Bill of Enclosure

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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
1813 An Act of Enclosure places Ascot Heath and Windsor Forest into the ownership of the Crown.
And Mr Quarmby said under the 1834 Act of enclosure, 49 small public quarries were allocated to the Surveyor of Highways of the seven townships.
Thus small landowners, like "Old Gibson," frequently lost their farms because of their financial inability to make the improvements mandated by the Act of Enclosure that covered their land.
Under a Parliamentary Act of Enclosure, clergymen had to abide by the same requirements for drains, ditches, hedges, and fences that every other landowner faced when contiguous fields were divided.
The small patchwork fields between Warton and Austrey have probably changed little since the Act of Enclosure and it is this area which features in our walk today.