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Pro capitalist bias[edit]

This clause here : " Marxist and neo-Marxist historians". "Regular" historians don't dispute enclosure, the idea that this is somehow 'controversial' is nonsense. People who lived through enclosure would most likely vehemently punch whoever wrote this in the face. Enclosure and theft was a very real thing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:33, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Merging with Inclosure[edit]

There's a pretty strong case for moving this to Inclosure eg the eighteenth century Inclosure Acts. Given that there are several other definitions of enclosure that could be added I think it should be moved. adamsan 11:52, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Well I'd never heard of the inclosure usage, but research seems to back it up, so I've elided a few more redirects. Noisy | Talk 19:38, Feb 19, 2005 (UTC)

This should be moved to a page like Enclosure (Agricultural Revolution). (Or move to Enclosure and make the current Enclosure called Enclosure (disambiguation).) Enclosure gets 5,170,000 hits on Google; inclosure gets only 66,900. Inclosure is a misspelling, according to both Yahoo and Google. ("Did you mean: enclosure?") - Tony Jin 22:26, Mar 20, 2005 (UTC)

I recommend leaving it as 'enclosure', or the 'Enclosure (Agricultural Revolution)' suggestion of Tony Jin, and elide the redirects from Inclosure. 'The enclosure of the commons' (so spelt) is a very important topic in the beginning sociology curriculum at universities, so you could potentially be getting loads of hits from people searching for the modern day spelling of enclosure, which is how it is addressed in the sociology classes. Hence, it's not just for history buffs, or a curiosity of mediaeval history and property law, so calling it by the historical name will actually serve to confuse relatively more people and reduce the chance of finding the entry directly or at all. Furthermore, although it's English enclosure only, Marx used it in his writings as an example of a kind of progression of history to show how the 'history of man is the history of class conflict' etc, so the English example has a special place in literature for this reason. Marx - Capital, Volume I, Part VIII, Ch 27 - EXPROPRIATION OF THE AGRICULTURAL POPULATION FROM THE LAND - Marx (translated?) always spells it 'enclosure', and only quotes Bacon once as using 'inclosure' in this chapter - e.g. (There's also a lot of typos there to clean up, which I will progressively do, and there's a very long intro with the contents appearing a long way down, which should perhaps be restructured.) --Sean01 08:49, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

That's what I thought until I did a bit of research. For the usage of this article, Inclosure is the right term. That's the name of the Acts, and the term used in authoritative documentation. Enclosure is correct in many usages, but not for this topic. Noisy | Talk 23:55, Mar 20, 2005 (UTC)

Jebus. Can someone explain what the benefit of creating an enclosure (disambig) page is when enclosure was already doing the job perfectly well? And then redirecting the now empty enclosure page to inclosure? adamsan 01:44, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Enclosure is the accepted current academic spelling, including for Parliamentary Enclosure in England. Historical spelling was not always standardized in the way our spelling is; it's appropriate to use historical spelling in quotations, etc, but you don't normally use it in general use. (I am a graduate student in English rural history of this period.) More seriously, there are some glaring inaccuracies on this page, but before I work to correct them, I will see what the other page has. - *jb 04:09, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I have now re-written and editted large sections of the article to improve the accuracy. I have only written on England, as that is the area I know. Enclosure in other areas should be added as this article develops. - *jb 05:22, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm not gonna weigh in on the in.. vs. en... debate, but I will comment that this article reads pretty awkwardly with the title being Inclosure and the first section being called Enclosure! Please ye experts, do something! Gabe 17:27, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

When I learnt about this in the UK it was always called "Enclosure", however the original bills were spelled. I'd never seen the "Inclosure" usage until I read this article... Cromis 22:14, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Suggested move[edit]

  • The discussion above seems to me to support the title "enclosure"; this is a subject on which I did some work as an undergraduate (admittedly twenty-five years ago now), and which is one of the research and teaching interests of one of my colleagues. I never saw the "inclosure" spelling in modern texts, and my colleague also supports the use of "enclosure" as being the correct spelling (now and fopr some considerable time). --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 20:38, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
    As I say above, I was all for using enclosure until I did some research about it. Now, I am opposed to moving away from Inclosure. Noisy | Talk 22:31, August 12, 2005 (UTC)
    Could you say what this research was? I can't find a single modern usage of "inclosure" in this context (or, in fact, in any context). --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:38, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

In the absence of any citations for "Inclosure", and in light of the comments above, I'll be bold, and move the article. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 11:23, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Reversal of this move has been requested. Some of us have personal committments and work to do. I will provide citations in time. Noisy | Talk 11:58, August 18, 2005 (UTC)

I've removed it as it was both confusing and too soon after the first vote. Do please continue discussing it, though. violet/riga (t) 12:00, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
It seems to me that six days was plenty of time to give for the production of citations, especially in the light of the rest of the discussion. (Note also that Noisy (talk · contribs), aside from rewording the article, also returned at least one of the (surprisingly numerous) redirects that I'd laboriously corrected back to a double redirect.) --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 15:08, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Need to include enclosure from other contexts[edit]

Hi - I'm only an occasional contributor, but I wanted to say that this article right now is too narrow. It deals only with enclosure in England, but enclosure is a world wide issue (though the word is definitely English in origin). Unfortunately, my own dissertation research is on English enclosure (I have added what I know from this research and background reading) - as I come across other examples, I will try to include, but I hope that there are others can expand upon this article. Really there should be sections for different areas of the world - enclosure in England, for example, followed perhaps by enclosure in the British Empire, WTO support of enclosure of comunally held land, etc. - 18:37, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Current Enclosure article moved to Enclosure (Agricultural Revolution), and Enclosure made into a disambiguation page. Inclosure redirect to Enclosure (Agricultural Revolution).
~ender 2007-06-10 14:42:PM MST

Marxist perspective[edit]

Speaking of too narrow a focus...

I'm not inclined to complain too much right now because there doesn't appear to have been any overt omissions (AFAIK); but AFAIC the historical-materialist explanation of the enclosures (all enclosures world-wide for that matter) is/would not only shed the most light on this object-matter -- but is itself, historically, AFAIK the most complete exposition of this entire episode bar-none.

So it's a mystery to me why there appears to be an utter lack of any marxist angle in this article. Not even a hint or whiff of it regarding this important period in capitalist development and history.

So please consider this section an intent to begin adding that facet of this topic.

Pazouzou 05:38, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Marx was very important for beginning historical discussion on enclosure, and many of the important earlier historical works on the social implications of enclosure are Marxist or neo-Marxist in nature - BUT current Marxist historiography is not the most complete exposition of the issue, and has many serious flaws. The less theoretical and more evidence-oriented social and agrarian historians are doing better research on exactly what happened with enclosure (as well as engrossment), though I think they tend to ignore some more qualitative evidence of its effects (as demonstrated through plebian resistence). - 00:29, 8 February 2006 (UTC) aka *jb (sorry, would sign in, but having trouble remembering my old pass word)

Capitalism and Industrialism[edit]

Well, I'm not sure how much Marxism is necessarily required, but there ought to be some thought to connecting Enclosure to the development of the Industrial Age in England (starting with industrial agriculture) and wage slavery, which was the condition to which the displaced peasants were forced. The rural poor weren't producing much of anything; but if anything at all, only for themselves. Once forced off the land they could be put to work to generate the "wealth of nations." Modern consumer culture reflects the ultimate refinement of this system.

The importance of Enclosure to the British Agricultural Revolution was added to the lede. The farmer as a capitalist is discussed in that article.Phmoreno (talk) 00:31, 5 March 2014 (UTC) 05:14, 4 February 2006 (UTC) Matt

It is definitely important to note that industry provided productive work for the growing population. Without a place to go, things would have been much work. It is hard to say from the article whether the increasing population would have led to people being forced off the land anyway. According to Rothbard - W.H.B. Court's, A Concise Economic History of Britain (Cambridge University Press, 1954) show that massive population increases caused the problem and increased agricultural productivity of farms enclosed and otherwise helped feed the people while factories provided work. In general the battle seems to be over who are the true owners of the land, and a clarification of the history of ownership/land rights in the regard would clear up confusions.

In Ireland as the population grew farm sizes shrank because there was industrialization. This eventually resulted in the Great Famine (Ireland) when over one million people starved to death.Phmoreno (talk) 00:31, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Something from The Great Transformation would be it Polanyi described the enclosure process in England and the creation of the contemporary economic system at the beginning of the 19th century. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:304:AE82:3D19:FC38:6DFF:8C7A:593A (talk) 05:46, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Minor Update[edit]

I made a minor update and reference to Marx and political economy, and referenced Sir Thomas More also -- but a bit lazy, just placed the references there, fixed some typos and syntax, and endorsed the use of the word 'enclosure' because of sociological (Marxist) curricular references to it --Sean01 10:06, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

-- The note "corn [in a modern sense, wheat and other grains]" changed to "corn [wheat and other grains]", since this use of corn is not an archaicism but rather a difference of regional Englishes: in America corn=maize, while in the UK and other areas corn is used to mean grains.

enclosures -Scotland[edit]

One of the most influential events in the development of Canada was the migration of the Scots following the implementation of the enclosure system in Scotland.

As part of my undergraduate studies, I conducted an exercise in migration analysis relating to the events following the Black Plague, which included the replacement of the indigenous population and the Clans in Scotland with sheep enclosures. In retrospect, I am convinced that the sheep were deemed less likely to wear kilts, play bagpipes and follow the likes of William Wallace in burning English garrisons.

I have always been convinced that the implementation of the enclosure system was the turning point in the development of independent thought and determination of the modern individual, without which there could not have been the reformation, the industrial revolution, the telephone, Marshall McLuhan or the internet.

Alas, my essay was lost, however, I would welcome contributions about impact of the implementation of the Enclosures in Scotland and development of the modern independent thinker.

Martin Luther and anti-semitism[edit]

Removed the portion that called Martin Luther an anti-semite. A bit hyperbolic given the article's scope and debatable as to the accuracy of that term here. That can be debated on the Martin Luther page.

physics enclosure[edit]

isn't the physics article about the enclosures of loudspeakers more important than this one? Its certainly longer. Maybe Enclosure should redirect there instead of here?

New Introduction[edit]

I have substantially re-written the introduction because:-

a) enclosure of common land was a relatively small proportion of enclosures
b) most enclosed land was already privately owned.

Rjm at sleepers 07:31, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Misses the most important point[edit]

I am contemplating a change, at least in the introduction, to explain what enclosure is really all about:

Enclosure is more than just a change in farming methods, which this entry would lead one to believe.

It was the beginning of the notion of "private property", whereby which land is titled and owned.

There is a paradox many people discover when one studies real estate, and look at the system of deeds and titles (instruments of property conveyance), a surveyed and subdivided earth where every square inch has an owner, and a prior owner, and a prior owner.... many people then ask the question, "How did this all get like this? Who owned the first title to this land? How was it conveyed from whomever had the prior owner interest? Were they properly compensated?", etc.

It's not so much a paradox, as a bootstrapping problem: How did this all get started? Did God Himself endow Adam with the first deed to the Earth?

No, that's not it. There was a long period in human history where people had no notion of ownership at all. The enclosure movement in the Middle Ages marked a revolutionary change in how the world was previously viewed, as being a large "commons" in which all creatures had common rights of access.

This point was monumental in the development of modern capitalist society, and this article really misses this point completely. Bill Huston (talk) 18:36, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Enclosure was not "the begining of the notion of private property". The majority of English enclosures - Tudor and parliamentary - did nothing to change the ownership of the land. In the case of parliamentary enclosure, everyone who owned a strip in the open field received a post enclosure land allocation. It did change the rights of non-owners, some of whom previously had rights to graze animals after a particular date. In most cases they received compensation for these lost rights, although the extent to which this compensation was adequate is debated. Rjm at sleepers 06:36, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Enclosure is perhaps better seen as a shift from land holding to full ownership. The common rights allowed intrusion upon the land of the holders, and land holders were not able to consolidate and fence off their holdings. In practice though Parliamentary Enclosure was a seal of approval upon what was a desired arrangement of the land holders. To the degree that people were expropriated that had already happened in the sense that larger land holders held most of the land prior to enclosure. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:48, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree with the person who introduced this point. And I would challenge Rjm at sleepers to name one case prior to the British enclosures in which there was a "system of deeds and titles (instruments of property conveyance), a surveyed and subdivided earth where every square inch has an owner" in any nation. Certainly, much of the developing world still does not meet this criterion (see the article on Hernando de Soto (economist), the Peruvian economist who has flagged this as a central issue for international development.Brett epic (talk) 14:34, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Can you clarify the rules of this challenge? The article is about enclosure in England & Wales. I know nothing about title deeds in the developing world. Also are we talking about something that meets Wikipedia criteria? Anyway let me start by offering Anglo-Saxon Charters Rjm at sleepers (talk) 08:24, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
PS In addition to Anglo-Saxon Charters there are Feet of Fines. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 09:02, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
PPS I am not familiar with any historian that argues enclosure was "the begining of the notion of private property". (Possibly simply ignorance on my part.) Can anyone provide a reference to someone who takes this point of view? Rjm at sleepers (talk) 09:12, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
If the article is about enclosure in England and Wales, perhaps you should entitle it 'Enclosure in England and Wales'? Otherwise what you're saying is quite a bit like saying that an article about 'the industrial revolution' is about the industrial revolution in England and Wales. In other words, it is technically correct, but misses the most important point. I don't know if enclosures were or were not "the beginning of the notion of private property" though an inalienable right to private property (e.g., King and Church can't take it at their whim or will -- do the two examples you cite above pass this test?) is a fairly late concept. In any case, whether they are or not, this article is about an issue that encompasses a far wider geography than England and Wales, and an historical epoch that has not yet ended. Over a billion people still live under property right regimes that look very similar to those of rural farmers in England before the enclosures.
So to answer your question I simply would like to ask you to name one case prior to the British enclosures in which there was a national "system of deeds and titles (instruments of property conveyance), a surveyed and subdivided earth where every square inch has an owner" in any nation?Brett epic (talk) 13:42, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • It is certainly possible to make a case for a change in title, but I don't know of any examples of enclosure outside the British Isles. Perhaps someone can suggest examples from other parts of the world.
  • My examples (Anglo-Saxon Charters and Feet of Fines) demonstrate that the notion of private ownership of land existed in England early - probably before the Conquest, certainly by the 12th century. (However, to be fair, the terminology was different from that which we use today. Land was not owned, it was held. But the notion was the same.)
  • There was certainly a system of deeds and titles in England by the 12th century - see previous bullet. I suspect it was not invented in England, but I don't know where or when it was invented. As far as surveys are concerned, I'm not sure what the relevance is, but there were certainly surveys in England in the 16th century and perhaps in the 9th depending on how you define a survey. But once again, I doubt they were invented in England. I was under the impression that was what Greek geometry was about.
  • I'd be surprised if many people (let alone more than a billion) currently live in a property regime that looks like England before enclosure, but possibly this is my ignorance. Where did you have in mind?
  • However, I'm not sure any of this is relevant. It has very little to do with enclosure. To repeat a point I made earlier, the majority of enclosures in England did not in principle change the ownership of the land, although in the case of the parliamentary enclosures, enclosure did change the location of the land you owned. (Also, I wonder whether you are thinking of the ending of serfdom and the feudal system which was not related to enclosure.) Rjm at sleepers (talk) 17:40, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Enclosure numbers[edit]

Private enclosure had been occurring from Tudor times or before. It has been estimated that in 1700 about half the arable land of Britain was still cultivated on the open-field system. By 1820 there were 'only half a dozen English counties of whose area more than 3% remained to be enclosed from the open-field state by Act of Parliment: and in these a fair part of the remaining work was done before 1830' [1] Before 1760 the number of Acts dealing more specifically with the open-field system (i.e. Acts dealing primarily with arable fields and meadows) did not exceed 130. Between 1760 and 1815 the number rose to upwards of 1800. [2] In 1801 the procedure for statutory enclosure was streamlined by the first General Enclosure Act, which simplified the parliamentary machinery for enclousre of commons, and thus reduced its expense. It has been estimated that between 1727 and 1760 when corn prices were generally low, less than 75,000 acres of common pasture and waste were enclosed by Parliamentary Acts; between 1761-1792 the acreage was not far short of half a million - about 478,000; over the period of the French and Napoleonic Wars it rose to over a million; and in the period of 1816-1845 it fell again to under 200,000 acres. [3]
~ender 2007-06-10 15:00:PM MST

Can we get some citation for those quotations?[edit]

There's a number in this article with no proper citation. The Fwanksta 02:06, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

"The increase in money supply lead..." You mean, "led" - not good for an encyclopedia, however you might spell it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:25, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

"Ownership" of open field strips[edit]

My understanding is that the situation regarding "ownership" of strips was complicated and varied from manor to manor. In many manors, strips were held by copyhold which allowed the strips to be alienated, although a fee would be payable to the lord of the manor. Copyhold strips would be inherited according to "the custom of the manor", but again a fee would be payable. Strips could also be leased for lives. This was clearly not freehold, but did allow land to stay in the same family for many generations - the lease being surrendered for a new one when only one life remained (once again a fee being payable). The circumstances mentioned in the edit summary of the current text where strips were reassigned each year certainly happened in some manors, but as far as I know it was in a minority of manors. By 1750 when the period of major parliamentary enclosure began, many landlords were converting leases for lives to leases for years - typicaly 14 or 21 years. These land owners were not always the lord of the manor.

The question of ownership of strips is further complicated by the fact that the idea of "ownership" of land evolved from Saxon times through to the 20th century and it meant different things at different times.

Grazing rights were also complicated. They typically allowed land owners and house owners to graze animals - on the arable fields after a certain date, on a fallow field if there was one and on a specific area of common land (once again if it existed). In some cases there were stints (restrictions on the number of beasts) and in other cases, grazing rights were unrestricted. Whilst, the right to graze may have been a benefit to those who owned the animals, the animal droppings enriched the soil to the benefit of the land owner. In some manors, villagers were required to graze their animals on the lords land.

The enclosure article is not the best place to explore the workings of the manor, but it is difficult to understand what happened at enclosure without understanding how the system worked before enclosure.

Anyway, if we can agree the underlying situation, we can begin to hammer out an agreed text for this article. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 08:50, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't disagree with any of that – and indeed you clearly know a good deal more about it than me. The thing I was trying to correct was the implication that the only change was putting up a boundary fence around land which was already "owned". From what you say this is effectively what happened in some (but not all) cases – but arguably in these cases the enclosure process had already been going on for some time before the legal coup de grace. I think it's important to make it clear that enclosure was a change in principle, not just putting up a fence. Part of the problem here is the term "ownership", which is hard to use without becoming muddled with modern exclusive ownership concepts.
Can't think of any modern parishes I've looked at (mainly southern England) where there is no common pasture whatever, though it's true that surviving commons are sometimes very small. All modern common rights I've seen have been stinted, except those like my own on the New Forest (which are restricted by headage payment – but a Royal Forest is not an ordinary common). However, this might possibly be an artifact of the 1965 Act or other post-Medieval legislation.
Incidentally, animal droppings only enrich soil if fodder is being brought from elsewhere – if the animals only forage from the land itself, it's the same nutrients going round and round, with less than 100% efficiency. Benefits to the land from grazing (if any) are more likely to be from removal of crop residues, or in the case of aftermath grazing, removal of grass thatch below scythe level, thus maintaining a good mowable sward structure. On pasture, animals also help prevent scrub invasion. --Richard New Forest (talk) 09:59, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
OK. Enclosure was usualy more than putting a boundary fence around an existing holding although that did happen in a small number of examples of non-parliamentary enclosure. Another significant feature was the consolidation of scattered strips into compact units. In addition, enclosure allowed changes in farming practice that would have been difficult otherwise eg individual choice between arable and pastoral, choice of crops, etc. (Interesting point about animal droppings BTW.)
My concerns were to get away from the idea that enclosure created private property where none existed before and that it turned public ownership (of commons for example) into private ownership. How do you feel about the following?
Before enclosure, much of the arable land in the central region of England was organised into an open field system. Enclosure was not simply the fencing of existing holdings, but led to fundamental changes in agricultural practice. Scattered holdings of strips in the common field were consolidated to create individual farms that could be managed independently of other holdings. Prior to enclosure, rights (common rights) were held by land owners and villagers. For example, commoners would have the right to graze their livestock when crops or hay were not being grown, and on common pasture land. The land in a manor under this system would consist of ...
Rjm at sleepers (talk) 10:35, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Looks good.
Does the same not generally apply to common meadows as to open fields? If so, first line would read "much of the arable and haymeadow land", or just "much of the land", and the second sentence would have a similar change.
Not sure about common rights being held by landowners. On a modern common, the freeholder does have rights, but they are not rights as a commoner, just normal landowner's rights. They include rights to minerals and large timber (which are not part of the common rights), but also to any grazing, pannage or other common rights remaining unused by the commoners. Could read: "Prior to enclosure, rights to use the land were shared between land owners and villagers (commoners). For example, commoners would have the right (common right) to graze...". (Confusingly, on modern commons the landowner may sometimes also be a commoner, when they end up with at least a share in both sets of rights. I know one common in Kent where there are just two commoners They are also the joint owners, and they manage the common informally as two separate private fields.)
Two typos & omission of open field link, which I've corrected in your text. --Richard New Forest (talk) 14:46, 6 December 2007 (UTC)


I am about to delete the section entitled poverty. Apart from the fact that it has no citations, I can't see the relevance to enclosure. If anyone wants to reinstate it, it would be helpful to make the link to enclosure clearer. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 20:20, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

What about Gerrard Winstanley? He makes the link between enclosure and poverty, in his "Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England" (1649). He also, incidentally, suggests that enclosure IS a key part of the instigation of private property, which he deplores as the end of the commons and of the land as the "common treasure" that God ordained it to be. Even if Winstanley is not included here or under a "poverty" topic, it seems to me that he and the Digger movement of the mid-1600s should be included somewhere in your Enclosure article. Dhargrove (talk) 03:22, 12 February 2009 (UTC)dhargrove.

Religion and economic life[edit]

At the moment I can't see any reason to retain the section headed religion and economic life, despite a mention of enclosure. Anyone want to argue for its retention? Rjm at sleepers (talk) 20:36, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

No comments supporting that section, so I have deleted it. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 09:33, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Good move – not uninteresting text, but belongs in another article.--Richard New Forest (talk) 16:57, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Revised intro[edit]

I have substantially re-written the intro, which now acknowledges the issues raised by Marxist, marxist and Neo-Marxist historians. I have moved some of the previous intro into a new section that provides an outline history. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 10:53, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Population figures[edit]

Have tagged figure for dubious. I'm going to check with sources. Itsmejudith (talk) 09:18, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Needs to be more chronological[edit]

The article would be better if it were more chronological. The sections on the 1607 riots are followed by a section on the medieval period (which also discusses explanations for enclosure that don't blame landlords). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mdmcginn (talkcontribs) 02:06, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Enclosure (philosophical connections)[edit]

This could be either quite a far stretch to argue or a plainly obvious realization, but has anyone ever come across work that draws "philosophical" connections between justifications for enclosure and those for racial segregation? Worth investigating, I think. For example, at the complicated intersections between a Newtonian philosophy of science, economics and Darwinism. Any directions that can be offered would be greatly appreciated. --Kenneth M Burke (talk) 14:19, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I confess that this is pretty much off the cuff, but, I would see that as "quite a far stretch to argue", and possibly based on a non-UK perspective...? My thoughts here are essentially prima facie - but, in the UK, thoughts of "racial segregation" are anachronistic in relation the Enclosures. Class segregation, as an acceptable, even desirable (but perhaps less than entirely calculated) by-product of Enclosure, might be a different matter...! Certainly it may be that Welsh & Scots can be seen as victims primarily of English landed interests at different times, but I'm not sure that those interests would have cared two hoots whether they were dealing with English, Welsh, Scots, Irish or Matabele. See the quotes from Thompson, & from Chambers & Mingay, given in the first three paragraphs. I say this only on the basis that you asked for "Any directions that can be offered"! And, obviously, I'm genuinely inviting anyone who has strongly differing ideas to pipe up with any thoughts on this interesting idea! Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 20:49, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Didn't mean to come out of nowhere there. Really, I was just kinda throwing it out for discussion, thanks for input. You bring up interesting points that might lead in some directions. There are a lot of strong commonalities in the Darwinist thought underpinning racism against the Irish and the racism against blacks in the United States. Segregation of blacks was at its worst in nineteenth century cities like St. Louis where a lot of different ideas were being thrown around in philosophical societies as the city's industrial machine was gearing up. I should do some library work on it. Thanks again. --Kenneth M Burke (talk) 01:22, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I suggest to have a look on [1] A Dance Called America: Scottish Highlands, the United States and Canada, by James Hunter. According him, racist prejudice played a role in the old country and cultural paralles between Highland scots and american indians stimulated a quick adaptation of scottish immingrants into tribal societies. Since it were often men (fur hunters, trappers) that married into the indian aristocracy, scottish family names, at least according Hunter are quite common among several tribes e.g. the Nez Perces. --Polentario (talk) 00:31, 18 January 2009 (UTC)


Under the sub heading of anti-enclosure legislation, it says "and to ensure the Crown received its half of the" where it breaks off and the next sub section is started. Could someone please finish the sentence?----Hannahcronin (talk) 08:45, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Role of Forestry[edit]

I lack the influence of converting forests into meadows and pastures. The commons comprised as well forestry rights, not only use of common meadows. The UK has a dsignificant different amount of forests (8%) compared to German speaking countries (around one third) and I assume its due to enclosures in the forest segment. --Polentario (talk) 19:46, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Too unequivocal[edit]

"From 1450 to 1630, economies expanded alongside increasing poverty. The social framework of the manorial estate – and that of medieval society in general, including the town guilds of the burghers – was falling away. The old order had been centered on religious, theocentric values of continuity, stability, security and cooperative effort. These goods were accompanied by the ills of intolerance of change, rigid social stratification, little development, and a high degree of poverty."
I think that this analysis is a bit simplistic. Enclosure brought arguably much greater social stratfication, and greater poverty (at least in the short-term; the article itself says that it saw an increase in the number of vagrants). Yohan euan o4 (talk) 19:50, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

It wasn't slavery?[edit]

Do you really mean to tell me that these Enclosures were never called or considered slavery? The few rich people (elites; nobles; etc BS) owned everything & left the masses to starve! And that wasn't slavery? It's amazing! Didn't anyone say it was slavery? Stars4change (talk) 20:48, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Not just the enclosures... Only owners of property could vote until 1867, and only householders until 1918 (and of course only men until 1928) – see Suffrage. Slavery itself (serfdom) was widespread in the Middle Ages, and it was only by the beginning of the 17th century that it had died out altogether in Britain (see Slavery in Britain and Ireland).
There were a few people at the time of the enclosures who did speak up for the disempowered poor – for example William Cobbett, and the poet John Clare, himself a farm labourer. I'm not sure if they used the term "slavery", but they did point out the injustice – it made little difference though. The way the British establishment treated the people of their colonies was not so very different to how they treated their own population. But then which modern society could be described as entirely fair...? Richard New Forest (talk) 22:22, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Enclosure bears no relation to slavery. The villeins (serfs) under the feudal system were not slaves either, though they had few rights, they were not free to leave the manor and they had to labor on the lord's property and provide other services to the lord.Phmoreno (talk) 03:39, 5 March 2014 (UTC)


Surely the wide ranging Normans and other English were early aware of the problems the latifundia caused that earlier society, Rome. parallels could be noted for excellant effect. Wblakesx (talk) 19:53, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

material removed[edit]

I have removed the following interesting material that does nor seem to be related to enclosure.

The plague and population change[edit]

From 1347-52, plague (mainly the 'Black Death') devastated European society, initially killing 25 million people—a third of the total population. Labour shortages led to depression and revolts as peasants demanded higher wages but were denied them. Smaller outbreaks of plague continued until 1600 or so—in 1556-60 a bout of plague reduced the English population by 6%—but in the late fifteenth-sixteenth centuries there was an immense overall population increase. By 1500, England had recovered from plague deaths so that the population was about 5 million again, as it was in 1300. By 1700 England's population reached 9 million.[dubious ] From 1500 to 1600, the City of London grew 400% to a high of about 200,000 people.

From 1450 to 1630, economies expanded alongside increasing poverty. The social framework of the manorial estate – and that of medieval society in general, including the town guilds of the burghers – was falling away. The old order had been centered on religious, theocentric values of continuity, stability, security and cooperative effort. These goods were accompanied by the ills of intolerance of change, rigid social stratification, little development, and a high degree of poverty.

Rjm at sleepers (talk) 18:37, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

The above text doesn't make the connection - but I do see the black death as an important event in the history of enclosure -- as I understand the history (which is largely indebted to Yelling and then the marxists Brenner and Comninel -- the relative decline in population after the black death created a situation where lords held land that could only be farmed according to the precepts of common right, but without the requisite commoners to do this work. These conditions made conversion from arable to pasture highly desireable - as it was impossible to generate income on common land devoid of commoners. However, in order to convert arable to pasture, enclosure was necessary. hence - the depopulation of the black death created a huge financial incentive to accelerate enclosure. Just a thought. Jesseg1026 (talk) 19:05, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

restructuring of this article[edit]

I would like to propose the following:

1) A new article on Tudor enclosures consisting initially of material from this article. In this article there would be a short summary and a link to the new article;

2) Similarly, a new article on parliamentary enclosures, with a short summary and link to this article;

3) In the longer term, an article reviewing the marxist and alternative views of enclosure.

Rjm at sleepers (talk) 08:50, 12 October 2009 (UTC)


section "Enclosure riots": Can whoever alluded to Hutchins specify which Hutchins is meant? That'd be nice. (talk) 03:07, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Specific example of enclosure triggered riots[edit]

In November 1833, Ely intended to apply for Acts of Parliament to enclose the lands of Little Thetford. Officials arrived in the village armed with nothing more than a notice to be pinned on the Church of England's St. George's church door. They were prevented from doing so by a dozen villagers. The officials returned later with ten constables, having been authorised by Ely magistrates. This time, the officials were met with one hundred and fifty stick wielding protesters, who continued to prevent due process. When the clergyman, Henry Harvey Barber, arrived the following afternoon, he was prevented from carrying out his normal Sunday service. Villagers may have rebelled against the church at this time, perhaps believing it was acting on behalf of the establishment in the enclosure acts. This event may have been the trigger that, five years later, encouraged a strong Baptist following amongst the poorer villagers. About half the total area of Little Thetford were eventually enclosed in 1844, seven-years after those of [nearby] Stretham.

Summarised by User:Senra from St. George's Church, Little Thetford, History 

Pugh, R.B. (1953), The Victoria History of the Counties of England, Vol 4, Ely public libary: Oxford University Press, p. 152 

--Senra (talk) 12:25, 11 June 2010 (UTC) The

Practical concern[edit]

I just wrote an expression of concern at Talk:Oliver Goldsmith#The Deserted Village, when I was aware of Inclosure Acts. Then I started to edit Discussion of Inclosure Acts, and ran a Google search on "enclosures" to recapture some references, and found this page. I am shocked that someone using WP can find Inclosure Acts without being made aware of present article. I think the duplication negates the basic principle of indexing, cataloguing and such like activities that use authority lists. Enclosure is the term used today. Inclosure Acts covers (or rather doesn't cover) material that should be here. I see no reason for Inclosure Acts besides a redirect to here. As regards NPOV, I have put comment on that in Talk:Oliver Goldsmith#The Deserted Village and Talk:Inclosure Acts, already. It is simply that OUP online gives plethora of quotes from different books about enclosure over the ages. [2]. These range from Marxist to anti-Marxist opinions. The actual 1773 act is at [3] . Some bibliographic database searches to get an idea of extent of current research within different disciplines would be useful. So would link from here to Oliver Goldsmith#Deserted Village, maybe have section "Enclosure in literature". Michael P. Barnett (talk) 02:45, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Inclosure Acts covers the same material as this article, in less depth. I propose it be redirected here instead. Wizzy 07:20, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

The material is fresh in my memory, so herewith suggestion for minimal effort copy editing to merge.

1. Change redirect from Enclosure Act to jump here instead of Inclosure Acts.

2. Change section heading ==Parliamentary Enclosure and open fields== to ==Parliamentary Enclosure==

3. Transplant, from [[Inclosure Acts]], to follow the second paragraph under ==Parliamentary Enclosure== the text of the introduction, the text under ==Marxist interpretation== and the actual list of acts with references, as text, (NOT hyperlinks).

4. Transplant the note and publication references.

5. Put the new heading ==Open fields above the paragraph "Marxist historians ..." (now the 3rd paragraph after the present ==Parliamentary Enclosure and open fields==

6. Edit out the sentences that repeat earlier statements in the expanded article, before anyone starts complaining.

7. Redirect from Inclosure Acts to here.

8. Wipe out the empty articles on individual acts. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 17:00, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

I think that before any changes are made, we need to look at the larger picture. I note that this article has a warning that it does not represent a worldwide view, and indeed it deals largely with UK history. This issue has been unresolved since 2008. In my view, I think a better resolution would be to merge most of the material from here to Inclosure Acts (to deal with the UK specifics in that article), and expand this article to deal with the worldwide issues of enclosure in a moregeneral manner, and linking to Inclosure Acts as necessary. Derek Andrews (talk) 17:04, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose for same reason as I stated at Talk:Inclosure Acts#Merge proposal: the two articles are clearly about different things (it is self-evidently not true that they cover the same material). However, I think Derek's suggestions have merit: material in this article which refers primarily to the Acts could usefully be moved to the Inclosure Acts article. Richard New Forest (talk) 18:18, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Unresolvable problem[edit]

A classicist just told me the system of notes and references used here is standard in the humanities. It is very confusing to scientists before they realize what is being done. And someone asked way back in this Discussion if Enclosures as applied to loudspeakers should be primary connotation. As a one-time faculty member of MIT Physics who taught Magnetism and Electricity, please DO NOT. This article has human interest. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 17:00, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Reordering of sections[edit]

The current arrangement is rather poor in presenting the background and key points. It is also too much in chronological order, such as the ant-enclosure legislation and riots being before Parliamentary enclosure, where we finally learn about the commonfield system. Unless someone can suggest a better format I plan to rearrange it by putting the explanation of the field systems closer to the lede, along with an explanation of why enclosure was important, followed by Tudor and Parliamentary enclosures. Anti enclosure movements can go near the end, along with Marx's view.Phmoreno (talk) 03:12, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

I disagree. Chronological only makes sense. If you feel discussion of common property needs more discussion near the lede, I could agree with that. I'm not sure that requires a full scale re-order. Make changes and we can revert as needed. Chris Troutman (talk) 03:57, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Chronological may be the proper way to do a history section, but it is poor communication style. A well written article gives an overview of the key points with explanations of their importance and arranges it into a logical presentation of the facts. As presently written, this article fails to do that.Phmoreno (talk) 14:00, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ J. H. Clapham, _An Economic History of Modern Britain, vol I_ (1939), p.19
    • ^ Lord Ernie, _English Farming Past and Present_, p.163
    • ^ G. Slater, _The English Peasantry and the Enclosure of the Common Fields_ (1907), p.267