Pokesdown and the Inclosure Award

Early 1800's


An important factor in the future development of Pokesdown was the inclosure of the common land effected by the Christchurch Inclosure Act of 1802. The process of inclosure in England had been proceeding for several centuries, and commencing in the early years of the 18th century this process had accelerated, with numerous private Acts of Parliament having been obtained for that purpose. A General Inclosure Act of 1801 simplified the procedure for obtaining inclosure acts, and gave further impetus to the inclosures. The main purpose of inclosure was to enable more economic use to be made of the land, and the urgent need for food production occasioned by the war with France over the long Napoleonic period further encouraged inclosure. The Christchurch Act of 1802 was of course one of the earliest to take advantage of the simpler procedure resulting from the 1801 Act referred to above.

The Christchurch Act provided for the inclosing of all commonable lands within the Chapelry of Holdenhurst in the Liberty of Westover. This included much of the site of modem Bournemouth, except for the quite large Kinson district, then within the Manor of Great Canford. Most, if not all, of the common land in question consisted of heath-land, with poor quality soil, which was unlikely to yield good crops of corn or other food. In fact much of it was to become planted with vast numbers of pine trees, which could be used commercially for such things as pit props.

The Act appointed three Commissioners to allocate the land inclosed, and to make an Award. They were required to make provision for roads, and to sell some of the land to meet the expenses of obtaining the Act and of making the Award. They also had to have some regard to those common rights which existed, particularly for the grazing of cattle and other animals, and for the cutting of turf for fuel, known as Turbary, which might otherwise be lost. Local farmers and cottagers with claims in relation to those rights combined so as to present their claims, and they asked Farmer William West, of Muscliff Farm, to be their spokesman and to present their case before a meeting of the Commissioners.

When the Award was made in 1805, five sections of land amounting in total to four hundred and twenty Five acres were placed in trust with the Lord of the Manor in lieu of the Turbary rights; these were in addition to land awarded to individuals for the loss of other common rights. It should be noted that the five allotments related to rights in respect of certain listed properties, and not to the persons who owned or occupied them. If such properties ceased to exist, then the rights in respect of that property' would cease. There were three properties in Pokesdown, namely a cottage and garden owned by James Burt, and two cottages 'near and to the North West of Stourfield House'. One of this pair was owned and occupied by Mrs. Barnes; the second was owned by Sir George Tapps, and occupied by John Troke. One of the five Turban areas was adjacent to Pokesdown, an area of one hundred and one acres, which at a much later date was to become the major part of King's Park.

Prior to inclosure people could wander freely over the heath, but once the old tracks were fenced off travel would have become impossible unless land were set aside for roads across the heath. Therefore the Award made provision for a series of roads, some of which were partly or wholly in Pokesdown. Road No 1 of the Award followed the route between Poole and Christchurch: running eastward through Pokesdown it stretched down the hill towards Iford, and this part of it was known as Poole Lane. Road No. 8 left Poole Lane and ran for a short distance along the line of modern Southbourne Road, turning left into Stourvale Road as far as Sandy Lane. It continued as a lane or track under the name Pokesdown Lane as far as Iford Lane. Road No 9 was what had been the drive to Stourfield House, forming the present route of Southbourne Road. A small road, No. 14, gave access to the Turban Common, and now forms part of King's Park Drive leading out of Christchurch Road. The only named tracks in 1805 had been Pokesdown Lane. Poole Lane and Poole Road: the others had been unnamed trackways.

In the immediate vicinity of Pokesdown Sir George Tapps received lot 95 of fourteen acres straddling the Stourfield drive, near Alexandra Road: nearby was lot 96 in two pieces amounting to six acres around Hampden Lane and Hillbrow Sir George also obtained three large lots. 93. 94 and 97. amounting in all to two hundred and twelve acres. Two quite small lots 120 and 219 went to Dr. Farr of Iford House. A useful parcel of twenty one acres was allotted to Mary Kerley of Ringwood, whose family were related to the Deans and who owned other land locally. The Widow Mrs. Sabben of Iford received lot 127 of four and a half acres, whilst John Pick obtained lot 126 of fn -e acres. These lots accounted for all the land on the heath around Pokesdown. except for four acres at the junction of present day Christchurch and Southbourne Roads, which formed lot 25 and was a gravel pit set aside for the repair of the roads. A few of the smaller lots may have been sold during the next forty five years or so, but in the main these allocations give a fair picture of the land ownership at the middle of the 19th century when the initial development took place.

Award Lot Acres Approximate Area
93 34 These three lots comprised the land from Christchurch Road to the cliffs from Woodland Walk to Parkwood Road, and eastwards to Belle Vue Road. and were allotted to Sir George Tapps.
94 154
97 24
127 4 Parkwood Road to Seaboume Road
to Rachel Sablon of Iford
220 4 Parkwood Road to Seaboume Road
to Dr. W Farr of Iford
219 7 Opposite lots 127 and 220 from Warwick Road to Pokesdown Station to Dr. W Farr of Iford
106 21 Seabourne Road to Connaught Road and also around Darracott Road to the Executors of the late Robert Kerley
126 5 Southboume Road, Cromwell Road, Wyncome Road, Stourvale Road to John Pick.
79 3 Connaught Road to Southboume Road, gravel pit
for road maintenance.
95 14 Southbourne Road to Pokesdown Farm, and Stourvale Road to the Stourfield Estate to Sir George Tapps.