It is only by entries such as this that we know of Martins involvement in work that has not previously been attributed to him; for Martin it was also a case of what might have been. A bill had been introduced to Parliament in 1834 to inclose 1700 acres of open arable lands; “a few rich farmers and others who did not reside in the immediate neighbourhood” would benefit by it and were favourable to the bill but “a number of poor persons, some hundreds would be deeply injured” by the passage of the bill. This bill had failed, as had a second one in 1835, and Martins involvement with the inclosure, whatever it may have been, was associated with these initial attempts. Mr Phillips was of course the surveyor that assisted Martin at Bishopstone. A further attempt to inclose was introduced in 1842 and it is from the Hansard debates on this bill that we learn the reason for the failure of the earlier bills. The problem arose because some parishioners had encroached on the common lands and it was intended that these people should be dispossessed of their cottages and land unless they had been in possession for twenty years or more. Since this was impossible for them to prove and they could not afford legal representation it had been considered unfair. It is difficult not to believe that this decision had not been influenced by the Swing riots in 1832.
It is not quite true to say that they had no such qualms about the poor in 1842, one MP Joseph Bretherton stood up for them arguing that Parliament should “throw its cloak over these poor people”. In the event however the 1842 bill passed and the inclosure was enrolled in 1845.
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