Enclosure of the fields (1773 – 1789)
In the reign of George III (1760-1820) at Sibford Gower and Burdrop, 2,000 acres and at Sibford Ferris, 950 acres were enclosed. Enclosure Acts were passed (Sibford Gower and Burdrop 1773; Ferris 1789), nominating Commissioners to investigate, to re-allocate lands, and to decide the financial liability. Much common and waste land was taken in for cultivation, but the cost of the enclosures was high. The smallholder often had to sell out to his prosperous neighbour because he could not afford the charges. A huge new class of poor dispossessed labourers came into existence, dependent on farm wages.