The enclosure of common land into smaller privately owned units of land by parliamentary intervention transformed the traditional open-field system of farming which gave even the poorest a share in the common land. Despite its long-term benefits, its methods and immediate consequences were controversial, dispossessing the rural poor from their land. This text analyzes the extent and impact of parliamentary enclosure regionally, examining the processes by which land was reorganized, cultivation extended into former waste lands and old practices transformed. It stresses the degree of local variation and the mixture of motives and effects which make the subject complex. The book also weighs up the evidence for the effect of enclosure on the poor, looking afresh at old conclusions and providing new insights.