The Trumpington Inclosure Act and Award



For the background to, and an overview of, the process of enclosing the parish of Trumpington, see this article on the Trumpington Local History Group website.

In very brief summary, the process began with the passing of the Inclosure Act in 1801.  This set out the principles of what was to follow, giving legal power to the Commissioners to carry it out in detail. The process ended with the Commissioners’ publication of the Inclosure Award in 1809, containing all that detail.  Most (if not all) of the measures specified in the Award were actually implemented after the 1802 harvest.

Among many changes which enclosure brought with it, the whole landscape in the parish was altered for ever. 

Before enclosure virtually all the open space was either large open fields, with individually farmed strips of land within them, or common land (in the form of the Moor, either side of Hobson’s Brook as we call it today, and the Fen alongside the northern part of the River Cam).

Afterwards all of this land became “enclosed” with hawthorn hedges in smaller fields, owned predominantly by four parties: Francis Charles James Pemberton, Christopher Anstey, Trinity College (The Improprietors, or owners of the advowson of Trumpington) and the Vicar of Trumpington.

The following sections of this web page will lead you to various resources which help to show what went on in more detail.

The Inclosure Act

The Inclosure Award - introduction

Synopsis of the Inclosure Award

The personalities involved

Associated maps

Reference material

Note on the editing process


The Inclosure Act of 1801

The printed copy of the Act in the Cambridgeshire Archives includes some pencilled comments written in 1806, possibly made by the Vicar of the time, Thomas Heckford.  A sample page, complete with comments, appears below.

If you wish to see the complete text of the Act you can find a transcript in .pdf format here:

Inclosure Act 1801

Image courtesy of Cambridgeshire Archives


The Inclosure Award of 1809

The Award itself is handwritten; a sample page appears below.

If you wish to see the complete text of the Award you can find a transcript in .pdf format here:

Inclosure Award 1809


Image courtesy of Cambridgeshire Archives

Synopsis of the Inclosure Award

These notes and transcript refer to a hand-written copy of the Trumpington Inclosure Award in the Cambridgeshire Archives, presumably the copy that was originally inrolled with the Clerk of the Peace in Cambridge.

The Award was signed on 13th October 1809.  This was a full eight years after the Trumpington Inclosure Act was finally passed by the House of Lords on 30th June 1801, after the original petition of F.C.J. Pemberton was presented to the House of Commons on 10th March that year.


The opening page shows the oaths sworn by the original three Commissioners (appointed by the Act): Edward Hare, Joseph Truslove and George Maxwell.

The Award proper begins with reciting various clauses from the Act, including:

The authority of the three Commissioners to execute the Act

Procedures for appointing new Commissioners in case of death, resignation, or incapacity: Edward Hare to be replaced by a nominee of F.C.J. Pemberton; Joseph Truslove by a nominee of Trinity College; George Maxwell by a nominee of “the major part in value of the other proprietors or persons interested” in the execution of the Act (effectively Mr Christopher Anstey).

The need of all Commissioners to subscribe the stipulated oath.

The power to appoint a Clerk.

The need to appoint a Surveyor to survey and record the existing land holdings of all proprietors.

The need to ascertain and fix the parish boundaries.

The need to “set out and appoint” all public roads, footways etc. and to appoint a surveyor to do so.

The power to “stop up or turn” old footways that should now be deemed unnecessary or inconvenient.

The need to allot up to 5 acres for public stone, gravel, sand and mortar pits.

The power to improve existing brooks, ditches etc. and to appoint new ones.

The need to allot land to any Lord of a Manor who was to lose his “right of soil” to any of the waste lands now to be enclosed.

The need to allot to the Impropriators and Vicar respectively land in compensation for loss of common rights and Glebe lands.

The need to allot to the Impropriators and Vicar respectively land in compensation for loss of Tithes.

The need to levy payment in lieu of tithes from proprietors who could not contribute via a reduction in their own new allotments.

The land allotted to Impropriators and Vicar as above to be fenced at the expense of other proprietors.

The need to sell some of the land allotted to the Improprators (for up to £1500) in order to pay for buildings and internal fences on their remaining allotments.

The need to allot a common pasture for proprietors losing their common rights, or if they chose, individual allotments in lieu of common pasture.

The need then to allot all the remaining land to be enclosed, in proportion to existing land and other rights, to all existing owners and proprietors.

The need to allot a specified share of fencing to each proprietor of a new allotment.

The power to allow exchange of land between two parties, with their mutual agreement, to be recorded in the Award along with all new allotments.

The power to allow the sale of rights of common separately from the property to which they belonged, and to sell any new allotment before the execution of the Award.

No existing leases from any body politic or corporate to be affected by the Award.

No person to obstruct any drain, watercourse etc.

The need to draw up an Award containing: amount of land currently in land to be enclosed; amount of each individual specified; description of each such allotment; orders for fencing; orders for laying out roads; account of all land to be exchanged; account of the “quality, price or value” of all new allotments and old enclosures.  The Award to be read over to the proprietors at a special meeting, and then executed at that meeting.  A copy of the Award then to be inrolled with the Clerk of the Peace for Cambridgeshire, for inspection and further copying.  The Award itself to be deposited in the Trumpington parish chest. Two plans to ne made of the parish, one to go with the Award and one with the inrolled copy.

All new allotments to be held in the same manner (freehold or copyhold) as the land from which they arose, and that to be recorded in the Award.

Nothing in any will or settlement etc. to be changed by the Act.

In addition, various penalties were specified for failing to obey the Commissioners’ orders.


Then the Award proper begins, in which the above powers and duties were implemented in detail:

Several meetings of the Commissioners were held at the Hoop Inn in Cambridge, between 10th August and 31st December 1801.  At those meetings:

  1. The Commissioners took the oath
  2. The Proprietors gave notice that they all chose to have separate allotments rather than a common pasture
  3. George Maxwell resigned, and his place was taken by John Burcham

The Commissioners appointed Edward Gibbons as surveyor; areas of land in the parish recorded.

The Parish boundaries were described.

The New Road was set out and appointed (now Long Road), with area recorded.

Hills Road was set out and appointed.

No Turnpike Roads were changed.

The grass and herbage on the roads was to be taken by the adjoining owners.

Three footpaths, described, were to be stopped up.  F.C.J. Pemberton paid £10 in compensation.

Three “public drains” were described, (now Hobson’s and Vicar’s Brooks).

Two public tunnels were to be built under the road to Hauxton, to take water from the land on the east side towards and then into the river.

The Parish Surveyor of the Highways was to be responsible for the cleansing and scouring of those drains and tunnels, except for that part of the public drain for which the university and town of Cambridge were responsible, according to an indenture of 1610.

Two public stone, gravel, sand and mortar pits were awarded to the Parish Surveyor of the Highways.

F.C.J. Pemberton was allotted land in lieu of his right of soil of the waste grounds to be enclosed.

Trinity College was allotted two pieces of land in lieu of Glebe land and right of common, including three lots sold to Peete Musgrave and William Lyon (see below).

A private road was to be made through the southern of these allotments (now Red Cross Lane).

The Vicar was allotted one piece of land in lieu of Glebe land and right of common.

Trinity College and their lessee F.C.J. Pemberton were allotted two further pieces of land.

The Vicar was allotted two further pieces of land.

One of each of the above two pairs of allotments had been sold to Peete Musgrave and William Lyon, for £1500, spent on buildings and internal fences on the other allotments in lieu of Tithes.

The Vicar also allotted two more pieces of land, one by exchange with the Impropriators, in lieu of tithes.

The residue of land was then allotted to:

Jesus College

St John’s College (exchange)

Trinity Hall

Trustees of Trumpington Charity

Trustees of Trumpington Town Estate

University of Cambridge

As well as 21 individual owners (see below).

Details were specified of the fencing to be used.

A list of the quantity and value of all homesteads and old enclosures appeared, with references to the plan.

The expenses incurred by Commissioners were detailed, totalling £4052.

Any outstanding payments were to be made to their clerk, Christopher Pemberton.


Signed by Commissioners 15th May 1809

Inrolled 13th October 1809; signed by Christopher Pemberton, Clerk of the Peace for the County of Cambridge.


Personalities involved

1. Commissioners and Officers

Edward Hare 1740-1816 was almost a professional Inclosure Commissioner, serving as such for as many as 133 inclosures.  In 1769 he became Surveyor of Works for the Black Sluice Navigation, or South Forty Foot Drain, near Boston, Lincs, and produced maps of that area in 1783.

Joseph Truslove 1768-1845. Married Cambridge 1806.  Died Cambridge.  In 1830-39 a Surveyor, in St Andrew’s Street.  Also served as a Commissioner for several other parishes.

George Maxwell of Fletton 1744-1816.  Commissioner with Edward Hare for Barrington enclosure 1800. Also for many more.

John Burcham 1757-1841 also commissioner for many inclosures in Lincolnshire.  Land Agent.

Edward Gibbons 1782-1865 was a nephew of Edward Hare. Probably lived in Panton Street, Cambridge in 1860/61.  Died Cambridge.  Lived in Great Shelford in 1816; on the Isle of Skye in 1830.

Christopher Pemberton 1765-1850.  A lawyer, who lived at Grove Lodge in Trumpington Street, opposite the old Addenbrooke’s Hospital.  He was a second cousin of F.C.J. Pemberton. 


2. Individual owners of land

Links lead to entries in the “People in Trumpington” database

A full list of the "old inclosures" can be found here, and of the "new allotments" here.

(a) major owners

Thomas Heckford 1754-1817.  Vicar of Trumpington from 1779 to 1817.

Francis Charles James Pemberton (F.C.J. Pemberton) 1778-1849.  Lord of the Manors of Trumpington and Arnolds.  Great-great grandson of Sir Francis Pemberton, who bought Trumpington in 1675, and great-great-great grandfather of the present Lord of the Manor, who lives at Trumpington Hall.

Rev Christopher Anstey c1756-1827.  Inherited Anstey Hall, together with Huntingdons and Tincotes manors, from his father Christopher Anstey, who died in 1805.  His (Christopher senior’s) will mentions “the Esate called the Brick House which I bought of Thomas Pratt at Trumpington”, “my tenant Henry Humphreys of Trumpington . . .and his widow”, “a sum of money sufficient to pay the whole expense of the Inclosure at Trumpington”.

(b) other proprietors

Thomas Bland

Elizabeth Boning

James Cuming

William Dobson

William Haggis

Samuel Haggis

Martha Harradine

William Harradine

James Harradine

George Headdey

Thomas Seymour Hide

Martha Humphreys

William Lyon

Peete Musgrave

William Ostler

Edward Preston

William Stacey

John Utteridge



The original map produced in 1804 by the Commissioners’ surveyor Edward Gibbons is folded into the back of the Award itself. (1)  Other versions exist, including one in the Trumpington Hall archives which appears to be a predecessor of Gibbons’s final map and another which shows the subsequent subdivision of the Pemberton land into smaller fields.


Image courtesy of Cambridgeshire Archives


You can see excerpts from these various maps, and some interactive digital maps, starting here.


Reference material

The following two links will take you to .pdf documents explaining:

(a) Glossary of terms used in the Award

(b) Explanation of the units used for land areas, boundary lengths, and money

A note on the editing process

  1.  The original Award was hand written with virtually no punctuation, as were other legal documents (e.g. wills and leases) of the time.  I have introduced punctuation that seems, to me, to ease the reading of the Award, without changing its meaning.  I have also introduced paragraphing where it seems appropriate.
  2. New clauses were, though, often introduced with an initial capital letter and a few words in larger handwriting.  I have indicated that larger hand by the use of bold type.
  3. I have used contemporary spellings e.g. Inclosure rather than Enclosure.
  4. In the original script every noun was written with an initial capital.  I have reduced that convention to those nouns which appear, to me, to warrant that treatment.  I accept this will reflect my own view of the document, but I am sure that it does make for easier reading.
  5. Every number in the original (except the numbers of parcels of land appearing on the inclosure map) was written out in words, including dates such as “one thousand eight hundred and one”.  I have adopted the somewhat arbitrary rule that numbers up to and including twenty are spelled out, but after that I have used numerical digits.  So you will see both “twenty” and “21”.

Howard Slatter

November 2021




(1) A Map of the Parish of Trumpington in the County of Cambridge, 1804.

Cambridgeshire Archives, R60/24/2/70(a)