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.
1. Introduction. 2. The Anatomy of Enclosure. 3. The Objectives of Enclosure. 4. The Process of Parliamentary Enclosure. 5. The Gains of Enclosure. 6. The Costs of Parliamentary Enclosure. 7. Enclosure and the Cottager. Conclusion: the continuing debate.