Category: Fence Viewer

Categories: Law Enforcement Occupations | Occupations by Name

A Fence Viewer is a town or city official who administers fence laws by inspecting new fence and settlement of disputes arising from trespass by livestock that have escaped enclosure. The office of Fence Viewer is one of the oldest appointments in New England. The office immigrated along with New England pioneers to the Midwest as well, where the office still exists.

New England farmers clearing their land during the 17th century were confronted with boulders and stones left by retreating glaciers. They cleared their fields of the boulders with horses and built stone walls along the edges of their fields, frequently at the property boundary. Many of these walls still exist. A Fence Viewer was needed on those occasions when walls were eroded, moved, or modified illegally. In Massachusetts, this position was first established in 1693 by a statute which was amended in 1785 and again in 1836.


  • Amesbury Massachusetts: Fence Viewers.[1]
  • The Handbook on Fence Viewers and Laws on Fences in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2004 (22 pages)[2]
  • Miriam-Webster[3]

Person Profiles (1)

16 Feb 1746 Dorchester, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts - 08 May 1813 photo

This page was last modified 02:17, 14 July 2020. This page has been accessed 329 times.