Christchurch Inclosures Act 1802

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The Christchurch Inclosures Act 1802 was a United Kingdom local and personal Act of Parliament (42 Geo. 3 c. 43) for the dividing, allotting, and inclosing, certain commonable lands, and waste grounds within the parish or chapelry of Holdenhurst, in the county of Southampton.

Bournemouth, in the late 18th century was just an overgrown heathland that separated the port of Poole from Christchurch with a few well trodden paths linking the two towns.

This inclosures act, along with similar acts for other parts of the country, meant that common land should be put to better agricultural use, so, the area of land that was to become Bournemouth, was divided up by three commissioners.

William Clapcott, Richard Richardson, a barrister of Lincoln's Inn Fields, and John Wickens, of Mapperton in Dorset, had the responsibility of allocating which areas should be used for roads, building materials, farming, and which areas should be given as compensation to people who, although didn't actually own the land, had a claim on it. This task took nearly three years to complete and to pay for all this work the act allowed for certain areas to be sold off. The commissioners in their wisdom decided to auction off several plots.

The majority of this land belonged (by way of right, rather than ownership) to the Lord of the Manor of Christchurch, Sir George Ivison Tapps, and as compensation for his loss of interest in the land he received from the commissioners several tracts of land totalling over 240 acres (0.97 km2). Others who were compensated in this manner for their loss of the use of the land included James Harris, 1st Earl of Malmesbury.

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