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Briantspiddle. Pleasingly free of cars and white vans.

Briantspiddle is another small village, a tithing within the parish of Affpuddle and unusually the petition to inclose was brought by a single landowner, James Frampton in February 1836. Born in 1769 his main claim to fame is that two years earlier he had indicted seven men at Tolpuddle for swearing an illegal oath; his son, James Jnr. was on the jury that convicted them. The rest is history. [1]

From today’s perspective it seems incredible, given the rank injustice that was done, that anyone could continue to support or work for such a man. But they did. Indeed from the perspective of a rich landowning class, who had little to gain from any form of change, who feared the anarchy that had arisen in France after the revolution and who could only become poorer if the poor became richer, Frampton’s beliefs would have seemed natural. It certainly did not stop John Martin or John Baverstock Knight from inclosing one of Frampton’s extensive holdings – Briantspiddle [later Bowdlerised to puddle] nor should we assume that they were not fully supportive of his action.

Little else is known about the inclosure; Kain attributes the map to John Baverstock Knight who was the Commissioner probably because he signed it as he did at Charminster but this cannot be taken as evidence that he made the map. On the contrary the evidence points to John Martin as the map maker as a newspaper notice for the inclosure names John Martin as the surveyor to the inclosure. Unusually the newspaper notice describes it as being an inclosure of the open arable fields alone; there is no mention of the common or grasslands which would have been held in common. The award was finally enrolled in 1839 so it is rather a surprise to find no entries in the 1838 diary.

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