More Acts of Enclosure
A second phase of land enclosure around Doncaster was needed for food production when the Napoleonic Wars of 1803 – 1815 created shortages. However, it was in the three years following 1827 that the last major enclosure project took place when 1555 acres were awarded. The impact on the people of Bentley and Arksey would have been immense.
Baine’s Directory of Yorkshire from 1822 lists some of the main business people in Bentley, these were, William Broughton, Gent.; William Cockin, victualler; William Ledger, wheelwright; Richard Linfit, blacksmith; John Johnson and Richard Simpson, shoe makers; William Walker, corn miller; James Woodhouse, tailor; and John Paine, schoolmaster.
Up until the enclosure act many families would have been self-sufficient, keeping a cow or a pig on common land and growing their own produce, either on their own property or in the many strips of land in the open fields.
After enclosure, and not being entitled to any awards they would have been employed by farmers and forced to buy their provisions from a retail outlet. As a result more shops began to appear, especially in Bentley, where in 1837 the businesses listed included, two blacksmiths, three wheelwrights, a maltster, a corn miller, a gamekeeper, eleven farmers, five boot and shoe makers, four bricklayers, three tailors, three butchers, two shopkeepers and a mustard manufacturer. There were also three beer houses and an inn, The Grey Horse.
Land overlooking Wheatley Hall, on the Arksey side of the river, was enclosed by Sir William Bryan Cooke, this had the advantage of providing privacy to the Hall by excluding villagers the use of this common land.
Of the 1893 acres of land enclosed in Arksey and Bentley, Sir William Bryan Cooke acquired 1447. The remaining 450 acres were allotted in small amounts of between 22 perches and 33 acres to other landowners. Of the farmers listed in the directories for 1822 and 1837 only two were recorded in the enclosure award as owning land of their own, the rest must have been renting from Sir W B Cooke and others.
Nineteenth Century Arksey
In Arksey, life was typical of a nineteenth century village. There was a butchers shop, a grocers shop, two alehouses and a smithy as well as the school, Almshouses and church. While the Cooke family owned most of the land in Arksey, the local squire lived at the hall.
Some of Arksey’s roads were renamed during the nineteenth century, for instance, High Street used to be named Church Street, while two yards off Church Street were called Taylor’s Yard and Ottley’s Yard, both of which are now gone. Ings Lane used to be called Common Road and Station Road probably used to be called Village Street or Town Street depending which record you examine. Marsh Lane and Almholme Lane
seem to be the only ones to remain the same.