The Ha-ha Hero has responded to my notes 58 and 80 on extent, to ask why enclosure is so difficult to understand.
From the tone of his email he appears to support the immediate appropriation of all land, its redistribution at a rate of one acre/person and a return to an altogether simpler, more communal and more co-operative form of life. Furthermore he sees Capability Brown as the principal beneficiary of enclosure, and would like to see his reputation mired in infamy.
Thank you for your email, Ha-ha Hero. Let’s begin with the word ‘enclosure’, which seems to me to cover a wide range of operations. First the enclosure of the open field system accurately described by that knight of the Lutheran kirk, the mis-named ‘Kaiser’ Kalm, as ‘arable-field-pasture,’ and consisting of farming carried out in common, generally with fields broken up into small units to be cultivated by each participating farmer individually, then pastured as a single field once the crops had been carried.
Second, the enclosure of commons and waste land, generally thought of as rough pasture with relatively few constraints on management. Such commons, like forests, were places where the Ha-ha Hero might hope to find his unspoiled England. However he would be wrong to think that these commons were always wild or anarchic and beyond the control of the great landowners. They could plant and sometimes build on them as lords of the manor, as happened with the belvidere at North Stoneham.
What is true, and what the Ha-ha Hero might like to consider, is that Brown himself had some admiration for such commons ‘overgrown with fern and gorse’ and enjoyed the contrast they made with the more polished parkland. He might also like to ask whether attitudes changed after Brown’s death as the return from such land increasingly overshadowed and trumped any aesthetic value they might have in a time of rising agricultural prices.