Enclosure Acts and Awards

This is a source of information which greatly benefits researchers, in which land was owned, managed and recorded throughout the ages.

But, it is not the intention here to discuss details of Open Field systems, Strip Farming or the requirements of the Enclosure Acts;

that information may be obtained freely from reference libraries.

Most of my research is related to the West country and I have found that the Enclosure Acts can form an important part in that research to discover where and how our early families lived.

Most County Record Offices will have the original Awards records which consist of a very large map and an itemised list of owners and occupiers. 

It is noteworthy that some place names are still known locally whilst some have disappeared from living memory.

Enclosure of land has its history from 1517-18 with the "Domesday of Inclosure" which showed what lands were involved; but in only six or seven counties, being widely ignored.

The 17th century saw a revival until the 18th century when private acts of parliament were enacted for various areas between 1750 to 1850.

In 1836 the "General Inclosure Act" came in force and a further act in 1845 setting up a board of Inclosure Commissioners.

Further reading is recommended from "The Dictionary of Genealogy" by Terrick VH FitzHugh published by Alpha Books 1985.