12. Formal and Informal Enclosures in Hampshire, 1700-1900

12. Formal and Informal Enclosures in Hampshire, 1700-1900
Hampshire Papers 12: Formal and Informal Enclosures in Hampshire, 1700-1900
by John Chapman and Sylvia Seeliger (1997)

Although Hampshire's countryside has undergone continuous change over many centuries, much of what we see in the rural landscapes of today is a product of the enclosure processes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1700 open arable fields were a major feature throughout the county, and open commons and wastes dominated much of the rest. By 1900, the former had been abolished and the commons had been greatly reduced. The process by which such a transformation was achieved was known as 'enclosure', but this term hides a number of different methods, both formal and informal. People tend to think of enclosure purely in terms of parliamentary acts, but in Hampshire much of the work was achieved by other means. Private agreements accounted for many, but a substantial acreage was dealt with through a variety of highly informal arrangements. This paper details the working of these processes and traces the spread of enclosure in all its various forms within the county. It examines the effect on the landscape, looks at some of the social effects, and demonstrates that Hampshire differed quite significantly from the 'classical' picture of the enclosure movement derived from studies of the Midland counties. Illustrated with examples of maps and other enclosure documents, it also includes a useful checklist of enclosure acts and agreements for the county.

Physical description 295mm x 210mm; softback; 24 pages.
Published in 1997 by Hampshire County Council.

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