1765AD Northampton Mercury Reports
Protest Against Enclosures
Enclosure is the process by which common land is converted to private land. Early enclosure was enacted by the landowners but in the 18th and 19th Centuries enclosure happened by an Act of Parliament.

The first Parliamentary enclosures began around 1750, and these were probably one of the contributing factors of the Agricultural Revolution. In 1765, in West Haddon 800 acres (over 3 km²) of common land was enclosed. A little while later at the end of July, an innocent looking advert in the Northampton Mercury invited people to join in a football game. About a week later the true nature of this game becomes apparent: the Mercury reports that the people who gathered turned into an unruly mob that tore up the new enclosure fences as well as committing other acts of criminal violence. The image shows the Parliamentary Act that led to the enclosing of land in West Haddon.

Want to know more? - come and see some of the enclosure maps at the record office

See also:
1607: The Newton Rebellion - Protesting against enclosures


Common land

A piece of land available for the whole community to use together. These were extremely important at this time, e.g. for grazing animals.

Agricultural Revolution

The 18th Century saw a change in farming practice. These included new farm machines like Jethro Tull's seed drill; more scientific methods of breeding animals to produce stronger, healthier breeds; experiments with new crops like turnips to feed the animals and the system of crop rotation. They all led to an increased output and the ability to sustain the growing population.

Northampton Mercury

One of the earliest newspapers in the country that started in the 18th century