Enclosure Awards

The valley of the Minsmere is typical of the landscapes of Suffolk's low-lying, flat marshland beside estuaries and coastal valleys. Underlying the marshes are alluvial deposits of marine origin. Only at Henstead on the Hundred River, the Share Marshes on the Waveney, Sizewell Belts and Hundred River valley in Aldringham can any significant deposits of peat be found. The marine deposits indicate that in the Roman period and probably for some time afterwards, there was a sizeable sea inlet occupying what is now the Waveney valley almost down to Beccles. On the coast, Southwold and Sizewell were probably islands, as were some smaller areas such as Buckanay in Alderton and Oxley in Hollesley - both containing the Old English suffix -ey meaning ‘an island’. Bawdsey contains the same suffix and would have been virtually an island except for a narrow causeway on the west side.

Marshland reclamation began in the Suffolk coastlands in the early Middle Ages, with works being undertaken at Orford in the 12th century, but sea surges in the 13th and 14th centuries led to serious set-backs. Losses of arable land on the Suffolk coast are recorded between 1291 and 1341. Amongst the places affected was Leiston Abbey. This monastery had been founded on a small island in the marshes in 1182, but frequent inundation of its lands by the sea led to the monastery being rebuilt further inland in 1363. A ruined chapel is all that now remains of this monastic enterprise.

The rate and scale of marshland reclamation increased greatly in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the north this was facilitated by the establishment of the Commission of Sewers for the Hundreds of Blything, Mutford, Lothingland and Wangford in 1786. Enclusures in Theberton were set in motion by the Enclosure Award of 1824. Former open areas of marsh, often used for common grazing, were divided up by straight ditches beside the Minsmere River. But there were also awards for the remaining open areas of inland common land. The

Enclosure maps

Theberton Bogs Enclosure Award, 1824

Theberton Common Fen Enclosure Award, 1824

Location of the above enclosure on a modern map (in Leiston)

Tylers Green Enclosure Award, 1824

Little Green & Winters Heath Enclosure Award, 1824

Sketch map showing position of Greens and Heath

Enclosure Apportionments

Tylers Green
A R P Leiston Theberton boundary
33 Lord Huntingfield 2. 2. 30
34 W. Tatnall 3. 36

Little Green & Winters Heath

35 Lord Huntingfield 1. 0. 24 Boundary of Leiston & Theberton
36 Lord Huntingfield 5. 3. 06
Winters Heath

Boundary of Theberton

Lord Huntingfield 5. 3. 18
Eliza Hinton

Theberton Common Fen

43 William Tatnall 10. 2. 23
42 William Tatnall 15. 0. 38

41 & 3. 15
40 exchanged to William Tatnall
4. 3. 13
39 Lord Huntingfield 8. 3. 38 ruins of old abbey
38 William Tatnall 4. 1. 26
37 William Tatnall 11. 1. 28
All surrounded by William Tatnall

The Map and Plans of Commons, Common Fen grounds & Waste Lands
Theberton Common Fen in Leiston

Rev. G. C. Doughty 16. 3. 38 Boundary dividing the Parishes of
Westleton & Theberton
Lord Huntingfield 9. 2. 14
for right of soil
Lord Huntingfield 2. 0. 00
Henry Cabbald 3. 3. 10
Thomas Whiting Wootten Esq 24. 2. 11 Theberton Bogs
Joseph Peckover 8. 1. 32
W. Rous 1. 1. 34
John Barley 1. 1. 32
W. Rous 3. 10
Mary Day 2. 0. 10
T. W. Wooten 1. 1. 38
Francis Balls 2. 2. 33 Darsham Trustees
William Eade 2. 00
T.W.Wootten 1. 2. 06
Francis Balls 2. 0. 12
T.W.Wootten 3. 32

Zachariah Kett 3. 35
T.W. Wootten 1. 1. 23
Widow Ford
T. Paul
J. Ward
J. Rous