[Note 458.1]

The enclosure of land to create large farms was completed during the French Wars 1793-1815. Enclosure Acts replaced the traditional open field method of agriculture with a system based on individual ownership of land protected by legal and physical boundaries that were fiercely enforced by law. The commoner's rights to graze livestock and collect firewood were abolished.

     They hang the man and flog the woman
     Who steals the goose from off the common;
     But let the greater criminal loose
     Who steals the common from the goose
                                       [traditional rhyme]

A new type of farm came into being - a large farm working wholly for the market. With the new farms came a new relationship between the farm owner and farm worker. By tradition, farm servants were taken on at autumn hiring fairs. The yearly hiring included board and lodging for single employees and was for the whole year with wages being paid at the end of the year's service. This old way was jettisoned in favour of labour hired by the day.

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