An Introduction to the Enclosure Act 1760

Coddington's Enclosure Act was quite an early Parliamentary Act enclosure. Enclosures before the 18th Century had largely been on land suitable for putting down to grass for sheep and cattle husbandry. Early local enclosures at Cotham, Hawton and Langford were of this type. The Act also refers to an 'old enclosure' in Coddington, held by Elizabeth Heron and next to marshland.

The four open fields in Coddington were called Berkley's Field, Green Field, Stonepit Field and Pelmore Hill Field. The Common may have been on the Great Moor or the marshy ground of Old and New Carr. Coddington's land is clayey to the west and sandy to the east. The subsoil is blue lias limestone, marl and gravel. We do not have a map showing the open fields and the plan which accompanied the enclosure act cannot be found. However, a map showing the enclosure grants, of unknown provenance on an early 20thC OS map has been filed in Nottinghamshire Archives. The map can be found in the website gallery {insert link}. 

Enclosures of the 18th Century were usually to promote more efficient arable farming; in Nottinghamshire they were often on clay or heavier corn-growing land in the Trent Valley. In sand and forest areas they were usually to enclose commons, waste or land on the edge of parishes. Where there were only a few landowners, enclosures could be arranged more informally without an expensive Act - these tended to be done earlier.


Land Tax Assessment of Coddington in 1700 listed 37 taxable proprietors. Almost all the landowners in 1760 held both freehold and copyhold land. The House of Common Committee determined that nineteen mesuages and fifteen cottages were likely to be affected by the enclosure of Coddington's fields.

The Act petitioners included Thomas Heron (Steward of the Manor of Newark), the vicar Thomas Wakefield, three yeoman farmers Stephen and John Ashwell and John Cooper, Charles Reynolds (Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral who held land in Coddington) and his lessee Thomas Howard who received the Great Tythe. Opposition in Coddington was said to have been limited - only old Mrs Birkett (mother to Samuel and William who received land) and Joseph Wingfield objected.

Charges for the 7 Commissioners with legal and parliamentary fees came to a total of £870 for Coddington's Enclosure. In addition were surveying costs, and the material and labour costs of new roads, ditches, culverts, fences, hedges etc to the standards laid down in the award. In general, for those losing grazing rights on the common and receiving only small allocations the costs of enclosure could be too high - they were often forced to sell their allocations and become agricultural workers. Rents might also increase as the value of the'improved land' rose.

26 people were granted land allocations in Coddington?s Award. See Text of Enclosure Award for details of where the lands awarded were.

These 11 people received most land:



5. Elizabeth Heron

250a 1r 26p

4. Thomas Heron

163a 1r 36p

6. Christopher Nevile

228a 3r 26p

2. Prebend vis East Stoke/ Dr Charles Reynolds

213a 1r 34p

3.Thomas Wakefield /Vicar of East Stoke

31a 0r 1p

7.Stephen Ashwell (Elder)

Stephen Ashwell (Younger)

172a 0r 28p

21a 0r 13p

8.John Ashwell

77a 3r 10p

9. Jane Ashwell

27a 1r 34p

10. Wm Birkett

142a 3r 4p

11. Samuel Birkett

94a 3r 19p

12. Rev Bernard Wilson

98a 3r 23p

13 For the Poor (Trustees - John Ashwell & John Cooper)

87a 2r 5p

This was the land allocated as a result of Joseph Birche's 1738 Charity, which became the basis of Charity Farm. Earnings from this land were used for many purposes, including poor relief, a subsidy for the National and Chapel schools, and in the 20th Century to build the almshouses.

9 people received 55 - 20 acres:

14.Wm Pocklington

53a 3r

15. Thomas Pratt

28a 0r 33p

19 Thomas Pratt Jnr.

5a 1r 29p

18. Ann Hardy

28a 2r 19p

16. Thomas Goss

24a 0r 18p

7 villagers received less than 20acres:

17. Sarah Wingfield

16a 2r 38p

22. George Carby

15a 3r 19p

23. Mayor and Aldermen of Newark

14a 1r 20p

24. Ormsby Anderton

11a 2r 2p

20. John Cooper

9a 3r 38p

21. Thomas Waite


25. John Starnell

8a 2r 18p

26. Waites and Hough

8a 2r 5p

1.Earl of Lincoln


(The number refers to the order of the awards in the Act.)

By 1780 the Herons no longer held land in Coddington (we think that they must have sold the estate to the Colcloughs, or the Fishers); the Ashwell holding was rising and the Birkett holding declining. The Nevile holding remained high but his land was let to tenants. We do not know how the smaller owners fared but by 1780 a Hough and a Hardy still held land but there was no Wingfield holding.


Hugh Daybell: Copy of the Coddington Enclosure Act. 2004

Jill Nesbitt: Aspects of 18th and 19th Century Coddington. 1973

JD Chambers: Nottingham in the 18th Century. 1966

P Lyth: A History of Nottinghamshire Farming.