About this image
(Please note that this is a poor quality photographic print of the map, and, as such will not reproduce very well). This map was probably done as an 'enclosure map'. Enclosure was the separation of a piece of land from neighbouring land by putting a hedge or fence around it. Usually the land would either have been part of a larger open field or a piece of the village common. The process of enclosing parts of large fields had been going on for many hundreds of years, but reached a peak around the late 1700's-early 1800's. It could be done by agreement among the landowners involved. However Parliamentary enclosure meant the whole process was formalised. If a landowner wanted to enclose land in their parish then they would get a private Act of Parliament. The Act would appoint commissioners who would visit the parish, have it surveyed and hear the claims of those holding land in open fields or having rights of access to the common. The commissioners would then enclose the open fields. Each landowner would be given one plot of land equal in size to the areas he formally held in separate units. The commissioners would also divide the common. The amount each individual landowner was given would depend on their total landholdings in the parish and the amount of access they had to the common. The commissioners' decisions were published in the form of an enclosure award and map. The map shows what is explained in detail in the award. There is no set format for the enclosure maps because each map was drawn up under its own Act of Parliament. Enclosure maps are accurate surveys and can be compared with later maps and aerial photographs. It is usual for the names of landowners to be written on to the map. Names of occupiers are not normally given. Parliamentary Enclosure Acts often included other changes apart from the enclosure of open or common land. Landowners exchanged areas of land among themselves, usually to group their holdings more closely together. Public roads, bridleways and paths were laid out and distinguished from private ones. Stone, gravel or chalk pits would be allocated. Where a common was being enclosed, a piece would be reserved for the poor to gather fuel, usually called the poors' land or firing land. The scales used by the surveyors of the inclosure maps varied between 5 chains to 1 inch (39.60 metres to 1 centimetre) and 8 chains to 1 inch (63.36 metres to 1 centimetre). Occasionally smaller or larger scales are found.