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Archives collection: Enclosure awards and maps

Enclosure is the process of open areas of land such as fields, commons and moors being converted into hedged, walled or otherwise ‘enclosed’ areas.

Enclosure was possible by private agreement between landowners or by a private act of parliament.

This latter method was often difficult and expensive but after 2 General Enclosure Acts were passed in 1836 and 1845, the process became more regulated and in effect easier to achieve.

Early enclosures (generally those prior to c. 1700) are not well documented but Parliamentary enclosure produced much more detailed records which have survived in greater number.

  • Awards: the written record of the Commissioner’s decisions about topographical, economic and tenure matters

  • Maps: these were more common after 1770


Dates covered

18th to 19th century.


Location of records

Sheffield Archives, 52 Shoreham Street.



Original paper/parchment records and some microfilm copies.


Order documents

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We can normally supply copies for private study purposes, subject to the usual copyright regulations. Please contact us for further information.


Background Information

Copies of the documents produced for the Enclosure Commissioners can be found at The National Archive's Enclosure Awards research guide.


  • Modified: Jul 3, 2015 9:11:41 AM