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Watchfield & Bourton Enclosure Award 1789

Most villages in England were at some stage within the 17th & 18th centuries, were subjected to what was known as Enclosure. This was a government initiative designed to replace the old mediaeval system of land ownership, boundaries, paths and ways, with a more formal layout and definitive statement as to who owned what. The subsequent scroll (or roll, or membrane) that was produced contain an extraordinary amount of detail of the lands, roads and footpaths within the parish and represent most of the layout of the landscape that we see today. There was much negotiation and exchanging, whereby people literally swapped parcels of land and agreed to forgo rights and rents in exchange for use of other lands.

Copies of these rolls are held at the National and County Archives and most have been photographed and made available to researchers on microfilm. The late Mervyn Penny paid for a copy of the Watchfield & Bourton Award from 1789 and this copy is now stored in Chest2. Also digital photos are available in higher resolution upon request.







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