Enclosing the open and common land of Carbrooke & Watton

The Enclosure Acts were a series of UK Acts of Parliament which enclosed open fields and common land in the country, creating legal property rights to land that was previously considered common. Between 1604 and 1914, over 5,200 individual acts were put into place, enclosing 6.8 million acres. lumenlearning

There are many detailed accounts of the enclosure acts online, but in brief, a series of parliamentary acts allowed landowners to buy and enclose (with hedges), common and waste land.

This took away the common rights to graze livestock, fish or collect firewood, which increased poverty among the rural poor and encouraged many to leave the countryside.

However it greatly increased
food production, essential to feed the growing population of Britain.

For more information here are a number of links –


Parliament Uk

National Archives

The Land Magazine

Carbrooke and Watton Enclosures

The Heritage Group have started transcribing the Enclosure awards for Carbrooke and Watton (1803). This is a useful way of discovering the history of land and property ownership from 1803, more recent land divisions and sales, may often be included in modern deeds, to discover more of the history of our land and homes.

Some of these pieces of land had names, some of which survive and others, lost in the mists of time.

By 1803, some of the land within the parishes of Carbrooke and Watton was inextricably linked and owned from ancient times under the ‘Manor’ system. The Enclosure award details were given under the word “Inclosure”.

There were 115 different award details, some to large scale land owners, others to trustees and some to private individuals.

To make it easier to navigate, the Enclosure award details have been split as follows –

Enclosure notice and list of claimants.

Claim 1 The Right Honourable Katherine Baroness Dowager Howard de Walden & Braybrooke.

Claim 2 The Rev. John Fairfax Franklin, clerk, Trustee for Elizabeth, Wife of Benjamin Barker, Esq.

Claim 3 – 39 In progress

Claims 40 – 67 Various

Claims 68 – 87 Various

Claims 88 – 115 Various.

Guide to terms used in the Inclosure document.