Braithwell, Micklebring and Clifton History and Heritage

Braithwell: Enclosure of Commons 1765/66

Notes by Allen Smith of Braithwell, Micklebring and Clifton History and Heritage Group

From 1760 onwards, the movement for agricultural reform gathered momentum. By 1765, moves were under way to begin the process of "dividing and inclosing certain common pasture, fields and waste ground in the Parish of Braithwell in the County of York." (It must be stated that prior to this date significant parts of the Parish had already been enclosed by means of voluntary agreements.)

The award itself starts with recalling how the movement towards enclosure began.Thomas, Duke of Leeds, as "Lord of the said Manor, and several other freeholders, owners and proprietors declared that long as the said common field and waste ground lie open, commonable and unenclosed (they) are very inconvenient and in a great measure useless, or of little advantage to the owners and proprietors having right of common there, and totally incapable of any improvement."

Then followed a recital of the terms of the Act before proceeding to the Act itself. One copy was left in the Parish Chest, and included a Survey plan. The award was also enrolled in the Registry of Deeds in Wakefield (Vol B5 in the series), which was established in the reign of Queen Anne.

Description of the Commons.

Two "open and unenclosed common pastures, - Braithwell and Micklebring Common, and Cockhill Common", are the ones dealt with. There was also Braithwell Green, described as consisting of "certain small pieces or parcels of waste ground". They were said to be "in the Parish of Braithwell in the Manor of Conisboro". The size was said to be estimated at 200 acres, but a survey established 167 acres and 35 perches (including 14 acres, 1 rod 5 perches for roads).

The position of the Braithwell and Micklebring Common to the West, and Cockhill Common to the East of the Parish are easily identified, but Braithwell Green's situation is not so clear to establish. The Act mentions that it is made up of several small parcels of land. William Fairbanks map of 1768 shows that the land on which the Vicarage stood, and the orchard were once part of the Green, and it would seem fair to assume that other small areas of land to the East of the village Cross stretching to the vicarage, were also included. (The act states, in the part dealing with Roads, that the road led out of the village from the Cross in an Easterly direction was to be called Braithwell Green Lane, and it was said to be made "over Braithwell Green," which implies having common land on either side.)

The Act and Award

According to the Act, although this was the first Enclosure Act for the village, a sum of 637 acres had already been enclosed by the time the commissioners met in 1765. These "fields" were said to have been agreed upon by means of "consolidation of plots, or by ancient enclosures."

(It should be noted that the 637 acres amounted to one third of the Parish!) The Act claimed that the unenclosed land was "inconvenient, largely useless and incapable of improvement".

A survey was to be made on 29. 9.1765, or as soon after as possible, to cover the waste and previous enclosures, and was to be given to the Commissioners before 25.12.1765.

It was decided that a meeting be held to decide on enclosure, and that notice should be given in the Parish Church at least 10 days before the date. The enclosure award had to be made before 25.03.1766.

Listed below are the terms of reference to be adhered to by the Commissioners when reaching their decisions.

The land was to be shared between those holding common rights in proportion to those rights. The Commissioners were to have regard to the quality as well as the quantity of land, and its convenience to dwelling houses. The Duke of Leeds was to have "one sixteenth in quantity as well as quality, and was to retain mineral rights". Of the remainder, half was to go to "owners and proprietors having houses, and half to owners and proprietors of lands having rights of common."

The 20 year rule was to apply to recent enclosures. (This meant than any land that had been consolidated or enclosed for at least 20 years prior to the survey was to keep its present status.) The yearly value was to be calculated on the 1764 rates. The Vicarage was estimated at £24p.a. A proportion of land was to be allocated to Rev.J.Turner in respect of the Vicarage house, in proportion to the houses of the other proprietors. The Vicar was also granted a plot of good quality land on the Blackhills, of almost 5 acres. This was in lieu of the payment of the Lesser tithes he would have received from the common land being enclosed.

The Duke of Leeds' Right of Soil, and all other Rights of Common were to cease, but the Earl of Scarborough can continue to enjoy tithes.

Exchange of land was to become lawful, and the same debts and encumbrances were to stand after enclosure as before. It became lawful for "new owners" to exchange the lands allotted under the Award for any other land or houses within the Parish, but all changes had to be made with "the consent and approbation of two or more of the Commissioners".

There was provision in the Award for Highways to be built or improved. It was specifically stated that the road between Moor Lane End and Ravenfield Lane, would be called Rotherham Road Lane.

Another one was to run from Cownhill Lane to join Rotherham Road at Moor Lane End. This was to be called Cownhill Lane.

The road running from Moor Lane End to Hellaby was to be called Hellaby Lane.

From Rotherham Road Lane (opposite Pattison's house) a road was to be made to join with Bramley Lane, which was to be called Bramley Lane. Each of these roads was to be made 60' between the ditches. (The act also states that the ditches were to be 3' wide at the top, 2' wide at the bottom, and 2' deep.)

"...another publik road as now set out 60' wide between the ditches to be used as aforementioned shall be forthwith made over Braithwell Green leading the Birkwood Gate, and shall be called by the name Braithwell Green leading to Birkwood Gate".

All these roads were designated "publik" roads.

Certain Private roads were to be constructed.

From Micklebring "township end", a road 30' wide between the ditches was to be constructed to join Cownhill Lane.

From Rotherham Road Lane a 24' wide road was to run Northwards to "Pattison's House"to be called Conisboro Lane, and another 24' wide road was also to be made from Park Lane End to join Micklebring Lane to be called Park Lane.

(Editor's note. When attempting to construct a map I experienced little difficulty identifying all the roads except the Conisboro and Park Lanes. On studying a recent Ordnance Survey map I note that the one named Conisboro Lane in 1766 is now called Park Lane!... most confusing. Could it be that the scribe copying up the Award got the names mixed up? This is not the first mistake to be noted in the document! He could have been confused with the mention of "Pattison's House". Park lane is next to Pattison's field given under the award, and Conisboro Lane leads to what was Pattison's House.)

The award makes it quite clear that Private roads are for the sole use of the inhabitants of the Parish.

Fences around plots had to be made within 12 months. The cost of fencing was estimated at 40 shillings per acre. The expenses of this fencing were to be "borne by the owners, occupiers and proprietors". This was as well as the costs for "obtaining and passing the Act, surveying, dividing and allotting the land". - all except the Vicar! His holding was to be fenced at no cost to himself. "The Vicarage shall be inclosed with an outward or ring fence made in a substantial manner, with quicksets, and guarded with ditches, posts and rails at the expense of the owners and proprietors of the remainder of the lands."

Openings are to be left in the enclosed plots for 12 months to allow passage of cattle carts and carriages through in order "to complete the Award".

The Commissioners had the right to mortgage allotments if they were not enclosed as per the terms of the Act, in order to raise money towards the costs of implementation.

The Lord of the Manor still retained the right to "enjoy rents, services, Royalties, Courts, perquisites and profits of Courts, stone quarries, coal

mines and other liberties and passages whatsoever for the more easy and effectual getting, winning, taking, felling, vending, carting and carrying

away from such quarries, coal pits and mines". (If an owner suffered loss or damage by His Lordship using his privileges, the Award stated that His Lordship would need to pay "full satisfaction for all such damages, and spoil of ground". Disputes of this nature had to be settles before 2 J.P.'s.

It was also stated that the Award should not lessen or prejudice the Right, Title or interest of Richard, Earl of Scarborough, (or subsequent heirs), or any others who become entitled to the Great Tithes of the Parish.

There now follows a list of those with Rights of Common as stated in the Act:
Thomas, Duke of Leeds, Lord of the Manor of Conisborough, owner of the soil.

Rev.J.Turner, cleric, Vicar of Braithwell, entitled to the parsonage home and the vicarial, or small tithes.
Richard, Earl of Scarborough, improprietor.

John Thompson John Sheppard Ann Hawk 
Richard Bayes William Jubb Mary Hawk
Robert Bawdson John Amory  
Richard Thompson James Hawksworth  
Samuel Parkin John Winks Thomas Hunt
Richard Smith James Smith Richard Sheppard
Thomas Sibury Miss's Sibury  
John Coulton School & Poor Richard Amery
John Jackson James Pattison Thomas Bosville

The Award in detail

The Award then divided up the Common Fields as follows;
James Hawksworth, & wife Elizabeth. They were the holder of "3 ancient messuages, cottages or houses, half of another house, and several parcels of land having Rights of Common". This was rated at £20 p.a. Following the Act they were granted one plot situated in the Myres, of 8 acres, 2 roods 1 perch, with Rotherham Road Lane to the North, Bramley Lordship to the South, to the West Ravenfield Lordship", and to the East was land previously enclosed belonging to the estate of Thomas Bosville.

Thomas Hunt previously had one cottage, and several pieces of land with rights of Common, valued at £6 p.a. He received one piece of land situated in "the Pighills", containing 2 acres, 3 roods, 33 perches. This was bordered by Conisboro" Park to the North, Rotherham Road Lane to the South, Land belonging to the Duke of Leeds to the East, and John Laughton to the West.

John Jackson, "being the Proprietor of one ancient Messuage, cottage or house and some parcels of land rated at £21101- p.a." was granted one plot near Moor Lane of 1 acre 1 rood 17 perches. Conisboro' Park was to the North West, Rotherham Road Lane to the South East, and ancient enclosures belonging to John Winks and Richard Smith, to the North East and South west respectively.

William Jubb had 1 cottage and several parcels of land which were rated at £18 p.a. He also was given one piece of land on the Pighills of 5 acres 1 rood 24 perches. To the North lay Conisboro Park, Rotherham Road Lane to the South, Paul Jubb's land to the West and the ancient enclosure of Thomas Bosville to the East.

Paul Jubb had 2 cottages and several considerable pieces of land valued at £63/10/-. He was awarded one plot in Cockhill Dale of 5 acres 2 roods 10 perches, with Wadworth Road to the North, Stainton Lordship to the East, and an ancient enclosure (belonging to himself) to the South.

He was also given another piece of land (2 acres 1 rood, 30 perches) in the same area divided from the first piece by the Wadworth Road. This had land belonging to Samuel Parkin to the West.

A third piece of land was granted to him on the Pighills, of 11 acres 1 rood 14 perches, with Conisboro Park to the North, Rotherham Road Lane to the South, Ravenfield Lordship to the West, and to the East, William Jubb's plot.

Paul Jubb was asked to "make a public footway to be used for all time, by all foot passengers from the South end of his last allotment, out of Rotherham Road Lane, to Radley stile, near Hollings Hill leading to Ravenfield.

The above extract from the Award shows how clearly the Commissioner made note of the apportionments, having especial regard as to the exact position of each field. It was relatively easy to construct a map of the Common field using this data. All the plots allotted to other owners were so detailed in the award.

Editor's note: It was thought that there was no existing map or plan of the 1765/66 Award. The one which was said to be housed in the Parish Chest had long since disappeared, (or so it seemed), and the Registry of Deeds at Wakefield had no knowledge of ever having had a copy.

On making further enquiries, the original map drawn by Joseph Colbeck in 1765 was located. It had been taken out of the Parish Chest, and was in the hands of the Clerk to the Parish Council. It is hoped that this will soon be deposited with the Doncaster Archives for safe keeping. A study of this original map showed that the one I had constructed, from the detail given in the Award, and from noting the field boundaries on the 1839 Tithe Map, differed only in two places...namely the plot awarded to the Earl of Scarboro near Pattisons House, and also the plot awarded to Paul Jubb at the Eastern end of the Parish.

When giving details of the names of owners with adjacent plots, the writer seems to have confused Stainton and Conisboro Lordships. This can possibly be excused, as the award deals with plots at the extreme east of the Parish and also at the western end. (It should also be noted that throughout the whole document, the word "common" is written with only one letter "m".)

The Common land awarded by the Commissioners, as the act stated, was apportioned according to the value of the land owned and the number of houses in his or her possession.

Listed below are details for all those mentioned in the award.

Name of Owner No.of houses Value Acreage granted
Samuel Parkin 2 £6/10 3. 3. 2
James Pattison 1 £5 1. 2. 27
Benjamin Roebuck 1 £2 1. 2. 36
Earl of Scarborough 1 £12/10 4. 0. 1
James Smith 2 £9/10 3. 1. 4
Miss's Sibury £33 5. 3. 27
Elizabeth Sheppard 1 £2/10 2. 0. 13
Thomas Sibury 1 £2/10 1. 1. 23
John Sheppard  1 £43/10  9. 3. 29
Richard Sheppard 1 £31/10 7. 2. 26
J. Smith/R. Sheppard 1   1. 3. 8
John Thompson 1 £22/10 5. 3. 28
Richard Thompson 2 £10 3. 0. 26
J.Turner (Vicar) Vicarage £1 4. 3. 35
    £24 1.1.3
John Winks 1 £9/10 2.0. 37
Richard Amery 3 £28 6. 1. 7
John Amery 1 £2 1. 2. 25
Thomas Bosville 4 £61/10 6. 0. 17
      12. 0. 17
School 1 £1 1. 0. 24
Richard Bayes 2 £11 4. 2. 16
Robert Bawdison 1 £3/10 1. 3. 36
John Coulton 1 £1 1. 2. 9
Robert Gleadall 1 £10 2. 0. 33
Mary Hawk 1 £1/10 1. 0. 37
Ann Hawk 1 £2 1. 1. 7
James Hawksworth 3.5 £22 8. 2. 1