such common feild shall make and maintaine the
fences according to their severall quantities.”

But in the autumn of the same year, the Act was passed:--“Whereas it is
found by experience that there hath bene much trouble and difference
in severall townes about the Manner of planting, sowing, & feeding
of common corne ffeilds & that upon serious consideration wee find
no general order can provide for the best improvement of every such
common feild, by reason that some consists onely of plowing ground,
some haveing a great part fit onely for planting, some of meadowe and
feeding ground; also so that such an order as may be very wholesome &
good for one feild may bee exceeding preiudiciall & inconvenient for
another, it is therefore ordered, that where the commoners cannot agree
about the manner of improvement of their feild, either concerning the
kind of graine that shalbee sowen or set therein, or concerning the
time and manner of feeding the herbage thereof, that then such persons
in the severall townes that are deputed to order the prudenciall
affaires thereof, shall order the same, or in case where no such are,
then the maior portion of the freemen, who are hereby enioyned wᵗʰ what
convenient speed they may to determine any such difference as may arise
upon any information given them by the said commoners; & so much of any
former order as concerns the improvement of common feilds & that is
hearby provided for, is hearby repealed.” (“Village Communities of Cape
Ann and Salem.”)




Any statistical account of enclosure without Parliamentary sanction
must necessarily be vague in comparison with the statements which it is
possible to make of enclosure by Act of Parliament, and must consist of
inferences from evidence of varying value. And, naturally, the evidence
in general becomes scantier in proportion as the period investigated is
more remote.

The Tithe Commutation maps and awards afford the richest mine of
information for the period since 1836. We have seen that according to
the analysis of them published by the Copyhold, Enclosure and Tithe
Commission in 1873, they indicated the existence at that date of
264,307 acres of common fields. We have already seen how untrustworthy
this estimate is if taken for a basis for calculating the area of
existing common fields, how inaccurate it was even at the date at which
it was published. But one great source of inaccuracy in it, as we
have seen, is the assumption that no enclosure, other than by Act of
Parliament, took place after the date of Tithe Commutation. If we could
eliminate all other errors, and also get a perfectly accurate statement
of the area of existing common fields, we should then know how much
enclosure of common fields has taken place without Parliamentary
intervention since the date of Tithe Commutation. This date, of course,
is different in different parishes, but the average date is about 1845.

To eliminate all other errors it would be necessary to go over all the
work again, a task which would take a single investigator several
years of continual labour, and would not then be accomplished unless
the investigator were himself infallible. We must therefore be content
with an approximate correction.[92]

 [92] There are no less than 11,783 separate sets of awards and
 apportionments, each with its map. The maps vary in size from about
 six or seven to over a hundred square feet each. The apportionments
 are bulky rolls of parchment.

The tithe maps and awards deposited with the Tithe Commission cover
about three-quarters of the area of England and Wales. The amount of
common field in the other quarter is estimated on the assumption that
in each county the part for which there are no tithe awards in the
custody of the Tithe Commission contained the same proportion of common
field as the part for which title awards existed. The common fields
thus estimated amount to about two-fifths of the total estimate. If the
particulars given in the return for the different counties were added
up, we should get the statement:--

                                         Common Field Lands.

  Areas ascertained from the tithe documents  163,823
  Estimated additional areas                  100,484

We have seen that assuming the total of 163,823 acres is correctly
“ascertained,” the estimate of 100,484 acres for the other parishes is
very excessive, because the most frequent reason for no title documents
existing in the custody of the Tithe Commission is that the commutation
of tithes was effected before 1836 by a local Enclosure Act, which
swept away the common fields.

In consequence, counties which were mainly enclosed by Acts of
Parliament are very partially covered by the tithe documents; counties
which have few or no Acts for enclosure of common fields are nearly
entirely so covered. For example, we have--

│                        │ Percentage of │ Area Covered │             │
│          --            │ Area enclosed │   by Tithe   │ Area not so │
│                        │    by Acts.   │  Documents.  │  Covered.   │
│                                                                     │
│               COUNTIES OF PARLIAMENTARY ENCLOSURE.                  │
│                                                                     │
│ Northampton            │     51·5      │    148,066   │   485,220   │
│ Rutland                │     46·5      │     37,728   │    54,968   │
│ Huntingdon             │     46·5      │     83,856   │   146,630   │
│ Bedford                │     46·0      │    104,357   │   191,159   │
│ Oxford                 │     45·6      │    214,889   │   252,417   │
│ East Riding, Yorkshire │     40·1      │    263,473   │   479,228   │
│ Leicester              │     38·2      │    158,889   │   352,539   │
│                                                                     │
│                                                                     │
│ Devon                  │    _Nil._     │  1,611,710   │    46,039   │
│ Cornwall               │    _Nil._     │    851,486   │     6,122   │
│ Kent                   │    _Nil._     │    973,726   │    29,246   │
│ Shropshire             │      0·3      │    788,108   │    64,385   │
│ Monmouth               │      0·4      │    329,430   │    16,292   │
│ Cheshire               │      0·5      │    599,904   │   115,931   │

Fortunately there is another possible way of calculating the probable
area of common field land which would have been found in the parishes
not covered by tithe documents, if it had been investigated at about
the same date.

Out of the seventy-five parishes enclosed by Act of Parliament
since 1850--_i.e._, at a later date than almost all of the tithe
documents--the Tithe Commission had the maps and awards of
seventy-one--all, that is, but four. Common fields subsequently
enclosed were to be found in these two classes of parishes in the
proportion of 71 to 4; it is a fair inference that the total area of
common fields, whether subsequently enclosed or not, was distributed in
the same proportion.

On this assumption we should have the following calculation:--

                                        Common Field Lands.

  Areas ascertained from the tithe documents  163,823
  Estimated additional areas                    9,229
                       Total                  173,052

No probable error in the additional estimate in this calculation would
have an appreciable effect on the total.

Next, as we have noticed above, the “areas ascertained” require
correction. This it is much more difficult to supply satisfactorily;
all that we can do is to determine--(1) whether the number given is
likely to err by excess or by defect; (2) whether the error is likely
to be large.

The main purpose of the return was to establish the total amount of
waste land subject to common rights, and the proportion of such land
likely to be capable of cultivation. This part of the work was done
with great care, and particularly with great care not to include any
land which was not certainly subject to common rights. The final figure
arrived at was certainly considerably in defect through the documents
on which it was based failing to mention common rights in all cases
where they existed.

The part of the return relating to common field lands, on the other
hand, was considered of less importance; the explanatory letter says
with regard to them:--

“The common field lands are generally distinguishable by the particular
manner in which they are marked on the tithe maps, and their extent
has been estimated by these maps.” This means that areas on the tithe
maps subdivided by dotted lines were assumed to be common field lands.
This method had the advantage of comprehensiveness--it is probable
that scarcely any common field land escaped notice, if there were a
tithe map for the parish in which it existed. I have only detected one
error of omission. The common fields of Eakring were very considerably
in excess of the 54 acres at which they were estimated. But on the
other hand it has the disadvantage of including with common field
lands numerous cases of properties or holdings which were inadequately
divided from one another by fences or hedges, but which were not common
fields. But it is very hard to say precisely what percentage ought to
be deducted to allow for this error. Generalising from all the cases
in which I have been able to put estimates for particular parishes to
a test, I should say that more than one-sixth, but less than one-third
of the total should be deducted. Taking the larger fraction, so as to
leave the remainder under-estimated, rather than over-estimated, we


  Area of common field lands, by estimate above  173,052
                  Less one-third                  57,684

  Parliamentary enclosure since 1873 has
    reduced the area of common fields by          14,842

The final remainder represents our corrected estimate of the area of
common fields arable and commonable meadows of intermixed ownership
which would now exist if there had been no enclosure except by Act of
Parliament since about the year 1845. The total area of such fields
and meadows actually existing almost certainly does not exceed 30,000
acres. We therefore may conclude that not less than 70,000 acres
have been enclosed as the result of the consolidation of farms and
properties and voluntary agreements and exchanges, since about the year
1845, and that not more than 100,000 acres have been thus enclosed.

The total area of common fields enclosed by Acts since 1845, together
with such meadows and commons as were enclosed together with common
arable fields, is 139,517 acres.

It would therefore appear that such voluntary methods of enclosure have
accounted in this period for an area something between half as large an
area as Enclosure Acts and five-sevenths of that area.

The proportion of villages in which common fields have been entirely
got rid of by voluntary enclosure during the same period would of
course be smaller; because wherever common fields exist they are
subject to continual diminution by gradual enclosure; and the final
application of an Act of Parliament may be merely the _coup de grace_.
Curiously, also, it may happen that a practically complete enclosure
may be effected, and years later resort be had to an Act, as in the
cases of Hildersham (Cambridge), and Sutton (Northampton).

B. BEFORE 1845.

The agricultural survey of Great Britain carried out by the Board
of Agriculture in 1793 furnishes us with much information about the
state of enclosure of some counties, and with scraps of information
about others. Where the information is fullest it may take the form
of estimates of the total area enclosed or open, or the form of
information with regard to particular villages. By correlating the
information thus supplied with that furnished by the Acts themselves,
and from other sources, we can in some cases obtain a fairly full
account of the enclosure history of a county.


The “General Report on the Agriculture of Bedfordshire” gives the
following estimate of the condition of the county (p. 11):--

  Enclosed meadow, pasture and arable                    68,100
  Woodland                                               21,900
  Common fields, common meadows, commons and waste      217,200
                                             Total      307,200

The area of Bedfordshire being 298,500 acres, a slight deduction should
be made from the figures under each head. But this does not affect the
two striking points about the estimate: (1) that over two-thirds of the
area of the county was open, and (2) that the open and commonable land
amounted to over 200,000 acres.

The author proceeds: “Every parish which is commonly understood to be
open consists of a certain proportion of antient inclosed land near
the respective villages, but that proportion, compared with the open
common field in each respective parish, does not on an average exceed
one-tenth of the whole” (p. 25).

He further says that Lidlington, Sundon and Potton had been recently
enclosed. Each was enclosed by Act of Parliament.

We can deal with the above information in two ways: (1) by translating
it into terms of parishes, and (2) by dealing with it in terms of acres.

In Bedfordshire very little common indeed existed apart from the open
field parishes. This is proved by the fact that from 1700 to 1870
there were only three enclosures of commons, apart from arable common
fields, comprising an area of 867 acres, and that the tithe maps only
indicated 507 acres more of commons in parishes where there were no
common fields. We may safely assume that at least 200,000 acres out
of our author’s 217,200 acres of open land belonged to open field
villages, and that these villages also had, in accordance with his
estimate, 20,000 acres of old enclosures, the area of all the open
fields parishes in 1764 was, according to the estimate, about 220,000
acres; that of the enclosed parishes about 87,200 acres. If the numbers
of the parishes enclosed and open were about in the same proportion,
out of the one hundred and twenty-one parishes in Bedfordshire, there
should have been eighty-seven open and thirty-four enclosed.

From the list of Parliamentary enclosures in the appendix, it will be
seen that seventy-three parishes were enclosed by Acts passed in 1798
and later. There were also seven other parishes in which the tithe
documents indicate common fields surviving up to the date of Tithe
Commission, making a total of eighty parishes, which we have previously
accounted for.

It would follow that about seven parishes were enclosed in Bedfordshire
between 1794 and 1845 without any Act. This is in accordance with what
we might reasonably expect.

Of the thirty-four parishes which by this argument were enclosed in
1790, seventeen had been enclosed by Acts passed between the years 1742
and 1783, leaving a remainder of seventeen parishes. There is obviously
a strong probability that the majority of these were enclosed in the
eighteenth century.

But in this calculation I have treated the 21,900 acres of woodland
as though it were part of the enclosed parishes. If it be considered
to belong indifferently to open and enclosed parishes, the above
calculation must be modified. We then have ninety-four parishes open
in 1793, and twenty-seven enclosed; fourteen out of the ninety-four
would be enclosed without Parliamentary sanction between 1793 and 1845,
leaving only ten parishes so enclosed at some unknown date earlier than

By dealing with the Bedfordshire estimate on the basis of acreage
instead of parishes, I arrive at the following statement of the history
of the enclosure of Bedford:--

  Ancient woodland and waste, which passed
    directly into individual use, and ancient
    roads, &c.                                   43,000
  Common fields, meadows and pastures enclosed
    before 1742                                  33,000
  Ditto enclosed from 1742–1793 by Acts of
                                Parliament       23,883
  Ditto    ″       ″    ″    ″ not by Acts       26,000
  Ditto    ″       ″  1793–1900 by Acts         114,430
  Ditto    ″       ″    ″    ″ not by Acts       58,000
  Total                                         298,313

Arthur Young, in June, 1768, travelled through Bedfordshire to St.
Neots, and then close to the boundary between Bedford and Huntingdon
to Kimbolton and Thrapston in Northamptonshire. He found from Sandy
to St. Neots the country chiefly open, and that it continued so to
Kimbolton and Thrapston; though with regard to the two latter places
he mentions enclosed pastures (“Northern Tour,” 2nd Ed., Vol. I., pp.
55–59). This, so far as it goes, tends to confirm our conclusions.

I am anxious not to lay any undue stress on the above arithmetical
calculations; but I think it is quite clear that up to the year 1742
the condition of the county of Bedford was that indicated by Leland’s

Leland passed through Bedfordshire in his “Itinerary.” From Vol. I.,
fols. 116–120, we find that from Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire,
about 2 miles from the Bedfordshire boundary, to Bedford (14 miles)
was “champaine” from Wellington village, near Bedford, to Antchille
Castle (Ampthill), “12 miles almost al by Champayn Grounde, part by
corne and part by Pasture, and sum baren hethy and sandy grounde.”
Then “From Antchille to Dunstable X m. or more. First I passed partely
by woddy ground and Enclosures. But after most parte by champaine
Grounde.... And thens to Mergate al by Champaine a vj miles.” And so
out of Bedfordshire. A small part of the county was ancient woodland,
a smaller part was cultivated land reclaimed from the forest state,
which had never passed through the common fields system of cultivation,
but almost all was in the condition of the typical open field parish,
common field arable, commonable meadows, and common pastures, with a
certain amount of enclosure round the villages. It would appear that
during the 200 years following Leland’s journey only an insignificant
amount of progress in enclosure took place in Bedfordshire. This
conclusion is not contradicted, but on the other hand it is not
strikingly confirmed by Walter Blyth (“The English Improver,”
1649), who enumerates as unenclosed “the south part of Warwick and
Worcestershire, Leicester, Notts, Rutland, some part of Lincoln,
Northampton, Buckingham, some part of Bedfordshire, most part of the
Vales of England, and very many parcels in most counties.”

One further point may be noticed. In Bedfordshire the percentage
of the total area enclosed by Act of Parliament is exceptionally
high--46·0 per cent. We find that when we make allowances for (1)
contemporary voluntary enclosure, (2) for ancient woodland and for
some land passing directly from the forest state into that of separate
ownership and occupation, (3) for some ancient enclosing of land in the
immediate vicinity of villages, there is little or no other enclosure
remaining to be referred to the period before Parliamentary enclosure
began--in this case the year 1742.


These four counties may be said to form a definite group, so far
as their enclosure history is concerned. The main facts of their
Parliamentary enclosure are shown in the following table:--

│             │           Acreage Enclosed        │               │
│    ----     ├─────────────────┬─────────────────┤ Percentage of │
│             │ By 18th Century │ By 19th Century │  Total Area.  │
│             │      Acts.      │     Acts.       │               │
│ Warwick     │     124,828     │     24,731      │     25·0      │
│ Leicester   │     187,717     │     12,660      │     38·2      │
│ Rutland     │     37,180      │     10,044      │     46·5      │
│ Northampton │     247,517     │     85,251      │     51·8      │

Like Bedford, they are all counties with a high proportion of enclosure
by Act of Parliament; but they differ from Bedford in that their
enclosure was much more preponderatingly effected in the eighteenth
century. The proportion of eighteenth-century Acts is particularly
high in Leicester, but the proportion of Acts earlier than 1760 is
higher in Warwick than in any other county--twenty-nine out of 114.
These counties comprise the district in which the greatest amount of
agitation arose against enclosure in the seventeenth century, and that
in which the effect of enclosure in causing depopulation through decay
of tillage was most marked in the eighteenth century.

[Illustration: EAST MIDLANDS


  Map of Rutland, Northamptonshire, Huntingtonshire, Cambridgeshire,
      Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and part of Essex
      showing land enclosed:
        before the General Enclosure Act of 1801.
        between 1802 and 1845.
        under General Enclosure Act of 1845.
    Scale 1:1,000,000 or 1 inch = 15.78 Stat. miles.]


Northamptonshire has 51·5 per cent. of its area covered by Acts of
Parliament for the enclosure of whole parishes, a larger proportion
than any other county. There have been passed in addition an important
Act for extinguishing foreign rights in Rockingham Forest in 1796, an
Act in 1812 for draining and enclosing Borough Fen, and creating a new
parish to be called Newborough, and three other Acts for enclosing
commons or wastes; the whole area affected by the five Acts being
perhaps 15,000 acres. These being included, the total area which has
undergone Parliamentary enclosure reaches 54 per cent. of the area of
the county.

James Donaldson, the Board of Agriculture reporter, says that of the
316 parishes, 227 were enclosed by 1793, and eighty-nine were then in
open field; and that “half of the inclosed parishes may be denominated
old inclosure.”

Of the eighty-nine parishes, open in 1793, eighty-eight have been
enclosed by Act of Parliament since; so that there was only one parish
enclosed without Parliamentary intervention from 1793 to 1903, when
the last trace of the Northamptonshire common fields was swept away
by the enclosure of Sutton. This fact is remarkable, it points to a
wide diffusion of ownership of lands and of rights over the land; and
it should be associated with the specially strenuous resistance of
Northamptonshire to enclosure in the reign of James I.

The statement that of the enclosed parishes half may be denominated
old enclosure, would be more enlightening if one knew exactly what Mr.
Donaldson meant by old enclosure. But we find that 113 parishes (which
is as near as possible half 227) were enclosed by Acts passed in the
period 1765–1792; if therefore by “old enclosure” he means enclosure
dating back more than twenty-eight years, his statement would imply
that there was no enclosure without an Act in that period. Nineteen
parishes were enclosed by Act in the five years 1760–1764, eighteen
in the period 1749–1759, and four earlier. These Acts altogether
account for the enclosure of 153 out of the 227 parishes, and there is
evidently a strong balance of probability that the enclosure of the
remaining seventy-two took place almost entirely before the middle of
the eighteenth century.


R. Monk, the reporter for Leicester, gives as an Appendix a list of the
“Lordships” of that county, with the names of the Lords of the manors,
or chief landowners, and the date of enclosure, when he could ascertain
it. He only knew of ten open field parishes and of two half open and
half enclosed; but, of these, four, Cold Overton, Cole Orton, Whitwick
and Worthington, have not since been enclosed by Act of Parliament;
they must therefore have been enclosed voluntarily at the end of the
eighteenth or in the first half of the nineteenth century; for the
tithe documents for these parishes do not indicate any surviving
common field. For thirty-five of the parishes not enclosed by Act of
Parliament, Monk gives no information; of the following fifteen he
gives the date of enclosure:--

│        Parish.       │ Enclosed. │
│ Shanktons            │    1738   │
│ Birstall             │    1759   │
│ Beeby                │    1761   │
│ Thurnaston           │    1762   │
│ Saxelby              │    1765   │
│ Frisby               │    1769   │
│ Stretton Parva       │    1770   │
│ Stapleford           │    1772   │
│ Shearsby             │    1773   │
│ Hathorn              │    1777   │
│ Ilston               │    1788   │
│ South Kilworth       │    1789   │
│ Hose                 │    1791   │
│ Barkston and Plunger │    1791   │

The following fifty-five he merely describes as “enclosed”:--

          Aston Flamville
          Broughton Astley
          Great Dalby
          Dishly Grange
          Fenny Drayton
          Isley Walton
          Market Bosworth
          Potters Marston
          Stretton Magna
          Thorpe Arnold
          Little Wigston
          Staunton Harold
  Wanlip he describes as enclosed lately.

The following forty he describes as “old enclosure,” or gives
seventeenth-century dates for their enclosure--

          Ashby Folville
          Great Ashby
          Beaumont Leys
          Burton Lazars
          Carleton Curlew
          Little Dalby
          Glen Parva
          Kirkby Beler
          Newton Linford
          Peatling Magna
          Staunton Wyville
          Stoke Golding
          Thorpe Sacheville
          Willoughby Waterless
          Wyfordby (or Wiverby)

Pickwell, he says, was enclosed in 1628, Shenton in 1646, and Laughton
in 1665.

Here, again, in interpreting these statements, we are confronted
with the difficulty of determining what antiquity is implied by the
term “old enclosure,” and also by the difficulty of estimating what
proportion of the parishes described merely as “enclosed” belonged to
any particular epoch of enclosure.

On the one hand, we note (1) that one-third of the open field
parishes known to Monk were enclosed without Acts in the following
half-century, (2) that he gives the date of enclosure of fifteen other
parishes for which we have no Acts, which were enclosed in the previous
half-century. It would therefore appear that a very considerable amount
of enclosure was going on, without Acts of Parliament, during the
period in which Parliamentary enclosure was proceeding rapidly.

On the other hand, the fact that he can give seventeenth-century dates
for the enclosure of three parishes suggests that probably a very large
proportion of his “old enclosure parishes” and a fair proportion of his
enclosed parishes were enclosed in the seventeenth century.[93]

 [93] William Pitt, who made a second survey of the agriculture
 of Leicestershire for the Board, published in 1809, gives an
 interesting account of the enclosure of the vale of Belvoir. This, the
 north-eastern corner of Leicestershire, was enclosed between 1760 and
 1800; and as a result a complete change in the cultivation took place;
 the rich land in the valleys, which had been arable common fields, was
 laid down in grass, and the tenants forbidden under heavy penalties
 to plough it; while the summits of the hills and edges of the vales,
 which had been sheep-runs, were converted into arable land.

Pursuing the inquiry backwards, we find our next source of information
in Celia Fiennes, a lady of Newtontony, who made a series of rides in
the last few years of the seventeenth century. Newtontony is three
miles east of Amesbury, amid the open chalk hills, or, as she describes
it, in the midst of “a fine open champion country”, and she usually
describes the aspect of the country she passes through. She travelled
westwards to Land’s End, eastwards to Kent, northwards to the Border,
and she gives some information with regard to the state of enclosure
of most of the English counties. She went through both Bedfordshire
and Northamptonshire, but with regard to those two counties gives no
information as to their condition of enclosure. As she is more apt to
notice the presence than the absence of hedges, this, so far as it
goes, confirms our conclusions with regard to Bedfordshire; and, with
regard to Northamptonshire, this small piece of negative evidence tends
to the conclusion that that county also was almost entirely open in the
beginning of the eighteenth century.

“Leicestershire,” she says, “is a very Rich Country--Red land, good
corn of all sorts and grass, _both fields and inclosures_. You see a
great way upon their hills the bottoms full of Enclosures, woods, and
different sorts of manureing and herbage” (p. 133).

It is evident that enclosure had considerably advanced; but it must
be noted that “fields” with Celia Fiennes means common fields. It is
further to be noted that her description of the enclosures creeping up
the hills implies a process of gradual enclosure. Of the neighbourhood
of Bosworth (in the west of Leicestershire) she says, “this is a great
flatt full of good Enclosures.” The western side of Leicestershire was
therefore mainly enclosed before 1700, while the north-east was all
open till 1760.

But though enclosure was so far advanced in Leicestershire, “their
fewell,” Celia Fiennes says, “is but cowdung or Coale.” The use of
cowdung for fuel supplied to advocates of enclosure in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries one of their chief arguments. Either the
hedges of Leicestershire were not yet able to supply enough wood for
fuel, or the old custom continued although it was as unnecessary as
objectionable. In either case the natural inference is that much of
the enclosure of Leicestershire which Celia Fiennes observed, was then

 [94] Arthur Young found the practice still prevalent in
 Northamptonshire more than seventy years later: “they collect all the
 cow-dung from their fields and daub it in lumps, barns, and stables,
 to dry for fuel” (“Eastern Tour,” Vol. I., p. 48). Edward Lawrence
 speaks of Yorkshire (evidently the East Riding only is meant) and
 Lincolnshire as the counties where the practice prevailed in 1727
 (“The Duty of a Steward to his Lord,” Article 3).

This again is confirmed by Walter Blyth, who in the passage quoted
above describes Leicestershire as entirely open, as well as
Northampton, Rutland, and the south part of Warwick.

Further detailed information is given by the disputants Joseph Lee,
John Moore, and the anonymous writers who joined in the controversy,
who debated the ethics of enclosure in the Midlands in the years
1653–1657. John Moore, in his first pamphlet, asks, “Above one hundred
touns inclosed in Leicestershire, how few amongst them all are not
unpeopled and uncorned?” Now it is probably fair to read “above one
hundred” as “about one hundred” or “nearly one hundred.” The names
of some of these are supplied by Joseph Lee in his “Vindication
of Regulated Enclosure,” for he gives (page 5) as examples of
enclosure without depopulation the following thirteen parishes in
Leicestershire: Market Bosworth, Carlton, Coten, Shenton, Cadesby
(Cadeby), Bilson (Billesdon), Twicriss, Higham, Golding (Stoke
Golding), Little Glen, Croft, Ashby Magna, and Stapleton, together with
Stoke in Northamptonshire, Upton and Barton, which might be either
in Northampton or in Warwick, and three others, Nelson, Cosford and
Woscot, which I am unable to locate, except that Cosford was near
Catthorp, the extreme south corner of Leicestershire; for Lee further
gives a list of fifteen enclosures within three miles of Catthorp, in
which Cosford and Coten are included, and also Bigging, Brownsover,
Shawell, Streetfield, Over, Cottesbatch, Pultney, Sturmer, Hallfield,
Sister (? Siston), Moorebarn, Cotes and Misterton (p. 8).

Of the former set of townships he says: “They have been enclosed some
twenty, some thirty, some forty or fifty years.” Of the latter he says:
“Most of these Inclosures have been plowed within thirty years, and the
rest are now about to be plowed.”

It would appear, therefore, that enclosure began in Leicestershire
at about the beginning of the seventeenth century, and proceeded
so rapidly that nearly a hundred townships, mainly situated in the
south and west of the county, were enclosed within about fifty years.
Enclosure also began in Northamptonshire about the same time, but at
not so great a rate. The author of “Considerations Concerning Common
Fields and Enclosures,” published in 1653, makes a reference to “Mr.
Bentham’s[95] Christian Conflict” (p. 322), which gives a list of
eleven manors in Northamptonshire, enclosed and depopulated. In a later
sermon, “A Scripture Word against Inclosures,” 1656, John Moore says:
“England (especially Leicestershire and the counties round about)
stands now as guilty in the sight of God of the sinnes in the text.
They sold the righteous for silver and the poor for a pair of shoes, as
Israel did then” (p. 1). A little later he again referred to “Enclosure
in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, and the counties adjacent.”
This confirms the conclusion reached from the other evidence that
Leicestershire was in the centre of the seventeenth-century movement of
enclosure of common fields, and that it was in Leicestershire that the
movement was most effective.

 [95] This was Joseph Bentham of Kettering, who published “The Societie
 of the Saints,” in 1638, in which he denounces enclosure with
 remarkable vehemence.


Rutlandshire has had 46·5 per cent. of its area enclosed by Acts of
Parliament, 47,224 acres. Of this area 14,641 acres were enclosed by
Acts passed between 1756 and 1773; then for twenty years there were no
Acts, the next being passed in 1793. By that and subsequent Acts 32,583
acres were enclosed.

John Crutchley, the Board of Agriculture reporter, says that two-thirds
of the country was enclosed, one-third unenclosed (“Agriculture of
Rutland, 1793,” p. 30). As the area (32,583 acres) is just one-third
of the total area of Rutlandshire (97,273 acres), Acts of Parliament
entirely account for all the enclosure since 1793. Of the area enclosed
before 1793 there remains about 50,000 acres, a little more than half
the county, unaccounted for.

Part at least must have been enclosed before the beginning of the
eighteenth century, for Celia Fiennes says: “Rutlandshire seems more
woody and enclosed than some others” (p. 54). It is one of the counties
described by Walter Blyth as entirely unenclosed in 1649; but, as we
have seen, this description is also applied by him to Leicestershire
and Northamptonshire, and as it was, especially in the case of the
former county, decidedly too sweeping, we cannot infer that no
enclosure took place in Rutlandshire before that date.

Leland passed through Uppingham and Stanford; he found part of the
county woody, but he makes no mention of enclosure.

He also gives a very full description of the counties of Leicester and
Northamptonshire. Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire, and Rockingham
Forest in Northamptonshire, were then very extensive; but all the
remainder of the two counties he describes in general as “champaine,”
or by words which imply an unenclosed condition. The only mention
of enclosure is in the case of two parks in Northamptonshire. (See
Appendix C.)


Warwickshire is divided by the River Avon into two parts of
approximately equal area; the north-western part is a district of
ancient enclosure, probably enclosed in the main direct from the
forest state; the south-eastern part has a similar enclosure history
to Leicester and Northampton, except that its enclosure took place
generally somewhat earlier. One-quarter of the whole county has
undergone Parliamentary enclosure, but the proportion so enclosed of
the south-eastern part is much larger.

John Wedge, the Board of Agriculture reporter, estimates that in 1793,
out of a total area of 618,000 acres, 57,000 was open field land (p.
11). To reduce 618,000 to the true area of the county (577,462 acres),
one must deduct 10 per cent. A deduction of 10 per cent. leaves about
51,000 acres of common field. Enclosure Acts since account for 38,444
acres, and in parishes not enclosed by Acts the tithe documents
indicate rather over 1000 acres of common field lands. There remains a
little over 10,000 acres unaccounted for, which has disappeared between
1793 and the date of tithe commutation.

John Wedge appears to have attempted a list of open field parishes with
their area and extent of common field and waste, but only got so far as
to supply this information for five parishes (p. 54), each of which has
undergone subsequent enclosure by Act of Parliament. He draws attention
to the contrast between the two parts of Warwickshire: “About forty
years ago the southern and eastern parts of this county consisted
mostly of open fields. There are still about 50,000 acres of open field
land which in a few years will probably all be enclosed. These lands,
being now grazed, want much fewer hands than they did in the former
open state. Upon all inclosures of open fields the farms have generally
been made much larger. For these causes the hardy yeomanry of country
villages have been driven for employment into Birmingham, Coventry, and
other manufacturing towns.”

About 90,000 acres was enclosed by Act of Parliament in the part of
Warwick described between 1743 and 1798. This, together with the 50,000
acres remaining, amounts to rather less than half the area of the
division of the county under consideration. As Wedge clearly was of
opinion that the greater part of S.E. Warwick was open at the date he
mentions, and as there is no reason for thinking he was wrong, it is to
be inferred that a considerable amount of non-Parliamentary enclosure
was going on in S.E. Warwick during the second half of the eighteenth

The extracts above given with reference to Leicester and Northampton
also prove that enclosure was going on in this part of the county
during the first half of the sixteenth century, though it had so little
advanced up to 1649 that Blyth speaks of this part of the county as

Leland gives an extremely full account of the state of enclosure of
Warwickshire, which shows that as early as 1540 the north-west part of
the county was “much enclosed.” It was on one of his later journeys
that he explored the county, entering from Oxfordshire. He found,
“Banbury to Warwick, twelve miles by Champaine Groundes, fruitful of
corne and grasse, and two miles by some enclosed and woody groundes”
(Vol. IV., Part 2, fol. 162).

“I learned at Warwick that the most part of the shire of Warwicke, that
lyeth as Avon River descendeth on the right hand or ripe of it, is in
Arden (for soe is the ancient Name of that part of the shire); and the
ground in Arden is much enclosed, plentifull of grasse, but not of
corne. The other part of Warwickshire that lyeth on the left hand or
ripe of Avon River, much to the south, is for the most part Champion,
somewhat barren of wood, but plentifull of corne” (fol. 166 a).

We may add, so as to complete our review of the evidence, that William
Marshall, in his book on the “Agriculture of the Midland District of
England” (1790), treats a region of which the town of Leicester was
near the centre, comprising the counties of Warwick, Rutland, the
north of Leicester and of Northampton, the east of Staffordshire, and
the southern extremities of Derby and Nottingham, as an agricultural
unit. He says: “Thirty years ago much of this district was in an open
state, and some townships still remain open; there are others, however,
which appear to have been long in a state of enclosure, and in which,
no doubt, the present system of management originated” (p. 8). This
does not add to our information about this district, but the fact that
Marshall was perfectly correct in his reading of the story told by the
aspect of the country is important, because for some other districts
his testimony is material.

To sum up, we find that in the north-west of Warwick enclosure was
general as early as 1540, while it was practically non-existent in the
south-east of that county and in Leicester, Northampton and Rutland.
We find that the movement towards enclosure of the “champaine” country
began about the year 1600, that it proceeded steadily in spite of
great popular resistance through the seventeenth century, but at a
much greater rate in Leicester, and probably in S.E. Warwick, than
in Northamptonshire, the rate in Rutland being probably slower than
in Leicester, but certainly greater than in Northamptonshire, the
course of the movement being from west to east; that about half of
S.E. Warwick and of Leicester was enclosed when the movement of
Parliamentary enclosure began, but less than half of Rutland, and not
more than quarter (probably not more than a fifth) of Northamptonshire.

We have seen that the enclosure of Bedford was later than this, and we
shall see that the same is true of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon. In
the midlands of England the course of enclosure from 1600 onwards was
from west to east.

A word may be added with regard to the methods by which
non-Parliamentary enclosure was effected in this district. There was
great diversity in Leicestershire from village to village with regard
to the diffusion of property, as may be seen from Monk’s Appendix, in
which he endeavours to give the names of the principal owners in each
“lordship.” Some were entirely in the hands of a single individual,
others had many owners, but in the great majority the land was mainly,
but not entirely, owned by the lord of the manor. The description of
the enclosure of S.E. Warwick supplied by John Wedge, the consolidation
of farms, and the depopulation of the villages, indicates that there
enclosure, whether by Act of Parliament or not, was carried through by
the authority of the lord of the manor, he being the main landowner.

The method by which this would be done when an Act of Parliament was
not resorted to is fully explained by Edward Lawrence (“The Duty of a
Steward to his Lord, 1727”), Article XIV.

“A Steward should not forget to make the best Enquiry into the
disposition of any of the Freeholders within or near any of his Lord’s
Manors, to sell their Lands, that he may use his best Endeavours
to purchase them at as reasonable a price as may be for his Lord’s
Advantage and Convenience ... especially in such Manors where
improvements are to be made by inclosing Commons and Common Fields;
which (as every one, who is acquainted with the late Improvements in
Agriculture must know) is not a little advantageous to the Nation
in general, as well as highly profitable to the Undertaker. If the
Freeholders cannot _all_ be perswaded to sell, yet at least an
Agreement for Inclosing should be pushed forward, by the Steward, and
a scheme laid, wherein it may appear that an exact and proportional
share will be allotted to every proprietor; perswading them first, if
possible, to sign a Form of Agreement, and then to chuse Commissioners
on both sides.... If the Steward be a Man of good sense, he will find
a necessity of making use of it all, in rooting out _superstition_
from amongst them, as what is so great a hindrance to all _noble_
Improvements.” The superstition referred to, is that enclosed land is
cursed, and doomed in three generations to pass out of the hands of the
descendants of the proprietor who enclosed it.

That in the early seventeenth century much of the enclosure was carried
out by the power of the lord of the manor is plain from the scraps of
information given by John Moore. Thus he tells us that Ashby Magna was
enclosed in 1606, and that the lord gave most of his tenants leases
for three lives and twenty-one years after (“Scripture Word Against
Inclosures,” p. 9), that being the reason why depopulation had not
resulted up to 1656; that in both Misterton and Poultney no house at
all was left except the minister’s, so that these two manors must have
been the property of absentee landlords.

But Catthorpe had no lord of the manor, it consisted of 580 acres
divided among eight freeholders and five or six holders of “ancient
cottages” who were also Freeholders (Joseph Lee, p. 5). The enclosure
was carried out by the agreement of all the owners, except one who
objected on conscientious grounds. The way in which these agreements to
enclose were effected in parishes where property was divided is thus
described by Moore:--“In common fields they live like loving neighbours
together for the most part, till the _Spirit of Inclosure_ enter into
some rich Churles heart, who doe not only pry out but feign occasions
to goe to law with their neighbours, and no reconcilement be made till
they consent to Inclosure. So this Inclosure makes thieves, and then
they cry out of thieves. Because they sold the righteous for silver,
and the poor for a pair of shoes. If it had not been for two or three
righteous in many Townes of these Inland Counties, what desolation had
there been made ere this time?” (Scripture Word, p. 12).


Much of these two counties anciently consisted of fen and marsh, and
of the land now cultivated a great deal never passed through the
common field system. But the “upland” of each county was very late in
undergoing enclosure.

Vancouver, the reporter for Cambridgeshire, gives an estimate of the
areas of lands of different description, which I slightly rearrange

│        ----              │ Unenclosed. │ Enclosed. │ Doubtful. │
│                          │   Acres.    │  Acres.   │   Acres.  │
│ Enclosed arable          │     --      │  15,000   │    --     │
│ Open field arable        │  132,000    │    --     │    --     │
│ Improved pasture         │     --      │  52,000   │    --     │
│ Inferior pasture         │     --      │    --     │  19,800   │
│ Improved fen             │     --      │  50,000   │    --     │
│ Woodland                 │     --      │    --     │   1,000   │
│ Waste and unimproved fen │  150,000    │    --     │    --     │
│ Half-yearly meadow land  │    2,000    │    --     │    --     │
│ Highland common          │    7,500    │    --     │    --     │
│ Fen or moor common       │    8,000    │    --     │    --     │
│ Heath and sheepwalk      │    6,000    │    --     │    --     │
│                          ├─────────────┼───────────┼───────────┤
│                          │  305,500    │ 117,000   │  20,800   │
│                          ╘═════════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╡
│              Total area, 443,300 acres.                        │

The actual area of Cambridgeshire is 549,723 acres; but Vancouver was
an exact and careful observer, and the proportions between the areas
assigned to each description were no doubt reasonably accurate. Here
we find over two-thirds of the total area unenclosed, and more than
eight-ninths of the arable land. It is, of course, possible, probable
even, that a larger amount than 15,000 acres of open field arable had
undergone enclosure, and that the 52,000 acres of improved pasture
includes a good deal of such land, laid down in grass on enclosure.
But even if we included the whole, there would only be 67,000 acres of
ancient common field arable which had undergone enclosure, compared
with 132,000 acres still open.

Vancouver also gives detailed accounts of ninety-eight of the
Cambridgeshire parishes, eighty-three of which were open, fifteen
enclosed. Of those which were open in 1793, seventy-four have since
been enclosed by Act of Parliament, nine have not, viz., Babraham,
Boxworth, Downham, Ely, Littleport, Lolworth, Madingley, Soham and Over.

Babraham had 1,350 acres of common field, and Vancouver says that
enclosure was desired. It was completely effected before the date of
tithe commutation.

Boxworth had 900 acres of common field. “The whole of this parish,”
says Vancouver, “lies within a ring fence and containing 2,100 acres,
is the property of one gentlemen.” Vancouver’s acres, as we have seen,
are large ones; the actual area is 2,526 acres. Enclosure was effected
before the date of tithe commutation, and as might be supposed under
the circumstances, without an Act.

Downham had, according to Vancouver, 680 acres of common field; the
tithe map indicates 450 acres still remaining.

To Ely he assigns 2,100 acres of common field. This had all gone at the
time of tithe commutation.

Of 345 acres assigned to Littleport, a remnant of forty acres survived
to be recorded in the tithe map.

The common field land of Lolworth suffered no diminution; for while
Vancouver gives it 650 acres, the tithe map indicates 800 acres. They
were enclosed at the time of the Crimean war by common agreement of the
owners, without an Act. This was the last surviving common field parish
in the vicinity.

In Soham enclosure was nearly as slow. Vancouver assigns it 1,200 acres
of common field; the tithe map 1,100 acres.

Madingley, Vancouver says, had 1,030 acres of common field. These were
all enclosed before the date of tithe commutation.

For Over the Board of Agriculture has no tithe documents; but we may
add that Horseheath had about 750 acres of common field, out of a total
of 1,850 acres, according to the tithe map.

Of the fifteen parishes stated by Vancouver to have been enclosed
before 1793, only two were enclosed by Act of Parliament.

The extent of the information obtained from the Acts, the tithe
documents, and Vancouver’s report is as follows:--

Of the 152 agricultural parishes of Cambridgeshire, we know the date of
enclosure of 118, enclosed by Acts of Parliament. These are given in
Appendix B.

Of thirteen, viz., Arrington, Childerley, Chippingham, Hatley St.
George, Leverington, Newton in the Isle of Ely, Outwell, Tadlow, Tid
St. Giles, Upwell-cum-Welney, and Wisbeach St. Mary, we know that they
were enclosed without Acts before 1793. The date 1790 is given for
Chippingham, and a small remnant of common field survived till 1851 in

Four parishes were enclosed, not by Acts, between 1793 and the date of
tithe commutation--Babraham, Boxworth, Ely and Madingley.

Five parishes which were not entirely enclosed even at the date of
tithe commutation have not been enclosed by Act since. These are
Lolworth, which then had only about one-fifth of its area enclosed;
Horseheath, which was about half enclosed; Soham, which had about 1,100
acres of common field and 456 acres of common, out of a total area of
nearly 13,000 acres; and Downham and Littleport, which had respectively
450 and forty acres of common field remaining.

Of one parish, Over, we only know that it was open in 1793.

Of nine parishes, Borough Green, Croydon-cum-Clapton, East Hatley,
Papworth St. Agnes, Long Stanton, Westley Waterless, Wisbeach St.
Peter, Witcham and Witchford, we only know that they were enclosed
before the date of tithe commutation.

Of two, Little Gransden and Stanground, we have no information.

I have before laid stress upon the eastward march of enclosure in the
midlands during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries,
which the following comparison illustrates:--

│           │              Parliamentary Enclosure.        │
│           ├───────────────────────┬──────────────────────┤
│   --      │ In the 18th Century.  │ In the 19th Century. │
│           ├─────────┬─────────────┼─────────┬────────────┤
│           │  Acts.  │    Acres.   │  Acts.  │    Acres.  │
│ Warwick   │    91   │   124,828   │    23   │    24,731  │
│ Cambridge │    23   │    51,028   │    85   │   147,311  │

Celia Fiennes traversed the county. She describes the part from
Littlebery (in Essex) to Cambridge as entirely open (p. 48), and makes
no mention of enclosures in the description of the view from the
“Hogmogoge Hills” (p. 49), but she speaks of “good enclosure” between
Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Though Cambridgeshire was on the whole so late in undergoing enclosure,
the conversion of arable into tillage had so far proceeded that about
one-fifth of the county was included in the Inquisition of 1517, and it
was found that in this part 1,422 acres had been enclosed and converted
into parks or pasture (Leadam, “Domesday of Inclosures”).


George Maxwell, the Board of Agriculture reporter, says that Huntingdon
contains one hundred and six towns and hamlets, of which forty-one were
then (1793) wholly enclosed, and of the remaining sixty-five a very
considerable part was enclosed. He computes that about a half of the
“high land part” of the county, which would, of course, include all old
arable land, was still unenclosed (“Agriculture of Huntingdon,” p. 16).

Fifty-eight parishes were enclosed by Acts subsequently to the date of
his report, and one parish (Lutton) remained open to the date of tithe
commutation. This leaves six out of the sixty-five open or partially
enclosed parishes of his report, in which enclosure was completed by
the middle of the nineteenth century without any Act.

Of the forty-one parishes wholly enclosed before 1793, twenty were
enclosed by Acts of Parliament, leaving twenty-one parishes which might
have been enclosed contemporaneously without Acts, or to be assigned to
the time previous to the beginning of Parliamentary enclosure.

Some of this enclosure is certainly to be assigned to an early date.
Celia Fiennes, as we have seen, found more enclosure as she came to
Huntingdon from Cambridge. Leland also found enclosure in the smaller

“From Cambridge to Elteste village al by champeyne counterey 8 miles.
St. Neotes 4 miles. From St. Neotes to Stoughton Village by sum
enclosid ground a 3 Miles, it is in Huntendunshir. From Stoughton to
Meichdown Village a 4 Miles be much Pasture and Corne ground ... there
be goodly Gardens, Orchards, Ponds, and a Parke thereby.”


[Illustration: EAST MIDLANDS


  Map of Norfolk, Suffolk and part of Essex showing land enclosed:
      before the General Enclosure Act of 1801.
      between 1802 and 1845.
      under General Enclosure Act of 1845.
  Scale 1:1,000,000 or 1 inch = 15.78 Stat. miles.]

The story of the enclosure of Essex and Suffolk is almost completely
told by the map. Each is sharply divided into a larger part very
anciently enclosed, without Acts of Parliament, and a smaller part
close to the boundaries of Hertford, Cambridge, and Norfolk, which
was enclosed at a late date by Acts of Parliament. Essex has but one
Act belonging to the eighteenth century, and that is dated as late as
1795. Suffolk has nine Acts belonging to the eighteenth, and forty-four
belonging to the nineteenth century.

The additional information available only serves to bring out more
clearly the very striking contrast between the regions of ancient and
recent enclosure.

On the one hand we find that the Parliamentary enclosure of the extreme
west and north-west portion of Essex is only part of the recent
enclosure of that part.

The Enclosure Acts cover twenty-nine parishes, and an area of 22,000
acres, about 760 acres per parish. Vancouver, who reported on Essex, as
well as Cambridge, tells us, “The arable land in about forty parishes
lies very much in open common fields, and which in point of quantity
is found to average 1,200 acres per parish.”[96] He gives a list of
open field parishes; Thraxted and Streethall, which have not since been
enclosed by Act, are included; and each of those had some common field
at the time of tithe commutation.

 [96] “Agriculture of Essex,” p. 185.

On the other hand, he tells us that the neighbourhood of Great Dunmow,
which is quite close to the region of nineteenth century enclosure, had
been enclosed from time immemorial.[97]

 [97] _Ibid._, p. 195.

The well-known passage in the “Discourse of the Commonweal,” “Countries
wheare most Inclosures be, are most wealthie, as essex, kent,
devenshire, and such,” sufficiently establishes the ancient enclosure
of the greater part of Essex. And though the evidence is not very
full, it is, I think, sufficient to show that the enclosure of the
corresponding part of Suffolk had a similar history. Celia Fiennes says
that the journey from Ipswich to Woodbridge is “7 miles mostly Lanes,
Enclosed countrys”; and from Woodbridge to Saxmundham “The wayes are
pretty deep, mostly Lanes, very little Commons” (p. 107).

John Norden (1602) also makes mention of Suffolk methods of hedging.

The question then arises with regard to this region of ancient
enclosure in Essex and Suffolk, whether it ever passed through the
typical English common field system. To this question we are able to
give an unhesitating answer.

In Suffolk, far away from any other Parliamentary enclosure, in the
south-east corner of the county are the parishes of Orford and Iken.
The enclosure at Orford was in 1881. There were but forty-six acres to
enclose, and these lay in strips alternately belonging to the lord of
the manor and to the Corporation of Orford. The existence of corporate
property in this small spot of land preserved it from enclosure to such
a late date.

The case of Iken appears to have been somewhat similar. It was enclosed
in 1804. There was only the small area of 100 acres to enclose,
comprising “certain open and common fields, meadows, commonable lands,
and waste grounds.” The Marquis of Hertford was lord of the manor, and
six individuals by name, and “divers others” are said to be the other
proprietors of land. There is a special clause authorising the parish
authorities, if they will, to accept rents from the Marquis of Hertford
in lieu of allotments, so there must have been corporate property in
the commonable lands, and this no doubt accounted for the survival of
this small area of common field.

But the clearest evidence is from the town of Colchester. The borough
is of great extent, and includes the four agricultural parishes of
Greenstead, Bere Church, or West Donyland, Lexden and Mile End. In
these four parishes, says Vancouver, “one-third of the arable land lies
in half-yearly common fields” (p. 40). The Corporation of Colchester
is to this day a very large owner of arable land; how it was enclosed,
and how the Corporation, as distinct from the free-men, secured the
property after the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, I
do not know. The important point is conveyed in the word “half-yearly.”
The arable fields of Colchester were genuine common fields, subject to
rights of common of pasture after harvest.

I think there can be little doubt that though much of Essex and Suffolk
might have been ancient woodland, and have been enclosed directly
from that condition, the primitive village community of Essex was
approximately of the same type as that of central England.


Adequate material does not exist for a statistical survey of the
enclosure of Norfolk, because of the disappointing habit which the
promoters of Enclosure Acts for this county fell into about the year
1793,[98] and persisted in later, of not making any statement with
regard to the area covered by the Act. The best statement that we
can make is that 297 parishes out of 682 were enclosed by Act of

 [98] Before 1793 thirty-one parishes were enclosed by twenty-two Acts,
 the area covered by nineteen of which is stated, amounting altogether
 to 50,187 acres. The total area so enclosed was probably not less than
 54,000 acres.

 [99] There were also eighty Enclosure Acts for the enclosure of common
 waste or pasture merely. In these also the area is stated for a small
 minority only.

We have already dealt with some peculiar features of Norfolk
agriculture revealed by preambles of Enclosure Acts. The chief other
fact which is striking in its enclosure history is that the county is
divided by the chalk ridge, which passes through the centre of the
county, from north to south, and which reaches the coast at Cromer,
into two parts of approximately equal area. The patches of colour which
indicate enclosure by Act of Parliament are scattered indifferently
over the whole map of the county; but the significance of the colour
varies. East Norfolk has all the aspect of a country of very early
enclosure. The fields are small, the hedges are big and high, like
Devonshire hedges, the roads are narrow and winding. The aspect recalls
Kent’s previously quoted words. “There is a considerable deal of common
field land in Norfolk, though a much smaller proportion than in many
other counties; for notwithstanding common rights for great cattle
exist in all of them, and even sheepwalk privileges in many, yet the
natural industry of the people is such, that whenever a person can
get 5 or 6 acres together, he plants a white-thorn edge round it, and
sets an oak at every rod distance, which is consented to by a kind
of general courtesy from one neighbour to another” (“Agriculture of
Norfolk,” 1st Edition, p. 22). The Parliamentary enclosure which took
place in a parish where the neighbours had been showing this courtesy
to one another consisted mainly in the extinction of common rights over
enclosed land.

The making of hedges had proceeded to such an extent in East Norfolk
by the end of the seventeenth century, that an anonymous author who
brought out an annotated edition of Tusser’s “Five hundred points
of Husbandry,” and “Champion and Severall,” under the title “Tusser
Redivivus,” in the year 1710, explains the term “woodland” (a term
which Tusser really used as a synonym for “several” or enclosed land)
to mean East Norfolk, saying that this district was so much enclosed in
small fields with fine trees in the hedges, that it was known as “the

At this time the western half of the county was still almost entirely
open. Arthur Young wrote in 1771, “From forty to sixty years ago, all
the Northern and Western and a part of the Eastern tracts of the county
were sheepwalks, let so low as from 6_d._ to 1_s._ 6_d._ and 2_s._ an
acre. Much of it was in this condition only thirty years ago. The great
improvements have been made by reason of the following circumstances:

(1) By enclosing without the assistance of Parliament.

(2) By a spirited use of marle and clay.

(3) By the introduction of an excellent course of crops.

(4) The cultivation of hand hoed turnips.

(5) Clover and ray grass.

(6) Long leases.

(7) By the county being divided chiefly into large farms.

“Parliamentary inclosures are scarcely ever so complete and general as”
(non-Parliamentary enclosure) “in Norfolk” (“Eastern Tour,” Vol. II.,
p. 150).

William Marshall supplies a confirmatory note. “Norfolk, it is probable
(speaking generally of the county), has not borne grain, in abundance,
much above a century. During the passed century” (the eighteenth) “a
principal part of it was _fresh land_, a newly discovered country
in regard to grain crops” (“Review of the Reports to the Board of
Agriculture for the Eastern Department,” p. 314).

Enclosure in the western half of Norfolk and along the central chalk
ridge in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, whether common field
arable were included or not, meant the reverse of what it had meant
in the first half of the sixteenth century--the conversion of land
from sheeprun to arable land and to highly cultivated land. Kent, in a
second edition of his report of Norfolk, published in 1796, estimated
that two-thirds of the whole area of the county was then arable; and
of the arable land three-quarters was enclosed, one-quarter in common
field. In other words, one-half of the area of the county was enclosed
arable, one-sixth common field arable. The remainder he describes as

  Meadows, parks, and upland pasture       126,692 acres.
  Unimproved commons                        80,000   ″
  Marsh lands                               63,346   ″
  Warrens and sheepwalks                    63,346   ″

with small areas for woods, plantations, roads, lakes, rivers, and
swamps. Whatever ancient common field arable had been enclosed before
the beginning of the eighteenth century and converted into pasture, was
apparently re-converted into arable before the end.



I have found very little information with regard to the enclosure
of Middlesex beyond that obtained from the Enclosure Acts. It is
remarkable that these should cover so large a part (19·7 per cent.) of
the area of the county.

Of twenty-six Acts, covering 35,757 acres, twenty-three, covering
30,000 acres, belong to the period after 1793. The Board of Agriculture
reporters, Thomas Baird and Peter Foot, tell us respectively (1) that
there were about 50,000 acres under tillage in 1793 (“Agriculture
of Middlesex,” p. 7), and (2) “The Common Fields in the county of
Middlesex, which are at present in a good course of husbandry, form
a large proportion as to the number of acres when compared to the
cultivated enclosures” (_Ibid._ p. 72).

That the common fields were “in a good course of husbandry” very
probably means that the exercise of common rights had been largely
restricted, and it is not improbable that while some of the ancient
common fields of Middlesex became converted into small dairy farms,
others became market gardens by means of a very moderate amount of
interchanging of properties and holdings.


The county of Hertford is rather remarkable for the extent of open
field land (common rights have so far decayed that one can hardly call
it common field) persisting to the present day. Notes have already been
given on Hitchin, Bygrave, Clothall, and Wallington. There were further
no less than seventeen enclosures under the Act of 1845, a number only
surpassed by Oxfordshire, and in a number of other parishes small
remnants of common fields are indicated by the tithe maps.

But on the whole Hertfordshire was a county of early enclosure. When
the Board of Agriculture survey was made only four parishes and a
part of Hitchin had undergone Parliamentary enclosure; but the
reporter says, “There are several small common fields in this county,
but these are mostly by agreement among the owners and occupiers
cultivated nearly in the same way as in the enclosed state” (D. Walker,
“Agriculture of Hertfordshire,” p. 49).

Walter Blyth in 1649 included “Hartford” with “Essex, Kent, Surrey,
Sussex,” etc., as enclosed counties (“The English Improver,” p. 49).

“An insurrection in hertfordshire for the comens at Northall and
Cheshunt,” was, according to Hales, the first beginning of the
enclosure riots and rebellions in the reign of Edward VI.

It is somewhat remarkable that Hertford was in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries so much more enclosed than the surrounding
counties, than Middlesex as well as than Bedford and Cambridge, and
even more enclosed than the part of Essex immediately adjoining.

Leland gives no account of the condition of the county with regard to
enclosure; but as no earlier author than Blyth speaks of Hertford as
an enclosed county, I am inclined to believe that its enclosure mainly
took place in the sixteenth and in the first half of the seventeenth
century. It is to be noticed that Hertford was excluded from the
operation of the last (39 Elizabeth, c. 2) of the Depopulation Acts,
requiring that all old arable land should continue under tillage and be
cultivated according to the local custom.


Buckingham is, on the whole, a county of late enclosure. A large
proportion (34·2 per cent.) of the area was enclosed by Acts of
Parliament; two-thirds of this enclosure belonging to the eighteenth
and one-third to the nineteenth century.

The reporters to the Board of Agriculture, William James and Jacob
Malcolm, supply a list of the parishes containing common fields in
1794, with an approximate statement of the area. The majority of these
parishes have, of course, undergone Parliamentary enclosure since. By
comparing their list with that of the Enclosure Acts and with the
summary of the tithe documents, we find that the following seventeen
parishes were enclosed without Acts between 1794 and the date of tithe

          Drayton Beauchamp
          Great Hampden
          Little Hampden
          Great Horwood
          Marsh Gibbon
          Great Missenden
          Little Missenden
          Newton Longueville

The following five still had remains of common field at the time of
tithe commutation, though the area was considerably reduced in each

│                            │    Common Field Acreage.    │
│           ----             ├──────────────┬──────────────┤
│                            │   In 1794.   │ According to │
│                            │              │  Tithe Map.  │
│                            │    Acres.    │    Acres.    │
│ Burnham and Lower Boveney  │    1000      │     525      │
│ Chesham                    │     300      │      66      │
│ Dorney                     │     600      │     277      │
│ Eton                       │     300      │     181      │
│ Chipping Wycombe           │     200      │     100      │

As so much gradual non-Parliamentary enclosure took place during the
nineteenth century, it is to be supposed that the same process was also
going on right through the eighteenth century.

Buckingham is traversed by the Chiltern Hills, and so is divided into
two distinct regions. About half the county lies north-west of the
Chilterns, on a sub-cretaceous formation, like Bedfordshire, with
fertile soil, and villages thickly scattered. The remainder consists of
the chalky downs and the later formations, like most of Hertfordshire
and Middlesex.

The enclosure of the south-east portion was earlier than that of the
north-west part. Arthur Young in 1771 was much struck by the extent
of the open fields in the latter part. The vale of Aylesbury,[100]
he says, was good clay, and open field (“Eastern Tour,” p. 18). From
Aylesbury to Buckingham “nearly the whole country is open field, the
soil among the richest I ever saw, black putrid clay” (p. 19). “As
for the landlords, what in the name of wonder is the reason of their
not enclosing! All this vale would make as fine meadows as any in
the world” (p. 23). However, about Hockston (Hoggeston) he saw many
new enclosures (p. 24). Hoggeston itself was never enclosed by Act,
but several neighbouring villages had been enclosed by Acts passed
previously to 1771.

 [100] An Act for the enclosure of the common field land of Aylesbury
 itself was passed in the same year.

Celia Fiennes passed through the same part of Buckinghamshire about
eighty years before. From Stony Stratford to Great Horwood, she says,
“this country is fruitfull, full of woods, Enclosures, and rich Ground.
The little towns stand pretty thicke. You have many in view” (p. 97).
This does not imply anything more than very partial enclosure; for
Celia Fiennes, accustomed to the complete absence of hedges of her own
part of Wiltshire, always notices enclosure rather than the absence of
enclosure. That many little towns should be in sight of one passing
through a flat country implies that it is open, except close to the

Leland, in 1536, came from Bedfordshire along the boundary between
Herts and Bucks and into the extreme south of Buckinghamshire, and
found that enclosures had already begun. He describes the whole county
in one luminous sentence, “Looke as the countrye of the Vale of
Alesbury for the most part is clean barren of wood, and is champaine,
soe is all the Chilterne well woodid and full of Enclosures” (fol. 192

It seems quite clear, then, that the enclosure movement of the
south-east of Berkshire was ancient; that it moved up the long slope
of the Chilterns from the Thames and Middlesex, but stopped at the
open chalk downs which marked the summit of the range; and that the
movement which affected the enclosure of the Vale of Aylesbury and
all north-western Buckinghamshire was part of the general enclosure
movement of the Midlands, spreading southwards from Leicester and
Northampton, as we have seen it spread eastwards.


Oxfordshire may be termed a sister county to Buckinghamshire; but by
far the greater part of the county lies north-west of the Chiltern
Hills, which occupy the south east extremity. We find, as we should
expect, that the history of the enclosure of Oxfordshire resembles that
of Bedfordshire and of North-West Buckinghamshire; 45·6 per cent. of
the area of Oxfordshire underwent Parliamentary enclosure compared with
46·0 per cent. of Bedfordshire and 34·2 per cent. of Bucks; in Oxford
about 62 per cent. of the total Parliamentary enclosure belonged to the
eighteenth century, in Bedford 54 per cent., in Buckinghamshire 66 per
cent. Oxford, however, is remarkable for the extent of the enclosure
(eighteen Acts enclosing 23,578 acres) under the General Enclosure Act
of 1845.

Richard Davis, the Board of Agriculture reporter, while he gives a very
full statement of the methods of cultivating the common fields of the
county, makes no statement with regard to their extent.

As in Buckinghamshire, partial enclosure, particularly in the immediate
neighbourhood of the villages, had taken place before the eighteenth
century. Celia Fiennes found “Oxford Environ’d round with woods
and Enclosure, yet not so neare as to annoy the town which stands
pleasant and Compact,” and from the Malvern Hills she says “Oxford,
Gloucestershire, &c. appears in plaines, enclosures, woods and rivers
and many great hills” (p. 33). By “plaines” stretches of common fields
are to be understood.

Leland found no enclosure in Oxfordshire in any part he visited.



Lincoln and the East Riding of Yorkshire have a similar enclosure
history. Each was largely enclosed by Acts of Parliament; in each
nearly four-fifths of the Parliamentary enclosure was effected in
the eighteenth century; in each enclosure was not marked either by a
general conversion of arable into pasture, as in Leicestershire, or by
a general conversion of pasture into arable, as in Norfolk; in both a
considerable proportion of the common-field land before enclosure was
worked on the two-field system. As much as 40·1 per cent. of the East
Riding of Yorkshire is covered by the Acts for enclosing common-field
parishes, and 29·3 per cent. of Lincolnshire; but for the latter
county there are also Acts for enclosing great extents of commonable
marshes; and including these and other Acts for enclosing commons and
wastes, about 35 per cent. of Lincolnshire has undergone Parliamentary

A good deal of non-Parliamentary enclosure took place during the
nineteenth century. Thomas Stone, the Board of Agriculture reporter,
estimates that there were in 1793, 200,000 acres of commons, wastes,
and unimbanked salt marshes, and 268,000 acres of common fields. He
over-estimates the total area of the county so much, that to rectify
his figures we have to deduct 10 per cent.--this leaves 421,000 acres
of common fields and other commonable lands. There have been enclosed
by Parliamentary action since 207,659 acres by Acts for enclosing
common-field parishes, and about 74,000 acres by Acts for enclosing
other commonable lands; if we suppose there are 12,000 acres of
common fields and commons surviving, this accounts for 293,659 acres,
and leaves about 127,000 acres unaccounted for--_i.e._, enclosed by
non-Parliamentary process during the nineteenth century.

If the same proportion between the scope of the two methods be
supposed to have held good during the earlier part of the period of
Parliamentary enclosure, it would follow that at the beginning of that
period (1730) Lincolnshire was about half enclosed and half open.

From the references to Lincolnshire by our tourists, one would expect
to find a less degree of enclosure. Arthur Young, in 1768, that is,
after fifty-three Enclosure Acts for Lincolnshire had been passed,
found the country from Stamford to Grimsthorpe mostly open (“Northern
Tour,” p. 77), from Grimsthorpe to Colsterworth chiefly open,
Colsterworth to Grantham, enclosed on the right hand, open on the left
(p. 84), and from Grantham to Newark all open (p. 94). Celia Fiennes,
about 1695, following the same road, found no enclosures but a “fine
champion country.” Leland gives the same testimony.

By comparing Celia Fiennes with Arthur Young, we have evidence of
enclosure proceeding in the south-west of Lincolnshire between 1695 and
1768, which is partly, but not entirely, accounted for by Parliamentary
enclosure. The three descriptions give the impression that up to the
beginning of Parliamentary enclosure Lincolnshire was much less than
half enclosed. It is, however, not difficult to reconcile this with the
conclusion inferred from Thomas Stone’s statement and the Enclosure
Acts; for none of the three travellers touched more than the western
part of the county. No doubt the eastern part was earlier enclosed.
This is, indeed, indicated by the distribution of Parliamentary
enclosure, as shown by the map.


We have no estimate of the extent of common-field land in the East
Riding from the Board of Agriculture reporter; but Arthur Young, in his
“Northern Tour,” describes the part betwene Sheffield and Goole and
the East Riding as about half open and half enclosed (pp. 172–210). He
further says (p. 178) that in the East Riding “Inclosures and turnpikes
were carried on with great spirit during the late war” (_i.e._, “The
Seven Years’ War”). Nine Acts were passed for the enclosure of eleven
parishes during that war; but this can only have been a part of the
spirited proceedings.

As in the case of Bedfordshire, when we allow for marshes along the
Humber, and hill country on the Wolds, which never passed through the
common-field system, for the indubitable non-Parliamentary enclosure
proceeding side by side with Parliamentary enclosure, and particularly
for the active enclosure spoken of by Arthur Young in the middle of
the eighteenth century, there remains but little enclosure of common
fields to be attributed to earlier centuries. Some such enclosure must
be assigned to the sixteenth century. The Commission of 1517 inquired
into nearly the whole riding and found 1560 acres of arable land
enclosed, 1545 acres of which were laid down to grass (W. S. Leadam,
“The Domesday of Inclosure”).

Leland also found some enclosure in the East Riding, which he traversed
pretty completely. (_See_ Appendix C.)

We have mention of a park and of enclosed land in four different
places, though in each of the four only for about a mile of the route.


The North and West Ridings of Yorkshire were much earlier enclosed
than the East Riding. This is the natural consequence of the fact that
in early times they possessed a much smaller proportion of arable
land, and, as I have shown in a previous chapter, the more pasture
predominates, the less the common-field arable is able to resist the
tendency to enclosure. The difference between the proportions of the
three ridings covered by Enclosure Acts, by which common fields were
enclosed is striking: East Riding 40·1 per cent., West Riding 11·6,
North Riding 6·3. But this understates the case, for I include all
Acts whereby any arable common field at all is enclosed, and in the
North and West Ridings many of these Acts are for the enclosure of a
great stretch of moor and a mere remnant of common field, and these
unduly swell the total. Examples are an Act in 1791 for the enclosure
of 6000 acres of common, and 30 acres of “mesne inclosures,” _i.e._, of
intermixed tilled land which is separated from the surrounding common
pasture by a hedge; an Act in 1801 for the enclosure of 150 acres
of common field and common meadow, and 4000 acres of common pasture
at Kettlewell and Conistree; an Act in 1815 for the enclosure of a
wretched remnant of nine acres of common field arable, and 6330 acres
of common. The existence of such remnants of common field arable bears
witness to the gradual enclosure which would have entirely extinguished
them a little later, if the opportunity of the enclosure of the
commons had not been seized to bring them also within the scope of the

William Marshall’s account of the enclosure of the Vale of Pickering
has already been given. Arthur Young in 1768 describes the view from
the road from Kirby Moorside to Cleveland as one of “extensive valleys
cut into innumerable inclosures” (“Northern Tour,” Vol. II., p. 93).
Enclosure was the rule all the way from Driffield northwards.

Celia Fiennes kept more to the West Riding. From Darlington to
Richmond, “I went through Lanes and Woods, an Enclosed country” (p.
183). Richmond to Boroughbridge was for 3 or 4 miles through narrow
lanes, then for 5 or 6 through common (p. 184). From Knaresborough to
Leeds “it was much in Lanes and uphills and Downhills, some little part
was open common” (p. 184). From Leeds to Eland “much in enclosures”
(p. 185). About Eland “all the hills full of inclosures” (_ibid._).
From Eland to Blackstone Edge, “these parts have some resemblance to
Darbyshire, only here are more woody places and inclosures” (p. 186).

The earlier history of the enclosure of most of the West Riding and
North Riding is summed up in the passage from Walter Blyth:--“Woodlands
wont before inclosure to be relieved by the Champion, and now become
gallant corn countries.... West of Warwick, North of Worcester,
Staffordshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and all the Countries
thereabouts” (“English Improver,” p. 40). For while Celia Fiennes found
so much enclosure, Leland found chiefly moor and forest, yet more
enclosure than “Chaumpaine.”

The great contrast between the description given by Celia Fiennes
and that given by Leland sufficiently confirms the statement of
Walter Blyth, which we may amplify as follows:--Enclosure made
little progress in Yorkshire before the middle of the sixteenth
century, but thenceforward it was pushed steadily on mainly by the
tilling and enclosing of common wastes and pastures, and the clearing
and cultivation of forests in the North and West Riding, and the
common-field arable also underwent division and gradual enclosure. That
the Vale of Pickering in the North Riding and the district between
Sheffield and Goole in the West Riding, being the parts where arable
common fields most predominated, were the last of the cultivated
districts to be enclosed; the Vale of Pickering being mainly enclosed
by non-Parliamentary means in the first half of the eighteenth century;
the South Yorkshire district being largely enclosed by Acts of
Parliament in the second half of the eighteenth and the beginning of
the nineteenth century.

Lastly attention must be drawn to the great number of Acts of Enclosure
for Yorkshire enclosing common pasture or waste only.


Nottinghamshire may be said to consist of an ancient “champain”
district, which has an enclosure history exactly similar to that of the
neighbouring districts of Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, and an
ancient forest district.

The county as a whole has a percentage of Parliamentary enclosure,
32·5, which must be considered high when allowance is made for the
fact that so much land must have been enclosed directly from the
forest state without passing through the common-field system. The two
surviving examples of common-field parishes, Laxton and Eakring, have
been before described; Bole also was till recently unenclosed.

The Board of Agriculture reporter, Robert Lowe, attempted to give an
account of the state of enclosure of the different parishes in 1793,
but evidently found it beyond his powers to make the lists at all
complete. But his list of unenclosed parishes enables us to give the
following nine parishes as enclosed without Parliamentary intervention
since 1793:--

          North Wheatley
          South Wheatley

together with the hamlets of Ompton and Clipston.

And his list of recently-enclosed parishes enables us to give the
following nine parishes as enclosed without Parliamentary sanction
shortly before 1793:--


together with the hamlets of Aslacton, Newton, Oldwork, and Cropwell

All these had been enclosed, he says, within the previous twenty years.

The fact that the extent of non-Parliamentary enclosure in Notts., in
the period from 1773 to 1793 is just equal, according to this, to that
of the non-Parliamentary enclosure after 1793, is a slight clue to
the probable extent of non-Parliamentary enclosure in the eighteenth
century in other counties similarly circumstanced.

We should expect, then, to find the part of the county which was
anciently tilled, practically entirely open, at the beginning of the
eighteenth century. This is confirmed by the evidence, so far as it
goes. Celia Fiennes says: “From Nottingham Castle I saw a prospect
more than 20 mile about. The land is very rich and fruitfull, so the
Green meadows with the fine corn ffields which seemes to bring forth in
handfulls. They soe most of Barley and have great encrease, there is
all sorts of Graine besides, and plaines and Rivers and Great woods and
Little Towns all in view” (p. 56).

Leland was similarly struck with South Nottingham. Coming south from
Rotherham he found “very woody Grounde,” then “hethy,” then “Corny and
Paster,” then “Ground very fruteful of Corne” (Vol. V., fol. 91, 92).
But when he got past Nottingham the view made him burst into Latin.
“After that I cam a little beyond Trent I saw all Champaine Grounde
undecunque within sight, and very little wood but infinita frugum


The enclosure history of Derbyshire closely resembles that of the West
Riding of Yorkshire. A somewhat larger part (16·5 per cent.) of it
underwent enclosure by Acts for the enclosure of common-field arable in
conjunction with other commonable land, and about 5 per cent. more by
Acts for the enclosure of common pasture and waste. The common-field
arable is frequently called “mesne inclosures” (sometimes “mesne
field”), showing that the idea of a hedge was that it surrounded the
corn crops to keep out beasts, not the pasture to keep them in. Celia
Fiennes gives a general description of the county: “You see neither
hedge nor tree but only low drye stone walls round some ground, Else
its only hills and dales as thick as you Can Imagine” (p. 77). “All
Darbyshire is but a world of peaked hills.”

It will be remembered that it had by 1649, according to Blyth, become a
gallant corn country through enclosure. Leland passed it by.


The history of the enclosure of Durham is told by the Board of
Agriculture reporter in a sentence: “In this county the lands, or
common fields of townships, were for the most part inclosed soon after
the Restoration.... The common fields are few in number and of small
extent” (Joseph Granger, “Agriculture of Durham,” p. 43).

All other evidence simply confirms this statement. The Enclosure Acts
for enclosing common fields are but five in number, and the most
extensive of them covers only 800 acres, of which part only is common
field. (The Enclosure Acts of the other type are numerous in comparison
and extensive in scope, one covering 10,000, one 20,000, one 25,000 and
one 28,000 acres).

The statement, too, is confirmed by two contemporary authors,
previously quoted, and by the records of Leland and Celia Fiennes.
Celia Fiennes says that from Newcastle to Durham “the whole county
looks like a fruitful woody place” (p. 178), and she compares it to the
neighbourhood of Blackheath (p. 179), from which we must infer some
open common, but all the cultivated land in a state of enclosure.

Leland traversed the whole county but found no enclosure. Nor does he
describe any part of the county as “champaine” but merely as good corn,
or grass, or moor, or mountain. It is, I think, safe to conclude that
there were no extensive stretches of common-field arable within view;
but also, one is inclined to infer that enclosure had not yet begun.

Further, there is an illuminating note from Arthur Young (1768): “Farms
become large on entering Northumberland, after the small ones of
Yorkshire and Durham” (“Northern Tour,” Vol. III., p. 61).

It has to be borne in mind that the disorder on the Border checked the
development of agriculture till the accession of James I., probably
at least as far south as the North Riding of Yorkshire. With the
gradual increase of population, and improvement of roads, cultivation
spread over the wastes; first in Yorkshire, then in Durham, then in
Northumberland. At first the agent was a peasant, carving a small farm
for his own maintenance, later a landlord or farmer able to employ
labourers and work a large farm.

That the enclosure of Northumberland took place later than that of
Durham, and was the work of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is
on _a priori_ grounds probable, and is further indicated by the fact
that Celia Fiennes makes no mention of enclosure in her account of her
ride from the Scottish border into Durham. A further reference to the
enclosure of Northumberland will be made when we come to Cumberland.



Kent is certainly a county of very ancient enclosure. This is clearly
indicated by the fact that not a single Act for the enclosure of common
field has been passed by the whole county. It is also witnessed by a
whole series of writers, from Boys, the Board of Agriculture reporter,
who says, “There are no Common Fields in Kent,”[101] to the author
of the “Discourse of the Commonweal,” “those counties which be most
enclosed, as essex, kent, devenshire.”

 [101] “Agriculture of Kent” (1796), p. 44.

But in Kent it would appear that if some investigator as careful as
Vancouver had at a somewhat earlier date reported on the agriculture
of Kent, he would have found some remains of arable common fields
in the far eastern corner of the county. William Lambarde, in the
“Perambulation of Kent,” 1570, says: “The soile is for the most part
bountifull, consisting indifferently of arable, pasture, meadow and
woodland. Howbeit of these wood occupieth the greatest portion even to
this day except it be towards the east, which coast is more champaigne
than the residue” (p. 3).

More than a hundred years later, Celia Fiennes says: “Canterbury to
Dover was a good road and a sort of Champion Country” (p. 103). It was
open, it was mainly arable land, but it differed in some respect from
the Champain of the Midlands; and again, a hundred years later, William
Marshall writes in 1798 of the Isle of Thanet: “The whole country lies
open, excepting in the immediate environs of villages.... The present
productions, if we cut off the marsh lands, may be said to be arable
crops” (“Southern District,” Vol. II., p. 6).

This was written, it will be noticed, just after Boys had written his
statement that there were no common fields in Kent. We can reconcile
the two statements if we suppose that by the disuse of rights of
common, and by the consolidation of scattered properties and holdings
by mutual exchanges, the characteristics of common field had been
abolished, while in consequence of there never having arisen any
tendency to convert the arable land into pasture, no necessity for the
expensive labour of making hedges arose. But I have no evidence to show
at what date the open arable land ceased to be common field.

The question arises whether the common-field system of the ordinary
English type ever existed in this part of Kent; and here again
there is no decisive evidence that I know of by which to answer the
question. The fact that the similar question for Essex is answered in
the affirmative by the Colchester common fields perhaps counts for
something; and that the Surrey common fields come at Croydon close
to the county boundary, for a little more. At Eltham there is an old
charity called the Fifteen Penny Lands; only a few acres remain in the
form of land, the rest having been sold and the proceeds invested;
but there still remains an acre described as “Land in East Field,
Dockland’s Shot.” In 1578 a member of the Roper family, perhaps
Margaret Roper, the daughter of Sir Thomas More, or her husband,
bequeathed to Eltham “a parcel of ground containing by estimation four
acres, in the common field, called East Field.”[102] Eltham was a royal
manor, hence likely to preserve old customs to a later date than other
manors, and the arrangement of ancient common fields, particularly
towards Eltham Common, seems clearly traceable. In Addington, an
ecclesiastical manor, it seems easy to trace the signs of ancient
common, commonable meadow, and common fields.

 [102] Geo. Rathbone, “History of the Eltham Charities,” p. 5.



  Map of Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex showing
      land enclosed:
        before the General Enclosure Act of 1801.
        between 1802 and 1845.
        under General Enclosure Act of 1845.
    Scale 1:1,000,000 or 1 inch = 15.78 Stat. miles.]

The whole of the Weald of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex appears never to
have passed through the common-field system. This is indicated in
the first place by the fact that there have been no Enclosure Acts
for enclosing common fields. Secondly, we have what may be termed
the expert evidence of William Marshall, the shrewdest of all the
eighteenth-century agricultural writers, and the only one really
interested in the origin and early history of the common-field system.
He says of the Maidstone district, “the entire district appears to
have been inclosed from the forest or pasture state. I observed not a
trace of common-field lands” (“Southern District,” Vol. I., p. 21). Of
the Weald of Kent, “The whole is in a state of inclosure, and mostly
divided by wide woodland belts, into well sized fields” (_Ibid._, p.
345). Of the Weald of Sussex, “... there being, I believe, no trace at
present, of common fields having ever gained an establishment” (Vol.
II., p. 100). “The whole of the district (between Pulborough and
Midhurst) under view is in a state of Inclosure; except a few small
heathlets and commons; and except a small remnant of common field in
the Maam soil.” The Maam soil, he says, is a vein of land of peculiar
nature at the foot of the chalk hills, to be identified, presumably,
with the Gault formation.

In 1649, seeing that a considerable amount of common field survived
in the part of Surrey north of the North Downs, until the time of
Parliamentary enclosure, and some in Sussex south of the South Downs,
and in spite of this, Blith speaks of Surrey and Sussex as enclosed
counties, enclosure must at least have predominated in the Weald.

Celia Fiennes adds a confirmation. Sussex, she says, is “much in
blind, dark lanes” (p. 32). This implies narrow roads, with well-grown
hedges, that is, ancient enclosure. For roads are everywhere broad in
proportion as the industrial state at which enclosure takes place is
advanced. Again, from Calvery to Branklye, “the way is thro’ lanes,
being an Enclosed Country for the most part, as is much of Sussex which
joyns to Kent” (p. 112). And the view from Boxhill was that of “a
fruitfull vale, full of inclosures and woods” (p. 32).


The part of Surrey which lies on the north slope of the North Downs,
from the Kent boundary to the Bagshot sands, contained up till the time
of Parliamentary enclosure a considerable proportion of common-field
land, as may be seen by the appendix and the map.

James and Malcom, the reporters for Surrey, give a list of the chief
common fields remaining in 1793 (“Agriculture of Surrey,” p. 43), from
which we find that besides Merrow, enclosed about 1870, East and West
Clandon, Ashtead and Thorpe have been enclosed without Acts since. In
each of these four cases enclosure took place before the date of tithe

But even this part of Surrey must be considered as on the whole an
early enclosed district; as much so, in fact, as the corresponding
slope of the Chiltern Hills, and the Hertfordshire Hills on the other
side of the Thames.


The western part of the south slope of the Sussex Downs has a few
examples of common fields surviving to a late date, but they are fewer
in number and smaller in area than on the north slope of the Surrey
Downs. William Marshall says: “In the Isle of _Selsey_ I observed some
common field land; also about Chichester, in the year 1791” (Southern
District, Vol. II., p. 230.) The accompanying map shows the parishes
enclosed by Acts.


Under the heading of Wessex I include the counties of Hampshire,
Wiltshire, Berkshire and Dorset. There is a close resemblance
between the enclosure history of each of these; while Gloucester is
a connecting link between them and the Midland counties on the one
hand, and the south-western on the other. It may be described as at
present a country of very large farms, with a very large proportion
of open down, the cultivated land itself remaining remarkably open,
being divided in general into large rectangular fields by hedges
which are frequently full of gaps. Rights of common here more than
elsewhere have decayed, irrespective of actual enclosure; and using
the word enclosure in its broad sense, it may be said that in Wessex
the process of enclosure has least of all taken visible shape, either
in the growing of hedges, or building of walls, or in the conversion
of arable to pasture, or pasture to arable, or in the scattering of
the habitations of the inhabitants over the whole parish; but that
it has most profoundly affected the social life of the villages. The
case of Grimstone, in which the nine “livings” for generations held by
about a dozen different copyholders, was converted into a single farm,
and by no means an exceptionally large one, is typical of the whole
district. This aspect has been previously treated. What here has to
be noticed is that these characteristics of Wessex enclosure make it
more difficult to trace the progress, at least so far as the higher
lands are concerned. If Celia Fiennes could revisit the neighbourhood
of Amesbury and Stonehenge, she would probably again describe it as
“all on the downs, a fine champion country.” It is fortunate that we
have the accounts of two such expert observers as Thomas Davis and
William Marshall. They wrote practically at the same date, Marshall
apparently in 1792, Davis in 1793; but as Marshall confines himself to
the actual condition, while Davis deals with the past, he must here
take precedence.


“_Basingstoke to Salisbury._--The state of inclosure varies. To the
eastward the country is mostly inclosed, much of it in large, square,
regular inclosures. More westward, it is entirely open; as are the tops
of the higher hills throughout. Extensive views, with no other break,
than what is given by corn or flocks, fallows or the sheep fold.

“_Environs of Salisbury._--To the southward of the town there are some
well-sized, square fields, with good live hedges (at least on three
sides) apparently of forty or fifty years’ growth; yet, extraordinary
as it is, many of these fields lie open to the roads; the fences on
the sides next the lanes lying in a state of neglect. And, to the
north of the Avon, the country for many miles every way, lies open,
unless about villages and hamlets, and along the narrow bottoms of the
watered valleys. To the eastward of Salisbury an attempt has been made
at inclosure; the ruins of the hedges are still evident; broken banks,
with here and there a hawthorn. And similar instances are observable in
other parts of the Downs.

“Are we to infer from hence, that chalk down lands are not proper to be
kept in a state of inclosure? Or that where sheep are kept in flocks,
and few cattle are kept, fences are not requisite? Or is the foliage of
shrubs a natural and favourite food of sheep, and hence, in a country
chiefly stocked with sheep, it is difficult to preserve a live hedge
from destruction?

“_Ludgershall to Basingstoke._--The country is wholly inclosed:
excepting a few plots to the right; mostly in large square fields,
doubtless from a state of open down; the hedges in general of a Middle
Age; some instances of vacant inclosure.

“With respect to the present state of appropriation of this tract
of country,[103] the mere traveller is liable to be deceived. From
the more public roads, the whole appears to be in a state of divided
property. But on a closer examination, much of it is found to be in a
state of commonage. In the immediate environs of Salisbury, there are
evident remains of a common field, lying in narrow strips, intermixed,
in the south of England manner; and not far from it, a common cow
pasture and a common meadow. About Mere” (on the Somerset border of
Wiltshire) “I observed the same appearances. In the Valley of Amesbury
much of the land remains, I understand, under similar circumstances,
though they do not so evidently appear in the arable lands, which
by the aggregation of estates, or of farms, or by exchanges among
landlords and their tenants, lie mostly in well-sized pieces. But the
after-eatage,[104] whether of the stubbs or the meadows, is enjoyed
in common. And the grass downs of the common field townships are in a
state of common pasture the year round; being stinted by the arable
lands” (“Southern District,” p. 308, etc.).

 [103] _I.e._, the whole of the district he calls “the Western Chalk

 [104] “After-eatage.” This is Marshall’s variant of “average,”
 showing his theory of the etymology of the word, a theory which might
 have been suggested to him by the quaint phrase common in Enclosure
 Acts: “The averages whereof are eaten and enjoyed by the proprietors
 according to a recognised stint.”

One fact to be noticed is that Hampshire was earlier enclosed than
Wiltshire; which is in accordance with what one would have expected.
Enclosure spread westwards into Hampshire from Surrey and Sussex.

Davis I have previously quoted. “The greater part of this county
(Wiltshire) was formerly, and at no very remote period, in the hands
of great proprietors. Almost every manor had its resident lord, who
held part of the lands in demesne, and granted out the rest by copy
or lease to under tenants, usually for three lives renewable. A state
of commonage, and particularly of open common fields, was peculiarly
favourable to this tenure. Inclosures naturally tend to its extinction.

“The North-West of Wiltshire being much better adapted to inclosures
and to sub-division of property than the South, was inclosed first;
while the South-East or Down district, has undergone few inclosures and
still fewer sub-divisions” (“Agriculture of Wiltshire,” p. 8).

We have previously seen that Cobbett, traversing that same South-East
district of Wiltshire, found in 1825 the common field or “tenantry”
system completely superseded by that of great farms. Parliamentary
enclosure only partly effected the change, which appears to have been
so complete in the space of a single generation, 1793–1825. The violent
fluctuations in the price of grain during the great war, the wholesale
ruin of farmers in 1815 and 1816, the abuse of the Poor Law peculiarly
rampant in Wiltshire, by which the peasants who held such little
holdings as we have observed in Fordington and Stratton and Grimstone,
by lease or copy, were compelled to pay in their rates the wages of
the labourers employed by the great farmers who were superseding them,
and the decay of home industries to which Cobbett bears witness, all
these were complementary parts of the social transition, each assisting
all the others, and all together converting the tiller of the soil
from the peasant with a medieval status, a responsible member of a
self-governing village community, into a pauperised, half-starved

Though North-West Wiltshire was enclosed earlier than the South-East,
Berkshire was enclosed later than Wiltshire as a whole. This
is indicated by the scope and distribution of Enclosure Acts.
Parliamentary enclosure covers 26·0 per cent. of Berkshire, 24·1 per
cent. of Wiltshire. Of the total 120,002 acres enclosed by Act in
Berkshire, 42,631 acres was enclosed in the eighteenth century; 77,371
acres in the nineteenth. In Wiltshire the proportions are reversed;
126,060 acres were enclosed in the eighteenth century, 86,073 acres in
the nineteenth.

The non-Parliamentary enclosure in the nineteenth century was
peculiarly active in Berkshire. William Pearce, the Board of
Agriculture surveyor, computed that in 1794 the common fields and
downs occupied 220,000 acres; forests, wastes, and commons, 40,000;
and the enclosed lands, including parks and woods, only 170,000 acres
(“Agriculture of Berkshire,” p. 13). He further assures us that at
least half of the arable land was in common fields (p. 49). As rather
less than 20 per cent. of the total area of the county was enclosed by
Acts at a later date, it would follow that about 30 per cent. of its
area was enclosed without Acts after 1793; and from my own inquiries
I can quite believe this conclusion is accurate. Enclosure under the
general Acts of 1836 and 1840 may have been specially extensive in

Dorset underwent enclosure at an earlier period. The percentage
of Parliamentary enclosure is only 8·7, which is similar to that
of Hampshire, 6.0; and there is no evidence of very extensive
non-Parliamentary enclosure in the nineteenth century. Stevenson
in 1812 reported, “There are but few uninclosed fields remaining”
(“Agriculture of Dorset,” p. 194); and the earlier reporter, Claridge,
in 1794, said, “Very few parishes in this county have of late years
been enclosed” (“Agriculture of Dorset,” p. 46). In the intervening
period only fourteen Acts enclosing sixteen parishes were passed;
Dorset must therefore have been mainly enclosed before the time of
the American War; enclosure having no doubt spread eastwards from
Devonshire, which was a very old enclosed county.

Celia Fiennes adds little to our information, except that she says the
Vale of the White Horse, in Berkshire, “extends a vast way, a rich
jnclosed country” (p. 19), that there were “Good lands, meadows, woods
and jnclosures” in the Isle of Purbeck, (p. 6), and that the country
round “Stonidge,” like that round Newtontony, was “most champion
and open, husbandry mostly corn and sheep” (p. 10). But there is a
significant passage in John Norden, which shows that the characteristic
Wiltshire and Dorsetshire common-field management in 1600 prevailed
over all four counties. “In Dorset, Wiltshire, Hamshire, Barkeshire,
and other places champion, the farmers do much inrich their land indeed
with the sheepfold” (Book V., p. 232).

Leland, however, is full of information. He came into Berkshire at
Wallingford, and rode thence to Abingdon and to Oxford. The first touch
of description is “About this Sinodune beginneth the fruteful Vale
of White Horse--this Vale is not plentifulle of woodde” (Vol. II.,
fol. 14). This must be compared with Celia Fiennes’ description of
the same Vale, “a rich jnclosed country.” He next proceeded westwards
along the southern side of the Thames. “From this place” (Hinxey hill,
one mile from Oxford) the hilly ground was “meately woody for the
space of a mile, and thens 10 miles al by Chaumpain, and sum Corne,
but most pasture, to Farington.” He crossed the river and entered
Gloucestershire, but turning south entered Wiltshire, and found the
eight miles from Cirencester to Malmesbury “about a Mile on Furse then
al by Champayne Ground, fruteful of corne and Grasse, but very little
wood” (fol. 26). To Chippenham “al the Ground on that side of the Ryver
was Chaumpayne” (fol. 28) but towards Bradford “the countre beginneth
to wax woddy” (fol. 30); and then he went west into Somerset, Devon and
Cornwall. He came back into Dorset from Axmouth, and in the extreme
western part of Dorset gives no distinct description of the state of
enclosure--it is “meately good ground” or “corne, pasture and wood;”
but from Melbury to Frome was “vj miles stille by Champaine ground
on an high rigge” (Vol. III., fol. 47). He came through Weymouth and
Poole, and specified neither enclosure nor champain, till he reaches
the north-west corner of the county; but from Hoston to Cranbourne is
“al by Champain Ground having nother Closure nor Wood,” and all the way
to Salisbury continues “al by Champayne” (fol. 56). Again, “all the
way from Salisbury to Winchester is Champayne,” but from Winchester to
Southampton, while there is “mouch drye feren Ground,” “the most part
of the Ground betwixt is enclosid and reasonably woddyd” (fol. 74).

To Portsmouth enclosure predominated in the cultivated land. There
is “much enclosid and Hethy Ground myxt with Ferne” (fol. 79), and
“the Ground within the Isle of Portsmouth is partely enclosid” (fol.
82). Turning north there was some “playn Ground” before entering Bere
forest, afterwards “enclosid Ground” to Bishops Waltham, and for three
miles beyond; the remaining four to Winchester being “Champain” (fol.

But particularly in Dorset, instead of describing the land as enclosed,
or “Champain,” he frequently uses such expressions as “meately well
woddid” or “good Corne and sum Grasse,” which it is difficult to
interpret in terms of enclosure. The choice of such expressions
probably implies (1) that there is not much actual enclosure by hedges,
and (2) that there are no _extensive_ arable common fields. Such
descriptions would suit land passing directly from the condition of
forest or moor into separate cultivation, but in which the cultivated
patches were not as yet enclosed with hedges; or a district in which
small arable common fields were surrounded by such later extensions of
cultivation. But leaving Dorset in doubt, it is clear from Leland’s
notes that enclosure was well begun in the south of Hampshire, while
the country to the north was all open.

In the above journey Leland skirted the central chalk district; later
he passed directly through it, going from Oxford through Abingdon,
Lambourn, Marlborough and Devizes to Trowbridge. He passed the forests
of Savernake and Blake, but all the cultivated land is described as
“champayne” (Vol. VII., Part 2, fol. 63–7).

To sum up, we find that in the south of Hampshire, the cultivated land
was early enclosed, and also probably in the south and west of Dorset,
that enclosure gradually spread from the middle of the sixteenth
century into the rest of the four counties, the movement attacking
the “champain” district on three sides, on the east from Surrey, on
the south from the early enclosed district between Winchester and
Southampton and Portsmouth, and in the west from Devon and Somerset;
the progress of enclosure appears to have been practically confined
to Dorset and Hampshire in the seventeenth century; to have had the
north-west of Wiltshire for its chief scene in the greater part of the
eighteenth century, and finally to have attacked south-east Wiltshire
and Berkshire, the former in the first quarter, the latter throughout
the first half, of the nineteenth century.


The whole of Gloucester, with the exception of the Forest of Dean and
its neighbourhood in the west, has scattered over it parishes enclosed
by Acts of Parliament; and the enclosure so effected amounted to nearly
a quarter (22·5 per cent.) of the whole area of the county. The rich
land in the Severn Valley was the latest enclosed district. William
Marshall tells us that in 1789 “perhaps half the vale is undivided
property.” (“Rural Economy of Gloucestershire,” Vol. I., p. 16.) As
enclosure by Act of Parliament, and doubtless also without Acts, had
been proceeding vigorously since 1726, it is probable that at the
earlier date nearly the whole was in “a state of commonage.” Of the
Cotswold Hills, Marshall says: “Thirty years ago (_i.e._, in 1759)
this district lay almost entirely in an open state, namely, in arable
common fields, sheep-walk, and cow-down. At present it may be said to
be in a state of Inclosure, though some few townships yet remain open.”
(_Ibid._, Vol. II., p. 9.)

I have already pointed out that in Gloucestershire enclosure without
Acts was specially easy, in consequence of the custom of holding land.
The ancient custom of “copyhold by three lives renewable” had very
generally been converted into “leasehold by three lives renewable,”
the difference being that the lord of the manor’s option of accepting
a new life became real instead of nominal. It was easy for a landlord
who wished to enclose to convert each such lease as it fell in to one
for a short period of years; and it was in this way, Marshall says, the
enclosure of the Cotswold Hills was mainly effected.

The south-west of Gloucestershire, towards Somerset, to a considerable
extent shared in the early enclosure of that county; though for
Somerset we have also to say that while the western half was, like
Devonshire, very early enclosed, the eastern half to a certain extent
shared in the comparatively late enclosure Gloucestershire and the
north-west of Wiltshire, as the map shows.

Worcester similarly shows the transition between South Warwickshire,
the enclosure history of which has been dealt with, and the counties
on the Welsh border. Pomeroy reported in 1794 to the Board of
Agriculture: “The lands are in general inclosed; there are, however,
some considerable tracts in open fields.” About 45,000 acres have since
been enclosed by Acts for enclosing common fields _inter alia_; which
is perhaps as large an area as the phrase “considerable tracts” is
intended to describe. Just one-sixth of the total area of the county
is covered by the whole series of such Acts, mainly in the eastern
half of the county. Leland tells us “most part of all Somersetshire
is yn hegge rowys enclosid” with elms, and from his other notes we
find that the north-west half of Worcestershire was enclosed by
about 1540, and the southern extremity of Gloucestershire about half
enclosed by that date. We further find, from evidence quoted above,
that the rest of Worcestershire shared the enclosure experience of
Warwick and Leicester, though probably at a somewhat earlier date,
that is, undergoing enclosure mainly in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, though in the end the process dragged on and was only
completed after the Act of 1845 was passed. We find the Cotswold Hills
enclosed mainly between 1750 and 1790, the Severn Valley undergoing
enclosure during this period, but only about half enclosed at the
end of it, and enclosure continuing steadily to the very end of the
nineteenth century, with Elmstone Hardwicke still remaining uninclosed,
waiting for leases for lives to expire.


The part of the country which remains to be considered is that in
which the problem is complicated by the question whether the primitive
village community was of an English or Celtic type. The remaining
counties may be grouped under the titles West Wales, Strathclyde and
the Welsh border.

We have previously seen that fluidity in the tenure of the soil,
which is one characteristic of the Celtic run-rig as compared with the
Anglo-Saxon common field system, favours the separation of properties
and holdings at the time when co-aration ceases to be practised; and,
in consequence, to early enclosure without any special efforts of the
type of an Act of Parliament. But we have also seen that a prevailingly
pastoral country tends to have its arable lands more easily and earlier
enclosed than a prevailingly arable country. There are therefore two
explanations available for the early enclosure of the whole western
half of England and Wales.

First, however, the broad facts with regard to the history of enclosure
must be made clear.

There are no Acts specifically for enclosing common arable fields
in Wales, nor any in which the phraseology of the preamble clearly
indicates the existence in Wales of land possessing all three of the
essential characteristics of English common field: (1) intermixed
ownership or occupation, (2) absence of adequate hedges or other
obstacles to the passage of men and animals from one holding to
another, (3) common rights exercisable over the tilled land.

But there were[105] in Wales open tilled fields in which properties
and holdings were intermixed--that is, land possessing the first two
characteristics. Several Welsh Acts for enclosing commonable waste also
enclose “intermixed lands,” and one (1843, c. 14) is for the enclosure
in Llandudno and three neighbouring villages, of “Divers Commons,
commonable lands and waste grounds, Heaths, open and Common and other
Fields and Waste lands, and other Common lands and Waste grounds, which
lie intermixed in small parcels, and are inconveniently situated for
the use and enjoyment of the several proprietors.”

 [105] Many townships in North Wales still contain “quilleted” areas,
 _i.e._, enclosed fields containing unenclosed strips of land belonging
 to a different owner or owners from that of the rest of the field.
 Such scattered “quillets” are, as in Berkshire, frequently glebe land.

The following are the reports on the subject by the Board of
Agriculture reporters in 1793 and 1794:--

“Open or Common Fields are rarely met with in South Wales. It is
a mode of cultivation only practised in a few instances, where
ecclesiastical and private property are blended.” (John Fox,
“Agriculture of Glamorgan,” p. 41.)

“The only tract like a common field is an extent of very productive
barley land, reaching on the coast from Aberavon to Llanrhysted. This
quarter is much intermixed, and chiefly in small holdings.” (Thomas
Lloyd, “Agriculture of Cardigan,” p. 29.)

_Carmarthen._ “I do not know of any considerable extent of open common
field in the county.” (Charles Hassell, “Agriculture of Carmarthen,” p.

_Pembroke._ “In the neighbourhood of St. David’s considerable tracts
of open field lands are still remaining which is chiefly owing to the
possessions of the church being intermixed with private property.”
(Charles Hassell, “Agriculture of Pembroke,” p. 20.)

_Radnor._ “Here are no Common Fields.” (John Clark, “Agriculture of
Radnor,” p. 21.)

_Flint._ “There are no common fields, or fields in run-rig, in this
county, except between Flint and St. Asaph, and it is in intention to
divide and inclose them.” (George Kay, “Agriculture of Flint,” p. 4.)

_Cærnarvon._ “Run-rig. There are no lands of this description that I
could hear of, but there is a good deal of mixed property that might be
exchanged.” (George Kay, “Agriculture of Cærnarvon.”)

There was in existence a mere remnant of open intermixed, arable
land, which one reporter evidently thinks ought to be described as
run-rig, and not as common field. Though in many respects agricultural
methods were of the most primitive type, yet enclosure was practically
complete; in two out of the four counties in which open fields are
stated to be surviving, the explanation of such an exceptional
circumstance is given in the intermixture of church and lay property.
This well corroborates the _a priori_ argument that the Celtic type of
village community easily yields to enclosure; and that a predominance
of pasture over arable also facilitates early enclosure of what arable
there is. Mr. A. N. Palmer shows that the varying operation of the
custom of gavelkind (equal inheritance by all sons) is also closely
connected with the recent phenomena of the distribution of holdings.
Everywhere the land which was ancient open arable fields is now,
and has been for an unknown period dating at least as far back as
1620, divided by hedges into small enclosures, as in Devonshire; but
in some districts these contain, or are known to have contained in
comparatively recent times, intermixed quillets of other ownership.
In these districts Mr. Palmer supposes the ancient “gafæl” or “gwely”
(which may be roughly defined as a patriarchal family holding), was
at the time when co-aration ceased, very much sub-divided. In other
districts where the “gafæl” or “gwely” was little sub-divided, so
that each occupier could support his own plough team, when co-aration
ceased, holdings became entirely separated from one another. (“History
of Ancient Tenures of Land in North Wales,” pp. 35–37.)

We have now to fix with what accuracy we may the time of the enclosure
of the western counties, and then to search for evidence in those
counties of variations from the typical English village community.


These counties were very early enclosed. There is so much earlier
evidence that it seems superfluous to quote Celia Fiennes, but there
are some suggestive touches in her description.

“I entered into Devonshire 5 miles off from Wellington, just on a high
ridge of hills which discovers a vast prospect on Each side full of
Inclosures and lesser hills which is the description of most part of
the West. You could see large tracts of grounds full of Enclosures,
good grass and corn beset with quicksetts and hedgerows” (p. 206). In
very similar words she describes the views on the roads from Exeter to
Chudleigh, and from Chudleigh to Ashburton.

“Devonshire is Much like Somersetshire, fruitfull countrys for corn,
graseing, much for inclosures that makes the wayes very narrow, so as
in some places a coach and waggons cannot pass. They are forced to
carry their corn and carriagis on horses backes with frames of woods
like pannyers on either side of the horse, so load it high and tye it
with cords. This they do altogether the further westward they goe, for
the wayes grow narrower and narrower up to the land’s end” (p. 9). As
Celia Fiennes rode into the far west of Cornwall, hers is the evidence
of an eye-witness. She points to the explanation of the extreme
narrowness for which Devonshire lanes are still noted--enclosure took
place before the introduction of carts.

Devonshire is spoken of in the previously quoted passage in the
“Discourse of the Commonweal,” about 1550, as, with Essex and Kent,
one of the most enclosed counties. Leland, about the year 1537 passed
through North Devon into Cornwall, as far as Wadebridge and Bodmin,
and back through South Devon. His statement that Somerset was much
enclosed with hedgerows of elms, has already been quoted. In Devon and
Cornwall he found no “champaine,” but frequently “meately good corne
and grasse;” on the other hand, he frequently found enclosure.

After recording his arrival at Dunster, he says: “From Combane to the
Sterte most part of the Shore is Hilly Ground, and nere the Shore is
no Store of wood; that that is ys al in Hegge rowes of Enclosures”
(Vol. II., fol. 63). There was enclosed ground between Bideford and
Torrington (fol. 68); from Torrington to Launceston was either “hilly
and much enclosid,” or “hilly and much morisch” (fol. 69), and also
from Launceston to Boscastle (fol. 72).

Entering South Devon, he remarks simply on the fertility of the soil,
but remarks: “The hole Ground bytwixt Torrebay and Exmouth booth
sumwhat to the shore and especially inward is wel inclosed” (Vol. III.,
fol. 31).

In the year of Leland’s visit, probably either 1537 or 1538, the
cultivated lands of Devon and Cornwall and Somerset were largely, but
not entirely, enclosed. In East Somerset alone did Leland find any land
which he could describe as “champaine”; we may infer therefore that
though no doubt there was a good deal of open field arable, probably
still cultivated by co-aration, it existed in the form of comparatively
small areas round villages and hamlets; nowhere, in Leland’s route,
extending over a considerable tract of country.

Carew, in his book on Cornwall, dated 1600, gives an account of the
enclosure of that county. Of the manorial tenants, he says: “They fal
everywhere from Commons to Inclosure and partake not of some Eastern
Tenants envious dispositions, who will sooner prejudice their owne
present thrift, by continuing this _mingle mangle_, than advance the
Lordes expectant benefit, after their terme expired” (p. 30).

This pregnant passage tells us--

(1) That the Enclosure of tilled land in Cornwall had been proceeding
rapidly up to 1600 and was then nearly complete;

(2) That previous to enclosure the system of cultivation, whether it
most resembled the English common field system or Scotch run-rig, had
for one of its features the intermixture of holdings; and for another
some elements of collective ownership or management entitling it to the
name “Commons”;

(3) That Carew’s conception of a manorial tenant is not that of a
freeholder, nor of a copyholder, but that of a leaseholder, whose term
expires, the lord of the manor reaping the fruit, on the expiration of
the lease, of any improvements the tenant may have made. He further
on explains that the system of leases for three lives was practically
universal in Cornwall, not in the modern form in which any three lives
may be named in the lease, but depending for its continuance on the
lives of the lessee, his widow and his son. It is obvious that this
condition of land tenure would be more favourable to early enclosure
than copyhold.

Another passage in Carew bears witness to the practical completion
of enclosure. Writing of the legal conditions under which the miners
pursued their enterprise, he says: “Their workes, both streame and
Load, lie either in severall or in waistrell,” that is, either in
enclosed land under separate exclusive ownership and occupation, or in
waste. One cannot draw the inference that there was absolutely no open
field land; but merely that its extent was in comparison so small as
to appear negligible in this connection to Carew.

Though it is not improbable that the enclosure of Cornwall took place
at an earlier stage of agricultural evolution than that of Devonshire,
it is somewhat improbable that it took place at an earlier date. It
is a reasonable inference from the evidence that by the end of the
sixteenth century the enclosure of Devon and Cornwall was practically
complete. When it began is a different question.

The charter of John by which all Devonshire except Dartmoor and Exmoor
was deforested, expressly forbids the making of hedges on those two
forests. This is itself some evidence that enclosure of some sort,
probably enclosure of waste, for the purpose of cultivation, was going
on actively in the beginning of the thirteenth century.

Attention must here be drawn to an ancient custom in Devon and Cornwall
surviving to the end of the eighteenth century. William Marshall gives
an account of it, and shows its probable importance in determining the
character of enclosure and of all the attendant circumstances in Devon
and Cornwall.

“_West Devonshire._ This district has no traces of common fields. The
cultivated lands are all enclosed, mostly in well sized enclosures;
generally large in proportion to the sizes of farms. They have every
appearance of having been formed from a state of common pasture; in
which state, some considerable part of the District still remains;
and what is observable, the better parts of these open commons have
evidently been heretofore in a state of aration; lying in obvious
ridges and furrows; with generally the remains of hedgebanks,
corresponding with the ridges, and with faint traces of buildings.

“From these circumstances it is understood by some men of observation,
that these lands have formerly been in a state of permanent inclosure,
and have been thrown up again, to a state of commonage, through a
decrease in the population of the country.

“But from observations made in different parts of Devonshire, these
appearances, which are common, perhaps, to every part of the county,
would rather seem to have arisen out of a custom, peculiar perhaps to
this part of the island, and which still remains in use, of lords of
manors having the privileges of letting portions of the common lands,
lying within their respective precincts, to tenants, for the purpose of
taking one or more crops of corn, and then suffering the land to revert
to a state of grass and commonage.

“In the infancy of society, and while the country remained in the
forest state, this was a most rational and eligible way of proceeding.
The rough sides of the dells and dingles with which it abounds were
most fit for the production of wood; the flatter, better parts of
the surface of the country were required for corn and pasturage; and
how could a more ready way of procuring both have been fallen upon
than that of giving due portions of it to the industrious part of the
inhabitants, to clear away the wood and adjust the surface, and after
having reaped a few crops of corn to pay the expense of cultivation,
to throw it up to grass, before it had become too much exhausted to
prevent its becoming, in a few years, profitable sward? In this manner
the county would be supplied progressively as population increased,
with corn and pasturage, and the forests be converted, by degrees, into
common pasture.

“The wild or unreclaimed lands being at length gone over in this way,
some other source of arable crops would be requisite. Indeed, before
this could take place, the pasture grounds would be disproportionate to
the corn lands; and out of these circumstances, it is highly probable,
arose the present Inclosures.” (“Rural Economy of the West of England,”
1795, p. 31.)

The same custom was observed in Cornwall by G. B. Morgan, the Board of
Agriculture Reporter. (“Agriculture of Cornwall,” p. 46.)

I believe this custom is the explanation of the huge size of the hedges
which is frequently observable in Devonshire. A mound about eight feet
high, and six or seven feet through, surmounted by a quickset hedge, is
not uncommon. When a plot of land which had once been enclosed from the
waste for cultivation, and then thrown into common pasture, with its
hedges cast down, had recovered its fertility, it would naturally again
be selected for enclosure and cultivation; the cast down rough stone
wall, now overgrown with vegetation, would be made the foundation for a
new hedge; and the same process might be repeated several times before
final enclosure.


I have said above that it is reasonable to infer from the evidence that
enclosure was practically complete in Devon and Cornwall by the end
of the sixteenth century. It is not, however, absolutely complete to
the present day; for Braunton Great Field remains uninclosed. Braunton
is a little town of about two thousand inhabitants, situated between
Ilfracombe and Barnstaple, near the sea coast. Braunton Field is said
to have “as many acres as there are days in the year,” each nominal
acre being a strip of land of about an acre in area. Properties and
holdings are very much intermixed, many of the holdings are very
small and cultivated by their owners. Each “acre” is separated from
the rest on each side by a balk of untilled land, growing grass,
yarrow, hawkweed, etc., just a foot wide. They are locally known as
“launchers,” which one associates with the Dorset name “lawns” for the
strips of ploughed land, and the name “landshare,” in the Stratton
Court rolls for the unploughed balks.

There is also always a path, or a broader balk, called an “edge,”
separating the different sets of acres, which elsewhere would be called
“Shots” or “Furlongs,” from one another.

No common rights exist at present, or have existed in living memory
over either the unploughed balks, or the tillage lands themselves.
But old villagers remember that long ago one half of the field was
kept for wheat, and the other half for potatoes, clover, etc., in
other words, that there use to be a common rule for the cultivation
of the field and this common rule was similar to that prevailing in
the Gloucestershire every year lands. At present each occupant
cultivates his strips just as he pleases. It is of course possible that
this obsolete common rule is itself a survival from an older one, and
that originally this field was cultivated on the two-field system so
prevalent in Lincolnshire; half under wheat, half fallow, the fallow
being commonable all the year, and the wheat after harvest. But on the
other hand, the custom of getting a crop every year may have been the
original one, and Braunton Great Field may be ancient “Every Year land”
or “Infield.”

[Illustration: Part of Braunton Great Field.

  Scale 1/3000

  The dotted lines represent bulks separating adjacent strips in the
  open field; the continuous lines represent hedges. It is easy to see
  how the enclosures on the edge of the field were made out of two or
  three strips thrown together.]

Braunton Field is noteworthy in that it shows that however the
primitive village community of West Wales may have differed from that
of Wessex, it must have had certain characteristics in common with
it, by which open arable fields of intermixed occupation were created
in the neighbourhood of villages. Braunton cannot have been from the
beginning an isolated example. The process of enclosure by the method
Marshall describes went on around and outside these ancient tilled open

Another interesting fact is revealed by the study of the twenty-five
inch Ordnance map for Braunton. Braunton Field has been much reduced
in area; one can easily see that the adjoining lands were once part
of the open field, for the hedges in the lands are so placed as to
form a continuation of the spider-web lines of the “launchers” within
the field. The average size of the enclosed fields outside the Great
Field is indeed a little greater than of the separate lands within it,
but there is an imperceptible gradation, beginning with the smallest
“lands” in the Great Field which are nearest the village, on through
those more remote, the nearer enclosed fields, and then the more remote
of them. Enclosure has been effected by simply enclosing the strips
of arable land in the open field as they are. The fact that no common
rights existed over the Field, supposing this always to have been the
case, would have made such enclosure almost a matter of indifference
to the other occupiers; and the motive, no doubt, would be the desire
to lay the strip down in pasture. The whole field is known to the
villagers as “the tillage land.”


The enclosure history of the counties along the Welsh border is
somewhat similar to that of Devonshire. It took place early, partly
in consequence of the predominance of pasture over arable, and partly
under the influence of a custom of temporarily enclosing the waste and
common pasture, similar to that in Devon and Cornwall.

The percentages of area of these counties enclosed by Acts for
enclosure of common field arable are respectively:

                    Per cent.

  Cheshire              0·5
  Hereford              3·6
  Monmouth              0·4
  Shropshire            0·3
  Staffordshire         2·8

The Board of Agriculture reporter’s statements on the common fields
surviving in 1793 are that in Cheshire there was not so much as 1,000
acres (Wedge, “Agriculture of Cheshire,” p. 9); in Staffordshire
little more than 1,000 acres (Pitt, “Agriculture of Staffordshire,”
p. 85); that Shropshire “does not contain much common field land” (J.
Bishton, “Agriculture of Shropshire,” p. 8); but that in Hereford some
of the best lands of the county are common fields (Clark, “Agriculture
of Hereford,” p. 69). Of Hereford, William Marshall gives a fuller
account. “Herefordshire is an inclosed county. Some few remnants of
common fields are seen in what is called the upper part of the county;
but in general it appears to have been inclosed from the forest state;
crooked fences and winding narrow lanes” (p. 224).

Celia Fiennes found from Nantwich to Chester “much Enclosures” (p.
147), but from Salford to Northwich, “I went a very pleasant roade,
much in the downs, mostly campion ground, some few Enclosures”;
Herefordshire, “a country of Gardens and Orchards, with apple and pear
trees thick in the hedgerows” (p. 33); Staffordshire, “well wooded
and full of Enclosures, Good Rich Ground, extremely differing from
Derbyshire” (p. 89). This was her first impression, confirmed later.
“Harteshill is so high that from the top of it you see near 20 miles
round, and shows all the county which in this part of Staffordshire
is full of woods and jnclosures and good lands, except the Knackwood”
(p. 137). From “Nedwoodforest” ... “you have a fine prospect of
the country, enclosed good lands” (p. 139). Also beyond Stafford
towards Cheshire was mostly enclosures (p. 144), and from Stafford to
Wolverhampton the journey was through lanes (p. 194).

Walter Blyth includes Staffordshire and Shropshire as part of “the
Woodlands, who before Enclosure, were wont to be relieved by the
Fieldon, with corn of all sorts. And now grown as gallant Corne
countries as be in England” (“The English Improver,” 1649, p. 40).

Evidence of early enclosure is supplied by Leland. About White Castle,
which I take to be Bishop’s Castle, in south-west Shropshire, “the
Countrys is Champion” (Vol. IV. fol. 176 b), but from Hereford to
Leominster was enclosed ground (176 b and 177 a), thence towards Ludlow
“by goodly corne Ground, part by enclosed” (178 b), Bridgenorth to
Kidderminster “most by enclosed Ground” (182 b), to Bewdly was by “a
fayre downe,” but all the way thence to Milton (4 miles), Hertlebury
(2 miles), Salopbrook (5 miles), Worcester (3 miles), Wick (6 miles)
and Bromsgrove (4 miles), each stage is said to be by enclosed ground
(fols. 183 b–186 a).

As for Monmouthshire, “The soyle of al Venteland” (Gwent, the country
between the Wye and Usk) “is of dark reddish Yerth ful of slaty stones,
and other greater of the same colour. The country is also sumwhat
mountaynous and well replenished with Woodes, also fertile of Corne;
but men there study more to Pastures, the which be wel inclosed” (Vol.
V., fol. 5), and “Erchenfeld is full of Enclosures very (fruteful) of
Corne and Wood” (fol. 9). Round Shrewsbury there is “ground plentiful
of Corne, wood and pasture” (Vol. V., fol. 80), at Whitchurch “meately
fruteful sandy ground” (fol. 81), and sandy ground on to Northwich

Nowhere else in these counties is either “enclosure” or “champaine”

The evidence as to the existence of a custom of temporary enclosure
of the waste, is supplied by Robert Plot’s book on “Staffordshire,”
published in 1686: “For the heathy land of this County, it is seldom
enclosed; but when they intend it for tillage, which is never for above
five years neither, and then it is throwne open to the Commons again”
(p. 343). “Their gouty, moorisch, peaty, cold black land, they husbande
also much after the same manner as they doe the heathy lands in the
Moore Lands” (p. 345).

Another passage brings into juxtaposition the more recent enclosures
from forest or moor for the sake of tillage, and the ancient arable
common fields. “Others again have placed the origin of mildewing in
making small inclosures, corn not being so lyable to this evil in the
common open fields” (p. 351).

It is reasonable to suppose that the custom found in Staffordshire and
in Devon and Cornwall also prevailed in other counties, particularly in
those along the Welsh border. It is some confirmation that Eden about
a hundred years later found a similar custom still surviving in Sutton
Coldfield, in Warwickshire, but near the Staffordshire boundary.

“The poor here, besides the right of commonage, have this peculiar
privilege, that every house-keeper may take in one acre of common, and
plough it four years: and the fifth year he must sow it with clover and
lay it to the common again; after which he may take another acre, and
work it in the like manner. By this method, about 400 acres of common
are kept constantly in tillage” (“State of the Poor,” Vol. III., p.
749, written probably in 1795).

The enclosure history of these five counties may be summed up in the
statement that it probably proceeded very similarly to enclosure in
Devonshire, but at a somewhat later date; and that enclosure was later
towards the north. Monmouth, we see, was “full of enclosures” before
1540; Shropshire “partly enclosed” with some “champion”; but though
Leland passed through Cheshire, he does not mention enclosures, and
Celia Fiennes found the North of Cheshire mostly open as late as
about 1697. In Hereford and Staffordshire there was a large proportion
of ancient arable land, and complete enclosure was consequently
longer delayed, leaving an appreciable area to be enclosed by Acts of


Lancashire had no common field enclosed by Act of Parliament. It is
possible that its partial autonomy as a Palatine County may account for
this; but it must be noticed that the Acts of enclosure for Lancashire
for enclosing commonable waste, are numerous right through the period
of Enclosure Acts. Nor, though Lancashire was an early enclosed county,
can we explain the absence of Enclosure Acts by the assumption that
the enclosure of tilled land was completed by the beginning of the
eighteenth century, for some common field persisted to the end of that

John Holt, the Board of Agriculture reporter, tells us: “There are but
few open, or common fields, at this time remaining; the inconvenience
attending which, while they were in that state, have caused great
exertions to accomplish a division, in order that every individual
might cultivate his own lands, according to his own method; and that
the lots of a few acres, in many places divided into small portions,
and again separated at different distances, might be brought together
into one point” (“Agriculture of Lancashire,” p. 49). It would appear
from this that the open fields of Lancashire, like Braunton Great
Field, though unenclosed, and intermixed, and subject to some common
rule for cultivation, were not subject to common rights. Any owner,
therefore, who by exchanges or by buying and selling, could get his
lands together in a convenient plot, might enclose without trespassing
on his neighbours’ rights.

From Holt’s statement we find that enclosure was nearly, but not
quite, complete by 1793. It was certainly far advanced a hundred years
earlier. Celia Fiennes rode from Prescot to Wigan, “seven long miles
mostly through lanes” (p. 153); from Gascoyne to Lancaster, “mostly
all along lanes being an enclosed country” (p. 157). From Blackstone
Edge the view was of “a fruitfull valley full of jnclosures” (p. 186).
From Rochdale to Manchester, “the grounds were all enclosed with
quicksetts” (p. 187).

Similarly Leland: “Manchester to Morle I passid by enclosid Grounde
partely pasturable, partely fruteful of corn” (Vol. V., fol. 83). “The
Ground bytwixt Morle and Preston enclosid for Pasture and Cornes....
Likewyse is the soile bytwixt Preston and Garstan; but alway the moste
parte of Enclosures be for Pasturages” (fol. 84).

Cumberland and Westmoreland were later enclosed than Lancashire; and
some few remnants of open arable field were dealt with by Acts. At
Bolton, in Westmoreland, “certain open or common fields called Broad
Ing Bartle and Star Ing” of 22 acres, at Soulby 90 acres of open field,
and at Barton 130 acres, were enclosed by Acts mainly passed for the
sake of enclosing waste; and at Kirkby, in Kendal, “a common open
field” of 105 acres was enclosed. There were five Acts in Cumberland
enclosing open fields; but only two say precisely how much. At
Torpenton, 20 acres of field and 700 acres of waste was enclosed; at
Greystoke, 240 acres of field and 3260 acres of waste.

But the enclosure of open-field arable was proceeding very steadily
through the eighteenth century; and a clear account of the process is
furnished us by two keen observers.

Eden gives an account of the condition of the arable land in seven
Cumberland parishes, written either in December, 1794, or January, 1795.

“_Gilcrux._ About 400 acres of common field have been enclosed within
the last fifty years” (“State of the Poor,” Vol. II., p. 76).

“_Hesket._ No more than 200 acres have been enclosed within the last
fifty years. A large part appears to have had its hedges planted a
little before that period” (_Ibid._, p. 81).

“_Ainstable._ Area 5,120 acres of which 3,480 are common.[106] About
400 acres have been enclosed in the common fields within the last fifty
years.... The average rent of land is about 18_s._ per acre; but it
is observable that here and in most parts of Cumberland, an extensive
common right[107] is attached to most arable land” (p. 46).

 [106] _I.e._, common pasture or waste.

 [107] _I.e._, over the neighbouring common pasture.

“_Croglin._ The average rent of open fields is 9_s._ 6_d._ the acre,
of inclosures, 15_s._ or 16_s._ About 100 acres of common-field land
have been enclosed within the last fifty years; but a great part of the
arable land still remains in narrow, crooked _dales_, or _ranes_, as
they are called” (p. 67).

“_Castle Carrock._ The greatest part of this parish remains in _dales_,
or _doles_ as they are called; which are strips of cultivated land
belonging to different proprietors, separated from each other by ridges
of grass land; about 100 acres may have been enclosed in the last fifty
years” (p. 65).

“_Cumrew._ The land is cultivated in the old Cumberland manner; the
grass ridges in the fields are from twenty to thirty feet wide; and
some of them are 1000 feet in length. Grazing cattle often injure the
crops” (p. 68).

“_Warwick._ Almost the whole of the cultivated land (1126 acres) has
been enclosed within the last fifty years. It formerly, although
divided, lay in long strips, or narrow _dales_, separated from each
other by _ranes_, or narrow ridges of land, which are left unploughed.
In this manner a great deal, and perhaps the whole, of the cultivated
lands in Cumberland, was anciently disposed” (p. 92).

The other observer is the poet Wordsworth. In his book on the scenery
of the lake district, he quotes from West’s “Antiquities of Furness”
to show that in the troubled times between the union of the Crowns of
England and Scotland, holdings were let to groups of four tenants, each
group dividing its tenement into four equal parts. “These divisions
were not properly distinguished; the land remained mixed; each tenant
had a share through all the arable and meadow land, and common of
pasture over all the wastes.... The land being mixed and the several
tenants united in equipping the plough, the absence of the fourth man”
(who was called out for military service) “was no prejudice to the
cultivation of his land, which was committed to the care of three.”
In High Furness, “The Abbots of Furness enfranchised these pastoral
vassals, and permitted them to enclose quillets to their houses, for
which they paid encroachment rent.”

Wordsworth then proceeds with the tale of enclosure: “The enclosures,
formed by the tenantry, are for a long time confined to the homesteads,
and the arable and meadow land of the fields is possessed in common
fields; the several portions being marked out by stones, bushes, or
trees; while portions, where the custom has survived, to this day are
called _dales_, from the word deylen, to distribute; but while the
valley was thus lying open, enclosures seem to have taken place upon
the sides of the mountains; because the land there was not intermixed,
and was of little comparative value; and therefore small opposition
would be made to its being appropriated by those to whose habitations
it was contiguous. Hence the singular appearance which the sides of
many of these mountains exhibit, intersected, as they are, almost
to the summit with stone walls.... There” (in the meadows and lower
grounds), “where the increasing value of land, and the inconvenience
suffered from intermixed plots of ground in common field, had induced
each inhabitant to enclose his own, they were compelled to make fences
of alders, willows, and other trees ... but these last partitions do
not seem to have been general till long past the pacification of the
Borders, by the union of the two crowns” (Fourth Edition, p. 23).

The date of the enclosure of the intermixed arable and meadow land is
thus fixed within certain broad limits. It did not begin till “long
past the pacification of the Borders, by the union of the two crowns.”
It took some time to effect the pacification of the Borders, even after
the accession of James I. made it possible; “long past” that event is
a vague date, but may very well bring us at least as late as the date
when the enclosure of the common fields of Durham is supposed to have
begun, “soon after the Restoration.” It is certain, further, from
Eden’s information, that enclosure was going on steadily right through
the second half of the eighteenth century, but by no means complete in
1795. The high prices of the war period would have greatly stimulated
the movement, for it is obvious that if rents were thereby doubled both
for open and enclosed land, the gross profit of enclosing would also
be doubled; the net gain probably more than doubled. When Wordsworth
wrote, the open fields were apparently still fairly numerous, but they
had become a mere survival.

The date of the enclosure of this district is, however, the least
interesting of the inferences to be drawn.

We find that up to the union of the Crowns, cultivation was carried
on by a system very closely resembling the “run-rig” of the Hebrides.
Groups of four tenants combined together, and yoked their horses to
a common plough, and equally divided the holding between them, each
tenant having his equal share in all parts of the holding. We next
find that on the decay of this co-aration, for a long period, varying
in duration in different parishes, holdings remained intermixed, but
it seems clear that as in the one surviving Devonshire open field,
and probably as in Lancashire, common rights were not exercised over
the arable fields; though it might happen that besides the “ranes,”
the grassy balks between the strips of arable land, there might be
considerable stretches of grass amidst the arable field which was used
for a common pasture. Lastly, we find that open, intermixed arable land
and meadows, having this history, passes into a state of enclosure
where increase of population, agricultural progress, and the increasing
value of land make enclosure sufficiently profitable, by a gradual,
piecemeal process, without the need for Act of Parliament, or reference
to a Commission, or any combined resolution on the part of the lord and
tenants of a manor.

It is because the process was late in Cumberland and Westmoreland and
because it happened to interest three authors, West, Wordsworth, and
Eden, who were not agriculturists, that the record of it for these two
counties is available. All the indications suggest that Northumberland
and Durham underwent a similar evolution; and all the preceding
information with regard to the enclosure of Wales and much of the
land immediately on the Welsh border, and of West Somerset, Devon and
Cornwall, harmonises with the hypothesis that in those districts also
the process was fundamentally the same, though with local differences,
due to a very much earlier pacification.



The scenery of England and Wales has been transformed by the enclosure
of its lands, but the extent and results of the transformation vary.
Here you have the landscape cut into little fields with great hedges,
looking from an elevated point of view like a patchwork quilt; there
the skimpy quickest hedges only slightly emphasise the natural sweeping
lines of the hills: here you have narrow winding lanes; there broad,
straight roads with margins of grass on either side: here you have
compact villages in which almost all the habitations in the parish are
clustered together; there farmhouses and cottages so scattered that
were it not for the church, which seems to attract to its neighbourhood
the inn and the smithy, there would be no recognisable village at all.

This diversity in the effect of enclosure on the face of the country is
a symbol of the diversity of its effect upon the material, social, and
moral conditions of the local peasantry, who, like the land itself, may
be said to have undergone Enclosure.

Where, as in Devon and Cornwall, in Cumberland and Westmoreland,
the division of intermixed arable and meadow land took place early
and gradually, and in subordination to the reclamation of waste,
that reclamation itself being carried on steadily and gradually, the
result was the creation of numberless small holdings and properties. A
career was offered to the enterprising and laborious, and enterprise
and industry grew accordingly,--“Devonshire myghty and Strong,”
says Leland; and the great part taken by Devonshire in the national
struggles in the reign of Elizabeth must be partly attributed to the
reaction upon the character of the people of the conquest over the
difficulties of bringing the rocky soil, woodland or moor, into
cultivation: a conquest which made Devonshire husbandry famous for two
generations, and “Devonshiring” a well-known term for a particular
method of preparing waste land for cultivation.

Perhaps the greatest evil of Acts for the enclosure of waste in the
past, was that they prevented such gradual reclamation and enclosure
by peasant cultivators. At the present day the vital objection applies
to enclosure of waste by any method that the area of such free open
spaces is already sufficiently curtailed, that every remaining acre
is becoming continually more precious, so that while public-spirited
people fight for their preservation in remote places, in the
neighbourhood of towns, citizens tax themselves to add to their area.

The enclosure of arable common fields, and of all the commonable lands
of whole parishes within what I have called the Parliamentary Enclosure
Belt, is of immeasurably greater historical importance. The ethics of
such enclosure has been the subject of fierce debate for centuries; now
the process is practically complete, and it is possible to apraise its

We have observed that with regard to the immediate results, capable
of being contemporaneously verified, there is no real controversy
between the disputants; it is on the inferences to be drawn as to the
more ultimate results on the nation as a whole, and in the judgment
pronounced upon the desirability of such results, that the dispute
turned. The more candid disputants on either side admit the vital
points in their opponents’ case: thus, for example, no opponent of
enclosure denies that it tended to raise rents; and, on the other
hand, it was the greatest advocate of enclosure who declared that “By
nineteen out of twenty Enclosure Acts the poor are injured.”

The increase of rent was, of course, the motive of enclosure; and
though there were exceptional cases in which the results were very
disappointing to the promoters, as a rule the increase of rent was very
great. Arthur Young gives the full financial details of twenty-three
Acts for the enclosure of open field parishes in Lincolnshire.[108]
The total rents before enclosure amounted to £15,504; on an average
they were nearly doubled, the increase of rent obtained being £14,256,
and the expenditure necessary to obtain this result was £48,217.
Assuming that the money was borrowed at 6 per cent., there remained to
the landowners a net profit of £11,363. These results were no doubt
something above the average, but they were not exceptional. In Long
Sutton the rent was raised from an average of 5_s._ per acre to between
30_s._ and 50_s._ per acre.[109]

 [108] “Agriculture of Lincoln,” p. 83.

 [109] “Agriculture of Lincoln,” p. 77.

The increase of rent was not a concern purely of the landowning class.
As the advocates of enclosure continually pointed out, the rent was
a pretty accurate test of the net produce of the agriculture of the
parish; it was roughly proportional to the amount of food grown but not
consumed on the spot, and sent away to markets to feed urban consumers
at a distance. It was upon this net produce, they pointed out, that
the taxable resources of the country depended. It was argued that
an addition to the population of the country which was all engaged
in gaining its own subsistence from the soil, added neither to the
number of soldiers who could be enlisted for war without paralysing
industry, nor to the power of the State to equip and support an army.
On the other hand, a change by which a whole village of peasants who
consumed nearly all the food they produced, was swept away and replaced
by one or two highly rented farms, producing a less quantity of food,
but sending much more to market, did supply the State with additional
resources for the maintenance of its forces.

Private interests stimulated the appreciation of these public
advantages. Money had to be borrowed to meet the heavy initial
expenses of enclosure, and the banking system grew with the enclosure
movement of the eighteenth century. And hence a secondary gain to the
State. Increased opportunities for the remunerative investment of
capital increased the supply of loanable capital, and made possible
the enormous State loans by which the Napoleonic war was carried on.
Lawyers, land surveyors, Parliamentary agents and others, reaped a
copious harvest; and further, London in particular, and other towns
in varying measure, grew in wealth by ministering to the increased
“effective demands” of the enriched aristocracy.

But the opponents of enclosure were concerned with the gross rather
than the net produce of land, and, as we have seen, it can be proved
from the testimony of the advocates of enclosure and of impartial
witnesses, that over a great part of the Midlands enclosure meant the
conversion of arable to pasture, and local depopulation. The Board of
Agriculture gives what may be considered an official estimate of the
diminution of gross produce which would follow. An acre of common field
arable might be expected to produce 2010 lbs. of bread in a three years
course (that is, 670 lbs. of bread per annum), and 30 lbs. of meat per
annum. The same area enclosed and converted to pasture would produce
176 lbs. of mutton, or 120 lbs. of beef. If we split the difference
between the production of beef and mutton, we have on the average 148
lbs. of meat produced. There is on enclosure a gain of 113 lbs. of meat
against a loss of 570 lbs. of bread; supposing the food values of equal
quantities of bread and meat to be equal, there is a loss of 557 lbs.
out of a total produce of 705 lbs.

And yet, through a chain of causation which can now be clearly
perceived, but which at the time was not evident, though locally there
might be a loss of gross produce, there was a gain throughout the
kingdom. The key to the position was the operation of the Poor Laws.

Enclosure of arable fields and open field parishes in the Parliamentary
Enclosure Belt in many ways greatly affected the operation of the Poor

By increasing rents it made a given poor-rate yield more. Further, the
increase of rent reconciled the enclosing landowners to an increase
in the poor-rate; more especially when it fell, not on them, but on
their neighbours. For, as we have seen, the effect of enclosure in some
parishes in a given neighbourhood was often to drive the poor into the
parishes which remained unenclosed; these bore the burden, while the
others reaped the profits.

As we have seen, enclosure, even when arable was not converted to
pasturage, tended to ruin small owners and to eliminate small farmers,
so that these had to join the ranks of agricultural labourers. The
number of potential paupers was thus increased.

Destitution and recklessness among the labouring classes also
increased. The common rights and small holdings of a few acres in the
common fields were, at best, as we have seen, exchanged for a sum of
money for which no investment offered itself, which therefore soon
disappeared. With these small holdings disappeared also the hope of
gradually taking more and more additional strips of land in the fields
and the fear of losing the little already gained.

Early marriage was particularly encouraged by the change from the open
field condition to enclosure. Before enclosure, the conditions of
labour made the common field farmers who employed labourers, desire
young unmarried men and women who would live in the farmhouse; such
farm servants postponed marriage till they had accumulated some savings
and could begin their married life with some resources--a cow, for
example--over and above their labour. After enclosure, the enriched
farming class preferred to pay board wages, and the young labourer with
nothing to gain by waiting, with the assurance of Poor Law assistance
if needed, naturally preferred to marry early.

Lastly, the disappearance of the yeoman class and of the connecting
links between the largest farmers and the day labourers naturally
tended to make the careful local administration of the Poor Law
more difficult; it even to a great extent destroyed the motive for
economical administration. The open field parish retained some of the
social vitality of a self-governing community; men who had to concert
together for the regulation of the fields, for the purchase of a parish
bull, were more likely than the farmers of an enclosed parish to settle
in concert questions of Poor Law relief in accordance with the interest
of the parish as a whole.

This last point of connection between the enclosure and the Poor Law
history of the country during the eighteenth century and the first
part of the nineteenth is, however, interesting in itself, apart from
the present argument. The point here laid stress upon is that whatever
hardships for labourers and others resulted from the enclosure of
arable fields, they did not starve, they did not eat less bread; they
might be rendered miserable, but they married earlier and reared large
families, somewhere or other. Poor Law relief ensured their offering
an “effective demand” for bread. This effective demand compelled the
increase of arable cultivation somewhere within the country; for
foreign supplies were practically unavailable. The enclosure of waste
for tillage and the enclosure of arable for pasture were economically

The gross agricultural produce of the country as a whole was therefore
increased by common field enclosure.

The effect upon urban industries was also great. The greater the local
depopulation in rural districts produced by enclosure, the greater the
supply of needy labourers of industrious habits and robust physique
drafted to the growing industrial towns. Local depopulation was the
usual result of Enclosure, as we have seen, in the Midlands and in
Wiltshire, and parts of neighbouring counties. Where, as in Norfolk and
parts of Lincoln and Yorkshire, local depopulation did not ensue, there
was a vast increase in the agricultural produce sent to market, and in
consequence, in the manufactured commodities demanded. Enclosure tended
to assist urban industry therefore by an increased labour supply, an
increased market, and perhaps also, an increased supply of capital.

Summing up, therefore, the economic results of the whole mass of little
village revolutions under examination, we find increased population,
increased production of all sorts of commodities, increased national
resources for purposes of taxation and foreign war. The moral effects
we find to have been increased misery and recklessness, showing itself
in increased pauperism and drunkenness. An increase of the quantity of
human life is attained at the expense of a degradation in its quality.



│         │                 ║  Acts not    ║                 ║        │
│         │Acts specifying  ║ specifying   ║                 ║        │
│         │    Acreage      ║   Acreage    ║     Total.      ║        │
│         │   Enclosed.     ║  Enclosed.   ║                 ║ Acres  │
│         ├──────┬──────────╫─────┬────────╫──────┬──────────╢Enclosed│
│         │Acts. │ Acreage  ║Acts.│Acreage ║ Acts.│  Acres.  ║  per   │
│         │      │   as     ║     estimated.      │          ║ annum. │
│         │      │ stated.  ║     │        ║      │          ║        │
│1727–1760│   49 │   65,203 ║   7 │  9,315 ║   56 │   74,518 ║  2,192 │
│1761–1792│  292 │  411,952 ║  47 │ 66,307 ║  339 │  478,259 ║ 14,946 │
│1793–1801│  153 │  230,249 ║  29 │ 43,642 ║  182 │  273,891 ║ 30,432 │
│1802–1815│  469 │  615,970 ║  95 │123,773 ║  564 │  739,743 ║ 52,839 │
│1816–1845│  202 │  164,994 ║  42 │ 34,306 ║  244 │  199,300 ║  6,643 │
│Totals.  │1,165 │1,488,368 ║ 220 │277,343 ║1,385 │1,765,711 ║        │

From 1727 to 1760 the number of Acts of this class passed per annum
was steadily increasing, the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) apparently
acting as a stimulus. During this period the average acreage enclosed
per Act was 1330·7 acres. The increase in the number of Acts continued
up till 1792, and again at a greatly enhanced rate after the beginning
of the great French war. From 1761–1792 the average acreage enclosed
per Act was 1410·8 acres; from 1792–1801, 1504·9 acres. In 1801 a
Clauses Act, termed “A General Enclosure Act” was passed to facilitate
Parliamentary proceedings. This had the double effect of increasing the
average number of Acts passed per annum from 20 to 43, but of reducing
the average acreage per Act to 1313·4 acres. From 1816–1845 the average
acreage per Act was 816·8 acres.



                 { A. F. Acres of common field arable.
                 { A. P. Acres of common pasture.
                 { A. M. Acres of common meadow.
  _Abbreviations_{ F.’s. Common fields.
                 { P. Parish.
                 { M. I. Mesne inclosures.
                 { yl. Yardlands.

* Indicates that the area enclosed is not stated in acres in the Act,
but in yardlands, oxgangs, or other such units, or otherwise has been
estimated from data supplied by the Act.

NOTE.--The spelling adopted is that used in the Act. In many cases it
varies from that now in use.


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1742  Sutton                                    2,200
  1760  Apsley Guise
  1765  Felmersham
    ″   Podington                                 2,400
  1768  Tilsworth
  1769  Pavenham
    ″   Sundon
  1770  Souldrop, 350 A. F., 150 A. P.              500
  1774  Potton
  1775  Lidlington
  1776  Odell
  1777  Tempsford                                 2,000
  1778  Little Berkford                           1,500
    ″   Bolnhurst                                   953
  1780  Northill and Sandy
  1783  Turvey
  1793  Milton Bryant                             1,400
    ″   Riseley                                   2,000
  1794  Shelton                                   1,000
  1795  Bedford                                   1,450
    ″   Crawley                                   1,400
    ″   Eaton Socon                               4,650
    ″   Henlow                                    2,000
    ″   Milbrooke                                   900
  1796  Blunham                                   2,695
    ″   Houghton Regis                            4,000
    ″   Maulden                                   2,000      {33,048}
    ″   Marston Moretaine
    ″   Pertenhall                                  850
    ″   Ridgmont                                    950
  1797  Bedford                                     400
    ″   Campton with Shefford
    ″   Chalgrove                                 1,780
    ″   Dunton                                    2,200
    ″   Elstow                                    1,060
    ″   Harrold                                   3,300
    ″   Southill                                  2,600
    ″   Toddington and Carlton                    2,800
  1798  Sandy
  1800  Over and Nether Dean                      1,570
    ″   Farndish                                    672
    ″   Tilbrooke                                 1,380
  1801  Little Staughton                          1,000
    ″   Wrestlingworth                            1,860

  1802  Cardington                                3,000
    ″   Everton cum Tetworth                        420
    ″   Kempston                                  2,600
    ″   Shillington and Holwell
  1803  Keysoe                                    1,700
    ″   Milton Ernest                             1,350
    ″   Oakley                                    1,450      {10,520}
  1804  Arlsey
    ″   Astwick                                     600
  1805  Thurleigh                                 1,460
    ″   Carlton, Chillington and Steventon
  1806  Haughton Conquest                         1,500
    ″   Eversholt                                   130
    ″   Flitwick                                  1,000
  1807  Salford                                     500
  1808  Clophill
    ″   Harlington                                  700
  1809  Flitton cum Silsoe and Pulloxhill
    ″   Ravensden                                 1,000
    ″   Barton in the Clay
    ″   Sharnbrook
    ″   Wilshamstead
  1810  Roxton                                    3,000
  1811  Wymington                                   700
    ″   Wilden                                    1,600
  1812  Biddenham
    ″   Stagsden
  1814  Potton
  1820  Great Barford
    ″   Greenhurst, Upper and Lower,
          and Upper Stondon                                  {22,710}
  1827  Langford                                  1,700
  1832  Clifton                                   1,400
  1834  Colmworth                                 1,600
  1836  Wootton
    ″   Stepingley, 300 A. F.                       400
  1837  Cranfield                                ──────

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1851  Stotfold                           2,030
  1847   1852  Goldington                         1,040
  1855   1858  Streatley and Sharpenhoe           1,662
         1860  Eton Bray                          1,860
         1891  Totternhoe                         1,717

  Before 1802   55,470
  1802–1845     27,810
  After 1845     8,309


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1724  Sunninghill, c. Bayworth, liberty of
           Sonning, 5 F.’s, 3 Commons            *1,190
  1743  Aston Tirrold, 12 F.’s
    ″   Early, F. only                              423
  1746  Inkpen
  1758  Upton, 57 yl.                             1,800
  1761  Hinton, 60 yl. F. and 620 A. P.          *2,420
  1764  Haversham                                   844
  1770  Ashbury
  1771  East Garston
    ″   Hampstead Norreys, 750 A. F., 700 A. P.   1,450
  1772  Great Faringdon, 52 yl. F., 100 A. M.     1,660
    ″   Upper Letcombe and Childrey
  1776  Eastbury and Blagrove      {9,787}
  1776  Ferry Hinksey
  1777  Farnborough
    ″   Uffington, Balking, Woolston, Kingston,
          Lisle, Fawler
  1778  Bockhampton
  1779  Elcot                                       338
    ″   Speen
  1783  Stanford, 80 yl.                          2,000
  1785  Bray                                        320
  1788  Little Faringdon (part of Langford)
  1793  Aston Upthorpe
  1794  Compton Beauchamp
    ″   Shilton
  1795  Walton and Boreshill
  1796  Longcott
  1799  Remenham                                             {12,445}
  1800  Sparsholt and Westcote
  1801  Little Coxwell
    ″   Denchworth                                  700
    ″   Lyford                                      506
    ″   Letcomb Regis and Bassett
    ″   Sutton Courtney and Sutton Wick
    ″   East Hendred

  1802  Buckland                                  2,074
    ″   West Challow                                403
    ″   Harwell
    ″   Kennington
    ″   Up Lamborne
  1803  Chipping Lamborne and Blagrave
    ″   East Hanney
    ″   Waltham St. Lawrence                        700
    ″   Wantage and Grove                         2,400
  1804  Charney                                     950
    ″   Ufton
  1806  Kingston Bagpuize                           655
  1807  Shottesbrook and White Waltham
    ″   Hurst, 700 A. F., 600 A. P.               1,300
  1808  Aston Upthorpe and Aston Tirrold
    ″   Ardington
    ″   Langford
  1809  Basildon                                    110
    ″   Englefield, 327 A. F., 36 A. P.             363
    ″   Milton                                      663
    ″   Long Wittenham
  1810  Chieveley                                   600
    ″   Enborne, Hamstead Marshall, Inkpen
          and Kintbury                            1,400
  1811  Chaddleworth
    ″   Hungerford                                  780
    ″   Thatcham Borough, Henwick and Greenham      825
    ″   Brightwell
    ″   Beenham and Padworth                        574
    ″   Fyfield                                   1,100
    ″   Sulhamstead and Meales
    ″   Tilehurst, 600 A. F., 600 A. P.           1,200
    ″   Woohampton                                1,995      {18,092}
  1811  Drayton
  1812  West Compton                              2,000
    ″   Ashall                                    1,500
    ″   Great Shefford and West Shefford            520
  1814  Chieveley                                   400
    ″   Wytham                                      620
    ″   Bray
    ″   Cumner and South Hincksey                 3,000
    ″   Streatley
    ″   Welford                                   1,400
    ″   Wargrave and Wearfield                    2,000
    ″   Boxford                                   1,500
    ″   Marcham
    ″   Sandhurst                                 3,400
  1816  Sonning                                   2,500
  1818  South Moreton
  1821  Easthamstead                              2,250
  1825  West Ilsley                               1,270
    ″   Marcham                                     700
  1827  Ruscombe
  1828  Appleton                                  1,500

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1849  Newbury (E. & W. Fields)             212
   *       ″   North Moreton                      1,025
   *     1851  Cholsey                            2,190
   *     1853  East Lockinge                        970
  1851   1856  Shinfield                            312
  1851   1858  St. Giles, Reading                   242
  1860   1868  Charlton in Wantage                1,280
  1880   1883  Steventon                          1,373

  1852   1855  Bampton and Shilton                2,730
   *     1856  Purley, Sulham and Whitchurch        300
    Half Area, assigned to Berks.                 1,515

  Before 1802   13,651
  1802–1845     42,652
  After 1845     9,119


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1738  Ashenden, 900 A. F.                      *1,300
  1742  Wotton Underwood, 1,168 A. F.,
          500 A. P.                               1,668
  1744  Shipton (Winslow cum Shipton P.),
          F. only                                   640
  1762  Swanburne, 77 yl.                        *2,695
    ″   Shenley Brookend                            960
  1764  Westbury                                  3,000
  1765  Westcote                                  1,300
  1766  Little Horwood                              960
    ″   Winslow (Winslow cum Shipton P.)          1,400
  1767  Olney                                     1,600
    ″   Shalstone, 28 yl. F., 530 A. P.           1,370
  1768  Loughton
    ″   Woughton-on-the-Green
  1769  Cublington, 25 yl.                          875
    ″   Grendon Underwood, 37 yl.                *1,295
  1770  Simpson
    ″   Stoke Goldington                          1,000
  1771  Aylesbury, all F.
    ″   Great Brickhill                           1,260
    ″   Whitchurch
  1772  North Crawley
    ″   Soulbury and Hollington
  1773  Tingewick and Radcliffe cum Chackmore
  1774  Dunton                                      629
    ″   Stoke Hammond
    ″   Twyford and Charndon                      1,900
    ″   Waddesdon, 49 yl.                        *1,715
  1776  Hartwell and Stone, all F.                1,740
  1777  Ludgershall, 1 F., 53 yl.                 1,800
    ″   Wendover
  1778  Hardwicke                                 1,200
    ″   Hitcham
    ″   Hanslop                                   1,900
    ″   North Marston                             2,000
  1779  Bierton and Hallcot
    ″   Taplow
  1781  Preston Bisset                            1,000
  1782  Calverton, and west side of Stony Stratford
  1788  Bradwell                                  1,000
    ″   Wavendon                                  2,000
  1789  Bourton and Watchfield
  1790  Bowbrickhill and Fenny Stratford          2,000
  1791  Little Woolston
  1793  Castlethorpe                                         {40,207}
  1794  Akeley cum Stockholt, 13 yl.               *455
    ″   Newport Pagnell                             900
    ″   Wendover                                  2,000
  1795  Aston Abbotts                               650
    ″   Padbury, 69 yl.                          *2,415
    ″   Steeple Claydon, 80½ yl.                 *2,817
  1796  Little Brickhill                            600
    ″   Grandborough                              1,100
    ″   Sherington                                1,600
    ″   Great Woolstone                             300
  1797  Adstock, 47 yl.                          *1,645
    ″   Drayton Parslow
    ″   Thornborough, 62 yl.                     *2,170
    ″   Wing                                      3,402
    ″   Wingrave with Rowsham                     2,400
    ″   Stoke Mandeville                          1,000
  1798  Emberton                                  1,300
    ″   Weston Turville, 1,000 A. F. and M.       1,000
  1799  Horton
    ″   Singleborough
    ″   Walton                                    1,200
    ″   Wraisbury
  1800  Iver, 817 A. F., 473 A. M., 1,172 A. P.   2,462
  1801  Lavendon and Brayfield
    ″   Weedon                                    1,700
    ″   Maidsmorton and Buckingham

  1802  Donnington                                  900
    ″   Moulsoe                                   1,600
    ″   Woburn                                      800
  1803  Great Kimble, Little Kimble
          and Ellesborough                        2,500
  1805  Chearsley                                   917
  1806  Saunderton                                1,200
  1807  Newport Pagnell                             900
  1808  Upton cum Chalvey                           752
  1809  Langley Marish
    ″   Bledlow                                   4,000
    ″   Marsworth                                 1,200
  1810  Datchett
    ″   Stoke Pogis
    ″   Bletchley                                 2,200
    ″   Newnton Blossomville                                 {16,769}
    ″   Slapton and Horton
  1811  Stewkley                                  3,000
  1813  Turweston
  1814  Aston Clinton                             2,200
    ″   Mursley
  1815  Amersham                                    890
  1820  Little Marlow                               450
    ″   Princes Risborough                        2,900
  1821  Farnham Royal
    ″   Ivinghoe
  1822  Clifton Reynes                              450
    ″   Towersey                                    986
  1824  Long Crendon                              2,500
  1830  Haddenham                                 2,945
    ″   Monks Risborough

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1850   1855  Penn                               1,078
    ″      ″   Hitchendon or Hughendon              488
  1852     ″   Great Marlow                         608
  1853   1856  Pitstone                           1,140
    ″    1857  Cheddington and Ivinghoe           1,350
  1856   1865  Edlesborough                       2,350

  Before 1802   71,323
  1802–1845     33,090
  After 1845     7,014


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1770  Abington Pigotts                          1,000
  1775  Knapwell                                  1,100
  1777  Weston Colville                           1,970
  1796  Barrington                                2,500
  1797  Great Wilbraham (with old enclosures)    *2,300
    ″   Little Wilbraham                          1,600
  1798  Harston, Hauxton, Little Shefford and
    ″   Longstow (with old enclosures)            1,400
    ″   Swaffham Bulbeck (with old enclosures)    4,000
  1799  Carlton cum Willingham (with old
          enclosures)                             1,500
    ″   Grantchester and Coton
    ″   Pampisford                                2,000
  1800  Connington                                1,500
    ″   Elsworth                                  3,900
    ″   Guilden Morden                            2,500
    ″   Milton                                    1,550
  1801  Great Abingdon                            1,560
    ″   Little Abingdon                           1,350
    ″   Balsham                                   4,000
    ″   Bassingbourne                             3,500
    ″   Bottisham                                 4,000
    ″   Histon and Impington
    ″   Trumpington                               2,000

  1802  St. Giles, Cambridge                      1,200
    ″   Graveley                                  1,500
    ″   Horningsea (with old enclosures)          1,450
    ″   Sawston                                   1,040
  1803  Fen Ditton                                1,400
  1804  Manea in Ely                                900
  1805  Snalewell
    ″   Swaffham Prior
  1806  Dullingham
    ″   Fulbourn
    ″   Cherry Hinton
    ″   Kirtling and Ashley cum Silverley         3,000
  1807  Barnwell
    ″   Landbeach
    ″   Steeple Morden
  1808  Girton
    ″   Harlton                                   1,100
  1809  Bourn
    ″   Chatteris
    ″   Dry Drayton
    ″   Fordham
    ″   West Wratting
    ″   Whittlesford                              2,000
  1810  Hastingfield
    ″   Ickleton
    ″   Kinston                                              {13,590}
    ″   Teversham
  1811  Brinkley
    ″   Croxton                                   1,200
    ″   Great and Little Eversdon
    ″   Lanstanton All Saints
    ″   Shepreth                                  1,000
  1812  Stapleford                                1,400
    ″   Toft
    ″   West Whickham
  1813  Great Cransden
    ″   Langstanton St. Michael
    ″   Meldreth, Melbourn and Whaddon
    ″   Little Shelford                           1,200
    ″   Wood Ditton
    ″   Waterbeach
    ″   Kennet
  1814  Burwill
    ″   Stretchworth
  1815  Papworth Everard
  1819  Hinxton
  1822  Duxford                                   2,500
  1825  Doddington and Coveney                      290
  1826  Foxton                                    1,586
  1828  Litlington                                1,686
  1829  Wentworth                                   990
  1830  Caxton                                    1,500
  1833  Oakington
  1834  Great Shelford
  1835  Stretcham
  1836  Hardwick
    ″   Orwell
  1838  Sutton
    ″   Swavesey
    ″   Linton                                    3,732
    ″   Witcham
    ″   Chesterton
    ″   Fen Drayton
  1839  Stow cum Quy                                         {30,674}
  1839  Melbourn
    ″   Barton
    ″   Comberton
    ″   Rampton (with old enclosures)             1,100
  1840  Whittlesea
    ″   Thriflow
    ″   Wicken
  1841  Cheveley
    ″   Gamlingay
  1842  Coltenham
  1843  Haddenham
  1845  Foulmire                                  2,111

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1854  Isleham                            1,370
  1848     ″   Caldecot                             747
  1850     ″   Mepal                                442
  1851     ″   Newton                             1,041
  1847   1855  Wilburton                            780
  1855   1857  Westwick in Oakington                217
  1858   1863  Shudy Camps, Castle Camps
                 and Bartlow                      1,037
  1864   1868  Ellisley                           1,490
  1883   1889  Hildersham                         1,174

  Before 1802   45,230
  1802–1845     33,885
  After 1845     8,298


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1805  St. Mary on the Hill
          (certain quillets of intermixed lands)    126         {126}
  1814  Wendon and Arksden                        3,200


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1772  Great and Little Stanton, Newbiggin
          and Great Blencow
  1779  Irthington, 3,600 A. waste and divers
          open fields                             4,000

  1813  Greystoke, 240 A. F.                      3,500
  1814  Torpentrow, 20 A. F., 700 A. waste          720
  1825  Dearham                                     480

  Before 1802    4,000
  1802–1845      4,700


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1727  Scarcliffe and Palterton, 500 A. F.,
          420 A. P.                                 970
  1756  Weston cum Membris and Sawley
  1760  Mackworth
  1762  Aston-upon-Trent                          1,500
    ″   Elvaston and Thulston
  1763  Draycott
    ″   Scropton
    ″   Tideswell                                 1,000
  1764  Ashford and Sheldon (Bakewell P.)
  1765  Long Eaton, 131 oxgangs                   1,600
    ″   Hartshorn
  1766  Repton
    ″   Willington                                1,300
  1768  Littleover                                1,200
    ″   Normanton next Derby                        700
  1771  Fairfield, 860 A. P.                     *1,000
    ″   Stapenhill and Winshill, 400 A. F.,
          160 A. P.                                 560
    ″   Stretton, Hordington, Bondend and
          Braunston, 600 A. F., 610 A. P.         1,210
  1772  Ockbrock                                    700
  1773  Church Broughton, 160 A. F., 100 A. P.      360
  1777  Killamarsh, 60 A. F., 350 A. P.             410
    ″   Tibshelf, 42 A. F., 404 A. P.               446
  1778  Bolsover and Clown
  1780  Findern                                     500
    ″   Hilton, 400 A. F., 600 A. P.              1,000
  1782  Sandicare                                   662      {15,118}
  1783  Boilstone                                   500
  1785  Holbrooke                                   500
  1786  Weston upon Trent                         1,500
  1787  Barrow upon Trent                         1,000
    ″   Little Eaton                                900
    ″   Melbourne and King’s Norton               2,500
    ″   Sawley                                      750
  1786  Parwick                                   1,000
    ″   Spondon                                   1,000
  1789  Marston upon Dove, Hatton, Horn and Hornhay 830
    ″   Osmaston next Derby, 270 F.                *500
  1790  Mickleover                                  800
  1793  Taddington and Priestcliff                1,600
  1794  Ilkeston                                    760
  1795  Barlborough, 250 A. F., 650 A. P.           900
    ″   Eckington, 200 A. F. and M. I.,
          1,070 A. P.                             1,270
  1797  Etwall                                    1,600
  1798  Hartington                               12,000

  1802  Alvaston and Boulton                      1,200
    ″   Chellaston                                  700
  1803  Brassington and Bradbourne                4,000
    ″   Great Hacklow, mesne fields                 400
  1804  Little Hacklow, 400 A. P. and mesne fields  600       {6,900}
  1805  Chelmorton and Flagg                      1,300
  1806  Bakewell and Over Hadden                  2,800
    ″   Hope, Bradwell and Thornhill              1,400
  1807  Wheston and Tideswell, M. I.              4,000
  1808  Hathersage                               10,000
  1809  Dronfield, M. I.                          5,000
    ″   Elton and Winster                           500
  1810  Great and Little Langstone and
          Wardlow, M. I.                          1,500
  1811  Beeley                                    2,000
  1813  Whitwell                                    950
  1814  Breadsall                                 1,461      {37,811}
    ″   Brampton, M. I.                           3,000
  1815  Youlgreave, mesne or intermixt lands      1,160
  1816  Homesfield                                3,000
  1817  Hollington                                  280
  1818  Norbury, 100 A. P.                          200
  1820  Smisby                                      550
  1821  Whittington                                 284
  1824  Snelston                                    160
  1834  Kirk Langley, 110 A. F., 120 A. P.          230

  Before 1802   45,028
  1802–1845     46,675


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1733  Buckland Newton, 800 A. F., 800 A. P.     1,600
  1736  West Stafford c. Froome Bellet              600
  1761  Langton Herring
  1762  Portesham                                 1,200
  1768  Winfrith Newburgh                         2,254
  1779  West Knighton                             1,000
  1785  Wimborne Minster                          3,000
  1789  Podington
  1794  Tolpuddle
    ″   Preston and South Poyntz
  1796  Hanley
  1797  Hintel Murtel and Gussuage All Saints
    ″   Wyke Regis
  1798  Bradford Peverell
  1799  Charlton Marshall                         2,200
  1800  Winterborne Strickland                    1,050
  1801  Turnwood                                    800

  1803  Chickerill
    ″   Spetisbury                                1,000
  1804  Beaminster, 290 A. F., 235 A. P.            525       {1,525}
  1805  Broadmaine                                  990
  1806  Hampreston
  1807  Corfe Mullen, 200 A. F., &c., 1,500
          A. Heath                                1,700
    ″   Cattistock                                1,200
  1808  Winterborne Waste                           777
  1809  Abbotsbury                                1,500
    ″   Compton Vallance
    ″   Gillingham and Motcombe                     500
    ″   West Melbury
    ″   Pimperne
  1809  Plush                                       359
    ″   Great Washbourne
  1810  Litton Cheney                               780
    ″   Walditch, 187 A. F., 9 A. P.                196
  1811  Shapwick                                  1,160
  1812  Gussage St. Michael                       1,100
  1814  Tarrant Keinston, all F.                    169
  1815  Dawlish                                     400
  1818  Loders                                      450
  1819  Brodd Sydling and Up Sydling
  1820  Chilfrome                                   900
  1824  Bincombe                                  1,300
    ″   Tarrant Hinton                            2,000      {17,006}
  1830  Charminster                                 700
  1831  Maiden Newton                               800
    ″   Piddle Hinton                             1,600
  1834  Upway                                       320
  1836  Godmanstone

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1851   1853  Compton Abbas                        704         {704}
   *     1854  Askerswell                           635
  1855   1857  West Lulworth                        634
  1857   1860  Ashmore                              635
  1861   1863  Winterborne Steepleton               558
  1866   1868  Warmwell                             620

  Before 1802   13,704
  1802–1845     20,426
  After 1845     3,786


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1761  Norham, In fields, 437 A., moor
          1,500 A.                                1,937
  1769  Wolsingham                                  200
  1782  Bolam                                       800
  1783  Barnard Castle                              800
  1794  Crawcrook                                   700

  1814  Gateshead                                   200

  Before 1802    4,437
  1802–1845        200


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1795  Great Parndon, 227 A. F., 124 A. P.         351
  1801  Great Chesterford                         1,200
    ″   Little Chesterford                          600
    ″   Hadstock                                  1,400
    ″   Littlebury                                3,000

  1807  Chrishall                                 1,500
  1811  Great and Little Chishill                 2,500
  1812  Saffron Walden
  1814  Heydon
  1820  Farnham                                     240
  1824  Wendon Tofts and Elmdon                   1,950
  1838  Berden, Manewden, Stansted Mountfichet

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1846   1850  Walthamstow                          198
   *     1851  Henham                               630
  1847     ″   Netteswell                           204
   *       ″   Langley                              360
   *     1853  Haverhill                            298
   *       ″   Wicken Bonhunt                       292
  1855   1860  Roydon                               285
  1856   1861  Newport                              815
  1859     ″   Clavering                            750
  1866   1869  Widdington                           820

  Before 1802    6,551
  1802–1845      6,190
  After 1845     4,652


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1726  Little Rissington
  1727  Cherrington, 3 F.’s, 1,800 A.             2,200
  1729  Wick Risington, 58 yl.                   *2,000
  1731  Prestbury
    ″   Upper and Lower Slaughter, 87 yl.        *2,845
  1739  Shipton, Moyle and Dovel, all F.            800
  1744  Westonbirt, 2 F.’s                          350
  1753  Eastlechmartin, 53¼ yl.                  *1,863
    ″   Quennington                               3,000
  1755  Hawling                                     881
  1759  Little Barrington, 42 yl. F., 600 A. P.  *1,860
    ″   Preston upon Stower, 25¾ yl.               *900
  1761  Snowshil, 500 A. F., 18 A. M.,
          1,100 A. P.                             1,618
  1763  Childswickham, 83 yl.                    *2,905
  1765  Donnington (Stow on the Wold P.)
  1766  Haselton                                    858
    ″   Hatherop, 966 A. F., 150 A. P.            1,116
    ″   Maugersbury
  1767  Bibury, 3,000 A. F., 300 A. P.            3,300
    ″   Willersey, 36 yl.                        *1,260
  1769  Ampney Holyrood and Ashbrook              2,080
    ″   Bleddington, 52 yl.                      *1,820
    ″   Coln St. Aldwin’s, 1,950 A. F., 100 A. P. 2,050
  1770  Notgrove                                  1,200
  1771  Aston Subedge, 31 yl. F., 150 A. P.      *1,235
    ″   Preston and Stratton                      2,000
  1772  Eastleach Tourville, 1,574 A. F.,
          877 A. P.                               2,451
    ″   Kemerton, 36 yl.                         *1,260
    ″   Quinton, 39¼ yl.                         *1,372
  1773  Bourton on the Water
    ″   Beckford                                  2,500
    ″   Longmarston, 43 yl.                       1,505
  1774  Oxenton                                   1,000
    ″   Staunton                                    700
  1775  Addlestrop                                  926
    ″   Claydon, all F.                           1,081
    ″   Todenham, 32 yl. F.                        *960
  1776  Dorsington, 40 yl.                          900
  1777  Condicote, 26 yl.                          *910
    ″   Duntisborne Abbots                                   {53,706}
    ″   Shirburne and Windrush
  1778  Chapel Honeyburn, 32 yl.                 *1,120
    ″   Frampton and Hayley                       1,500
    ″   Leckhampton and Cheltenham
    ″   Naunton, 53 yl.                          *1,855
    ″   Siddington St. Peter and St. Mary           534
  1779  Ablington                                 1,000
    ″   Buckland                                  2,000
    ″   Clifford Chambers                           400
    ″   Mayseyhampton                             1,600
  1780  Salperton                                 1,354
    ″   Shennington, 1,500 A. F.                 *1,800
  1782  Eastrington                               2,500
    ″   Winstow (Winstone)                          770
  1786  Oddington                                 1,000
  1789  Lower Swell
  1792  Broadwell
    ″   Rodmarton and Coates
    ″   Shipton, Whittington and Dowdeswell
    ″   Turkdean
  1793  Aldsworth
    ″   Marsmore                                  1,800
  1794  Little Compton
    ″   Corse
    ″   Elmore Brockworth and North Cerney
    ″   Longborough                               1,453
    ″   Old Sodbury and Little Sodbury              800
  1795  Cold Aston                                1,600
    ″   Hasfield
    ″   Trinley
  1796  Awre
    ″   Barnwood, Matson, Wotton
  1797  Ashelworth
    ″   Coln St. Dennis
    ″   Horton                                      611
  1798  Guiting Power
  1799  Berrington, Broad Campden and Westington
    ″   Kempsford and Dryffield
  1800  Welford
    ″   Arlington
  1801  Cheltenham
    ″   Down Ampney, Lutton, Eisey                1,242
    ″   Slimbridge, Cam and Coaley

  1802  Churcham
  1803  Chedworth and Compton Abdale              6,200
    ″   Staverton with Boddington
    ″   Beverstone                                2,200
  1804  Sutton                                    1,120
    ″   Temple Guiting
    ″   Broyden
  1805  Tredington
  1806  Gotherington
    ″   Norton
  1807  Downhatherley
    ″   Pannington
    ″   Stanley Pontlarge
    ″   Alderton
  1808  South Cerney
    ″   Deerhurst and Lye
    ″   Tewkesbury
  1809  Alvington
    ″   Stanway
  1811  Fiddington
  1812  Aston upon Carrant and Pamington
    ″   Greet and Sudely (in Winchcomb parish)
    ″   Haresfield
    ″   Longney
    ″   Pebworth (with old enclosures)            2,000
    ″   Wormington
  1813  Ebrington and Hitcoat
    ″   Frampton upon Severn and Slimbridge
    ″   Great Rissington                          1,600
    ″   Withington
  1814  Hempstead, Barnwood and Upton
          St. Lawrence                             *200
    ″   Sevenhampton
    ″   Winchcomb
  1815  Miserden
  1818  Hawkesbury
    ″   Morton Vallance and Standish
  1819  Bitton 70 A. F., 190 A. P.                  260
  1821  Bourton on the Hill and Moreton in
          the Marsh                               3,000
  1829  Didmarton and Oldbury on the Hill                    {16,580}
  1830  Cheltenham                                  430
    ″   Stanley St. Leonards and Eastington         170
  1832  Thornbury                                   514
  1833  Elkstone                                    280
  1834  Duntsbourne Rouse                           496
  1838  Quedgley                                     90
    ″   Wickwar, Cromhall and Tortworth
          90 A. F., 600 A. P.                       690
  1839  Fretherne and Saul 380 A. F.,
          106 A. M. & P.                            486
    ″   Berkeley                                    700
  1841  Olveston                                    180

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1851  Tibberton                            222
   *     1852  Westbury on Severn                   855
  1851   1853  Marshfield                           290
  1850   1854  Weston Subedge                       879
  1855   1862  Dymock                               208
  1864   1867  Sandhurst, Norton and Wotton         506
  1865   1869  Stinchcombe                          205
  1866   1871  Minsterworth                         400
   ″     1876  Coaley                               154
   ″       ″   Cam                                  166
  1895   1899  Upton St. Leonards                   534

  Before 1802   78,645
  1802–1845     20,616
  After 1845     4,419


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1740  Andover
  1741  Chawton, 7 F.’s and the Common
  1743  Dunmer, 1260 A. F., 500 A. P.             1,760
  1749  East Woodhay and Hollington,
          1,000 A. F., 300 A. P.                  1,300
  1757  Barton Stacey, 1807 A. F., 678 A. P.      2,507
    ″   Earlstone                                   488
  1759  Bishop’s Waltham                            205
  1760  Folkesworth                                 510
    ″   Fletton
  1774  Abbott’s Ann                              1,259
  1778  Gratley
  1780  Leckford Abbots
  1781  Highclere (_or_ Burghclere)
  1783  Kingsomborn                               1,890
    ″   Andevor
  1785  Upper Clatford
  1786  Basingstoke
    ″   Upper Wallop, Harsbourn Pryors and
  1788  Headbourn Worthy                          1,400
  1789  Broughton                                 2,700
    ″   Odiham, Northwarnborough, Hillside, Rye
          and Stapely
  1790  Dibden
  1792  Monk Sherburne                              700
    ″   Shipton
  1794  Crawley and Bishop’s Sutton
    ″   Houghton
    ″   Quarley
    ″   Upton Gray
  1796  Basing and Mapplederwell
    ″   Mitchelmarsh, Braishfield and Awbridge
    ″   Nether Wallop
  1797  Whitchurch
  1798  Welstead and Bentworth                      400
    ″   Rockbourne and Wichbury
  1799  Easton

  1802  West Aston and Middleton                    750
  1803  Kilmiston
  1804  Romsey Extra
  1805  New Alresford, 326 A. F., 84 A. P.          410
  1806  Monxton                                     600
  1807  Ringwood
  1808  Porchester                                1,050
  1810  Eling and Fawley
  1812  Charlton, Catherington, Clanfield,
          Blendworth and Idsworth                 2,500
    ″   Ovington
    ″   Wimmering, Widley Cosham, and Hilsea        800
    ″   Weyhill and Appleshaw                       680
  1813  Ecchinswell                                 500
  1817  Harbridge
    ″   Portsea                                     170
  1820  Preston Candover and Nutley               1,800
  1822  Ellington and Ilsey
  1825  Christchurch and Milton
  1827  Tangley, 286 A. F., 10 A. P.                296
  1829  Sherborne St. John                        1,000
  1842  Kingsclere                                2,300

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1852  Chale                                126
  1849   1857  Binsted                              990
  1856   1859  Niton (Isle of Wight)                449
  1861   1866  (Easton common fields) Freshwater     37

  Before 1802   15,459
  1802–1845     12,856
  After 1845     1,512


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1772  Wigmore, 600 A. F., 80 A. P.                680
  1795  Marcle Wolton and Kinaston                1,000
  1796  Tarrington                                  450
  1799  Yarkhill, Weston Beggard,
          Dormington w. Bartestree,
          Stoke Edith with Westhide               1,380
    ″   Leintwardine and Burrington
  1801  Frome, Much Cowarne and Evisbeach,
          250 A. F., 160 A. M.                      410

  1802  Bodenham                                  2,000
  1807  Byford
    ″   Marden, Sutton and Withington
  1809  Bredwardine and Dorston
    ″   Bishopston and Mancell Lacy
    ″   Mordiford
    ″   Shobden, Aynestry and Lingen                900
  1810  Steepleton
    ″   Wigmore
  1811  Allesmore                                             {2,900}
  1811  Eardisland
    ″   Kingston                                    270
  1813  Clehonger
    ″   Much Cowarn
    ″   Stretton, Grandsome and Bishops Frome
    ″   Eastnor, 180 A. P.                         *220
    ″   Ledbury, 50 A. F., 90 A. P.                 140
  1814  Norton Canon
    ″   Aymestrey and Kingsland                     340
    ″   Puttenham

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1854  Bosbury                              105
   *     1856  Ullingswick                          260
  1858   1862  (Lyde Fields) Pipe and Lyde           13

  Before 1802    3,920
  1802–1845      3,870
  After 1845       378


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1766  Hexton, 1,527 A. F.                      *2,000
    ″   Walsworth (Hitchin par.)                  1,000
  1768  Lilley and Offley
  1776  Ickleford
  1795  Kelshall (with old enclosures)            2,233
  1796  Norton                                    1,850
  1797  King’s Walden                               500
    ″   Tring
    ″   Weston                                    1,100
  1798  Kensworth                                 1,200
  1799  Cheshunt, 1,555 A. F., 1186 A. P.         2,741      {12,624}
    ″   St. John and All Saints, Hertford
  1801  Aldenham                                    500
    ″   Barkaway and Reed                         7,000
    ″   Hertingfordbury                             400

  1802  Hinxworth                                 1,264
  1806  Cottered
  1807  Offley
  1809  Barley                                    1,700       {2,964}
  1810  Codicate, Welwyn and Knebworth
  1811  Pirton
    ″   Wymondby and Ippolitts
  1812  Braughing                                 1,300
  1813  Westmill                                    400
  1814  Great Hormead                               900
  1820  Bishop’s Stortford                          300
  1826  Anstey                                    1,200
  1830  Standon                                   1,400

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1850  Walkern                              540
   *     1852  Bengeo, Sacombe and Stapleford       410
   *     1853  Great and Little Munden              860
   *       ″   Buckland                             795
   *     1854  Stevenage                            556       {3,161}
  1852   1855  Watford Field                         70
   *       ″   Hoddesden                            860
   *     1856  Widford                              320
  1853   1858  Wormley                              232
  1858     ″   Aston, Bennington, and
                 Little Munden                    1,280
   *     1859  Little Hadham                        214
  1857   1863  Ashwell                            2,474
   *     1864  Little Hormead and Layston           450
  1862   1867  Datchworth and Knebworth             161
  1866   1869  Throcking                            108
  1863     ″   Albury                               305
  1866     ″   Aspedon                              376
               Layston and Widdial                  764

  Before 1802   20,524
  1802–1845      8,464
  After 1845    10,775


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1727  Overton Longville and Botolph’s Bridge
  1766  Laighton Bromeswold                       1,515
  1767  Yaxley
  1769  Stoneley                                  1,000
  1770  St. Noets                                   300
  1771  Hartford                                  1,400
  1772  Brampton                                  2,500
    ″   King’s Ripton                             1,100
    ″   Wolley                                    1,000
  1773  Houghton cum Witton                       2,500
    ″   Little Stukely
  1774  Ellington                                 1,500
    ″   Easton
    ″   Graffham
  1775  Spaldwick with Upthorpe
  1779  Elton                                     3,000
  1780  Barham                                      800
    ″   Little Catworth
  1786  Ravely                                    2,000
  1794  Broughton                                 1,600
    ″   Winwick                                   1,660      {21,875}
  1795  Great Catworth                            2,000
    ″   Wornditch                                   700
    ″   Warboys                                   4,300
  1796  Woodhurst, Somersham, and Pidley with
          Fenton, 2,625 A. P.                    *3,000
  1797  Diddington                                1,100
    ″   Eynesbury                                 2,000
    ″   Southoe                                   1,100
  1799  Molesworth                                1,000
  1800  Bythorn                                   1,200
    ″   Holywell and Needingworth                 3,000
    ″   Offord Cluny                              1,100
  1801  Covington                                   850
    ″   Hemingford Grey and Abbotts               3,000
    ″   Old Hurst                                 1,000
    ″   St. Ives                                  1,400
    ″   Stanground and Farcet                     1,522

  1802  Denton                                    1,000
    ″   Fenstanton                                2,200
  1803  Godmanchester                             4,600
  1804  Brington (with old enclosures)            1,250
  1804  Saltree                                   2,700
    ″   Great Staughton                             900
  1805  Cherry Orton, Waterville and Alwalton
    ″   Stilton                                   1,200
  1806  Offord Darcy                              1,000
  1807  Stibbington cum Wandesford and Sibson       565
    ″   Great Staughton and Graffham              2,000
  1808  Swineshead                                  900
    ″   Waresley and Gamlingay (with old
          enclosures)                             2,000
  1809  Glatton with Holme                        1,300
    ″   Woodstone                                   500
  1811  Great Paxton and Toseland                 2,100
  1812  Little Paxton                               720
    ″   Upton                                       900
  1813  Bluntisham w. Earith and Colne            3,000
    ″   Buckdon                                   1,900      {30,735}
    ″   Stukely                                   2,000
  1819  Yelling, whole year lands                 1,800
  1830  Wistow                                    1,300
  1836  Abbotsley
  1843  Great Gransden                            3,000
  1844  Bury                                        299
    ″   Ramsey                                      230

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1852  Keystone                             520
  1848   1853  Upwood and Ramsey                  1,600
  1864   1869  Great Gidding                      1,735

  Before 1802   50,147
  1802–1845     39,364
  After 1845     3,855


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1730  Horninghole                                 916
  1734  Little and Great Cleybrooke                 430
  1744  Langton
  1749  Norton juxta Twicross                     1,744
  1752  Narborow, 30 yl.                         *1,050
  1755  Knighton, 48 yl.                         *1,680
  1757  Wimeswould                               *1,440
  1758  Great Glen, 32½ yl.                       1,000
  1759  Breedon                                   1,336
    ″   Belgrave, 34 yl.                          1,000
    ″   Desford and Peckleton                     1,010
    ″   Evington and Stoughton                    1,000
    ″   Hoton                                     1,100
    ″   Loughborough, 6 F.’s and P.
    ″   Oadby, 71 yl.                             1,800      {15,506}
    ″   Sileby                                    2,200
  1760  Barrow upon Soar                          2,250
    ″   Frisby upon the Wreak                     1,500
    ″   Hoby                                      1,000
    ″   Hinckly                                   2,000
    ″   Melton Mowbray                            2,000
    ″   Somerby                                   1,400
    ″   Seagrave
  1761  Ashfordby                                 1,800
    ″   Ansty                                     1,100
    ″   Abkettleby                                  900
    ″   Rearsby                                   1,600
  1762  Belgrave and Barkby                       1,600
    ″   Hungerton                                   900
    ″   Quorndon                                  1,020
  1764  Billesden                                 2,500
    ″   Nether Broughton                            900      {40,176}
    ″   Husband’s Bosworth, 96 yl.                4,000
    ″   St. Margaret’s, Leicester, 34 yl.        *1,190
    ″   Sharnford, 48¾ yl.                        1,400
    ″   Stoney Stanton, 46¼ yl.                   1,400
    ″   Wartnaby                                    700
    ″   Whetston, 49½ yl.                        *1,733
    ″   Great Wigstone
  1765  Burton Overy                              1,600
    ″   Grimston                                  1,000
    ″   Houghton-on-the-Hill                      1,800
    ″   North Kilworth, 80 yl.                    1,800
    ″   Scalford                                  2,000
  1766  Braunston                                 1,500
    ″   Blaby, 38¼ yl.                            1,200
    ″   Croxton                                   2,100
    ″   Countesthorpe, 38 yl.                     1,400
    ″   Lubenham, 31 yl.                            960
    ″   Ratcliffe Culey                             560
    ″   Waltham in the Wolds                      2,000
  1767  Aileston                                  1,200
    ″   Cosby, 52½ yl.                           *1,837
  1768  Ashby de la Zouch                         1,040
    ″   Little Sheepey, 24 yl.                      500
  1769  Eaton, 97½ yl.                            1,800
    ″   Fleckney, 47¼ yl.                         *1,654
    ″   Markfield                                   380
    ″   Shackston, 28 yl.                          *980
    ″   Thurlstone, 23½ yl.                         750
  1770  Bottesford, Eastthorpe and Normanton,
          203¾ oxgangs                            4,300
    ″   Foxton                                    1,500
    ″   Halloughton                               3,000
    ″   Norton, 25 yl.                              665
    ″   Ratby, all F.                               850
    ″   Ravenstone                                  250
    ″   Saddington                                1,500
  1771  Appleby                                   1,000
    ″   Kirkby Mallory                              780
    ″   Keyham (Rothley P.)                         900
    ″   Kilby and Newton Harcourt, 78 yl.         2,000
    ″   Sproxton, 49 yl.                          2,000
    ″   Saltby, 54 yl.                            2,400
  1772  Gumley                                    1,145
    ″   Skeffington                               1,200
    ″   Stapleford                                  390
  1773  Knaptoft, 48 yl.                          1,050
  1774  Hucklescote and Donnington on the Heath     500     {104,190}
    ″   Ratcliffe upon Wreak, 26 yl.                800
  1776  Bruntingthorpe, 44 yl.                    1,200
    ″   Great Bowden, 88 yl.                      2,600
  1777  Gilmorton, 44½ yl.                        2,200
    ″   Shepshead                                 2,000
    ″   Syston and Barkly                         1,600
    ″   Wykeham and Candwell, 26½ yl.               750
  1778  Earl Shilton                              1,500
    ″   Kimcoate and Knaptoft, 84 yl.             2,600
    ″   Sapcote                                   1,300
    ″   Long Whatton                                800
    ″   Castle Donington, 1400 A. F.,
          290 A. M., 610 A. P.                    2,300
    ″   Kegworth                                  2,000
  1779  Barkby                                    1,800
    ″   Croft                                       850
    ″   Claxton or Long Clawson, 169 oxgangs     *3,380
    ″   Knight Thorpe                               450
    ″   Leire, 31½ yl.                              370
    ″   Stanton under Barden                        600
    ″   Kibworth and Smeeton Westerby, 148 yl.    3,900
  1780  Stonesby                                  1,100
    ″   Swinford                                  1,400
  1781  Cropston                                    360
    ″   Mountsorrell, 300 A. F.                    *450
    ″   Rothley                                   1,200
  1782  Orton on the Hill                         1,000
  1783  Tugby                                     1,150
  1785  Osgathorpe                                  200
  1786  Bitteswell                                1,600
  1788  Humberstone                               1,400
    ″   Mousley                                   1,100
  1789  Grooby                                      500
    ″   Hemmington                                1,000
    ″   Harston                                    *800
    ″   Thrussington, 47 yl.                     *1,645
  1790  Harby
    ″   Lutterworth, 69 yl.                       1,400
  1791  East and West Langton, &c., 152 yl.      *5,320
  1792  Redmile
    ″   Strathern
    ″   Walton in the Wolds, 52½ yl.              1,500
  1793  Queneborough                              2,200
    ″   Slawston                                  1,400     {163,915}
  1794  Arnesby                                   1,200
    ″   Barseby and South Croxton, 82 yl.        *2,870
    ″   Diseworth                                 1,630
    ″   Sutton Cheney
    ″   Thornton and Bagworth                       920
  1796  Dunton Bassett                              750
    ″   Twyford                                     900
    ″   Walcott                                   1,000
  1797  Knipton
  1798  Swithland                                   350
    ″   Thurcaston                                  745
  1799  Nether Seal                              *1,000

  1802  Breedon on the Hill                       1,200
  1803  Sibson                                      740
    ″   Thringstone and Pegg’s Green               *100       {2,040}
  1804  Bringhurst, Great Easten and Drayton      3,400
    ″   Leicester, 490 A. F., 116 A. M.             606
  1806  Higham (to confirm Inclosure made
          in 1682)
  1809  Glenfield                                   700
  1810  Great Sheepey
    ″   Newbold Verdon and Newbold Heath,
          little F. 900
  1812  Belton                                      400
  1823  Congerston                                  900
  1825  Glooston and Cranoe                         950
  1842  Hedbourn

  Before 1802  175,280
  1802–1845      9,896


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1731  Biscathorpe
  1734  Woollesthorpe, 12 oxgangs                   240
  1736  Stallingborough, 2166 A. F.,
          776 M., 700 A. P.                       3,642
  1751  Dunsly (Dunsby)                          *1,500
  1752  Wytham on the Hill, one F.                1,370
  1754  Normanton, 150 oxgangs                   *3,000
  1757  Baumber, or Banburgh                      2,048
    ″   Stragglethorpe, F.                          287
  1758  Hareby                                      451
  1759  Coleby
    ″   Fillingham, 2,000 A. F., 800 A. P.        2,800
    ″   Harmston, 1,734 A. F. & M., 794 A. P.     2,528
  1762  Barrowby                                  2,000
    ″   Wintringham
  1763  Glentham, 1800 A. F., 770 A. P.           2,570
    ″   Pilham                                      525
    ″   Wellingore                                3,100
  1764  Fotherby                                  1,269      {27,330}
    ″   Heckington                                4,000
    ″   Horbling                                  2,600
    ″   Haughton in the Marsh                     1,500
    ″   Stainton in the Hole (with old
          enclosures)                             1,900
    ″   Scarby                                    1,200
  1765  Aukborough                                2,000
    ″   Branston, 2,000 A. F.                    *2,500
    ″   Kettlethorpe, 840 A. F., 835 A. P.        1,635
    ″   N. and S. Cockerington                    1,390
    ″   Keelby and Stallingbrough                 2,000
    ″   Newton and Kettlethorpe, 970 A. F.,
          400 A. P.                               1,370
    ″   Rothwell                                  2,700
    ″   Tetford
  1766  Bourn                                     2,450
    ″   Barnelby on the Wolds
    ″   Bickar                                    2,300
    ″   Cosby                                     1,527
    ″   Grimoldby                                 1,700      {60,102}
  1766  Keddington                                  400
    ″   Kettlethorp                                 645
    ″   Scothorne and Sudbrooke                   2,800
  1767  East Barkwith                             1,200
    ″   Donnington                                3,100
    ″   Newton                                    1,000
    ″   Scamblesby                                2,100
    ″   Wootton                                   3,000
  1768  Billingborough and Birthorpe              2,700
    ″   Morton                                    4,400
    ″   Threckingham                                500
    ″   Toynton Supra                             1,100
    ″   Willoughton                               2,600
  1769  Atterby, Smitterby and Waddingham         3,000
    ″   Barnolby le Beck                          1,200
    ″   Beckenham and Sutton
    ″   Claypole
    ″   North Hickham
    ″   Ingham                                    2,000
    ″   Sudbrooke (Ancaster P.)                   1,200
    ″   South Willingham                          1,800
    ″   Waltham                                   2,250
  1770  Benniworth                                2,292
    ″   Great Carlton                             2,000
    ″   Matton                                    1,180
    ″   Navenby                                   2,800
    ″   Scawby                                    2,500
    ″   Waddington, 195 oxgangs                   3,500
    ″   Winterton, 2,000 A. F., 360 A. M.,
          1,000 A. P.                             3,360
    ″   Westborough cum Doddington
    ″   Welton (near Louth)
  1771  West Ashby                                3,000
    ″   Boothby Graffoe                           1,600
    ″   Bishop Norton                             1,700
    ″   South Reston                                500
  1772  Hammeringham                              1,000
    ″   West Halton
    ″   Moorby and Wilksby                        1,000
    ″   Great Paunton                            *3,000
    ″   Middle Raisin                             4,000
    ″   Stainby                                   1,380
    ″   Low Toynton                                 373
    ″   Welton                                    3,000
  1773  Brinkhill                                   600
    ″   Goxhill                                   7,000
    ″   Hemingby                                  2,600
    ″   Hackonby                                  2,000     {147,482}
    ″   Helpringham                               3,000
    ″   Haltham and Roughton                      2,000
    ″   Horsington                                1,500
    ″   East Keal                                   900
    ″   Toynton All Saints and St. Peter          1,000
    ″   Thorpe on the Hill                        1,700
    ″   Whitton                                   1,200
    ″   West Willoughby, 34 oxgangs and large
          common                                 *1,000
  1774  Ibstock                                   1,200
    ″   Ludborough
    ″   Owmby                                     1,600
    ″   Potterhamworth                            3,000
    ″   Spridlington                              2,400
    ″   Timberland                                2,500
    ″   Wilsford                                  2,400
    ″   West Keal                                 1,000
    ″   Wroot                                       700
  1775  Fulletby                                  2,000
    ″   Quadring, 70 A. F., &c., 2,400 A. fen     2,470
  1776  Asterby and Goulesby                      2,600
    ″   Gunby and North Witham                    1,650
    ″   North and South Killingholme              5,000
    ″   Nocton                                    4,500
    ″   Raithby, nr. Spilsby                        600
    ″   Upton, 1430 A. F., 1150 A. P.             2,580
    ″   Welby, 970 A. F.                         *1,200
    ″   Nettleham                                 3,000
  1777  Brampton                                  1,060
    ″   Candlesby                                   900
    ″   Hatherne                                  1,300
    ″   Kirnington                                1,800
    ″   Leadenham                                 3,000
    ″   Metheringham                              5,000
    ″   South Winstead                            1,700
    ″   South Sturton                             1,500
    ″   Surfleet, 1,240 A. fen., 300 A. F., &c.   1,540
  1778  Hackthorne                                2,660
    ″   Ruskington                                3,000
    ″   Thimbleby                                 1,200
  1779  Amcotts                                   1,300
    ″   Brattleby                                 1,050
    ″   Huttoft, 1,200 A. F., 670 A. P.           1,870
    ″   Market Raisin                               725     {229,787}
    ″   Willingham                                1,500
  1780  Ligburn                                   1,213
  1785  Donnington upon Baine                     1,600
  1786  Canwick                                   2,240
  1787  Dorrington                                1,800
  1788  Swaby and Belleau                         1,500
    ″   North and South Rauceby                   5,450
  1789  Denton                                    2,650
    ″   Normanby next Spittal                     1,700
  1791  Nettleton                                 3,600
    ″   Ludford                                   2,400
  1792  Hemswell                                  2,220
    ″   Tealby                                    2,600
    ″   Uffington                                 2,600
    ″   Wood Enderby                                600
    ″   Welton in the Marsh
  1793  Allington                                   900
    ″   Barton upon Humber                        5,770
    ″   Covenham                                  1,600
    ″   Dunston                                   1,220
    ″   Greetham                                  1,000
    ″   Kirton in Lindsey                         4,600
  1794  Althorpe                                    380
    ″   Long Bennington and Foston                3,860
    ″   Bottisford and Yadlethorpe                1,750
    ″   Faldingworth                              2,400
    ″   South Kelsey                              3,200
    ″   Martin                                      550
    ″   Skillington                               1,950
    ″   New Sleaford and Holdingham               2,000
    ″   South Witham                              1,646
  1795  Grantham                                  1,688
    ″   Hagworthingham                              800
    ″   Londonthorpe                                680
    ″   Osmournby, Newton and Scott Willoughby    1,600
    ″   Owmby                                       580
    ″   Ropsley and Little Hamby                  4,000
    ″   Scartho                                   1,200
    ″   Swarby                                    1,000
  1796  Caistor                                     390
    ″   Hibaldstowe                               3,800
    ″   Luddington and Garthorpe                  1,200
    ″   Scredington                               2,800
    ″   North and South Stoke                     1,200
    ″   Tattershall, Thorpe and
          Kirkby super Bane                                 {317,224}
  1797  Barrow                                    4,700
    ″   Blankney and Scopwick                     3,850
    ″   Greatford                                   850
    ″   Swayfield and Corby
  1798  Messingham and East Butterwick            5,000
    ″   Mavis Enderby                               800
  1800  Barholm                                     930
    ″   Braceborough                              1,110
    ″   Wrawly cum Brigg                          2,450
  1801  Belchford                                 2,300
    ″   Little Bytham and Ormby                   1,500
    ″   West Deeping and Tallington               2,000
    ″   South Ferriby                             1,500
    ″   East Halton                               2,500
    ″   Langtoft and Baston                       2,100
    ″   Sotby                                     1,000
    ″   Scremby                                     550
    ″   Ashby                                     1,830
    ″   Louth                                     1,854

  1802  Kelby, Aiseby and Oseby                   2,500
    ″   Thurlby, 1,100 A. F., 1,100 A. fen        2,200
    ″   Coningsby                                 1,750
    ″   Saxelby                                   1,200
  1803  Burton and West Halton                    1,400
    ″   Boultham                                    636
    ″   Kirkby cum Osgodby                        1,350
    ″   Rippingale and Kirkby Underwood,
          2,150 A. F., 2,032 A. fen               4,182
    ″   West Rasen                                1,240
    ″   Salesby with Thoresthorpe                   680
    ″   Castle Bytham                             2,500
    ″   Horncastle                                1,000
    ″   Lincoln                                   1,500
    ″   Stowe, Sturton and Bransly                2,000
  1804  Carlby and Aunby                         *1,220
    ″   Fulbeck                                   1,300
    ″   Great and Little Gonerby and Manthorpe    4,000
    ″   Hogsthorpe and Mumby cum Chapel           2,590
    ″   Skellingthorpe                            2,000
  1805  Anderby                                     730      {35,978}
    ″   Colsterworth                              3,500
    ″   Mareham on the Hill                         656
    ″   Mauten
    ″   Swallow                                   2,550
  1806  Easton                                    1,000
    ″   East Kirkby                                 375
    ″   Market Deeping and Deeping St. James      2,000
  1807  Crosby
    ″   Ashby de la Laund                         1,500
    ″   Waith
    ″   Yarburgh                                    900
  1808  Scotter                                   4,500
  1809  Croxton                                   1,300
    ″   Friskeney
  1810  Boston (with old enclosures)              1,338
    ″   Fishtoft, 2,795 A. F.,
          and old enclosure, 95 A. P.             2,890
    ″   Sibsey
    ″   Withcall                                  2,700
    ″   Leverton, 410 A. F. and M., 135 A. P.       545
    ″   Leake
  1811  Ashby juxta Partney                         500
    ″   Cabourne                                  2,700
    ″   Little Ponton (with old enclosures)       1,980
    ″   Thrusthorpe and Hannah cum Hagnaby          540
  1813  Crowle
    ″   Haburgh                                   2,500
    ″   North Kelsey                              3,000
    ″   Witham on the Hill                        2,400
  1814  Thorseway                                 2,600
  1815  Benington      {77,952}
  1815  Grasby                                      500
    ″   Manby                                       500
  1817  Fulstrow                                  1,900
  1818  Skirbeck
    ″   Welsthorpe                                  800
    ″   Ulceby with Fotherington                  1,026
  1819  Alvingham                                 1,300
    ″   Cumberworth                                 580
    ″   Firsby
  1824  Ulceby                                    3,500
  1825  Appleby                                     950
  1826  Farlesthorpe                                390
  1827  Great Grimsby                             1,000
  1842  Clee

_Enclosed under the General Inclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1855   1858  North Cotes                          520

  1871   1875  Stamford and Tinwell, total area
                 1,621 A., in Lincoln               811

  Before 1802  354,048
  1802–1845     90,398
  After 1845     1,331


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1774  Laleham
  1780  Ickenham
  1789  Stanwell                                  3,000
  1795  Hillingdon and Cowley, 3 F’s.
  1799  Teddington                                  883
  1800  Edmonton                                  1,231       {5,114}
  1800  Hanworth, Feltham and Sunbury,
          1,500 A. F., 1,700 A. P.                3,200
  1801  Enfield                                   3,540

  1803  Harrow
  1804  Ruislip
  1805  Harmendsworth                             1,100
  1809  Echelford or Ashford                      1,200
    ″   Hayes                                     2,000
  1811  Hampton
  1812  Hillingdon                                1,400
  1813  Greenford                                   640
    ″   Hanwell                                     350
    ″   Great Stanmore, all F. 216
    ″   East Bedfont                              1,100
    ″   Isleworth, Heston and Twickenham          2,470
  1815  Willesden                                   560
  1818  Cranford                                    395      {11,431}
  1819  Harlington                                  820
  1824  West Drayton
  1825  Northolt

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1848   1851  Littleton                            625

  Before 1802   11,854
  1802–1845     12,251
  After 1845       625


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1776  Ifton                                       780

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1852   1854   Undy                                128
    ″      ″    Caldicot                            243         {471}
  1858   1859   Magor                               142

  Before 1802      780
  After 1845       513


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1755  Brancaster                                2,350
    ″   Swanton, Morley and Worthing              1,400
  1760  Litcham                                     600
  1762  Snettisham (half year inclosures)         5,000
  1766  Carlton Forehoe and Kimberley
  1767  Sherborn                                  1,600
  1769  Hilborowe, 2,600 Infields and Outfields   3,020
  1772  Fineham                                   2,450
    ″   Roudham                                              {16,420}
  1774  Beetley, Great Bittering and Grassenhall  1,130
    ″   Barton Bendish                            4,370
    ″   Tottington, 1,710 A. F., 1,300 A. P.      3,010
    ″   Weeting                                   4,450
  1777  Little Cressingham, 300 A. F., 467 A. P.    767
    ″   Carlton Rode                              3,000
  1779  Dersingham                                2,000
    ″   Grimston                                  4,000
  1780  Foulden                                   3,000      {42,147}
  1780  Heatcham                                  4,000
    ″   Salthouse and Kelling                     1,490
    ″   Tottenhill and West Briggs                1,400
  1781  Great Ringstead                           3,000
  1785  Ashill, 900 A. F., 1,000 A. P.            1,900
  1786  Tichwell
  1793  Marham                                    3,700
    ″   Stiffkey and Morston
  1794  Little Dunham, 1,300 A. F., 400 A. P.     1,700
    ″   Shouldham and Garboise Thorpe             5,570
    ″   Thornham
  1795  Bintry and Twyford
    ″   Great Hockham
    ″   East Lexham and Great Dunham
    ″   Sedgeford
  1796  Northwold
    ″   Reymerstone, Letton, Cranworth and
          South Barrow
    ″   Sherington
  1797  Acle
    ″   Saham Toney
  1798  Hethersett
  1799  North Ellingham
    ″   Hovingham and Marsham, 297 A. F.,
          1,400 A. P.                             1,697
    ″   Keninghall
    ″   Ransworth
    ″   Shropham
    ″   Upton and Fishley
  1800  Cawston
    ″   Forsford, Horsham and Newton St. Faith’s
    ″   Ovington
    ″   Ludham
  1801  Alburgh and Wortwell
    ″   Blofield and Hemblington
    ″   Boughton
    ″   Great and Little Cressingham
    ″   East Harling
    ″   Happisburgh and Lessingham
    ″   Holme Hale and West Bradenham             3,900      {70,504}
  1801  Mattishall                                1,100
    ″   Thorpe Abbotts
    ″   Walton and Carbrooke
    ″   Burgh and Billockby
    ″   Downham Market, Wimbocham and Bexwell
    ″   Hickling
    ″   Potter Higham                               300
    ″   South Walsham

  1802  Ellingham, Broome, Kirby Cane and Geldestone
    ″   Filby
    ″   Gooderstone                               3,000
    ″   East Tuddenham
    ″   Catfield and Sutton
    ″   Runham
  1803  Aslacton
    ″   Whitwell and Hackford                       225
  1804  Brigham
    ″   Crimplesham                               2,000
    ″   Sporle and Palgrave
    ″   Thetford
    ″   Waborne
  1805  Brunstead
    ″   Briningham, Stody and Brinton
    ″   Great and Little Fransham and
          North Pickenham                         4,000
    ″   West Newton
    ″   Palling
    ″   Scoulton
    ″   Winterton, East and West Somerton
    ″   Methwold                                  7,375
  1806  Hackford                                    850
    ″   Weasenham and Wellingham
    ″   Griston
    ″   Moundford                                 1,000
    ″   Little Snoring
    ″   Sparham and Billingford
    ″   Wymondham
    ″   Wormegay
  1807  Stalham
    ″   Martham                                              {18,450}
    ″   Repps with Bastwick and Eccles near the Sea
    ″   Holt and Letheringsett
    ″   Pentney
  1808  Cley next the Sea
    ″   Claxton and Rockland
    ″   Fulmodeston, Stibbard and Ryburgh
    ″   Neatishead
    ″   Twetshall
    ″   North Walsham and Felmingham
    ″   Bawdswell and Ling
    ″   Bodham
    ″   Gaywood and Mintlyn
    ″   Wicklewood                                1,500
    ″   Walsingham and Houghton next Walsingham
  1809  Barton Turf
    ″   Bunwell
    ″   North Creake
    ″   Forncett
    ″   Sherringham
    ″   Strumpshaw and Surlingham
    ″   Swanton, Abbot, Lamas and Buxton
    ″   Thurlton, Haddiscoe and Thorpe next
  1810  Gayton
    ″   Hemsby
    ″   Hardley and Langley
    ″   Thuxton
    ″   Great Plumstead and Postwick
    ″   Thorne
    ″   Yaxham, Westfield, Whinbergh and
  1811  Bathley
    ″   Drayton, Banburgh and Hellesden
    ″   Gressenthall and Great Bittering
    ″   Mattishall Bergh
    ″   Great Snoring
    ″   Welborne
    ″   Barnham Broome and Bickerstone
    ″   Fundenhall and Ashwelthorpe                          {19,950}
  1811  Scarning, Hoe, Worthing and Dillington
  1812  Earsham, Ditchingham and Edenham
    ″   Honingham                                   160
    ″   Witton Bacton, Edingthorpe and Paston
    ″   Attleburgh
    ″   Congham c. Brandon Parva or
          Little Brand
    ″   Caston
    ″   Deopham
    ″   Hempstead
    ″   Horsey
    ″   Rockland
    ″   Mysingset Stanfield and Horningtoft
    ″   Barford
  1813  Croxton
    ″   Morley
    ″   Seething, Kirkstead, Mundham and Sisland
    ″   Tasburgh
    ″   Wramplingham
    ″   Woodton                                      90
    ″   Feltwell
    ″   Geist
    ″   Hardingham
    ″   Rollesby
    ″   Stow Bedon
  1814  Suldey                                      200
    ″   Skeyton, Burgh next Aylesham and
    ″   Wendling
    ″   East Bradenham
    ″   Foxley
    ″   Hockwold cum Wilton
    ″   Middleton
  1815  Hindringham
    ″   Langham
    ″   Necton
    ″   South Runcton and Holme
    ″   Smallburgh
    ″   Stoke, Wretton, Wereham and Winnold
    ″   Thompson
  1816  Larling
  1817  Hempnall
  1818  Great Melton                                         {20,400}
  1818  East Rudham, West Rainton and Helhoughton
  1820  Blo’ Norton
    ″   Blakeney, Wiverton and Glandford
    ″   Holme next the Sea
    ″   Tibenham and Moulton
  1821  Little Barningham and Calthorpe             *60
  1825  Hockering and Morton                        400
    ″   Weston
  1827  Thursford and Kettlestone
  1828  Belaugh, Scottow, Little Hautbois and
          Hoveton St. Peter
  1829  North Elmham
    ″   Gunthorpe                                    90
    ″   Sculthorpe
  1836  West Runeton
  1837  Ashby and Hellington
  1839  West Beckham and Alby
  1840  Garboldisham, 226 A. F., 10 A. M.,
          680 A. P.                                 916
    ″   Freethorpe, Limpenhoe and Reedham           100      {21,966}
  1841  Bodingham
    ″   Elsing
  1842  Ormesby and Scratby

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1851  Feltwell                             860
  1849   1852  Brandiston, Haverland
                 and Swannington                    490
   *     1854  Heacham                              213
  1857   1860  Cossey                               810
  1859   1863  Docking                            4,640
  1863   1869  Swaffham                           5,160

  Before 1802   71,904
  1802–1845     21,966
  After 1845    12,173


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1727  Grafton, 4 common fields 272 A.,
          1 common                                  318
  1733  Chipping Warden, 63½ yl.                  1,964
  1743  Great Brington                            4,000
  1745  Faxton, 23½ yl.                           1,170
  1749  Wakerley and Wittering
  1750  Nether Hoyford, Stow with Nine Churches
          and Bingbrooke, 39 yl. F.              *1,365
  1751  Farthingstone, 47½ yl.                   *1,662
  1752  Drayton, 42½ yl.                         *1,487
  1753  Hinton, 30 yl.                           *1,050
  1754  Welton, 72 yl.                           *2,520
  1755  Norton by Daventry, 25¾ yl.                *901
  1756  Boughton and Pitford, 85½ yl.            *2,993      {19,430}
  1758  Upper and Lower Boddington                3,000
    ″   Helmdon, 70 yl.                           1,550
    ″   Woodford, 30½ yl.                        *1,067
  1759  Ecton, 103 yl.                           *3,605
    ″   Slapton, 38 yl.                          *1,330
  1760  Blakesley, 64 yl.                         2,000
    ″   West Farndon, 20 yl.                       *700
    ″   Marston St. Lawrence, 48 yl.             *1,680
    ″   Sulgrave, 71 yl.                         *2,485
  1761  Eydon, 28 yl.                              *980
    ″   Morton Pinkney, 42 yl. F., 1,200 A. P.   *2,460
    ″   Wappenham, 52 yl.                        *1,820
  1762  Towcester Wood, Burcott and Caldecott     2,000      {44,107}
  1763  Woodford                                  2,000
  1764  Everdon, 43¾ yl.                          1,930
    ″   Guilsborough, Coton and Nortoft 20¾ yl.   1,337
    ″   West Hadden, 48 yl.                      *1,680
    ″   Ledgers Ashby, 32¾ yl.                   *1,146
    ″   Newnham, 48½ yl.                          1,580
    ″   Warksworth, 55½ yl.                       1,700
  1765  Long Buckby                               3,800
    ″   Denford                                   1,450
    ″   Hardingstone and Cotton, 79½ yl.         *2,783
    ″   Spratton                                  2,200
    ″   Syresham, 61 yl.                         *2,135
    ″   Twywell                                   1,000
    ″   Wellingborough, 80 yl. F.                 4,000
  1766  Great Doddington, 56 yl.                 *1,960
    ″   Hinton in the Hedges, all F.              1,330
    ″   Harleston, 28½ yl.                       *1,000
    ″   Kingsthorp                                1,743
    ″   Thenford or Fenford, 33 yl.                 750
  1767  Arthingworth                              1,400
    ″   Cosgrave, 1700 A. F., 130 A. P.           1,830
    ″   Old or Would, 49 yl.                      2,000
    ″   Great Oxendon                             1,300
  1769  Knuston
    ″   Middleton Cheney, upper and lower,
          41 yl.                                 *1,435
  1770  Denton                                      700
  1771  Earl’s Barton                             2,400
    ″   Lowick                                    1,150
    ″   Pattishall, Eastcote, Astcote and
          Darlescote                              2,500
    ″   Slipton                                     560
    ″   Weedon or Weston, 58½ yl.
          F., 1600 A. P.                         *3,647
    ″   Watford and Murcott                       1,250
  1772  Astrop, 77 yl.                           *2,695
    ″   Aldwinckle                                2,000
    ″   Charlton, 59 yl.                          1,000
    ″   Denshager                                   900
    ″   Moulton                                   2,600
    ″   Thorpe Achurch                            1,500
  1773  East Hadden                               1,530
    ″   Irchester, Wellingborough and
          Great Doddington                                  {112,028}
  1774  Duddington                                  800
    ″   Harringworth                              1,600
    ″   Hellidon                                  1,500
    ″   Hollowell                                   425
    ″   Staverton                                 2,400
    ″   Warmington                                3,000
  1775  Braunston                                 2,300
    ″   Cranford, 22½ yl.                          *787
    ″   Pottersbury and Cosgrave
    ″   Scaldwell                                 1,000
  1776  Clipston and Newbold, 84 yl.              2,900
    ″   Crick                                     3,000
    ″   Dustin                                    1,500
    ″   Desborough                                1,890
    ″   Walgrave                                  1,850
    ″   Weedon Beck                               1,700
    ″   Yelvertoft                                2,000
    ″   Yardley Hastings                          1,630
  1777  Grafton Underwood                         1,229
    ″   Holcot                                    1,300
    ″   Killesby, 36¼ yl.                         2,200
    ″   Mears Ashby                               1,400
    ″   Thorpe Malsor                               600
    ″   Tansor                                    1,300
    ″   Welford                                   1,800
    ″   Whitton, Norton and Brockhall             1,060
    ″   Nassington, Yarwell, Apethorpe and
          Woodnewton                              3,800
  1778  Bulwick                                   1,400
    ″   Titchmarsh                                3,000
    ″   Great Billing, 48½ yl.                   *1,697
    ″   Braybrooke                                1,500
    ″   Barby                                     2,200
    ″   Byfield and Westrup                       2,500
    ″   Floore                                    1,800
    ″   Harpole                                   1,800
    ″   Isham                                     1,400
    ″   Maidford, 28 yl.                            700
    ″   Northampton Fields                          840
    ″   Rushden                                   3,500
    ″   Wooton, 50 yl.                            1,800
  1779  Bugbrooke                                 1,500
    ″   Badby                                     1,500
    ″   Little Bowden, 51 yl.                     1,350
    ″   Evenly                                    1,200
    ″   Kislingbury, 80¼ yl.                      1,708
    ″   Milton, Malsor and Collingtree, 70¾ yl.   2,000
    ″   Woodend                                     600     {190,994}
  1780  Brixworth, 102¾ yl.                       2,700
    ″   East Farndon, 45 yl.                      1,400
    ″   Tiffield                                  1,100
    ″   Grendon                                   1,600
    ″   Thrapstone                                1,060
  1781  Little Harrowden, 48½ yl.                 1,500
  1782  Great and Little Crexton, 28¾ yl.         1,200
    ″   Piddington and Hackleton                  1,500
  1786  Broughton
  1788  Wollaston, 89 yl.                         2,760
  1790  Polebrooke                                1,400
  1792  Aynho, 45 yl.                            *1,575
    ″   Great and Little Weldon                   2,400
  1793  Orston and Thorston                       2,200
    ″   Wadenhoe                                    675
  1794  Lamport and Hanging Houghton                539
  1795  St. Martin Stamford Baron                   600
    ″   Ravensthorpe                              1,400
  1796  Ufford with Ashton and Bainton            2,700
    ″   Whitfield
  1797  Raunds                                    4,700
    ″   Whittlebury                                 670
  1798  Bozeat                                    2,268
    ″   Wilbarston, 60 yl.                        1,200
  1799  Queen’s Norton and Duncott                1,400
    ″   Grasthorpe                                  350
  1800  Barnack with Pilsgate                     2,500
    ″   Islip                                     1,300
    ″   Newton Bromshold                            820
  1801  Chelston cum Caldecott                    1,700
    ″   Wilby, 29 yl.                             1,000

  1802  Daventry                                  1,600
    ″   Hargrave                                  1,350
    ″   Hannington                                  800
    ″   Weston by Welland and Sutton Bassett,
          70 yl.                                 *2,450
  1803  Great Addington                           1,100
    ″   Braddon                                     700
    ″   Burton Latimer                            3,000
    ″   Werrington and Walton                     2,450
  1804  Kettering                                 2,300
    ″   King’s Sutton                             1,200
  1805  Cranford St. John                           897      {17,847}
  1805  Thingden or Finedon                       3,000
  1806  Ashley                                    1,200
  1807  Oundle and Ashton                         2,600
    ″   Croughton, 54 yl.                        *1,890
    ″   Warkton, Little Oakley and Luddingham     2,418
    ″   Weekly and Geddington                     2,160
  1808  Blisworth                                 1,500
    ″   Irthlingborough                           3,500
    ″   Orlingbury                                1,300
  1809  Longthorpe (with old enclosures)          1,240
    ″   Rothersthorpe                             1,200
    ″   King’s Cliffe                             1,100
    ″   Maxey with Deepingate, Northborough,
          Glinton w. Peakirk Elton and
  1811  St. John Peterborough
  1812  Cold Higham w. Grimscote and Potcote      1,150
    ″   Rothwell (with old enclosures)            3,200
  1813  Calterstock cum Glapthorn                 1,500
    ″   Marston Trussell (with old enclosures)    1,200
  1814  Quinton                                     504
  1815  Cottingham cum Middleton                  1,750
  1817  Easton on the Hill                        3,000
  1819  Aldrington                                  680
    ″   Paulerspury with Heathencote              2,500
  1820  Eye                                         800
    ″   Naseby                                   *2,000
  1823  Abthorpe                                    280
  1827  Little Houghton, Brafield in the Green
          and Cocknoe                            2,500
  1829  Brackley                                  1,318
    ″   Corby                                     1,035
  1830  Little Addington                          1,160
  1834  Stanwick                                  1,275
  1838  Higham Ferrers
  1839  Ringstead
  1840  Stoke Bruern and Shuttlehanger
  1841  Barnack w. Pilsgate and Southorpe
    ″   Collyweston

  _Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1864   1867  Lutton                               754
  1895   1898  Castor and Ailesworth              3,500       {4,254}
  1901    --   Sutton                               450

  Before 1802  237,211
  1802–1845     66,807
  After 1845     4,704


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1740  Gunnerton, Ingrounds 1,300 A., Out
          1,000 A.                                2,300
  1757  West Matfen, 1,250 A. F., 50 A. P.        1,300
  1776  Corbridge                                 5,300
  1784  Elrington                                   757

  1804  Simonburn, 40 A. F. and M., 3,000 A. P.   3,040       {3,040}
  1809  Simonburn, 300 A. F., 5,000 A. P.         5,300
  1812  Ovingham                                  2,951
  1844  Haltwhistle Common, 1,360 A., also
          certain lands called Rig or Dale
          lands                                   1,400

  Before 1802    9,657
  1802–1845     12,691


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1759  Barton and Clifton                        1,500
    ″   Everton, 1,300 A. P.                     *2,000
    ″   Staunton
  1760  Costock or Cortlingstoke                    710
    ″   Broughton Sulney                          2,000
    ″   Coddington                                1,780
    ″   Clifton
    ″   Hawksworth
    ″   Hayton                                    1,260
    ″   Nusson, 900 A. F., 860 A. M., 2,000 A. P. 3,760
  1765  Carlton upon Trent
    ″   Lowdham                                   2,500
    ″   Wilford                                   1,100
  1766  Balderton
  1767  Carlton in Lindrick                       2,492
    ″   Farndon
    ″   Lenton and Radford                        1,000
    ″   Ruddington                                2,700
  1768  Burton Joyce and Bulcoate                 1,600      {24,402}
    ″   Epperstone                                1,000
    ″   Rempstone (Rampton)                       1,230
  1769  Blidworth, 200 A. F., 3,300 A. P.         3,500
    ″   Hucknal Torkard                           1,200
  1770  Mattersey                                 2,300
    ″   Normanton upon Soar                       1,100
  1771  North Muskham Holme and Bathley           3,000
    ″   Misterton                                   500
    ″   Stapleford and Brancote                   1,100
  1772  Laneham
  1773  Cromwell
  1774  Finningley                                7,000
    ″   West Redford                                900
    ″   Sutton St. Ann’s, 50½ yl.                 1,200
  1775  Flintham
    ″   Hickling, 2,100 A. F., 800 A. P.          2,900
    ″   Normanton and Southwell                              {51,332}
    ″   Scrooby                                   1,350
    ″   Sutton cum Lound                          4,000
  1776  Beckingham                                2,000
    ″   Clareborough and Welham                   1,180
    ″   Sutton Bonnington, 32½ yl.                  800
    ″   Screveton, one F.                           350
  1777  Bleasby
    ″   Farnsfield
    ″   Halam and Edingley
    ″   Winthorpe                                 5,000
  1778  Kersall                                     800
  1779  Calverton
  1780  Scarrington and Oslacton
  1787  Cropwell Butler and Cropwell Bishop
    ″   Ratcliffe upon Trent                      1,500
    ″   Trowell, 72 oxgangs, 680 A. F., 252 A. P. 1,012
  1789  Arnould                                   2,500
    ″   Whatton                                   1,700
  1790  North Collingham, 740 A. F., 674 A. M.,
          160 A. P.                               1,574
    ″   Cotgrave                                  2,365
    ″   Clayworth                                 2,000
  1792  Basford, 160 A. F. and M., 1,200 A. P.    1,360
    ″   Lambley, 60 A. F., 600 A. P.                660
    ″   Syerston                                    500
    ″   Gedling, Stoke, Bardolph and Carlton     *4,300
  1793  Granby and Sutton
    ″   Willoughby on the Wolds                   1,700
  1795  Caunton                                     823
    ″   North Leverton and Habblesthorpe          1,400
    ″   South Leverton                            1,600
    ″   East Stoke and Elston                     2,500
    ″   Upton                                     1,384
    ″   Woodborough                               1,000
  1796  Gateford and Shireoaks
    ″   Gringley on the Hill                      3,000
    ″   Snenton (? Shelton)                         800
    ″   Weston                                    1,230
  1797  Bunny                                     1,000
  1798  Keyworth                                  1,500
    ″   Great Leke                                3,000
  1799  Harworth                                  1,300
    ″   Tuxford                                   1,700     {110,220}
  1800  Normanton upon Trent                        750
    ″   Ordsall, 200 A. F., 210 A. M. & P.          410
    ″   Wysall                                    1,100
    ″   Newark upon Trent                           400

  1802  Blyth and Harworth
    ″   Cropwell                                  1,500
    ″   Runskill and Scrooby                      1,300
    ″   Walkeringham
  1803  Dunham and Ragnal, 900 A. F.,
          200 A. M., 330 A. P.                    1,430
    ″   Sutton upon Trent                         1,800
    ″   Tollerton                                   440
  1804  Alverton                                    400
    ″   Gotham                                    1,800
  1805  Plumptree                                 1,770
  1806  Beeston                                     840
  1807  Barnby
    ″   Elton                                       900
  1808  Gamston                                     520
    ″   West Markham
    ″   Strelley and Bilborough                     400
  1809  Eaton                                       796
  1810  East Markham
  1814  Headon cum Upton
  1818  Warsop, 344 A. F., 1,400 A. P., M. I.    *1,800
  1819  East Drayton                                700
  1821  Nolesby, Kirton and Egmonton
  1822  Sturton and Littleborough, 455 A. P.       *900
  1826  Norwell, M. I.                            1,300

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1851  Girton (South Searle P.)             584
  1849   1852  Oxton                              1,140
  1849   1854  Mansfield Woodhouse                1,545

  Before 1802  112,880
  1802–1845     18,596
  After 1845     3,269


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1730  Mixbury                                   2,400
  1757  Burchester                                1,200
    ″   Piddington, 22 yl. F., 400 A. P.         *1,060
  1758  Northleigh, 52 yl. F., 600 P.            *2,160
  1759  Neithrop and Wickham, 60¼ yl.            *2,109
  1761  Ferringford, 32½ yl.                        980
    ″   Wardington, Williamscott and Coton,
          108 yl.                                 3,000
  1763  Merton, F. only                             740
  1765  Horley and Horton, 104 yl.                2,000
    ″   Somerton, 48½ yl.                         1,800
    ″   Shutford                                    900
  1766  Adderbury, 156½ yl.                      *5,477
    ″   Bladon, 16 yl.                             *560
    ″   Steeple Aston, 41 yl.                     1,435
    ″   Great Tew, 79 yl.                        *2,765
  1767  Chesterton, 62 yl.                       *2,170
    ″   Kencott, 731 A. F., 232 A. P.               963
    ″   Sandford, 63⅝ yl.                        *2,227
  1768  Shipton upon Charwell                     1,100
  1769  Chipping Norton and Salford, 185½ yl.    *6,572
    ″   Wootton, 40 yl.                          *1,400
  1770  Blackbourton, 41½ yl.                    *1,452
    ″   Westwell, 39 yl. F., 400 A. P.            1,300
  1771  Swalcliffe                                1,000
  1772  Epwell, 27 yl.                            1,400
    ″   Handborough, 51 yl.                      *1,785
    ″   Heath, 39¼ yl.                              800
  1773  Burford                                     800
    ″   Hook Norton and Southtop, 112½ yl.        5,000
    ″   Broad Sibford or South Gower and Burdrup  2,000
    ″   Stanton Harcourt
  1774  Copredy                                   1,550
  1775  Burcott (Dorchester P.) 32½ yl.          *1,137
    ″   Broadwell and Filkins
    ″   Brize Norton
    ″   Great Rolewright, 70 yl.                 *2,450
    ″   Upper and Lower Tadmarten, 81 yl.
          (one field)                             2,000
  1776  Alkeston, 1 F., 38 yl.                    1,000
    ″   Blackthorn, 39¾ yl.                       1,850      {68,542}
  1777  Great and Little Bourton, one F.          1,500
    ″   Stanton St. John, 50 yl.                 *1,750
  1779  Bucknell                                    800
    ″   Dean
    ″   Idbury                                    1,072
  1780  Stratton Audley and Caversfield, 37¼ yl.  2,200
  1783  Hanwell                                  *2,000
  1787  Coggs
    ″   Goring
    ″   Sarsden, Churchill, Lyneham, Merriscourt
          and Finescourt                          4,140
  1788  Little Faringdon
  1789  Sibford Ferris, 41 yl.                      950
  1791  Oddington
  1792  South Leigh
  1793  Little Barford
    ″   Burchester King’s End                     1,200
    ″   Dunstew
    ″   Milcomb, 1 F., 56½ yl.                    1,695
    ″   Stoke Lyne and Fewcott
    ″   Little Tew, all F., 40½ yl.              *1,215
  1794  Burford
    ″   Southnewington
  1795  Westcot Barton and Middle Barton, 84 yl. *2,940
    ″   Wigginton, 37½ yl.                       *1,312
  1796  Alvescott
    ″   Hampton Poyle
  1797  Mollington, 40½ yl.                       1,150
  1798  Kelmscott
  1799  Bloxham
    ″   Cassington and Worton
    ″   Ensham                                    1,000
    ″   Wendlebury                                1,160
    ″   Whitchurch
  1801  Drayton                                     270
    ″   Lower Heyford and Calcot                  1,700
    ″   Headington
    ″   Stonesfield

  1802  Baldwin Brightwell                          977
    ″   Swerford                                  1,200
    ″   Spelsbury                                             {2,177}
  1803  Broughton                                   600
    ″   Wroxton and Balscot
  1804  Islip
    ″   Shuttington                                 660
  1805  Shirburn, 920 A. F., 261 A. P.            1,181
  1807  Fritwell                                  1,900
    ″   Deddington and Great Barford
  1808  Watlington
  1809  Wheatley, 60 A. P.                         *100
  1810  Launton
    ″   Culham                                    1,160
    ″   Kidlington
    ″   Lewknow and Portcomb
    ″   Newington                                   636
  1811  East and West Chadlington and Chilson     3,800
    ″   Garsington
    ″   Kirtlington
  1812  Bampton
  1813  Swinbrooke                                  800
  1814  Ambrosden
  1817  Fulbrook                                  1,500
    ″   Iffley                                      800
  1818  Noke
  1820  Great Haseley                               500
  1821  Taynton                                   1,800
    ″   Witney                                      500
  1823  Thame and Sydenham
  1827  Beckley
  1829  St. Giles, Oxford
  1831  Woolvercot                                  550
  1832  Aston Rowant
    ″   Caversham                                   600
  1836  Baldon (Marsh and Toot)
  1838  Curbridge                                 1,500
  1840  Great Milton                              1,300
  1841  Upper Heyford
  1842  Britwell
  1843  Grafton
    ″   Chalgrove

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1846   1849  Milton (Shipton under Wychwood P.) 1,960
   *     1849  Fencot and Murcot
                 (Charlton upon Otmoor P.)        1,005
  1849   1852  Pyrton                               640
  1850   1852  Shipton under Wychwood             1,710
  1848   1853  Warborough                         1,520
  1849   1853  Standlake, Brighthampton and
                 Hardwicke                        2,860
  1849   1853  Cowley                             1,000
  1850   1853  Southstoke cum Woodcote            1,765
  1848   1854  Chinnor                            1,000
    ″      ″   Cottisford and Hethe               1,210
  1854   1856  South Weston                         470
   *     1858  Charlton Field (Charlton upon
                 Otmoor)                            595
  1855   1858  Horsepath                            900
  1859   1861  Drayton                              900
    ″      ″   Dorchester                         1,000
    ″    1862  Ramsden                              488
  1852   1863  Bensington, Berwick Salome,
                 and part of Ewelme               2,450
  1860   1864  Cheekendon                           590
  See above. 2 Acts, for Oxford
    1515 A.                                       1,515

                Acres.  Before 1802   96,596
  1802–1845     22,064
  After 1845    23,578


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1756  Egleton or Edgeton, F.                      844
    ″   Tinwell                                   1,013
  1758  Edith Weston, 32 yl.                      1,200       {3,057}
  1759  Thistleton                                1,380
  1762  Whissondine                                           {4,437}
  1763  Greetham, 44 yl.                          2,200
  1768  Ketton, 2,200 A. F., 800 A. P.            3,000
  1770  Uppingham (part of the common fields)       500
  1772  Barleythorpe (Oakham P.), 23 yl.          1,000
    ″   Manton, 30 yl.                            1,200
    ″   Wing, 40 yl.                             *1,400
  1773  Preston, 28 yl.                           1,100
  1793  Normanton                                   500
  1794  Belton                                      900
    ″   Empingham                                 3,700
  1795  Bridge Casterton                          1,770
    ″   Bisbrooke and Seaton
  1796  Little Casterton                            700
  1799  Lyddington with Caldecott and Uppingham   3,750
  1800  Exton and Cottesmore                      3,700
    ″   Ryhall with Belmesthorpe                  2,500
  1801  Braunston                                 1,500

  1803  Market Orton                                800
  1820  Oakham                                    1,900

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1852   1854  Thorpe by Water (Seaton P.)          610
  1855   1858  Seaton                             1,305
  1878   1881  Barrowden                          1,925
    ″      ″   North Luffenham                    1,620
    ″    1882  South Luffenham                    1,074
  See above. 1 Act, in Rutland                      810

  Before 1802   33,857
  1802–1845      2,700
  After 1845     7,344


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1771  Donington                                   340
  1772  Much Wenlock                                630
  1785  Kinnerley and Melverley
  1793  Idsall or Shiffnal                          700

  1807  Knockin (in 3 parishes, 6 townships)        640         {640}
  1818  Bucknell and Clungunford
  1819  Stanton Lacy and Bromfield                  500

  Before 1802    1,670
  1802–1845      1,140


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1794  East Camell or Queen Camell                 650
    ″   Tintinhull
  1795  Cheddar, 4,000 A. P., 400 A. F.           4,400       {5,050}
  1796  Woollavington, 460 A. F. 230 A. P.          690
  1797  Aller, 280 A. F., 570 A. P.                 950       {6,690}
    ″   Higham and Huish Episcopi,
          1,000 A. F., 840 A. P.                  1,840
    ″   Huish Episcopi, 1,100 A. F., 220 A. P.    1,320
    ″   Moorlinch, 430 A. F., 175 A. P.             605
    ″   Othery, 550 A. F., 600 A. P.              1,150
    ″   Somerton and Compton Dundon
  1798  Chilton                                     620
    ″   Catcott, 350 A. F., 550 A. P.               900
    ″   Caddington                                2,000
    ″   Middlezoy                                 1,100
  1800  Huntspill, Cannington,
          Stockland Bristol and Stogursey

  1802  Pitney, 600 A. F., 300 A. P.                900
  1803  North Perrott                               220
    ″   Lilstock                                    210
  1804  Kings                                       260
    ″   Keinton Mandefield
    ″   Alford                                      250
  1806  Martock                                   1,025
  1809  Congresbury, Week St. Laurence and Puxton   820
    ″   Long Sutton
  1810  Weston super Mare                           993      {4,678}
  1811  Cheddar, Priddy and Rodney Stoke          1,100
  1812  Charlton Horethorne                         313
    ″   Milborne Port                               800
  1813  Long Ashton, 690 A. P.                   *1,000
    ″   Uphill, 40 A. F., 340 A. P.                 380
    ″   Wraxall, Nailsea and Burton, 1,617 A. P. *2,000
  1814  Berkeley and Standerwick                    300
    ″   Moorlinch                                   350
    ″   Portishead
  1818  Martock                                     278
  1819  Martock in Muchelney, 596
          A. F., 426 A. M., 2 A. P.               1,024
  1826  Chilthorne Domer, 50 A. F., 130 A. P.       200
    ″   West Lyndford                               400
  1830  Kingsbury Episcopi, 300 A. F., 400 A. P.    700
    ″   Weston Zoyland and Middlezoy, all F.        500
  1836  South Petherton, all F.                     600
  1837  Clapton

  Before 1802   16,225
  1802–1845     14,623


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1765  Elford                                    1,500
  1770  Comberford and Wigginton                  3,000
  1773  Whitgreave                                1,087
  1783  Allstonefield, 160 A. F., 300 A. P.         460
  1792  Great and Little Saredon and Great Wyrley
  1794  Abbotts Bromley, 100 A. F., 900 A. P.     1,000
  1798  Stone, all F.                               400
  1799  Pattingham and Patshull                   2,500       {9,947}
  1800  Stafford                                    470
    ″   Castlechurch                                120
  1801  West Bromwich                               387

  1806  Knightley, Mill Meece, Standon              400
  1807  Basford                                     359
  1808  Checkley                                    500       {1,259}
  1809  High Offley                                 142
  1811  Caverswall
  1812  Barton under Needlewood, Tatenhill,
          Yoxall, Hoarcross, Nethertown and
          Hampstead Ridware
  1813  Upper Elkstone                              400
  1814  Penkridge, Cannock, Berkwick, Tiddesley               {1,801}
  1816  Newcastle under Lyne, Trentham,
          Woodstanton, Stoke upon Trent,
          600 A. F., 100 A. P.    700
  1834  Allstonefield                             3,500

  Before 1802   10,924
  1802–1845      6,001


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1736  Ixworth, 1 C. F., and other common land   1,300
  1772  Cavenham                                  1,100
  1776  Coney Weston                              1,500
  1794  Tuddenham                                 2,500
  1796  Little Barton
  1797  Barmingham
  1798  Stanton
  1799  Honington
    ″   Worlington
  1801  Risby and Fornham All Saints
  1802  Great Barton
    ″   Fakenham                                    200
  1803  Ixworth and Thurston (F. in Thurston only,
          M. in Ixworth)
  1804  Iken                                        100
  1806  Troston
    ″   Great Thurlow                               350
  1807  Exning
    ″   Herringswell
    ″   Mildenhall
    ″   Brandon, 2,820 A. warren                 *4,000
  1809  Bradwell, Belton and Fritton              1,000
    ″   Corton, Hopton and Gorleston                600
  1811  Great Bradley                               600       {6,850}
  1811  Great Waddingfield cum Chilton and
          Great Cimard
  1812  Lidgate
    ″   Ousden
    ″   Great Wratting
  1813  Chevington and Chedburgh
    ″   Great Horningsheath and Westley
    ″   Icklingham
    ″   St. Mary in Newmarket
    ″   Rougham
    ″   Whepstead                                  *100
  1814  Bury St. Edmunds
    ″   Durrington                                  458
    ″   Nettingham and Bungay Trinity
  1815  Freckenham
    ″   Rickinghall Superior and Inferior and
  1816  Dalham                                      966
  1817  Erriswell
    ″   Fornham
  1818  Thelnetham
  1826  Kentford
  1827  Nowton                                      350
  1829  Bardwell, 430 A. P.                        *500
  1833  Lakenheath                                1,132
  1838  Gazeley
  1839  Moulton                                   3,000

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1848  Stuston                               42
  1848   1853  Barrow                             1,330
   *     1854  Withersfield                         508       {1,880}
  1854   1857  Haverhill, No. 2                     524
  1878   1880  Orford                                46

  Before 1802    6,400
  1802–1845     13,356
  After 1845     2,450


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1779  Cobham                                      370
  1797  Croydon, 750 A. F., 2,200 A. P.           2,950
  1800  Byfleet and Weybridge
    ″   Walton upon Thames
  1801  Ewell                                     1,200
    ″   Fetcham                                     620

  1802  West Horsley, 400 A. F.                    *800
  1803  Sutton next Woking                          412
  1805  Pyrford and Chertsey
  1806  Cheame                                    1,760
  1807  Thorpe                                      800
  1808  Chertsey                                  2,000
    ″   Kingston upon Thames and Imworth,
          50 A. F.                                1,350
  1809  Sutton
  1812  Brockham and East Bletchworth
    ″   Beddington with Bandon, 500 A. F.        *1,000
    ″   Windlesham, 156 A. F., 4,000 A. P.        4,156      {12,278}
  1814  Egham
  1815  East and West Moulsey                       700
  1818  Long Ditton                                 400
  1821  Great Bookham                               700
  1827  Peckham

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1850   1853  Carshalton and Waddington          1,200
  1855   1856  Barnes                                24
  1859   1863  Leatherhead                          858
  1865   1869  Epsom                                414
  1902   (Not by Enclosure Act) Ham                 300

  Before 1802    5,140
  1802–1845     14,078
  After 1845     2,796


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1799  Houghton and South Stoke, 900 A. P.      *1,400
  1803  Lancing                                     730
    ″   Rustington, all F.                          360
  1804  Goring                                      307       {1,397}
    ″   Tottington, all F.                          163
  1805  Broadwater                                  779
  1809  Angmering                                   234
    ″   Chidham
    ″   Warningcamp                                           {2,573}
  1810  Amberley                                  2,000
    ″   Tellescomb, 454 A. F., 236 A. P.            690
  1812  Poling, all F.                              170
    ″   West Thorney                                960
  1813  Eartham                                   1,500
    ″   Warminghurst, Ashington, and Chaukton
  1818  Westbourne                                  800
  1819  Chidham, Westbourne, and Warblington        320
    ″   Selsey, 535 A. F., 134 A. P.                689
  1821  Bosham and Funtington, 300 A. F.,
          530 A. P.                                 830
    ″   Tangmere                                    200
  1826  Felpham                                     400
  1830  Kingston near Lewes and Ilford            2,405
  1841  Bury

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1849  Oving                                178
  1868   1871  Hunston                               78

  Before 1802    1,400
  1802–1845     13,537
  After 1845       248


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1726  Bobenhull                                 1,000
  1730  Lillington
    ″   Welsbourne Hastings
  1731  Bishop’s Tachbroke                          688
    ″   Nuneaton and Attleborough, 76 yl.        *2,670
  1732  Little Kinneton, 46½ yl.                 *1,617
  1733  Barston                                     400
    ″   Westbourne Hastings and Newbold Pacy,
          40 yl.                                  1,400
  1739  Pailton, all F.                             900
  1740  Stichall                                    600
  1741  Brinklow                                  1,700
  1742  Aston Cantlow, 116½ yl.                   4,067
  1744  Wolfamcoat                                1,690
  1753  Kilmorton, 16¼ yl.                         *569
  1755  Churchover, 32 yl.                       *1,120
    ″   Great Harborow, 27 yl.                     *945
    ″   Kenilworth                                1,100
  1756  Clifton upon Dunsmore, 20 yl.              *700
    ″   Radway, 36½ yl.                          *1,277
    ″   Sow                                       1,400
  1757  Loxley, 18½ yl.                            *647
    ″   Morton Morrell, 35 yl.                   *1,225      {25,715}
  1757  Priors Hardwick, 22 yl.                    *770
    ″   Prior’s Marston, 72 yl.                   3,800
    ″   Wolfamcoat, 44 yl.                        1,800
  1758  Geydon, 42 yl.                           *1,470
    ″   Wilncote, 4 F.’s.
  1759  Honington, 39 yl.                        *1,365
    ″   Willoughby, 36 yl.                        1,500
  1760  Barford, 49½ yl.                         *1,733
    ″   Southam, 50 yl.                           2,200
  1761  Exhall, 11 yl.                             *365
    ″   Pailton, 28¾ yl.                         *1,008
    ″   Ryton
  1762  Princethorpe, 14½ yl. F.                  1,000
  1764  Atherstone, 24 yl.                          650
    ″   Chilvers Coton                            1,100
  1765  Bourton, 20 yl.                           1,300
    ″   Granburrow, 24½ yl.                        *997
    ″   Snitterfield, 17¾ yl.                      *621
  1766  Bidford, 23½ yl.                           *822
    ″   Haselor, 43 yl.                           1,400
    ″   Ruyton (Bulkington P.), 10 yl.              700
  1767  Cubbington, 31 yl.                       *1,085
    ″   Wixford and Exhall, 69 yl.               *2,415      {53,816}
  1768  Lemington Priors                            990
  1769  Willey, 13 yl.                             *455
    ″   Bedworth, 16½ yl.                           500
  1770  Aulcester, 185 A. F., 450 A. P.             635
    ″   Bulkington                                1,600
  1771  Alveston, 56¾ yl.                        *2,091
    ″   Butlers Marston, 32½ yl.                 *1,137
    ″   Knightcot and Northend, 32¾ yl.          *1,147
    ″   Monk’s Kirby, 18½ yl.                      *647
    ″   Polesworth, 24 yl.                          840
    ″   Stretton on the Foss,45 yl. F.,
          200 A. P.                              *1,550
  1772  Little Kington, Combrooke and
          Brookhampton, 19½ yl.                    *682
    ″   St. Nicholas                              1,650
    ″   Shilton, 15⅝ yl.                           *547
  1773  Rugby, 42 yl.                             1,500
  1774  Foleshill
    ″   Halford, 34 yl.                          *1,190
    ″   Stratford upon Avon, 50 yl.               1,600
  1775  Long Itchington and Bascote, 87 yl.       2,000
    ″   Lea Marston and Dunton                      770
    ″   Wootton Wawen                             1,900
  1776  Barton and Martcleeve, 30 yl.            *1,050
    ″   Warmington, one F., 46 yl.                1,200
  1777  Weston under Wetheley
  1778  Fenny Compton                             2,200
    ″   Napton upon the Hill, 96 yl.              3,000
    ″   Shuckburgh Fields, 26 yl.                   880
  1779  Aven Dassett                              1,200
    ″   Brinton and Drayton, 59 yl.               1,700
    ″   Coleshill, 900 A. F., 1,000 A. P.         1,900
    ″   Harbury, 120 yl.                          3,600
  1781  Ilmington, 52 yl.                        *1,820
  1783  Burton Hastings                             600
  1784  Lower Brailes, 3,000 A. F., etc.         *3,500
  1785  Meriden, 103 A. F., 286 A. P.               389
  1786  Shottery,38¾ yl.                          1,600
  1791  Stockton                                  1,320
  1793  Shottiswell, 51 yl.                       1,200
  1794  Lower Pillarton, 57½ yl.                 *1,802     {106,208}
  1795  Upper Eatington and Fullready, 72 yl.    *2,520
    ″   Newton Regis and Clifton Campsville         600
    ″   Ratley                                      900
  1796  Tysoe, 131 yl.                            3,000
  1797  Oxhill, 42 yl.                           *1,470
  1799  Sherborne                                 1,050
  1801  Aston, 171 A. F. & M., 1,000 A. P.        1,171

  1802  Birbury and Marton                        1,750
    ″   Saltley and Washwood                        300
    ″   Whatcote
  1803  Kinwarton                                   420
  1805  Cherrington
    ″   Milverton
    ″   Whichford, Ascott and Sowerton            2,600
    ″   Hampton in Arden                            600
  1806  Polesworth and Grendon                      450
  1807  Norton Lindsey                              600
  1811  Long Compton                              2,300
  1812  Grafton
  1813  Solihull and Hampton in Arden
  1817  Leek, Wootton                             1,000
    ″   Stuiley
  1818  Brickenhill, Little Packington and
  1824  Sutton Coldfield
  1825  Nether Whitacre                             400
  1826  Wolverton                                   470
  1831  Claverdon                                    60

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1847   1851  Whitnash                           1,090
  1856   1860  Coventry                             975
  1867   1870  Crimscott and Whimpstone
                 (Whitchurch P.)                  1,170

  Before 1802  116,919
  1802–1845     10,950
  After 1845     3,235


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1808  Bolton (certain open or common fields
          called Broad Ing Bartle
          and Star Ings, 22 A., waste 540 A.)       562
  1810  Soulby, 90 A. F., 1,300 A. P.             1,390       {1,952}
  1811  Kirkby in Kendal, a common open field       105
  1819  Barton, 130 A. F., 1,050 A. P.            1,180


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1726  Compton Bassett, 1 F.
  1732  Staunton                                    800
  1741  Sherston Magna, all F.                    1,000
  1748  Badbury, 2 F.’s.
  1749  Broad Blumsden                             *700
  1766  Heddington
  1767  Ashen Keynes, 70 A. F., 176 A. M.,
          490 A. P.                                 736
  1770  Endford                                   1,010
  1772  Kemble and Pool                           1,500
  1774  Milton
    ″   Titcombe, 450 A. F., 395 A. P.              845
  1775  Southcott, Kepnell Down, Workdown
          and Pewsey
  1776  Liddington and Medbourn, 639 A. F.,
          427 A. P.                               1,066
  1777  Ashton Keynes
    ″   Earl Stoke                                1,737
    ″   Market Lavington
  1778  Ramsbury, Whitton, Eastridge and Baydon
    ″   Coates
    ″   Highworth
    ″   Ogbourn St. Andrews
    ″   Patney
  1779  Chisledon, 1,230 A. F., 12 A. P.          1,242
    ″   Milston and Brigmerston
    ″   Mildenhall                                 *800
    ″   Wanborough
  1780  Charlton
    ″   Warminster and Corsley                    4,000
  1781  Chicklade
  1782  Kingston Deverill                         2,500      {17,936}
    ″   Stanton St. Quintin
  1783  Heytesbury                                5,700
    ″   Netherampton, Odstock, etc.
  1785  Colerne Down, 1,305 A. F., 238 P.         1,543
    ″   Foffint, Swallow Clift, Ebesborne Wake,
          Broadchalk, Bowerchalk, Alvedeston,
          Bishopston and Fifield
    ″   Berwick St. John
  1788  Netherhaven                               3,300
  1789  Berwick St. James and Fisherton Anger     1,650
    ″   Urchfont and Beechingstoke
  1790  Great and Little Bedwin, Preshute
    ″   Deverill, Longbridge, Hussey and
          Monkton Deverill
  1792  Avebury
    ″   Knooke
    ″   Ogbourne St. George
  1793  Durnford
    ″   Keevil, Idmaston, Fittleton and Chisenbury
    ″   Roundway, Bedbow, Chiltoe and
          Bishop’s Cannings
  1795  Poulton
    ″   Stratton St. Margaret
    ″   Winterborne Earls and Allington
    ″   Wroughton
  1796  Wroughton and Uffcot                                 {30,129}
  1797  Allcannings and Allington
    ″   Great and Little Chiverill
    ″   Easterton
  1798  Shrewton
    ″   Sutton Veny
    ″   Upton and Milton                            820
  1799  Oare
    ″   Purton
    ″   Stratford under the Castle and Milford
  1800  Cherton
    ″   Shalbourne
  1801  Charlton
    ″   Manningford Bruce
    ″   Wilsford
  1802  Coombe Bisset
    ″   West Grinstead and White Parish
    ″   Uphaven                                   3,350
    ″   Wilsford                                    800
    ″   Westbury, 3,900 A. F., 1,200 A. P.        5,100
  1803  Upton Scudamore
  1805  Aldbourn
    ″   Exford, Fifield, Coombe, Longstreet
          and East Chisenbury
    ″   Norton Bavant
    ″   Somerford Keynes                            500
  1806  Great Somerford, 900 A. F., 48 P.           948
  1807  Mere                                      5,000
  1808  Bishopstrow and Warminster
    ″   Codford St. Peter                           600
  1809  Bishopston
    ″   Chilton Foliat                              400
    ″   West Kington                                950
    ″   Orcheston St. George and Elston,
          400 A. F., 130 A. P.                      530
    ″   Stockton                                  1,500
    ″   Barford St. Martin, South Newton
          and Baverstock                          2,425      {22,103}
  1810  Pitton and Farley                         1,500
    ″   Winterbourn, Stoke, and Stapleford
  1811  Bidderstone and Slaughterford               293
    ″   Tileshead
  1812  Martin                                      350
    ″   Nettleton                                   981
  1813  Calne, Calstone, Wellington and Blackland
    ″   Steeple Ashton
    ″   Winterbourne Moncton                        955
  1814  Codford St. Peter
    ″   Broadchalk and Chilmark                   3,577
    ″   Cricklade
    ″   Chirton
    ″   Exford
    ″   Overton
    ″   Sutton Mandeville, 375 A. F., 170 A. P.     545
  1815  Bishop’s Cannings
    ″   Chitterne                                 5,784
    ″   Upton Lovell                              1,500
  1816  Crudwell
    ″   Downton and Britford
    ″   Everley
    ″   Roade and Ashton                          2,300
  1818  Berwick St. Leonards                      1,100
    ″   Damerham South
    ″   Froxfield and Milton
    ″   Laverstock                                1,211
  1819  Durrington and Figheldeane
    ″   Malmesbury (St. Paul P.)
    ″   Rodborne Cheney
  1820  Cherhill, Calne, Calstone, Wellington
          and Compton Bassett
  1821  Broad Hinton and Cliffe Pypard             *350
  1822  Dinton
  1825  Wilton, Burcomb, Netherhampton, and
  1827  Ham
  1828  Boyton (with old enclosures)              2,300
  1833  Steeple Langford                          1,000

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1848   1851  Winterborne Dauntsey                 440
   *     1853  Maddington                           862
  1852     ″   Winterborne Gunner                   551
    ″    1855  Maddington (Homanton Fields
                 and Tenantry Down)                 554       {2,407}
  1863   1866  Steeple Langford                     983
  1865   1867  Donhead St. Mary                     535

  Before 1802   30,949
  1802–1845     45,849
  After 1845     3,925


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1733  Aston Magna
  1736  Alderminster, 1 great C. F., 2 C. pastures,
          several meadows
  1762  Holy Cross in Pershore                      950
  1763  Pirton
  1765  Bretferton
    ″   Emload, 28 yl.                              980
    ″   Linchwick and Norton
  1771  Broadway, 90 yl.                         *3,150
    ″   Feckenham                                   220
    ″   Hill Croome
    ″   Naunton Beauchamp, 13½ yl.                 *472
  1772  Blockley                                  2,300
    ″   Throckmorton                              1,600
    ″   Nafford and Birlingham                   *1,000
  1774  Bricklehampton, 34 yl.                   *1,190
    ″   Defford, 600 A. F.                          900
    ″   Kidderminster                             1,000
    ″   Upton Snodsbury, 800 A. F.               *1,000
  1775  Bengworth, 39 yl.                        *1,365
    ″   Cleeve Prior, 27 yl.                       *945
    ″   Cutsden                                     800
    ″   Pinvin, 14½ yl.                            *507
    ″   Wolverley                                 1,500
  1776  Charlton, 53¼ yl.                         1,864
    ″   Great and Little Hampton, 46 yl.         *1,610
    ″   Leigh                                        20
  1778  Rouslench                                 1,300
  1779  Cropthorne, 62 yl.                       *1,860      {26,533}
  1779  Himbleton                                 2,000
    ″   Grafton Flyford                             864
  1781  Kington                                   1,000
  1782  Church Bench, 20 yl.                       *700
  1786  Harvington                               *1,800
  1788  Fladbury                                  1,700
  1790  Dormstone
  1795  Bishampton, 67 yl.                       *2,345
    ″   Chattisley
    ″   Hanley Castle
  1801  Ripple

  1802  Abbotts Morton                              700
    ″   Broughton                                   446
  1803  Little Cemberton
  1805  Rushock
  1806  Crowle
    ″   Wick juxta Pershore with Wick Burnel
          and West Waryn
  1807  Queenhill
    ″   Broughton Hachett
    ″   Aldington                                   550
  1808  Bredon
  1809  Iccomb
  1810  Eckington
    ″   Pensham in Pershore
    ″   Sedgeberrow
    ″   Tibberton
  1811  Churchill                                             {1,696}
  1811  North, South, and Middle Middleton
    ″   Overbury
    ″   Stoke Talmage                               420
  1812  Badsey
    ″   Holdfast
    ″   Shipton upon Stower
  1813  Flyford Flavell
    ″   North Piddle                                800
  1814  Bredon
    ″   Inkberrow                                 2,200
    ″   Strensham, 196 A. P.                       *300
    ″   Ombersley
  1818  Great Cemberton
  1819  Alvechurch                                  450
  1825  Whiteladies Aston
  1832  Fladbury
  1833  Yardley                                     200

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
  1847   1850  Newbold on Stour                     957
   *     1852  Welland                               55
         1854  Norton juxta Kempsey (East field)     70
  1855   1860  Berrow                               300
  1856   1863  Upton on Severn and Ripple           880
  1861   1865  Armscote (Tredington P.)             954
  1864   1868  Blackwell (Tredington P.)            793

  Before 1802   36,942
  1802–1845      6,066
  After 1845     4,009


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1729  Thurnscoe                                   500
  1757  Bishopthorpe, 200 A. F., 50 A. M.,
          400 A. P.                                 650
  1759  Bolton upon Dearne                        1,000
  1760  Adwicke in the Street                     1,000
    ″   Calton
  1762  Rotherham, 750 A. M., 220 A. P.          *1,720
  1765  Kirkhammerton, 400 A. F.                   *600
    ″   Kimberworth (Rotherham parish)              105
    ″   Wadworth                                  2,000
  1766  Marston, 950 A. F., 750 A. P.             1,700
  1767  North Auston and Todwick                  1,100
    ″   Adlingfleet, Fockerby and Haldenby,
          450 A. F., 700 P.                       1,150
  1768  Hook                                      1,000
  1769  Laughton en Le Morthen, 1,100 A. F.,
          360 A. P.                               1,460
    ″   Sutton, 63 oxgangs                          700      {14,685}
  1770  Sherburn, Lennerton, Burkstone Ash,
          Church Fenton, Little Fenton and
          Biggin                                  3,013
    ″   Great Useburne, 480 A. F., 390 A. P.        870
  1772  Ackworth
    ″   Clareton with Coneystrop and
          Allerton with Flaxby                      480
    ″   Follifoot, 165 A. F., 1,100 A. P.         1,265
    ″   Snaith and Kellington, 1650 A. F.,
          922 A. P.                               2,572
  1773  Armthorpe
    ″   Arkendale, 377 A. F., 250 A. P.             627
    ″   Drax, all F.                                150
    ″   Snaith and Cowick                         1,160
    ″   Skipton and Kildwick                      2,329
  1774  Acombe and Holgate                        2,000
    ″   Rawmarsh, 450 A. F., 800 A. P.            1,250      {30,401}
  1775  Rigton (Kirkby Overblow P.)
          2,000 A. F., 30 A. M.                   2,030
  1776  Cawood and Wistow                         2,000
  1777  Barnsley, 280 A. F., 500 A. P.              780
    ″   Cantley, Brampton, Bassacar and
          High Ellers                             2,700
    ″   Monkbretton, 70 A. F., 300 A. P.            370
    ″   Thornton, 844 A. F., 307 A. P.            1,151
    ″   Thorner, 370 A. F., 500 A. P.               870
  1778  Dinnington, 610 A. F., 203 A. P.            813
  1780  Kighley, 80 A. F., 5,000 A. P.            5,080
    ″   Moseley and Kirk Bramwith, 220 A. F.,
          730 A. P.                                 950
  1783  North Deighton                              546
  1784  Hextrope with Balby and Long Sandall      1,600
  1786  Moor Monkton, 390 A. F., 690 A. P.        1,080
    ″   Methley, 500 A. F., 300 A. P.               800
    ″   Little Smeaton and Stubbs Walden,
          440 A. F., 718 P.                       1,158
  1787  Spofforth                                   500
    ″   Cracoe, 77 A. F., 595 A. P.                 662
  1788  Featherstone, 230 A. F., 450 A. P.          680
    ″   Knapton, 5 F.’s                             230
  1789  Thorpe, 26 A. F., 700 A. P.                 726
  1790  Burton Leonard                              273
  1791  Sheffield, M. I. 30 A., 6,000 A. P.       6,030
    ″   Tadcaster
  1792  Monk Fryston                                650
    ″   Tockwith                                    900
  1793  Brotherton, 286 A. P.                       300
    ″   South Milford and Lumby                   1,370
    ″   Jakefield, Stanley, Wrenthorpe,
          Alvesthorpe and Thorns                  2,300      {66,950}
  1794  Hoyland
    ″   Rufforth                                    770
  1795  Checkheaton                                 210
  1796  Berwick in Elmet                          2,500
    ″   Hambleton
    ″   Kimberworth, 220 A. F., 250 A. P.           470
    ″   Mirfield, 60 A. F., 500 A. P.               560
  1797  Bolton Percy                              1,300
    ″   Dalton, 300 A. F., 150 A. P.                450
    ″   Hillam
    ″   Pontefract
  1798  Ulley, 220 A. F., 100 A. P.                 320
  1799  Brayton, Thorpe Willoughby, Burton
          and Gateforth
    ″   Hirst Courtney
    ″   Long Preston, 15 F.’s, 150 A., 400 A. P.    550
    ″   Sandall Magna, Walton and Crigglestone      759
    ″   Kirkheaton                                  400
  1800  Carlton and Camblesforth
    ″   Denby with Clayton West, M. I.
    ″   Kearley cum Netherby
    ″   Martin with Graffton                        400
    ″   Womersley
    ″   High and Low Egbrough, Sherwood,
          Hatgreen and Tranmere                     500
  1801  Staveley
    ″   Skellow                                     600
    ″   Little Useburn
    ″   Whixley
    ″   Little Weeton, 1,200 A. F., 300 A. P.     1,500
    ″   Kettlewell and Conistree,
          150 A. F. & M., 4,000 A. P.             4,150

  1802  Crofton                                     473
     ″  Hoyland Swaine
  1803  Barmby upon Dunn, 600 A. F., 604 A. P.    1,204       {1,677}
    ″   Hemsworth                                   800
    ″   Clifford, 300 A. F., 460 A. P.              760
    ″   Halifax (Elland cum Greetland)
          116 A. F., 600 A. P.                      716
    ″   Kippax                                      890
    ″   Shadwell, 80 A. F., 580 A. P.               660
  1804  Normanton and Woodhouse, 330 A. F.,
          260 A. P.                                 590
  1805  Thresfield and Skirethorns, and Burnsal   1,690
  1806  Kirk Sandall, 100 A. F., 95 A. P.           195
    ″   Skelton
  1807  Halifax                                   1,900
    ″   Bishop Monckton, 670 A. F., 150 A. M.,
          300 A. P.                               1,120
    ″   South Kirby and South Elmsall               600
    ″   Ossett (Dewsbury), 230 A. F., 350 A. P.     580
    ″   Low Dunsforth                               630
    ″   Bramham, 680 A. F., 650 A. P.             1,330
  1808  Aldbrough, 580 A. F., 396 A. M. & P.        976
    ″   Kirk Smeaton                                900
  1809  Altofts, 290 A. F., 470 A. P.               760
    ″   Cudworth, 54 A. F. and M. I. 190 A. P.      244
    ″   Horbury, 260 A. F., 100 A. P.               360
    ″   Purston Jackling, 100 A. F., 70 A. P.       170
    ″   Rothwell with Royds and Oulton with
          Woodlesford                               450
    ″   Cadeby, 500 A. F. & M., 180 A. P.           680
  1810  Badsworth, M. I.
    ″   Garforth, 520 A. F., 280 A. P.              800
    ″   Gowthorpe (with old inclosures)             500
    ″   Thorp Audlin                                540
    ″   Wath upon Dearne, M. I.                              {21,518}
  1810  Rossington, 1,313 A. F., 1,070 A. P.      1,383
  1811  Askham Bryan                                660
    ″   Hatfield, Thorne and Fishlake (N.R.)      1,755
    ″   Langside, 30 A. F., 4,000 A. waste        4,030
    ″   Ecclesfield (very little F.)             14,000
  1812  Darrington
  1813  Fairburn                                    820
    ″   Askham Richard                              220
  1814  Collingham, 200 A. F., 230 A. P.            430
    ″   Wath upon Dearne and Rotherham,
          180 A. F., 80 A. P.                       260
    ″   Campsall, Norton and Askern               2,860
    ″   Frickley cum Clayton                        440
    ″   Wickersley, 340 A. F., 200 A. P.            540
  1815  Brodsworth
    ″   Brampton and Swinton                      1,370
    ″   Burnsal, 9 A. F., 6,330 A. P.             6,339
  1816  Arncliffe and Hawkeswick,
          80 A. F. & M., 1,800 A. P.              1,880
    ″   Arncliffe and Kettlewell                  3,000
    ″   Thorpe Arch and Walton
  1817  Monkfryston                                 290
  1818  Snaith                                    1,000
  1819  Barnbrough, 800 A. F., 273 A. P.          1,073
    ″   Peniston, 50 A. F. & M. I., 370 A. P.       420
  1827  Arksey                                    1,800
  1828  Kirburton and Almonbury, 300 A. F.,
          18,000 A. P.                           18,300
    ″   Knaresborough and Farnham, 78 A. F.,
          466 A. P.                                 544
    ″   Moor Monkton                                600
    ″   Whitgift                                  1,000
  1831  Ferry Fryston                               830
  1835  Ulleskelf                                   711
  1837  Rothwell, 300 A. F., 80 A. P.               380

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
    *    1849  Clapham                              592
  1855   1858  Conisbrough                          592
  1854     ″   Sutton (Campsall P.)                 553       {1,737}
  1859   1861  Mexborough                           365

  Before 1802   82,389
  1802–1845     88,453
  After 1845     2,102


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1731  Catwicke, 2 C. F.’s and open
          pastures, 88 oxgangs                   *1,760
  1740  Bewholm, 2 fields, etc.                  *1,600
  1741  Great and Little Driffield, 190 oxgangs  *3,800
  1746  Kelfield, 400 A. F.                        *600
  1755  Nunburnholme
    ″   Stillingfleet, 40 oxgangs                  *800
  1757  Fulford, 330 A. F., 450 A. P.               780
    ″   Pocklington, 6 F.’s M. and P.
  1758  Ottringham                               *2,400
    ″   Skirpenbeck, 99 oxgangs                  *1,980
  1761  Burton Pidsea (Holderness)                1,800
  1762  Sproatley (Holderness) 119 oxgangs       *2,380
    ″   Dringhoe, Upton and Brough
          (Holderness), 71 oxgangs                1,420
  1763  Marfleet (Holderness), 24 oxgangs          *480
    ″   Sutton (Holderness), 740 A. F.,
          3,400 A. P.                             4,140
  1764  Aldborough (Holderness), 80½ oxgangs     *1,610
    ″   North Cave                                1,400
    ″   Sudcoates (Drypool), 94 nobles, 1⅙
          gates, 1 foot F.
    ″   Skipsea, 88 oxgangs                      *1,760
    ″   Skeffling (Holderness)                    1,440
  1765  Benton (Bempton next Flamborough),
          80 oxgangs                             *1,600
    ″   Brantingham and Thorpe, 900 A. F.,
          300 A. P.                               1,200      {32,950}
  1765  Everingham, 740 A. F., 850 A. M. and P.   1,590
    ″   Ellerker, 75 oxgangs                      1,800
    ″   Flamborough                               3,000
    ″   Ulrome (or Ourram), (Holderness)          1,200
  1766  Bessingby                                 1,080
    ″   Beeford                                   3,000
    ″   Brigham (Foston P.), 48½ oxgangs           *730
    ″   Cottingham                                3,000
    ″   Naburn, 350 A. F., 349 A. P.                699
    ″   Pattrington (Holderness)                  2,500
  1767  South Burton (Burton Agnes)               2,800
    ″   Huggate, 131 oxgangs                     *2,620
  1768  Bridlington                               2,500
    ″   Burton Fleming, 168 oxgangs               3,000
    ″   Hotham, 120 A. F., 1,500 A. P.            2,700
    ″   Welwich in Holderness
    ″   Willington                                2,300
  1769  Atterwick in Holderness                   1,200
    ″   Aclome                                    1,060
    ″   Bishop Wilton                             3,800
    ″   Elvington                                   800
    ″   Hutton Cranswick                          3,000
    ″   Lelley in Holderness, 22¾ oxgangs           800
    ″   Nafferton and Wansford, 3,000 A. F.,
          1,200 A. P.                             4,200
    ″   Poppleton (W. R.) and Scagglethorpe
          (E. R.), 920 A. F., 900 A. P.           1,820
    ″   Sancton, 1,200 A. F., 80 A. M., 330 A. P. 1,610      {85,759}
  1769  Thwing                                    4,000
    ″   Wheldrake, 500 A. F., 180 A. M.,
          1,500 A. P.                             2,180
    ″   Youlthorpe                                  681
  1770  Great Cowden (Holderness), 54½ oxgangs    1,100
    ″   Easington (Holderness)                    1,300
    ″   West Heslerton and Yeddingham, 80 oxgangs 1,600
    ″   East Heslerton                            1,200
    ″   East Newton (Holderness)                    600
  1771  Butterwick, 2 F.’s
    ″   Kilham on the Wolds                       7,000
    ″   Lockington and Ayde, 1,800 A. F.,
          250 A. P.                               2,050
    ″   Lisset, 400 A. F., 600 A. P.              1,000
    ″   Melton                                    1,000
    ″   Long Reston and Arnold                    1,600
  1772  Sigglesthorne (Holderness), 65½ oxgangs   1,000
    ″   Welton                                    1,500
    ″   Would Newton                              2,000
  1773  East Cottonwith, 400 A. F., 560 A. F.       960
    ″   Everthorpe, 42 oxgangs                      500
    ″   Harpham, 1,400 A. F., 600 A. P.           2,000
    ″   Holme upon Spalding Moor,
          1,472 A. F., 285 A. M.                  7,000
    ″   Market Weighton, 4,200 A. F., 2,500 A. M. 6,700
    ″   Preston in Holderness, 129 oxgangs        4,500
    ″   Sheckling cum Burstwick                     850
  1774  Bainton                                   2,700
    ″   Garton                                    4,050
    ″   Rudstone                                  4,000
  1775  Goodmanham, 3,000 A. F., 100 A. P.        3,100
  1776  Bilton                                      770
    ″   Foston                                      800
    ″   Sutton upon Derwent                         708
  1777  Boynton                                   2,000
    ″   Bugthorpe, 640 A. F., 310 A. P.             950
    ″   Barmby upon the Moor                      2,800
    ″   North and South Newbald                   6,000
    ″   Tunstall (Holderness)                       800
    ″   Melbourne and Storthwaite, 300 A. F.,
          300 M., 1,800 P.                        2,400
  1778  North Dalton                              1,700
  1780  Thornton, 800 A. F.                       1,000
  1783  Roos in Holderness                        1,521
  1785  South Cave                                2,500
    ″   Kilnwick, 86 oxgangs, 650 A. F.,
          250 A. P.                                 900
  1788  Filey                                       620
  1789  Coniston in Holderness                      500
  1792  North Grimston, 75 oxgangs                  660
  1793  Hollym and Withernsee                     1,800
    ″   Speeton                                   1,800
    ″   Skidby                                      600
    ″   Southam in Kirkburn                       1,200
  1794  Elloughton, Brough and Walby              2,600
    ″   Lund                                      2,300
    ″   Tibthorpe                                 3,000
    ″   Warter                                    7,500
    ″   Walkington                                3,000
  1795  Holme upon the Wolds                      1,450
  1796  West Ella, Kirk Ella, and Ellerby         1,600
  1797  Settrington                               1,100
  1800  Holmpton and Hollym cum Withernsea          900
    ″   Hunmanby and Fordon
  1801  North Frodingham                          2,500
    ″   Hornsea                                   2,500
    ″   Langtoft upon the Wolds                   3,200
    ″   Molscroft                                   700
    ″   Ruston Parva                                900
    ″   Weaverthorp                               8,300
    ″   Willerby                                  1,500

  1802  Ellerton (Ellerton Priory)                1,040
    ″   Folkton and East and West Flotmanby       1,800
    ″   Keyningham (Holderness)                   1,350
    ″   Withernwick                               1,500
    ″   Sewerby and Marten                        2,000
  1803  Gaxton, Potter Brompton and Binnington    3,800
    ″   Middleton, 2,000 A. F., 1,800 A. P.       3,800
    ″   Wetwang and Fimber                        2,820      {18,110}
  1805  Ryhill and Camerton                       1,300
    ″   Huttons Ambo                              2,500
  1806  Elsternwick                                 875
    ″   Owthorn                                     650
  1809  North Duffield
  1810  West Cottingwith and Thorganby
    ″   Fridaythorpe                              2,000
  1811  Paghill                                     402
    ″   Righton                                   1,600
    ″   Osgodby                                     500
  1813  Eastrington
  1814  Hayton, 1,150 A. F., 450 A. P.            1,600
  1816  Londesborough
  1818  Etton, 2,000 A. F., 600 A. M. and P.      2,600
  1819  Barmston, 160 A. F., 130 A. P.              290
  1820  Hemingbrough (South Duffield township)
  1822  South Dalton (with old enclosures)        1,800
  1823  North Burton                              1,920      {36,147}
  1823  Ferriby and Kirk Ella                     3,350
  1830  Blacktoft, Eastrington and South Cave,
          all F.                                    430
  1832  Bubwith                                   1,700
  1833  Great Gwindale                              650
  1843  Hemingbrough
  1844  Brandes Burton

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1849  Mappleton                          1,060
   *     1851  Cottam (Langtoft P.)               2,515
  1878   1880  Riccall                            1,297
  1901         Skipworth                            321

  Before 1802  227,009
  1802–1845     42,277
  After 1845     5,193


  Date.                Enclosure.               enclosed.
  1748  Faceby in Cleveland, 700 A. F., 900 A. P. 1,600
  1755  Marsk and Redcar                          1,400
    ″   Slingsby
  1756  Sutton upon the Forest, 1,300 A. F.       3,000
    ″   Warthill, 40 oxgangs                        800
  1758  Brompton and Sawden, 8 F.’s etc.
  1759  East Cotham, 400 A. F., 400 A. P.           800
  1766  Stillington                               1,400
  1768  East Ayton                                1,337
  1769  Ebberston                                 1,200
    ″   Haxby                                     1,640
    ″   Sheriff Hutton and West Lilting,
          833 A. F., 837 A. P.                    1,670
  1770  Upper Dunsforth and Braxton,
          500 A. F., 100 A. P.                      600      {15,447}
  1771  Scalby and Throxenby or Newby,
          2,000 A. F.                             4,000
  1773  Wilton (Ellerburn P.)                       700
  1774  Swinton (Appleton P.)                       700
  1776  Amotherby
    ″   Lyth
    ″   Stonegrave, Westness and Nunnington       1,110
  1777  Bulmer
  1784  Lockton
  1785  Wykham and Ruston                         2,000
  1787  Lastingham
  1788  Kirkbymoorside, Fadmoor and Gillamoor
  1789  Cold Kirkby
  1790  Hutton Bushnell, 700 A. F., 170 A. M.,
          1250 A. P.
    ″   Linton, 50 A. F., 480 A. P.                 530      {26,607}
  1791  Norton in the Clay                          800
  1793  West Tanfield, 80 A. F., 500 A. P.          580
  1794  Old Malton, 2 F.’s, one 416 A.,
          other 14 A.                             1,500
    ″   Skelton, 75 oxgangs, F., 200 A. P.        1,100
  1798  Sowerby                                   1,100
  1800  Tholthorpe and L. Flawith                 1,570

  1802  Flixton                                   2,600
    ″   Richmond, 344 A. F., 1,340 A. P.          1,684
  1803  Wilton, Laxenby, Lackenby
          and West Coatham                        1,100
  1806  Kirkdale and Hemsley                        950
  1807  Alne                                        600
    ″   Hunton, about 40 A. F.                      720
  1808  Easingwold                                  500
  1809  Helperby
    ″   Skelton                                               {8,154}
  1809  Allerston                                14,000
  1810  Gilling in Richmondshire                    300
    ″   Tollerton
  1811  Westerdale, all F.                          190
    ″   Lune, Holwick and Romaldkirk, 302 A. F.   6,840
  1812  Newton upon Ouze and Shipton                911
  1815  Melsonby                                    600
  1833  Bedale                                      176

_Enclosed under the General Enclosure Act, 1845._

  Date   Date
   of     of            Parish.                   Area.
  Act.  Award.
   *     1853  Hinderwell                           894
  1864   1870  Leake                                140

  Before 1802   33,257
  1802–1845     31,171
  After 1845     1,034




Leland entered Northamptonshire from Huntingdonshire, coming through
Kimbolton and the village of Leighton. We have in Vol. I., folio 3:--

“From Leighton to Barnewel Village” (in Northamptonshire) “a vi miles
by exceeding faire Corne and pasture ground.”

“Thence to Oundle ... the Medowes lying on every side on a great Leavel

“Oundale to Foderingeye, a 2 miles by mervelous fair Corne ground and
Pasture, but little wodde.”

“From Welingborow to Northampton 8 miles al be champaine Corne and
Pasture Ground, but little wood or none, even as it is betwixt Oundale
and Welingborow” (fol. 7).

“Wedon is a praty throughfare, sette on a playne ground” (fol. 11).

“Towcester is 7 miles from Wedon and as much from Northampton, al by
playne Corne ground and pasture.”

“Northampton to Kingesthorpe a mile, and a little farther, by Multon
Parke enclosed with Stone ... thens by Champayne Ground, bering good
grasse and Corne, a ix mile to Ketering” (fol. 12).

“Thens to Welledon, an uplandish Towne, 4 miles, where the Soile is
sumwhat furnished about with wood, and plentee beside of Corne and
Grasse ... And thens 2 mile by Corne, Pasture and Wood to Deene.”

“From Dene to Rokingham, by summe Corne and Pasture but more Wood
grounde a 3 miles” (fol. 13).

“There lyeth a greate valley under the Castle of Rokingham, very
plentifull of Corne and Grasse ... The Forest ... about 20 mile yn
length, and in bradthe 5 or 4 Miles in sum places in sum less. And
withyn the precinctes of it is good Corne and Plentie of Woodde.”

“Rokingham to Pippewelle, the late Abbay, abut a 3 Miles of by Wood and

“Dene to Haringworth a 3 Miles be Corne, Grasse, and sum Woody Grounde”
(fol. 14).

Then entering Leicestershire, he says:--

“The grounde bytwixt Dene and Staunton is plentiful of corne, and
exceeding faire and large Medowis on both sides of the Weland. But from
Rokingham to Staunton there was in sight little Wodde, as yn a Countrey
al Chaumpain. From Staunton to Leycester al by Champaine Grounde an 8
or 9 Miles” (fol. 15).

“Leyrcester to Brodegate by grounde welle Wooddid 3 miles ... Brodegate
to Groby a Mile and a half much by Woodden lande” (fol. 19).

“Brodegate to Leighborow about a v Miles. 1st foreste of Charley
communely called the Wast, xx miles or more in Cumpace, having plenty
of woode” (fol. 20). The forest of Leyrcester, the other forest of the
county, he says, is five miles in length.

“Brodegate to Bellegrave Village a 4 miles by Woddy and Pasture
Grounde” ... “Bellegrave to Ingresby a 4 Miles, partely by Corne,
Pasture, and Woddy ground.... Thens to Wiscombe a 4 Miles by Corne,
Pasture and Wood ... faire Orchardes and Gardenes” (fol. 22).

“_Marke that such parte of Leyrcestershire as is lying South and Est is
Champaine, and hath little Wood. And such parte of Leircestershire as
lyith by West and North hath much woodde_” (fol. 24).

Next he passes through Rutlandshire into Northamptonshire again:--

“From Wiscombe partely through Woddy ground of the Forest of Leefield,
and so in Ruthelandshir by Woddy first, and then all champain Ground,
but exceeding rich Corne and Pasture, to Uppingham ... from Uppingham
to Haringworth (Northamptonshire) 3 little miles, al by Champaine ...
Dene to Cliffe Parke 3 Miles; it is partely waullid with stone, and
partely palid. From Dene to Coliweston a 5 or 6 Miles, partely by
Champaine, partely by Woodde ground” (fol. 25).

“From Coly Weston to Grimesthorpe (in Lincolnshire) about an 8 or 9
most by playne Ground, good of Corne and Pasture, but little wood”
(fol. 26).

His journey then took him northwards, but returning, he again passed
through Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire, and notes:--

“Notingham to Bever (Belvoir) all by champaine ground, 12 miles” (fol.

“Bever to Croxton, 2 miles” (fol. 115).

“Croxton to Castleford Bridge by champaine” (fol. 115).

“Castleford Bridge to Stamford 1 mile” (fol. 115).

“Stamford to Colyweston 2½ miles, champayn” (fol. 115).

“Colyweston to Dene, moste by Chaumpaine” (fol. 115).

“Dene to Foderingeye, most by wood, 6 miles” (fol. 116).

“Foderingey to Undale, 2 miles, champaine” (fol. 116).

“Thens a 9 mile to Layton in Huntingdonshire, Champaine” (fol. 116).

“To Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire, 8 miles” (fol. 116).

“To Bedford, 14 miles, champaine” (fol. 116).


“From Charlecote to Stratford a 3 Miles by Champaine, good corn and
grasse” (166 b).

“I roade from Stratford by champaine Ground, fruitfull of Corne and
Grasse a 5 miles ... thence 2 miles by Champaine to Coughton. From
Coughton to Aulcester 2 miles by enclosed Ground (167 b). I roade from
Aulcester towards Evvesham a 2 Miles by woody and inclosed Ground, and
then a mile by Ground lesse inclosed, but havinge more Corne then wood.
Thence a 4 miles by cleane Champion” (168 b).

Having thus entered Gloucestershire, he came through Worcester
and Lichfield, and so re-entered Warwickshire from the north, and
found--“Colishull to Meriden 4 m. by enclosed ground having some
corne, wood and pasture. 3 miles by like ground to Coventry” (190 a).
To Southam was “4 m. good corne and pasture in Champion,” thence to
Banbury in Oxfordshire “10 m. by champaine, noe wood but exceedinge
good Pasture and corne.”


From Dunstable to “Mergate,” as we have seen, was “al by Chaumpaine
a vj miles” (vol. 1, fol. 120). But “thens by Chiltern Hilles and
woods and baren woody and ferne ground vij miles to Barkhanstede” (in
Herts, near the Buckingham boundary, fol. 121). “Thens I passid by
Hilly, Woody, and much baren ground to Cheynes (in Bucks) a v miles ...
v miles good Pasture and Corne, v miles mory Ground, and 3 m. by sum
enclosid and Woddy ground to Windelsore. From Windelsore by a 3 miles
most be wood and enclosid, and 2 m. in faire open and levelle medow ...
to Tamise ... Half a mile to Stanes Bridge” (fol. 122).

On a later journey he came from Oxford, and entered Bucks at Thame
“by some Hilly and after great Pasture Groundes, fruitfull of beanes
a 10 m. to Querendon in the Vale of Alesbury. Thens 5 m. to Alesbury
all champaine” (Vol. IV. 191 b). But from Hagmondesham (Amersham) to
Uxbridge was “9 miles by goodly enclosid grounds.”


He came from Reading and crossed the river to Caushem (Caversham).
“Thens I rode a v miles and more all by great Woddes. And thens by
Chaumpaine hilly ground a 4 m. to Ewelm” (Vol. II. fol. 5). “From Ewelm
to Haseley a v m. by Chaumpaine Ground somewhat plentiful of corn, but
most layid to Pasturage” (fol. 7). “From Haseley to Chisilhampton by
plaine ground fruteful of corne and Grasse, but baren of wood as al
that Angle of Oxfordshire is, 3 miles. Thens to Drayton Village. Thens
a mile to Dorchester” (fol. 10). “To Walingford 1½ m. by mervelus fair
Champain” (fol. 12). Here he again crossed the Thames into Berkshire;
but later he entered the north west of the county, and found the
district from Sutton to Banbury “all by champaine barren of wood” (Vol.
IV., fol. 162 b), and the first 12 miles of the road from Banbury to
Warwick “by Champaine Groundes, fruitful of Corne and Grasse” (163
a). Similarly from Southam (in Warwickshire) to Banbury was “10 m. by
champaine, noe wood but exceedinge good Pasture and corne,” and from
Banbury to Bercester (Bicester) was 10 or 11 miles of “champaine.”


“From Coly Weston to Grimesthorpe about an 8 Miles or 9, most by playn
Ground, good of corne and pasture, but little wood” (Vol. I. fol. 26).
“From Grimesthorpe to Corby about a 3 Miles by Champayne Ground....
Thens to Boutheby a 3 Miles, and thereaboute is meately store of Wodde
scaterid” (fol. 27). “From Boutheby to Hayder al by Champaine ground,
fertile of corne and grasse, 4 Miles. From Hayder to Sleford a vj Miles
al by Champaine grounde (fol. 29). From Sleforde to Ancaster a 4 Miles
by Chaumpaine (fol. 30). Ancaster to Temple Bruern al by Champaine of
Ancaster Heth a 4 Miles.... From Temple Bruern to Lincoln 10 Miles
by Champaine” (fol. 32). “Lincoln to Torkesey parte by Marsh Ground,
and part by other, but very little wood, a 7 Miles. Torkesy to Marton
Village about a mile by plaine sandy ground” (fol. 35).


“From York to Kexby Bridge by Champaine v miles” (Vol. I. fol. 49).
Thence he went to Leckenfield, a village a little to the north of
Beverley, “And al this way betwixt York and the Parke of Lekenfeld is
meately fruteful of Corn and Grass, but it hath little wood” (fol. 49).
He then went south to Hull and returned to Beverley: “From Kingeston to
Beverle a vj Miles, a v by low pasture and Marsch Ground, and a Mile by
enclosid and sumwhat woddy ground” (fol. 57). Starting from Beverley
again towards Goole he has “Beverle to Walkington Village a 2 Mile, one
by enclosid, and another by chaumpaine good corne land. Walkington to
North Cave Village 5 Miles by fair champain corn ground. Northcave to
Scalby a 3 Miles al by low Marsch and Medow Ground” (fol. 57).

“From Scalby to Hoveden (Howden) 4 M. scant one by enclosid Pasture and
3 by Morische and Fenny ground” (fol. 58). “From Hoveden to Wresehill
(Wressel) a 3 Miles al by low Medow and Pastureground, whereof part
is enclosed with Hegges” (fol. 59). “From Wresehill ... Ferry about a
Mile, most by Medow Ground, and so a xj Miles to York, whereof most
parte was in sight Medow and Morisch Ground, and but meane corne, but
toward York the soyle and corne were better” (fol. 69).


He came on his first journey from Scrooby in Notts to Doncaster. He
observes, “Bawtre to Doncaster an vij Miles by a great Plaine and Sandy
ground caullid Blitherle” (Vol. I. fol. 37), Round Doncaster is “Medow,
Corn and sum wood,” but from “Tikhill to Cunesborow (Conisbrough) a 4
Miles by stony way and enclosid ground” (fol. 39), and from “Dancaster
to Heathfield (Hatfield) by champayn sandy ground a 5 Miles,” and here
comes Hatfield Chase, the scene of Vermuiden’s labours later. He return
to Doncaster and went north and found “The ground between Dancaster and
Pontefract in sum places meately wooddid and enclosid ground” (fol.
42); from “pontefract to S. Oswaldes by much enclosid and meately woddy
ground a 3 Miles or more” (fol. 44). From St. Oswalds to Sandon village
(a mile from Wakefield), “a 3 Miles by enclosid Ground” (fol. 44). From
Wakefield to Pontefract direct was “a vj miles parte by Enclosure,
parte by Champaine” (fol. 46). Thence to Leeds, he found first three
miles of enclosed ground, then five miles of low meadow, and “good high
plaine corne ground” (fol. 46).

From Leeds to Tadcaster was apparently unenclosed, but from Tadcaster
to York there was first 4 miles of enclosed ground, then four by “playn
Champaine” (fol. 48). “From York to Stockton yn the Moore a 3 Miles by
low Pasture and moreisch Ground.... Thens a 5 Miles by much lyke Ground
... a little beyond that as about half a M. is Whitewelle Village.
Thereabout the Fieldes for a Miles space were inclosid.... Thens a 2
M. by Fyrry. Thens to Malton a 3 Miles, and the ground is hilly there
and daly and plentiful of Corne and Pasture (Vol. I. fol. 63). From
Malton to Shirburne Village about an 8 miles by Champaine Ground. From
Shirburne by Hilles to Semar. Thens a Mile by Meately plaine Ground,
and so 2 Miles more in a vale enclosid with stepe Hilles on ech side to
Scardeburg (fol. 66).

“Moste of the Ground from Scardeburg to Pykering was by Hille and Dale
meate plentiful of Corn and Grasse but little wood in sight” (fol. 70).
The vale of Pickering was open field land.

North-west of York itself was the great forest of Galtres, ten miles
through (fol. 74). At Herperly Village beyond was “meately good corn
ground, Pasture and Medow and sum Wooddes” (fol. 75).

Further south. “From Kirkeby Wisk to Northalverton a 4 Miles by Pasture
and Corne Ground” (fol. 75).

Returning later from Durham we have from Greta Bridge to Richmond, “sum
good corn and much More (fol. 95). Richmond to Middleham, al by mory
Ground and little wood” but “Middleham to Gervalx Abbay a 2 Miles most
by enclosed Pastures.” His route lay through Ripon, West Tanfield,
Boroughbridge, to Knaresborough; he notes pasture, corn, wood and moor.
Then comes the great forest of Knaresborough, 20 miles long and 8
broad. Then he went south through Pontefract and Doncaster, finding
after Doncaster “3 Mile al by Champain ground” (fol. 105).

He came again into Yorkshire from Lancashire, and found by the Ouse
near York “the ground was fair of Pasture, Corne and wood” (Vol. V.
fol. 91), and from “Shirburne to Pontfract 6 m. soile in sight plaine,
wel cornid, but little wood” (_ibid._), and coming south, there is
“woddy Grounds,” and “soile riche of wood, Pasture, corne,” but no
mention of enclosure.


Leland’s observations are as follows. He saw, approaching Lechdale
on crossing the Thames from Faringdon, “In ripa ulterori ... greate
Enclosures of stone walls” (Vol. II. fol. 22). He turned into
Wiltshire, and came from Bradford into the neighbourhood of Bath and
East Somerset. Burton to South Cadbury, and thence to Sherborne, just
over the Dorset boundary, was “fair and fruteful Champain” (fol. 47),
but by another route back from Sherborne to South Cadbury “the Pastures
and Fieldes be much enclosid with Hegge Rowes of Elmes” (fol. 50), and
a little later he says that “most part of al Somertsetshire is yn hegge
rows enclosid” with elms (fol. 55).

Some details are given later. Southtown to Midsummer Norton was “hilly
and enclosid,” but Midsummer Norton to Wells “chaumpayne” (Vol. VIII.
fol. 5), but thence south to Munney Delamere “hilly and enclosid” (fol.
7). Midsummer Norton to Mells (near Frome) was champayn (Vol. VIII.
part 2, fol. 78 a). From Bath to Kelston (in Wilts) was champaine (fol.
67 b) and the triangular district between Bristol, Bath and Chipping
Sodbury about half enclosed and half “champaine,” and also the district
on the other side of the Bristol Avon towards Frome in Somerset, the
immediate neighbourhood of Frome being open (Vol. VII., part 2, fol.

Aulcester (in Warwick), to Evesham was “2 Miles by woody and inclosed
ground, and then a mile by Ground lesse inclosed.... Thence 4 miles
by cleane Champion” (Vol. IV. fol. 168 b), and the “champion Ground”
continued for 6 or 7 miles to Stanwey, on the Cheltenham road.

North-west Worcester seems to have been generally enclosed. We have
Bridgenorth (in Shropshire) to Kidderminster “mostly enclosed ground”
(Vol. IV. fol. 182 b). Bewdley to Milton, Milton to Hertlebury, and
hence to Worcester is all described as “enclosed Ground” (183 b and 184
a), and so also the country between Worcester and Bromsgrove (185 a and
186 b).



(Previous to the General Enclosure Act of 1845.)

STATUTE OF MERTON (1235), c. 4.

Enabled lords of manors, on leaving sufficient pasture for their
tenants on the waste, to enclose the residue; but the lord must prove
that the tenants have sufficient pasture, and means of ingress and


Enabled lords of manors in which the waste was used as a common pasture
by other manors, to enclose against their neighbours, when no specific
grant of a right of common pasture had been made. It also provided
against the creation of new common rights. “By occasion of a Windmill,
Sheepcote, Dairy, enlarging of a court necessary, or Courtelage, from
henceforth no man shall be grieved by Assize of Novel Disseisin for
Common of Pasture.” If after enclosure under this act the hedges are
pulled down, the neighbouring townships may be distrained upon for


21 EDWARD IV. (1482), c. 7.

In a forest subject to common rights after a wood has been felled the
land may be enclosed for seven years to protect the young timber.

35 HENRY VIII. (1544), c. 17.

Where woods are subject to common rights, lords of manors may enclose
one fourth of the wood for seven years, and fell the timber, leaving
12 young trees per acre standing. Meanwhile the lord of the manor
surrenders his common rights upon the remaining three fourths. Kent,
Surrey and Sussex were excluded from the operation of the act.

13 ELIZABETH (1571), c. 25.

This makes the preceding Act perpetual.


The preamble of the first of this series of Acts, though well known, is
here quoted in part.

4 HENRY VII. (1489), c. 19.

“Our King and Sovereign Lord ... remembreth that ... great
inconveniences do daily increase by desolation and pulling downe, and
wilfull waste of houses and townes within this realme and laying to
Pasture Lands, which customably have been used in tillage, whereby
idlenesse, which is the ground and beginning of all mischiefes, daily
doth encrease. For where in some townes two hundred persons were
occupied and lived by their lawfull labours, now there are occupied two
or three heardmen, and the residue fall into idlenesse, the husbandrie,
which is one of the greatest commodities of this Realme is greatly
decayed, Churches destroyed, the service of God withdrawn, the bodies
there buried, not prayed for....”

To check these evils all occupiers of 20 acres and upwards of land that
had been tilled in the previous three years, are required to maintain
tillage, under pain of forfeiting to the lord of the manor one half of
the profits of such land.

6 HENRY VIII. (1515), c. 5.

This was a temporary Act, in principle identical with the one passed in
the following session.

7 HENRY VIII. (1516), c. 1.

This Act applied only to parishes “whereof the more part was or were
used and occupied to tillage and husbandry.” In such places “If any
person shall decay a Town, a Hamlet, or House of Husbandry, or convert
tillage into Pasture” and have not “within j. yeere next after such
wylfull decaye reedefyed and made ageyn mete and convenyent for people
to dwell and inhabyte the same, and have use, and therein to exercyse
husbandry and tyllage” he forfeits one half of his land to the lord of
the manor, until the offence is reformed. Land converted to pasture
must again be tilled “after the maner and usage of the countrey where
the seyd land lyeth.”

This Act was followed by the Inquisition of 1517.


25 HENRY VIII. (1534), c. 13.

This is an Act to deal with the economic cause of depopulating

“Sundry persons have of late daily studied how to gather into few hands
great multitude of Farms and great Plenty of Cattle, and in especial
Sheep, putting such land as they can get to Pasture, and not to
tillage, whereby they have not only pulled down Churches and Towns and
inhanced the old Rates ... so that poor men are not able to meddle with
it ... it is thought that the great occasions that moveth and provoketh
those greedy and covetous people ... is only the great Profit that
cometh of Sheep.”

It is said that “some have 24,000, some 20,000, some 10,000, some
6,000, some 5,000 and some more, some less.”

It is enacted that with certain exceptions no one may keep more than
2,000 sheep under a penalty of 3_s._ 4_d._ per sheep per annum, half of
the fine going to the crown, half to the informer. No man, further, may
take more than two farms, and these must not be in the same parish.


27 HENRY VIII. (1536), c. 22.

This Act recites 4 Henry VII., c. 19, the first of the Depopulation
Acts; and states that it had been enforced only in lands held
immediately of the King. Now “the King shall have the Moiety of
the Profits of those lands already converted for Tillage to Pasture
sithence three years before Ann. 4 H. 7 until the Owner hath builded
up a convenient House to inhabit, and converted the same Pasture to
Tillage again; and also take the Moiety of the issues of those lands
hereafter to be converted, if the immediate Lord do it not within one
year,” until the owners have built a Tenement for every 50, 40 or
30 acres, and have reconverted the pasture to tillage. Again it is
stipulated that the land shall be tilled “according to the nature of
the soil and the course of Husbandry used in the country where any such
lands do lie.”

27 HENRY VIII. (1536), c. 28.

Persons to whom monastic lands had been granted by Henry VIII. are
required to maintain yearly as much of the land in tillage and
husbandry as had commonly been so used within the preceding 20 years,
under a penalty of 6_l._ 13_s._ 4_d._ per month.


3 & 4 EDWARD VI. (1550), c. 3.

This Act cites and confirms the Statutes of Merton and Westminster
and facilitates the recovery of damages for breaking down the hedges
erected to enclose wastes.


5 & 6 EDWARD VI. (1552), c. 5.

This Act requires that so much land be tilled yearly in any parish as
had been tilled at any time since the accession of Henry VIII., under a
penalty of 5_s._ per acre per annum.

Four Commissioners were to be appointed to enquire into the conversion
of arable into pasture.

The Act did not apply to--

    (1) Land that had been pasture for 40 years.
    (2) Waste ground, common downs, fens, moors, marshes.
    (3) Lawful warren.
    (4) Woodland converted into pasture.
    (5) Land in deer parks.
    (6) Salt marshes and inundated land.
    (7) Land enclosed by licence of the King or his predecessor.

2 & 3 PHILIP AND MARY (1555–6), c. 2.

This cites and confirms the original Depopulation Act of 4 Henry VII.
and makes it apply to all houses with 20 acres of land, whether the
land is in tillage or not.

Commissioners to be appointed to enquire into all grounds converted
into pasture since St. George’s Day, in the 20th year of Henry VIII. to
see to the re-edifying of houses, and the reconversion of pasture into
tillage. The exceptions permitted are where lands have been enclosed
by the King’s licence, and by discretion of the Commissioners in cases
where no public benefit, but individual hardship would ensue by the
execution of the Act.

Rents increased on the conversion of tillage into pasture were to be
abated; re-edified houses were to be let with 20 acres of land or 10
acres if the owner has no more.

The penalty of laying land down into pasture was again fixed at 5_s._
per acre per annum, half to be paid to the Crown, half to the informer.

5 ELIZABETH (1563), c. 2.

By this Act the more recent Depopulation Acts, 27 Henry VIII. c. 28, 5
& 6 Edward VI. c. 5, and 2 & 3 Philip and Mary, c. 2, were repealed as
ineffectual; but the earlier ones, 4 Henry VII. c. 19, 7 Henry VIII. c.
22 and 27 Henry VIII. c. 22, ordered to be put into execution.

It was also enacted that “such lands or so much in quantity in any
place as hath been put in Tillage and eared in any one year and so kept
four years sithence the feast of St. George the Martyr, anno 20 Henry
VIII. shall be eared and kept in Tillage, according to the Nature of
the Soil and Custom of the Country by the Occupier thereof.”

The penalty was raised to 10_s._ per acre per annum, and it could be
recovered by the next heir in reversion if he sued for it within a
year, if not, by the Remainderman, or in default by the lord of the
manor, and if not so recovered, by the Crown.

This Act remained in force for thirty years, but was discontinued by 35
Elizabeth (1593), c. 5.


31 ELIZABETH (1589), c. 7.

This Act prohibited the letting of cottages to agricultural labourers
with less than four acres of land under a penalty of 40_s._ per cottage
per month, or the occupation of one cottage by more than one family,
under a penalty of 10_s._ per cottage per month. The amount of land
attached to cottages let to countrymen following other occupations was
also regulated. These holdings were evidently intended to be acres in
the arable fields, carrying with them the proportional common rights of
pasturage, &c. This Act was repealed in 1775.


39 ELIZABETH (1597), c. 1.

In the preamble of this Act it is stated that in late years more than
in times past, sundry towns, parishes and houses of husbandry have been
destroyed and become desolate. All previous Acts for the re-edification
of houses are repealed, and it is enacted that when houses of husbandry
have been decayed for more than seven years, half the number must be
rebuilt, and 40 acres of land allotted to them; unless the property had
been sold meanwhile; in that case the purchaser need only rebuild one
quarter of the decayed houses.

Where houses had decayed within the previous seven years, they are to
be rebuilt; and if previously they had less than 40 acres of land, they
must now at least have 20 acres; if previously they had 40 acres or
more, they must now have at least 40 acres.

The penalty for not rebuilding the farmhouse, was £10 per house per
annum; for not assigning the prescribed quantity of land, 10_s._ per
acre per annum. One third of the penalty went to the Queen, one third
to the parish, one third to the informer.

It is also enacted that it shall be lawful for any lord of the manor to
make exchanges of lands, whether arable, pasture or meadow, with his
tenants, and for the tenants, with the consent of the lord, to make
exchanges with one another, for the sake of more convenient occupation
and husbandry. In other words the re-arrangement of the intermixed
holdings in common arable fields and common meadows is expressly

39 ELIZABETH (1597), c. 2.

The preamble states that from the 7th year of Henry VII.’s reign to
the 35th year of the current reign there had always been in force some
Act for the maintenance of tillage, but in the latter year all such
laws were discontinued; and that in consequence in the period 1593–1597
“there have growen many more Depopulacions by turning Tillage into
Pasture than at any time for the like number of years heretofore.”

It is enacted that lands converted from tillage to pasture shall be
re-converted within three years, and that lands now in tillage shall
remain so, under a penalty of 20_s._ per acre per annum. The Act
applies to the counties of Bedford, Berkshire, Buckingham, Cambridge,
Derby, Dorset, Durham, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hereford, Huntingdon,
Leicester, Lincoln, Northampton, Northumberland, Nottingham, Oxford,
Rutland, Somerset, Warwick, Wiltshire, Worcester, Yorkshire, with the
Isle of Wight, and Pembroke in South Wales.

It did not apply to Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Devon, Essex,
Hertford, Kent, Lancashire, Middlesex, Monmouth, Norfolk, Shropshire,
Stafford, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex and Westmoreland.

This Act remained on the Statute Book for 266 years. The earlier
Depopulation Acts were repealed by 21 James I., c. 28, but this Act
remained theoretically part of the law of the land until repealed
by the Statute Law Revision Act of 1863. This was the last of the
Depopulation Acts.


4 JAMES I. c. 11.

This is really a local Enclosure Act. The people of the parishes of
Merden, Bodenham, Wellington, Sutton St. Michael, Sutton St. Nicholas,
Murton-upon-Lug, and Pipe in Hereford, had all their lands, whether
meadow, pasture or arable, open and intermixed, and commonable “after
Sickle and Sithe.” They themselves were accustomed to house their
sheep and cattle throughout the year, and the people of neighbouring
villages took advantage of this custom to turn in cattle after harvest.
The enclosure of one third of the land in each parish is authorised by
the Act.


13 GEORGE III. (1773), c. 81.

This Act has been considered in the text.

41 GEORGE III. (1801), c. 20.

This was a temporary Act to encourage the cultivation of potatoes in
common arable fields. The famine prices of 1800–1 caused a good deal of
curious special legislation. Any occupier of land in common fields is
authorised to plant potatoes, and to guard them from cattle grazing in
the fields, on giving compensation for the loss of the common right to
the other occupiers.


41 GEORGE III. (1801), c. 109.

This is the General Enclosure Act promoted by the Board of Agriculture
of 1793–1819. It is entitled “An Act for consolidating in one Act
certain provisions usually inserted in Acts of inclosure, and for
facilitating the mode of proving the several facts usually required in
the passing of such Acts.”

1 & 2 GEORGE IV. (1821), c. 23.

This amends the previous Act, so as to better regulate the cultivation
of parishes during the progress of enclosure by Act.

1 & 2 WILLIAM IV. (1831), c. 42.

By this the churchwardens and overseers of a parish may enclose, up to
50 acres of waste, with the consent of the lord of the manor and the
majority of the owners of common rights, for the relief of the poor
rates, or let the land so enclosed to poor and industrious persons. By
another Act in the same session (c. 57) the principle is applied to
Crown lands.

4 & 5 WILLIAM IV. (1834), c. 30.

An Act to facilitate the exchange of intermixed lands in common fields,
by removing difficulties caused by some owners being minors, insane, &c.

6 & 7 WILLIAM IV. (1836), c. 115.

This is an important Act “for facilitating the enclosure of open and
arable fields in England and Wales.” Two-thirds in number and value
of common arable fields may appoint commissioners for carrying out
enclosure, as if enclosure had been authorised by a special Act. The
awards were to be deposited in the parish churches.

If seven-eighths of the proprietors were agreed, enclosure could be
carried out without the appointment of commissioners.

This Act is not to authorise the enclosure of common fields within
10 miles of the centre of London, within 1 mile from the centre of a
town of 5,000 inhabitants, 1½ miles from one of 15,000 inhabitants,
2 miles from one of 30,000 inhabitants, 2½ miles from one of 70,000
inhabitants, or 3 miles from one of 100,000 inhabitants.

3 & 4 VICT. (1840), c. 31.

This was an Act amending the last, by extending its scope to lammas
meadows; and providing that persons who were dissatisfied with awards
under the preceding Act forfeited their right of appeal if they took
possession of the lands allotted to them.



The parish of Runton, adjoining Cromer, is unenclosed, and throws
some light on Norfolk common field custom, and on the curious law
with regard to “liberties of fold courses.” There are in the parish
two villages, East and West Runton. Most of the land in the parish is
either common, or open field arable land. Of the open field arable,
about 600 acres are “half year land” and between four and five hundred
acres “whole year land.” Both the whole year land and the half year
land is intermixed, both in ownership and occupation, but the extent
of intermixture has been steadily and continuously reduced. There is
a tendency for adjoining strips of land to be let to one and the same
farmer, and he is allowed to plough down the balks, in Runton called
_lawns_ or _loons_, which separate them. There are no common rights
over the whole year land. There is an area of whole year land of 200
acres or more around each village, which is where one would expect to
find it; and very curiously, a detached area of about 20 acres half way
between the villages. There is no well marked boundary separating whole
year from half year lands.

The half year lands are commonable from Michaelmas to Lady Day old
style, that is from October 11th to April 11th. There is no prescribed
rule of cultivation, but the customary course is:--first year, wheat;
second, turnips; third, barley sown with clover, the land under this
crop being “new ley land” after the barley is reaped; and in the fourth
year the land remains under clover and is called “old ley land” or
“ollay land.”

The peculiar feature, characteristic of Norfolk common field
agriculture, is that the owner of the Abbey Farm _in the next parish_,
has the right to pasture sheep on the half year lands of Runton; in
the words of the old Act, he has the “liberty of fold courses” of
Runton. Further, the Runton common right owners make up a flock called
“The Collet Flock,” and it is understood that wherever the Abbey flock
goes, the Collet Flock can go too.

But the two flocks are kept distinct, grazing separately, each with its
own shepherd.


  Acreage of commons and common fields, 36

  Acreage under wheat, 108

  Acts for enclosing common fields, 7

  Acts for enclosing waste, 7

  Ackworth (Yorks.), 123

  Adams, H. B.--“Germanic Origin of New England Towns,” 185;
    “Village Communities of Cape Ann and Salem,” 184

  Agriculture, Board of (existing), 16

  Agriculture, Board of, (1793–1819), _passim_.

  Ailesworth (N. Hants.), 13

  Ailesworth Heath, 17

  Alconbury (Hunts.), 123

  Amesbury (Wilts.), 235

  Arden (Warwick), 205

  Area of surviving common fields, 189

  Area of recently enclosed common fields, 191

  Ashby Magna, 208

  Averham (Notts.), 137

  Avon, the Wiltshire, 112

  Avon, the Warwickshire, 205

  Axholme, Isle of, 52

  Aylesbury, Vale of, 221

  Babraham (Cambs.), 210

  Baird and Foot, “Middlesex,” 218

  “Balks,” 15, 63

  “Bancroft Field,” 61

  “Barley Field,” 14

  Barnady (Suffolk), 128

  Barrowden (Rutland), 64

  Bartlow (Cambs.), 82

  Barton (Westmoreland), 177

  Barton Turf (Norfolk), 127

  Battersea common fields, 77

  “Bean Field,” 12

  Bear, W. E., Report to the Labour Commission on Agricultural
      Labour, 137

  Beddington and Wallington (Surrey), 41

  Bedfordshire, enclosure of, 192

  Belton (Axholme), 52

  Belvoir, Vale of, 97, 200

  Bensington (Oxon.), 51

  Bentham, J.--“Societie of the Saints,” 160;
    “Christian Conflict,” 202

  Berkshire, enclosure of, 238

  Berwick Salome (Oxon.), 51

  Bestmoor (Oxon.), 35

  Bishton, J., “Shropshire,” 252

  “Black Corn Field,” 71

  Blyth, W., “The English Improver,” 111, 201, 203, 219, 226, 253

  Boldon book, the, 34

  Bosworth (Leicester), 201

  Boxworth (Cambs.), 210

  Boys, “Kent,” 39, 230

  Braunton Great Field, 159, 250

  “Brecks,” 79

  “Brewers’ Ash Field,” 20

  Brightwell (Berks.), 68

  Brixworth (N. Hants.), 104

  “Broad Mead,” 67

  “Broad Oxgangs,” 31, 32

  Buckinghamshire, enclosure of, 219

  Burley estate small holdings, 138

  Burnham (Suffolk), 180

  “Buscallys,” 78

  Bygrave (Herts.), 45

  Cambridgeshire, enclosure of, 208

  Carew, “Cornwall,” 18, 160, 247

  Carlton in Lindrick, 127

  Carmichael, A., on Runrig, 166

  Carpenter of village community, 34

  “Carrs,” 78, 79

  Castle Camps (Cambs.), 75

  Castor (N. Hants.), 13

  Catthorpe (Leicester), 111, 208

  Celery growing in Axholme, 57

  “Champaine,” or “Champion,” 64, 70, 205

  “Changeable Allotments,” 24

  Charnwood Forest, 204

  Cheshire, enclosure of, 252

  Chilterns, the, 231

  “Chimney Peepers,” 22

  Clark, J.--“Hereford,” 125, 252;
    “Radnor,” 244

  “Clipsatt Field,” 61

  Clothall (Herts.), 43

  Cobbett, W., “Rural Rides,” 112, 113, 237

  Colchester, 214

  “Comachadh,” 168

  Constable of manor, 22, 34

  Cornwall, enclosure of, 247

  “Cotes,” 21

  Cotswold Hills, 241

  Cottage holdings, 121, 137

  “Country Farmer, A,” 98, 131

  “Country Gentleman, A,” 95

  Court rolls, 20

  Cow dung as fuel, 201

  “Cowleaze,” 30

  Cowper, John, “Inclosing Commons, etc.,” 110, 154

  Crutchley, “Rutlandshire,” 77

  Cumberland, enclosure of, 256

  Cunningham, W., “Growth of English Industry,” 91, 115

  “Customary Cottages,” 29

  “Dales,” 257

  Dartmoor, 170, 248

  Davis, R., “Oxfordshire,” 76, 222

  Davis, T., “Wiltshire,” 76, 77, 113, 114, 115, 236

  Deddington (Oxon.), 103

  Derbyshire, enclosure of, 228

  Devonshire, enclosure of, 245

  “Discourse of the Commonweal,” 39, 214, 246

  Disputes in open fields, 15, 16, 47

  “Doles,” 21, 78, 79

  “Dolemeads,” 79

  Donaldson, J., “Northamptonshire,” 197

  Dorset, enclosure of, 240

  “Down Field,” 61

  Downham (Cambs.), 210

  Durham, enclosure of, 229

  Eakring (Notts.), 12

  Earsham (Norfolk), 128

  “East Field,” 20

  Eden, “Condition of the Poor,” 102, 103, 104, 256

  Elmstone Hardwick (Glos.), 15, 47

  Eltham (Kent), 232

  Ely (Cambs.), 210

  Enclosure, meaning of, 1

  Enclosure, methods, 6

  Enclosure, typical act of, 3

  Engrossing of farms, 68

  Epping Forest, 2, 17

  Epworth (Axholme), 52

  Erchenfeld, 253

  Essex, enclosure of, 213

  Evenley (N. Hants.), 127

  “Everington Field,” 69

  “Every Year Lands,” 80, 178

  Ewelme (Oxon.), 50

  “Farthingholds,” 30

  “Field Jury,” 11

  Fiennes, Celia, “Tour,” 201, 212, 214, 222, 224, 226, 228, 229, 231,
      238, 252, 255

  Flax growing in Axholme, 54

  “Fold Courses,” 83

  Fordington (Dorset), 30

  Fordington Field, 19, 30

  “Foreman of the Fields,” 11, 14

  Forrest, W., “Princelye Poesie,” 10

  Foston (Leicester), 100

  “Four Field Course,” 48, 74

  Fox, J., “Glamorganshire,” 244

  Frilsham Common, 69

  Frome R., 20

  Furze common (Ewelme), 51

  Gateshead (Durham), 177

  “Gathering and Splitting,” 15

  Gavelkind, 245

  General Enclosure Acts, 17

  General report on enclosures, 95, 108, 123, 124, 129, 161

  Gloucestershire, enclosure of, 241

  Granger, J., “Durham,” 154, 229

  “Great Horse Shoe,” 27

  Great Sheepey (Leicester), 127

  Grimspound (Dartmoor), 170

  Grimston (Leicester), 138

  Grimstone (Dorset), 19

  Grimstone common rights, 31

  Gunnerton (Northumberland), 179

  Hadley Wood, 2

  Hagbourne, West (Berks.), 68

  Hale, J., defence of, 150

  “Half-Livings,” 22

  “Half-Plow,” 172

  “Half-Year Lands,” 78, 80

  Ham Field (Surrey), 65

  Hambleton cow pasture, 138

  Hampshire, enclosure of, 240

  Hampstead Heath, 2, 17

  Hasbach, W., “Die E. Landarbeiter,” 61

  Hassell, C.--“Carmarthen,” 244;
    “Pembroke,” 244

  “Hatching Ground,” 23

  Haxey (Axholme), 52

  “Haywards,” 22, 34

  “Headlands,” 15

  Hendred, East and West (Berks.), 68

  Henlow (Beds.), 3

  Herefordshire, enclosure of, 252

  Herringswell (Suffolk), 127, 188

  Hertfordshire, enclosure of, 218

  High Prices, Select Committee on, 108

  Hildersham (Cambs.), 82

  “Hitchland,” 20, 76

  “Hole Rush,” 25

  Holt, J., “Lancashire,” 255

  “Hookland,” 20, 76

  “Hook Mead,” 67

  “Horse’s Foot of Land,” 173

  “Horse-gang,” 172

  Houghton, J., “Collection,” 155, 157

  Howlett, J., 91, 100

  “Hundred Acres,” 24, 28

  Hunmanby (Yorks.), 88

  Huntingdon, enclosure of, 212

  Icklingham (Suffolk), 180

  Iken (Suffolk), 214

  Ilsley, East and West, 68

  “Infields,” 80, 81, 187

  “Ings,” 78, 79

  Insurrections and enclosure, 112, 150

  Intermixed lands, 243

  Isleham (Cambs.), 74

  Ivel, R., 4

  James and Malcolm--“Buckinghamshire,” 75, 219;
    “Surrey,” 77, 233

  Kay, G.--“Flint,” 244;
    “Carnarvon,” 244

  Kent, enclosure of, 230

  Kent, “Norfolk,” 85, 216, 217

  Kets’ Rebellion, 150

  Kibworth Beauchamp (Leicester), 103

  Lambarde, W., “Perambulation of Kent,” 231

  “Lacy’s Bridge Man,” 22

  Lancashire, enclosure of, 255

  “Lands,” 9

  “Land spoilers,” 67

  “Langford Field,” 20

  “Launchers,” 250

  Laurence, J., “New System of Agriculture,” 153

  “Lawnds,” or “Lawns,” 20

  Lawrence, E., “Duty of Steward,” 152, 155, 201, 207

  Laxton (Notts.), 8

  Laxton Heath, 9

  Leadam, W. S., “Domesday of Inclosures,” 212, 225

  Leatham, I., “East Riding,” 77, 89

  Lee, Joseph, 111, 161, 202

  Leland’s Itinerary, 203, 205, 212, 219, 221, 222, 224, 228, 239, 253,

  Letcomb (Berks.), 128

  “Leyland,” 77

  “Liberty of Fold Courses,” 83

  Lincolnshire, enclosure of, 222

  Little Brandon (Norfolk), 127

  “Little Horse Shoe,” 28

  Littleport (Cambs.), 210

  “Livings,” 21

  Llanerlyl, 42

  Lloyd, T., “Cardiganshire,” 244

  Lolworth (Cambs.), 210

  “Longlands,” 26

  Long Sutton (Lincoln), 263

  “Loons,” or “Lownts,” 20

  “Lot Meadows,” 35

  Lowe, R., “Nottinghamshire,” 92, 227

  Luffenhall (Herts.), 45

  Luffenham, North and South (Rutland), 64

  Lynches, 70

  “Maam” soil, 233

  Macdonald, J., “Hebrides,” 173

  “Machair,” 166

  Madingley (Cambs.), 210

  Maids Morton (Bucks.), 102

  Maitland, F. W., “Select Pleas,” 156

  Manor bull, 23

  Marshall, W., “Central Highlands,” 172, 180;
    “Rural economy of: Gloucestershire,” 108, 153, 241;
      “Norfolk,” 79;
      “Yorkshire,” 156;
      “Midlands,” 206;
      “Southern District,” 232, 235;
      “West of England,” 248

  Massachusetts, decrees for common fields, 185

  Massie, J., 91

  Matton (Lincoln), 177

  Maxwell, G., “Huntingdonshire,” 74, 212

  Mercian type of village community, 8

  Mere (Wilts.), 236

  “Meres,” 63

  Merrow (Surrey), 66

  Merton, statute of, 6

  “Mesne inclosures,” 225

  “Middle Field,” 20

  Middlesex, enclosure of, 218

  “Mill Bars Patch,” 26

  “Mill Field,” 8, 16

  “Mingle Mangle,” 18

  Misterton (Leicester), 208

  Monk, R., “Leicestershire,” 198

  Monmouthshire, enclosure of, 252

  Moore, John, 111, 201, 208

  More, Sir T., “Utopia,” 116

  Moreton, North (Berks.), 70

  Morgan, G. B., “Cornwall,” 249

  “Narrow Oxgangs,” 31

  Nen, R., 17

  “Nether Field,” 16

  “New Closes,” 21

  Newborough (N. Hants.), 197

  Newtontony (Wilts.), 200

  “No Ditch Field,” 61

  Norden, J., “Book of Surveying,” 155, 214, 238

  Norfolk, enclosure of, 217

  Norham, 179

  “Normangate Field,” 16

  Northamptonshire, enclosure of, 197

  Northbourne (Kent), 42

  “North Field,” 61

  Northumberland, enclosure of, 259

  Northwold (Norfolk), 128

  Nottinghamshire, enclosure of, 227

  One field system, 179

  Orford (Suffolk), 214

  Ossington (Notts.), 137

  Outer Hebrides, 166

  “Out Field,” 77, 179

  Over (Cambs.), 210

  Owston (Axholme), 52

  Oxfordshire, enclosure of, 222

  “Oxgangs,” 31

  Palling (Norfolk), 127

  Palmer, A. N.--“Ancient Tenures,” 174, 245;
    “Wrexham,” 20

  Pang, R., 69

  Parish Meeting, powers of, 50

  Passenham (N. Hants.), 123

  Pearce, W., “Berkshire,” 76

  Pickering moor, 128

  Pickering, vale of, 157

  “Pindar,” 56

  Pitt, W.--“Arable and Grassland,” 95;
    “Leicestershire,” 97, 200;
    “Staffordshire,” 252

  “Places” (= Livings), 28

  “Plowgait,” 172

  Poor rates and enclosure, 102

  Poppleton, 132

  Potato growing in Axholme, 57

  Potterne (Wilts.), 126

  Poultney (Leicester), 208

  Produce of common fields, 79, 111

  Produce of enclosed land, 100, 111

  Profit of enclosure, 98, 263

  Quilleted fields, 42, 253

  Quillets, 83, 266

  “Ranes,” 257

  Rathbone, G., “Eltham Charities,” 232

  Recreation grounds, 18, 65, 71, 118

  “Reeve,” 34, 89

  Re-lifing copyholds, 19

  Re-lifing leaseholds, 48

  Renhold (Beds.), 44

  Rents before and after enclosure, 100, 103, 111

  Richmond Hill, view from, 66

  “Rick Field,” 20

  Rider Haggard, “Rural England,” 57, 138

  “Ridge and Furrow,” 94

  Riots and enclosure, 112

  Robertson, J., “Perthshire,” 165, 173

  “Robin Hood and Little John,” 17

  Rockingham forest, 197, 204

  “Rotation Meadows,” 35

  “Rounds,” 88

  Royal burghs of Scotland, 164

  “Rundale,” 6

  “Runrig,” 6, 166, 244

  Rutland, enclosure of, 203

  Sandwich Town Neck, 183

  Salem north and south fields, 185

  Salisbury, environs of, 235

  Seebohm, F., “English Village Community,” 179

  “Selions,” 56

  “Shackage,” 45, 78, 79

  “Shack Lands,” 78

  “Shealing Feast,” 170

  Sheepflock of village community, 22

  Sheepwalk, right of, 45

  Shilton (Berks.), 35

  Shropshire, enclosure of, 252

  “Sicks,” 11

  Sinclair, Sir J., “Northern Counties of Scotland,” 165, 172

  Six year course, 76

  Skene, “Celtic Scotland,” 166, 173

  Small holdings, 58, 61, 119

  Small holdings, profit of, 121, 136, 139

  Smith, Adam, “Wealth of Nations,” 94

  Soham (Cambs.), 61, 210

  Somerset, enclosure of, 242

  “Souming,” 168

  “Square Patch,” 27

  Staffordshire, enclosure of, 252

  “Stake Weir,” 27

  Stamford (Lincoln), 177

  Steeple Claydon, 75

  Steventon (Berks.), 68, 71

  “Stint Book,” 14

  Stone, T.--“Bedfordshire,” 74;
    “Lincolnshire,” 77, 223

  Stratton (Dorset), 19

  Stratton common rights, 31

  Stratton meadow, 24, 25

  Studham, 44

  Suffolk, enclosure of, 214

  Surrey, enclosure of, 233

  Sussex, enclosure of, 232

  Sutton (N. Hants.), 46

  Sutton Coldfield (Warwick), 254

  “Tenantry,” 113

  Tithe commutation and enclosure, 40, 188

  Tithe maps, 188

  “Thorn Field,” 16

  Three field course, 8, 14, 74

  “Three Patches,” 26

  Todenham (Gloucester), 123

  “Tofts,” 10

  Totternhoe (Beds.), 63

  Tudor licences for enclosure, 6

  Tulvey (Beds.), 123

  Turnip culture, 81

  Tusser, “Champion and Several,” 82

  Tythingman, 22

  Two field course, 71, 76

  Upton St. Leonards (Gloucester), 18, 63

  Value of land in Axholme, 60

  Vancouver--“Cambridgeshire,” 75, 209;
    “Essex,” 213

  Venteland (Gwent), 253

  “Viewers of the Fields,” 22

  Village community, types of, 6

  “Virgates,” 30

  Wales, enclosure of, 243

  Wales, W., 91

  Walker, D., “Hertfordshire,” 75, 125

  Wallingford (Berks.), 68

  Wallington (Herts.), 45

  “Walls,” 21

  Water meadows, 116

  Weald, enclosure of the, 232

  Wedge--“Warwickshire,” 204,
    “Cheshire,” 101, 252

  Wessex, type of village community, 19

  Westmoreland, enclosure of, 256

  Weston field, 62

  Weston Zoyland (Somerset), 61

  “Wheatfield,” 14

  “Whitecorn field,” 71

  White Horse, vale of, 238

  “Whole Livings,” 21

  “Whole Year Lands,” 80, 81

  Wilbraham (Cambs.), 128

  Wimeswould (Leicester), 127

  Winslow (Bucks), 102

  Wistow (Leicester), 100, 101

  “Wood Field,” 16

  Worcestershire, enclosure of, 242

  Wordsworth, H. W., “Lake District,” 257

  Wytham-on-the-Hill (Lincoln), 179

  “Yardlands,” 30, 113

  Yattenden (Berks.), 68, 69

  Yelden (Beds.), 44

  Yelling (Hunts.), 180

  Yorkshire, enclosure of, 224

  Yorkshire wolds, 77

  Young, A.--“Lincolnshire,” 53, 177, 263;
    “Eastern Tour,” 94, 107, 201, 217, 221;
    “Northern Tour,” 94, 107, 195, 224, 226, 230;
    “Political Arithmetic,” 105;
    “Wastes,” 126, 128





The special aim of the London School of Economics and Political Science
is the study and investigation of Economic and Political Institutions.

The Classes and Lectures provide a complete course of study in the
Faculty of Economics and Political Science (including Commerce and
Industry) of the reorganized University of London. The course extends
over three years and prepares candidates for the Degree of B.Sc. in
Economics. A large proportion of the teaching required in the Faculty
of Law is also provided by the courses at the School.

Some of the Classes and Courses of Lectures are designed to promote a
wider knowledge of modern commercial conditions, and to meet the needs
of those engaged in the Civil and Municipal Services, Journalism,
Teaching and Public work. Training in methods of Investigation is
also provided, especially in Historical Research, by the courses in
Diplomatic and Palæography, and in Modern Economic Research by the
courses in Statistics and others. The School also affords facilities
for Original Work in Economics, History and Political Science.

A Library containing all the ordinary Standard Works of Reference and
a very large amount of original and, in some cases, unique, material
for Research, is attached to the School and is open gratuitously to all
Students and to others on application to the Director.

The Fee for the full Course is £10 10s. per Session or £4 4s. per Term.
Students are also admitted to single courses of Lectures at Special
Fees, varying with the length of the course.

The Lectures and Classes are held in the daytime and also in the
evening between 6 and 8 p.m.

The School is open to Men and Women.

The Academic Year begins in October and the Session of thirty weeks is
divided into three terms, viz.:--Michaelmas Term, October to December;
Lent Term, January to March; and Summer Term, April to June. Students
may join the School at any time.

Scholarships varying in value from £15 to £100 are offered for
competition from time to time.

Full particulars may be obtained on application to the Director.


English Local Government from the Revolution to the Municipal
   Corporations Act--The Parish and the County.

Published 1 Oct., 1906.  Post 8vo, with Index, 650 pp.  Price 16s. net.


More than that of any other Anglo-Saxon country, English Local
Government is rooted in the past, and its contemporary problems
can be neither fully understood nor adequately solved without a
knowledge of how they have arisen. This work, the first fruits of
seven years’ investigation into the development of English Local
Government, combines a detailed history of local administration in
parish and county throughout England and Wales from 1689 to 1835, with
a descriptive analysis of the interesting constitutional evolution of
this most fruitful period, when local authorities were practically free
from supervision or control.

Avoiding discussions as to the origins of English local institutions,
or even as to their growth during the Middle Ages, it describes in
vivid detail the development of structure and function which led to
the reforms of 1832–35, on which our present system is based. This
description is framed on new lines and drawn almost entirely from
materials hitherto unused. Instead of dealing principally with the law
of local government, and the successive changes in the Statute-book,
the institutions themselves, and the persons who worked them, are
described as vital social tissue. The subject matter is, in fact, not
law or politics, but the life-history of the various species of local
governing bodies.

The manuscript records of county and parish from Northumberland to
Cornwall, from Cardigan to Kent, elucidated by contemporary literature
and biography, enable the authors to present an entirely new picture of
the internal history of England in the eighteenth century, revealing
what Justice of the Peace and Churchwarden really were, in their habits
as they lived, the way in which the daily administration of the Parish
and County was actually carried on, the manner in which the daily life
of the people was affected by contemporary influences, and the result,
both on the health and character of the nation, and in producing the
difficulties that in the twentieth century confront us.

The present work is complete in itself. Subsequent volumes will deal
similarly with Seignorial Franchises and Municipal Corporations,
Statutory Bodies for Special Purposes, Local Administration in relation
to Poverty and Crime and in relation to Public Health and Convenience,



 =INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY.= Post 8vo; Seventh Thousand; new edition in one
 vol., with new Introductory Chapter (1902); lxi. and 929 pp., with two
 diagrams. Price 12s. net.

A scientific description and critical analysis of all the forms of
Trade Unionism and Factory Legislation in the United Kingdom. A
storehouse of authenticated facts and philosophical criticism about
every branch of the “Labour Question.”

 “A permanent and invaluable contribution to the sum of human
 knowledge.... We commend to the public a book which is a monument of
 research and full of candour.... Indispensable to every publicist and
 politician.”--_Times_ (on day of publication).

 =THE HISTORY OF TRADE UNIONISM.= Post 8vo; Eighth Thousand; new
 edition, with new Introductory Chapter (1902); xxxiv. and 558 pp.
 Price 7s. 6d. net.

 “A masterly piece of work.”--_Times._

 “To the politician ... an invaluable guide.”--_Observer._

 =PROBLEMS OF MODERN INDUSTRY.= Post 8vo; Third Thousand; new edition,
 with new Introductory Chapter (1902); xx. and 286 pp. Price 5s. net.

 Thousand; viii. and 162 pp. Price 2s. 6d. net.

 =LONDON EDUCATION.= By SIDNEY WEBB. Small 8vo; viii. and 219 pp. Price
 2s. 6d. net.

A description of the Educational organisation of London in 1903, with a
survey of some of its administrative problems--avoiding both politics
and religion.

  LONGMANS, GREEN & Co., London, New York & Bombay.

Published by SWAN, SONNENSCHEIN & Co.

 Sidney Webb). Crown 8vo; Second edition (1893); Fifth Thousand; xii.
 and 260 pp.; with coloured map, appendices and index. Price 2s. 6d.

 “Without doubt the ablest and most philosophical analysis of the
 co-operative movement which has yet been produced.”--_Speaker._

 =SOCIALISM IN ENGLAND.= By SIDNEY WEBB. Crown 8vo; Second edition
 (1894); with new Introductory Chapter; xxii. and 136 pp. Price 2s. 6d.

 =THE LONDON PROGRAMME.= By SIDNEY WEBB. Crown 8vo; Second edition
 (1894), with new Introductory Chapter; viii. and 214 pp. Price 2s. 6d.




A Series of Monographs by Lecturers and Students connected with the
London School of Economics and Political Science.



 =1. THE HISTORY OF LOCAL RATES IN ENGLAND.= The substance of Five
 Lectures given at the School in November and December, 1895. By EDWIN
 CANNAN, M.A., LL.D. 1896. 140 _pp._, _Crown 8vo_, Cloth. 2_s._ 6_d._

  P. S. KING & SON.

 I.--The Tailoring Trade. By F. W. GALTON. With a Preface by SIDNEY
 WEBB, LL.B. 1896. 242 _pp._, _Crown 8vo_, Cloth. 5s.

  P. S. KING & SON.

 =3. GERMAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY.= Six Lectures delivered at the School in
 February and March, 1896. By the HON. BERTRAND RUSSELL, B.A., late
 Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. With an Appendix on Social
 Democracy and the Woman Question in Germany. By ALYS RUSSELL, B.A.
 1896. 204 _pp._, _Crown 8vo_, Cloth. 3_s._ 6_d._

  P. S. KING & SON.

 of Louvain. With a Letter on the Referendum in Belgium by M. J.
 VAN DEN HEUVEL, Professor of International Law in the University
 of Louvain. Translated by C. P. TREVELYAN, M.A., Trinity College,
 Cambridge, and edited with Notes, Introduction, Bibliography, and
 Appendices, by LILIAN TOMN, of Girton College, Cambridge, Research
 Student at the School. 1898. x. and 334 _pp._, _Crown 8vo_, Cloth.
 7_s._ 6_d._

  P. S. KING & SON.

 Hulme Exhibitioner, Brasenose College, Oxford; and Whately Prizeman,
 1897, Trinity College, Dublin. 1899. viii. and 138 _pp._, _Crown 8vo_,
 Cloth. 2_s._ 6_d._

  P. S. KING & SON.

 =6. LOCAL VARIATIONS IN WAGES.= (The Adam Smith Prize, Cambridge
 University, 1898.) By F. W. LAWRENCE, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College,
 Cambridge. 1899. viii. and 90 _pp._, with Index and 18 Maps and
 Diagrams; _Quarto_, 11 _in._ by 8½ _in._, Cloth. 8_s._ 6_d._


 THIRTY-FIRST YEAR OF HENRY THE SECOND (1185).= A unique fragment
 transcribed and edited by the Class in Palæography and Diplomatic,
 under the supervision of the Lecturer, HUBERT HALL, F.S.A., of H.M.
 Public Record Office. With thirty-one Facsimile Plates in Collotype,
 and Parallel Readings from the contemporary Pipe Roll. 1899. vii. and
 37 _pp._; _Folio_, 15½ _in._ by 11½ _in._, Green Cloth; two copies
 left. £2 15_s._ 0_d._ _net_. Apply to the Director, The School of

 and Adam Smith Prizeman, Cambridge; Guy Silver Medallist of the Royal
 Statistical Society; Newmarch Lecturer, 1897–98. 500 _pp._, _Demy
 8vo_, Cloth. 40 Diagrams. 1901. Second Edition, 1902. viii. and 336
 _pp._ 10_s._ 6_d._ _net_.

  P. S. KING & SON.

 M.A., late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; Barrister-at-Law.
 1901. viii. and 136 _pp._, _Crown 8vo_, Cloth. 2_s._ 6_d._ _net_.

  P. S. KING & SON.

 and A. HARRISON, B.A., D.Sc. London. With a Preface by SIDNEY WEBB,
 LL.B. 1903, xviii. and 372 _pp._, _Demy 8vo_, Cloth. 10_s._ 6_d._
 _net_. Cheap Edition, 3_s._ 6_d._

  P. S. KING & SON.

 Transcribed and edited from the original Roll in the possession of
 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by the Class in Palæography and
 Diplomatic, under the supervision of the Lecturer, HUBERT HALL,
 F.S.A., of H.M. Public Record Office. With a Frontispiece giving a
 Facsimile of the Roll. 1903. xlviii. and 100 _pp._, _Folio_, 13½ _in._
 by 8½ _in._, Green Cloth. 15_s._ _net_.

  P. S. KING & SON.

 of Lord Durham’s Report.= By F. BRADSHAW, B.A., Senior Hulme
 Exhibitioner, Brasenose College, Oxford. 1903. 414 _pp._, _Demy 8vo_,
 Cloth. 10_s._ 6_d._ _net_. Cheap Edition, 3_s._ 6_d._

  P. S. KING & SON.

 MURRAY, D.Sc., former Student at Girton College, Cambridge; Research
 Student of the London School of Economics and Political Science. 1903.
 486 _pp._ _Demy 8vo_, Cloth. 10_s._ 6_d._ _net_. Cheap Edition, 3_s._

  P. S. KING & SON.

 GILBERT SLATER, M.A., St. John’s College, Cambridge, D.Sc. (London).
 1906. 337 _pp._, _Demy 8vo_, Cloth. 10_s._ 6_d._ _net_.


      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s Note

Footnotes have been renumbered and moved to the end of the paragraph
(or, where relevant, quotation) to which they refer. A few missing
footnote anchors have been added.

Maps were originally included as plates, they have been moved to be
near the text they illustrate.

Some formatting and punctuation of abbreviations have been
standardized, and formatting and punctuation in lists has been made

Appendix B, Private acts enclosing common fields, was printed in two
columns with, within counties, a “Carried forward” total at the end of
each column, and a corresponding “Brought forward” total at the start
of the next. These totals are shown here in parenthesis, e.g. {8,309},
to the right at their original position.

Variant spelling, inconsistent hyphenation, and inconsistent spelling
of place names are retained, however a few palpable printing errors
have been corrected.

Other changes that have been made are:

  Page 14, footnote 2 “43 Geo. III. c. 81” has been changed to
  “13 Geo. III. c. 81”.

  Page 44, the reference to “the enclosure of Totternhoe” has been
  changed from page 65 to page 63.

  The first anchor for footnote 46, on page 98, originally pointed to a
  footnote which said “See note ¹ on next page.”

  Page 108, “10,625” has been changed to “10,265” for the net gain of
  acres under wheat after enclosure.

  Page 296, “Balckbourton” has been changed to “Blackbourton”.

  Page 313, the pre 1845 total for Yorkshire, North Riding has been
  changed from 3,171 to 31,171.

  Page 310, in the totals for Yorkshire West Riding “Before 1842” has
  been changed to “Before 1802”.

  Page 329, “13 GEORGE IV. (1773), c. 81” has been changed to
  “13 GEORGE III. (1773), c. 81”.

The following have been kept as printed:

  Page 201, Footnote 94 Some words have been omitted from this rendition
  of the quotation. Arthur Young wrote: “They daub it in lumps on all
  the walls of their houses, barns, stables, etc. to dry”.

  Page 274, Derbyshire, the acreage in the entry “1773 Church
  Broughton” of “160 A. F., 100 A. P.” does not add up to the 360 total
  given. However the 360 total has been used in the Carried forward

  Page 274, Derbyshire, the out of sequence date 1786 following 1787
  has been left as printed.

  Page 281, in the last entry for Hertfordshire, “Layston and Widdial”,
  “Date of Act” and “Date of Award” have been left blank, as printed.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The English Peasantry and the Enclosure of Common Fields" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.