Until the end of the middle ages, the activities of those working the land around the Weald Moors were largely governed by the surface water that covered the area for long periods of the year. Cultivation of crops took place above the poorly draining peat soils, on common fields belonging to individual townships, while the moors themselves were used only seasonally, when the ground was firm enough to support the grazing of cattle.
The western moors between Kynnersley, Crudgington and Sleapford were among the first to witness a challenge to this traditional way of life, when local landowner Sir Walter Leveson began an intensive programme of improvements to increase the productivity of the commons and wastes during the late 16th Century. His incentive for doing so lay in the population increase sweeping the country at the time, which drove up the price of food and the land on which it was cultivated. In the ensuing scramble to enclose the moors, many disagreements broke out between rival landowners eager to preserve their future livelihoods… resulting in intimidation, violence and litigation!