Bill of Enclosure(redirected from Act of Enclosure)
Bill of Enclosure
An act of the British Parliament that joined two or more strips of land into a single property. Since the Middle Ages, English landowners could, by mutual consent, join their properties into an enclosure, which consolidated use of land and was thus beneficial for farming. Many large landowners around villages enclosed their lands, leaving small landowners with patches surrounded by large tracts. The large landowners could petition Parliament to force the small landowners to cede their land to the enclosure. Parliament did this by passing a bill of enclosure. Bills of enclosure were passed most commonly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. See also: Eminent domain.