1) ‘Fence’ was a generic term for the walls, hedges or railings with which farmers enclosed their land.

It is found in Nottinghamshire in 1512, in the phrase ‘owre fense be twixe our medo and Wilforth Pastur’. It was, of course, an abbreviated spelling of ‘defence’ and the full form of the word in this sense remained in use through the sixteenth century. In 1558, James Halay of Halifax had the lease of a close of land called the Ladypighill in Southowram and was granted the right to suffycyent hayneboytt … for the thedgynge [the hedging] and defence. A similar document in 1566 required William Rowley to deliver yerely one wayne lode of heidge wodd for the necessarie defensynge of the landes. Examples of the verb ‘to defend’ include: 1565 to save and defend the springs of wood in the lordship of Pollington.

spellings defend
dates 1558 1565

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