Enclosure FAQs:

Q: Was enclosure sometimes accompanied by force?

A: Yes, and resistance, and bloodshed, and remains among the most controversial areas of agricultural and economic history in England.

Q: Were enclosures largely an exchange and consolidation of land?

A: Yes, and exchange not otherwise possible under the legal system.

Q: Was enclosure seen as the most cost-effective method of creating a legally binding settlement?

A: Yes.

Q: Was enclosure an important factor in the reduction of small landholders in England?

A: Yes, as compared to the Continent, though others believe that this process had already begun from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Q: Were enclosures conducted by agreement among the landholders throughout the seventeenth century?

A: Yes, enclosure by Parliamentary Act began in the eighteenth century.

Q: Was enclosure not itself an offense, but where it was accompanied by the destruction of houses, half the profits would go to the Crown until the lost houses were rebuilt?

A: Yes, In 1515, conversion from arable to pasture became an offense.

Q: Was enclosure frequent at that time?

A: Yes.

Q: Were enclosures seen as the cause of inflation?

A: Yes, and not the outcome.

Q: Is enclosure considered one of the causes of the British Agricultural Revolution?

A: Yes.

Q: Were enclosures by means of local acts of Parliament?

A: Yes, and called the Inclosure Acts.

Q: Was enclosure largely complete?

A: Yes, and in most areas just leaving a few pasture commons and village greens, and the foreshore below the high-tide mark.

Q: Were enclosures often undertaken unilaterally by the landowner?

A: Yes.

Q: Was enclosure not simply the fencing of existing holdings?

A: Yes, but led to fundamental changes in agricultural practice.

Q: Was enclosure also frequent at that time?

A: Yes.

Q: Was enclosure also used for the division and privatisation of common "wastes"?

A: Yes, such as fens, marshes, heathland, downland, moors.