Encloseure was used for many reasons, it was used to divide land and also protect and keep the animals from wandering too far. Enclosure made it a lot easier for farmers to heard the animals espesialy sheep and cows. Sheep were a big part of the ecomomy in Europe at this time and as new ways were developed to better care for them the better farmers did.
The enclosure movement was a movement in which landowners closed off
public lands in order to better organize and keep track of land and animals.
It also served the purpose of closing off the land they owned from that
which was previously shared with peasant farmers. This movement began around
two centuries ago and continued up until the early 19th Century, although the
method of enclosing dates back to medieval times. The enclosure movement
began in Britain, and had its biggest effect on the Midlands East Angila and
Central England. . It also spread to many other European countries such as
Russia, Hungary, Germany, France, and Denmark.
There were several methods used by farmers to enclose their land. The
most popular methods were putting up drystone walls. This method involved
farmers building stone walls entirely without any type of mortar. Another
method was growing hedges. This method was particularly popular in the
lowlands part of Britain. Wooden fences also became a practical way of
closing off land.
Though the enclosure movement was practical in organizing land among
wealthy landowners it also had a negative impact on peasant farmers. It
caused massive urbanization as many farmers were forced to give up their
shares of the land to wealthy landowners and move into the cities in search
of work. A good amount of these farmers were unsuccessful and lived in
poverty with their families because there was not enough work. Families who
held land by custom were unable to produce legal documents proving their
ownership. What had once been traditional access to public lands used to get
firewood, fruit, nuts and "pig fodder" were now taken away.
On the positive side, there were many farmers who gained from enclosing.
More productive ways of farming were developed. Farms that were small and
practically unprofitable came into the market. Some farmers whose farms had
been yielding no profits, were able to work on large farms to support their
families. There was a general increase in food being produced. They
improved the health of the general population, especially of those who lived
in towns and cities.
Certain landowners in the 1830's, like Charles Townsend, showed that by
enclosing land into large compact blocks, instead of scattered strips, saved
time while farming and also avoided wasting land between strips. New and
larger farming machinery, such as the seed drill, became more useful with
enclosure. Also, experimental methods such as "four-field" crop rotation
could be used more effectively.
The enclosure movement had spread through Europe like wildfire, starting
in Britain. It sparked ideas onto the minds of large landowners and peasants
alike. Although the enclosure movement caused great hardship to some and
brought abundant futures to others, it was a great turning point in history.
It brought on new ideas and ways of working. It helped factories and
industry grow in a whole new way.
"Enclosure", Funk & Wagnalls Corporation, 1994 ed.
"Enclosure", The Hutchinson Encyclopedia, 1998 ed.
Gray, S., "Enclosure", 1995. URL:http://www.multiamedia.calpoly.edu/
libarts/call/enclsoures.html (22 Nov. 1999)
Lowe, V., "Photo of Drystone Wall, South Pennines", 1997. URL:http://www.
vlec.u-net.com/mono/mono-01.html (22 Nov. 1999)
McCarthy, E.J., "The Enclosure Movement-20th Century version", The
Progressive Populist, 1999. URL:http://www.populist.com/ 3.96.McCarthy.html
(22 Nov. 1999).