The Inclosure or Enclosure Acts were a series of United Kingdom Acts of Parliament which enclosed open fields and common land in the country. Under the Enclosure Acts process there were over 5,000 individual Inclosure Acts and 21% of land in England was enclosed, amounting to nearly 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2).
The Enclosure Acts removed previously existing rights of local people to carry out activities in these areas, such as cultivation, cutting hay, grazing animals,using other resources such as small timber, fish, and turf or sometimes even living on the land. Inclosure Acts for small areas had been passed sporadically since the 12th century but the majority were passed between 1750 and 1860. Much larger areas were also enclosed during this time and in 1801 the Inclosure (Consolidation) Act was passed to tidy up previous acts. In 1845 another General Inclosure Act allowed for the appointment of Inclosure Commissioners who could enclose land without submitting a request to Parliament.
Some enclosures had to be carried out by force and many sparked resistance from users of the common land, including the tearing down of fences used to enclose the land. As a historically significant process of land privatisation, the Enclosure Acts are sometimes seen as one or both of building blocks of capitalism and theft by major landowners from the peasantry.
- The Inclosure Act 1773 (13 Geo.3 c.81)
The Enclosure Acts 1845 to 1882 means:
- The Inclosure Act 1845 (8 & 9 Vict. c.118)
- The Inclosure Act 1846 (9 & 10 Vict. c.70)
- The Inclosure Act 1847 (10 & 11 Vict. c.111)
- The Inclosure Act 1848 (11 & 12 Vict. c.99)
- The Inclosure Act 1849 (12 & 13 Vict. c.83)
- The Inclosure Commissioners Act 1851 (14 & 15 Vict. c.53)
- The Inclosure Act 1852 (15 & 16 Vict. c.79)
- The Inclosure Act 1854 (17 & 18 Vict. c. 97)
- The Inclosure Act 1857 (20 & 21 Vict. c.31)
- The Inclosure Act 1859 (22 & 23 Vict. c.43)
- The Inclosure, etc. Expenses Act 1868 (31 & 32 Vict. c.89)
- The Commons Act 1876 (39 & 40 Vict. c.56)
- The Commons (Expenses) Act 1878 (41 & 42 Vict. c.56)
- The Commons Act 1879 (42 & 43 Vict. c.37)
- The Commonable Rights Compensation Act 1882 (45 & 46 Vict. c.15)
- The act for the enclosure of commons in England and Wales. By George Wingrove Cooke.
- Papers by Command, Volume 12. By Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Pg 588.
- The Parliamentary Debates, Volume 80. By Great Britain. Parliament.pg 483
- Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons and Command, Volume 12. By Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. 104 380
- Edinburgh Review, Or, Critical Journal, Volume 62. pg 327
- The Pictorial History of England, Volume 6. By George Lillie Craik, Charles Knight. pg 781
- The English Peasantry and the Enclosure of Common Fields. By Gilbert Slater.
- An Analytical Digest of the Reports of Cases Decided in the Courts of Common Law, and Equity, of Appeal, and Nisi Prius. By Henry Jeremy. Pg 40
- The Fence. By Washburn & Moen Manufacturing Company. Pg 21
- The Contemporary Review, Volume 67. Pg 703
- Alienated tithes in appropriated and impropriated parishes. 38