Aspects of parliamentary enclosure in Nottinghamshire.
2015-11-19T09:12:50Z (GMT) by
This study of Nottinghamshire parliamentary enclosure is concerned chiefly with the practiced administration of enclosure and its social consequences rather than with post-enclosure agrarian improvements. The considerable diversity to be found within the parliamentary process has been stressed, especially with regard to the regulation of the physical enclosure of land. All the acts and awards for Nottinghamshire rural parishes have been examined, and the majority of the awards analysed to illustrate the varied distribution of land. The chronology and density of parliamentary enclosure in this county have also been determined, but doubts are cast upon the feasibility of relating the dates of acts to contemporary economic developments. A survey of opposition to local enclosure has been undertaken, and attention has been given to the possibility of enclosure-related employment and the probable condition of the landless labourer or small owner. In addition, the accounts of overseers' of the poor have been examined in an attempt to clarify the relationship between enclosure and increased expenditure upon the poor. Results from this investigation are inconclusive, but receipts from standard poor-rate levies have revealed both the increased value of property at enclosure and the fact that such enhanced valuation could be effective at an early stage of the process. Finaliy, the costs of a sample of Nottinghamshire enclosures have been estimated, and although local evidence would appear to suggest that basic fencing materials were cheaper than has sometimes been supposed, it is concluded that general enclosure expenses have probably been underestimated. Attention has also been drawn to the large allotments which were awarded in many parishes as compensation for tithe. This diminution of the amount of land available for general allocation is regarded as a further expense of enclosure for those proprietors whose acreage was thereby reduced.