Inclosure 1798-1802

Hilary Roadley

Map showing Harston enclosures around the village centre
Cambridge Archives

The inclosure bill

The inclosure bill proposed in 1796 for Harston was strongly opposed by the smaller resident landowners while the absentee landlords supported it, as did the only one large resident landowner. The notification of the bill in 1797 caused rioting among the labourers, and a yeomanry detachment sent to take the ringleader was attacked and pursued back to Cambridge after his arrest. The bill was passed in 1798, the fields were divided early in 1800, and the award was executed in 1802.

Who gained?

The large landowners obviously got the most but some smaller landowners got such small amounts of land in compensation for losing their rights to common areas that they were too poor to hedge, drain and cultivate them and often sold up. Following inclosure Harston was divided into 4-5 large farms and 8-10 smaller holdings. The Wale family who held Tiptoft Manor quickly sold up their large estate to consolidate their land in Little Shelford; the Taylors then Rowleys taking over. The number of sheep fell but several orchards containing about 800 trees were planted after inclosure, most west of the Cambridge Road.

The large Green area that ran along the High St northwards towards Cambridge was enclosed and added to the smaller enclosed strips to the west which can be seen on the map. These were probably the original strips that were farmed under the 3 field system. The houses that were previously edging the Green then became set back some distance from the road and the older houses of the village still remain so. These newly enclosed areas of Green that became gardens were not copyhold of the Manors as they had previously been common land.

This page was added on 08/11/2015.

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