The Enclosure Act

Enclosure (often shown as the old spelling Inclosure) of land through the mutual agreement of landowners began during the 16th century. During the 18th century, enclosures were regulated by Parliament; a separate Act of Enclosure was required for each village that wished to enclose its land. In 1801, Parliament passed a General Enclosure Act, which enabled any village, where three-quarters of the landowners agreed, to enclose its land.

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The village of Holme-next-the-Sea began the process of enclosure in 1811 and finally produced its "Inclosure Award" in 1827.

The sub-menu at the top of this page will take you to several web pages where you can read the vast amount of information and detail that was produced during the Holme-next-the-Sea "Inclosure Award" process. Sadly, it is not possible to provide the reader with a modern language version nor a copy that is viewable in a word processing app! However, using the zoom feature on your PC or laptop you should be able to understand much of what has been recorded. (Please do be patient when the images are downloading as the files are rather large.)

The original "Inclosure Award" books for Holme-next-the-Sea are now held by the Norfolk Record Office and we should thank the Holme-next-the-Sea Parish Council for arranging for the purchase of the images of every page in those books.

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Here is a summary of the whole enclosure process generally adopted before 1801 which should give some idea of why it was felt necessary for such a radical transformation of the ownership of land to even be attempted and also a description of the effects and impacts resulting from the act.

Enclosure of land

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Here are a few links for those seeking more information:

"A Short History of Enclosure in Britain" by Simon Fairlie

"Enclosing the Land" On the UK Parliament website

How to look for records of the Enclosure awards - The National Archives website