Enclosure transformed the old open fields and common lands of England to create the modern rural landscape. It changed forever the life of many villages, but provided food for a rapidly rising population. Its methods and consequences were controversial - many rural poor lost their access to land - and the subject is still a cause of dispute. Gordon Mingay's authoritative survey guides the reader through the complexities of the topic. He describes the processes by which land was reorganised and analyses the impact of enclosure regionally. Throughout he stresses the extent of local variation which make the subject so complex.

chapter 1|6 pages


chapter 2|25 pages

The Anatomy of Enclosure

chapter 3|23 pages

The Objectives of Enclosure

chapter 4|28 pages

The Process of Parliamentary Enclosure

chapter 5|19 pages

The Gains of Parliamentary Enclosure

chapter 6|22 pages

The Costs of Parliamentary Enclosure

chapter 7|24 pages

Parliamentary Enclosure and the Cottager

chapter 8|11 pages

Conclusion: The Continuing Debate