First private parliamentary enclosure act (173 words)

Historical Context Note

  • Editors


The first ever private bill to enclose common land was brought to the House of Lords on 25 February 1710 and passed on 17th March. It concerned Ropley Commons, near Farnham, in the bishopric of Winchester, Hampshire. It was protested in the House of Commons on 23rd March 1710 on behalf of the freeholders, copyholders and leaseholders, and an appeal lodged against it on 3 February 1711. The Act, however, stood. This act was the first of the many thousands of such acts which would be brought across the next two centuries, converting common land into the private holdings of wealthy landowners, a process which signalled the conversion of the countryside into private property, and the slow abolition of customary rights which had been …

Editors. "First private parliamentary enclosure act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 January 2010
[, accessed 25 October 2016.]