From around the middle of the 1800s there began a process under the Inclosure Act, of controlling the use of common and waste land. This was to have a profound effect on Treoes and its residents.
The original Inclosure Act came into being in 1773 and facilitated the sale of common land, with the agreement of the Lord of the Manor, along with three quarters of the other landowners within the manor and the permission of Parliament. There was common land in the parish that facilitated common grazing, and there was waste land, not officially claimed by anyone and often of little value due to its close proximity to the tributaries of the Ewenny River and its periodic flooding.
Inclosure (we would now say “enclosure”) had been taking place from earlier times and is simply the process of fencing off land. With improved farming techniques and the rising value of land few landowners wanted to retain these residual areas of unenclosed land. The basic purpose of the Act was to divide up these areas amongst those, from the Lord of the Manor to the Cottager, who could claim an interest in the land and to convert those claims into allotments of land.
The story for Penlline, Llangan and Goston begins in May 1855 with the following notice in the press:
PENLLINE AND LLANGAN
COMMON OR WASTE LAND
Surveyors, Land Agents and others are informed that a Meeting for appointing a VALUER under the Inclosure Act will be held at the Bear Inn, Cowbridge on Tuesday, the 5th June at Eleven o’clock
In the forenoon.
Solicitor, Angel Street Cardiff
May 16th 1855
The next public announcement came in January of 1856, and soon after the process gathered pace.
One of the claimants was David Howell, presumably Llawden, who was serving in Pwllheli at the time and moved to Cardiff sometime during 1864. The notice of 5th February 1856 appears to be particularly relevant as it extinguishes all prior rights to the land and it also appears that David Howell and Eliza Llewellyn made the only claims under the Inclosure Act.
In March of 1868 2 pieces of allotment land were advertised for sale: one numbered no. 70 on the Map of the Inclosure of Penlline, Goston and Llangan – Rees Richard was tenant, and one on Treoes Moor under an inclosure commission – William Thomas was tenant.
Following on from the Act of Inclosure in 1856, there was a major inquiry in 1893 into the conditions under which Welsh land is held and cultivated and a Royal Commission was set up to facilitate the inquiry. Mr John, a seed merchant from Cowbridge, who knew the district well said that:
“Some common land had been inclosed and in some instances the rights of the public had not been protected. There were a few allotments set aside but no recreation ground. The allotments had generally been the worst pieces of the common”.
in giving further evidence, Mr Seebohm explained that the common spoken of had not been pastureland, but little bits of wayside. He said he knew that:
“The Treoes allotment holders had the same complaints. The allotments given to the cottagers were subject to floods and were of very little value to them”.
The Rector of Llangan, examined by Mr Brynmor Jones, said that he:
“Produced the original award, dated March 1860, with reference to Treoes Moor. He had obtained it from the overseer for Penlline. There were Trustees now of the portions allotted for general purposes, such as recreation grounds and allotments. The trust was not operative at present, inasmuch as the Trustees from the beginning neglected to collect rents, so that at the moment the occupiers had freehold possession. They had been in possession for over 20 years and now resisted payment. The matter had never been tested in law. The churchwardens and overseers at the time being were the Trustees”.
Some squatters had built cottages on the waste ground and had fenced in portions of land abutting the common, for which they had paid chief rent for many years. There have been cases of the Lord of the Manor confiscating and selling these cottages and enclosures.