8 - The Parliamentary Enclosures

From Three Acres And A Cow
Jump to: navigation, search
  • burden of tax removed/reduced from land and merchants/manufacturers and passed on to goods consumed by the masses
  • no monarchy or church to object/get in the way of enclosing common land any more
  • later enclosures were not for sheep but large farmers using new expensive techniques forcing out the rest
  • wool less valuable due to empire providing lots of cotton via slavery and exploitation of India
  • 1/3 population move from countryside into towns 1790-1830

songs, poems, quotes and stories

  • The Mores by John Clare (many of his other poems too)
  • The Leane by William Barnes

washing line 1700-1850 Parliamentary Enclosures

Sample Text

Now that the church and the monarchy are out of the way, the timeless myth that 'what is good for the economy benefits everyone' was used to legitimise many more land grabbing enclosures. The process has even been formalised making these land grabs official with the help of a lawyer and a quick trip to London.

These enclosures were no longer for sheep as slavery and empire meant a steady flow of cheap cotton was replacing wool as the raw material for clothes. The land was now wanted for new farms making use of expensive new techniques, tools and machines which were more easily and quickly adopted by wealthy large land owners at the expense of everyone else.

This period is referred to as the 'Parliamentary Enclosures' and it sees a massive increase in the speed of enclosing, fencing and hedging off common land which had previously been managed and used communally by the local rural communities.

The breakdown of the already very fragile rural economies quickly followed as many people relied on common land for housing, grazing their animals, collecting wood for fuel and building materials and foraging for food. This lead to the largest migration in English history from 1790-1830 as around a third of the countries population moved from the countryside often into slums in nearby towns and cities.

One person who documents his feelings about this and it's effect of his community is the Peasant writer John Clare who was literally driven to the brink of sanity and beyond as all the land around him which he had freely roamed as a youth was fenced off and privatised.