1) A legal term for an encroachment or trespass, recorded from <i>a</i>.1190 (OED).

It often referred to illegal clearances in waste and woodland, as when Adam de Baggebi claimed in an undated charter that Byland Abbey had encroached on his land: de purprestura quam fecerunt super me versus moram de Baggebi. In the settlement of a dispute between Fountains and Sawley, ‘assart’ was used almost as a synonym: 1279 quod nulle … ibidem … fiant purpresture vel assarta, either of which would have been illegal in this case. Similarly, in 1498-9, the officers of Pickering Forest were informed that certain persons had made divers assartes and purprestures within the Forest. The fact that a Methley tenant was indicted in 1377 because he ‘made a pourpresture by planting a hedge on the waste’ may imply that enclosure alone might constitute such an offence.

dates 1279 1377 1498-1499

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