Enclosure or inclosure is a term, used in English landownership, that refers to the appropriation of "waste" or "common land" enclosing it and by doing so depriving commoners of their rights of access and privilege. Agreements to enclose land could be either through a formal or informal process. The process could normally be accomplished in three ways. First there was the creation of "closes", taken out of larger common fields by their owners. Secondly, there was enclosure by proprietors, owners who acted together, usually small farmers or squires, leading to the enclosure of whole parishes. Finally there were enclosures by Acts of Parliament.
The primary reason for enclosure was to improve the efficiency of agriculture. However, there were other motives too, one example being that the value of the land enclosed would be substantially increased. There were social consequences to the policy, with many protests at the removal of rights from the common people. Enclosure riots are seen by historians as 'the pre-eminent form' of social protest from the 1530s to 1640s.