Poaching in the time of King John.

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Bad Viking
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Poaching in the time of King John.

Postby Bad Viking » Mon May 14, 2012 3:10 pm

Dose anyone have any info or ideas on where to get ideas on poaching in England at or around the time of King John - a long shot I know but I'm helping a chap out who is looking to portray this type of character in LH .
Ta V Much in advance for any help !


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Medicus Matt
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Re: Poaching in the time of King John.

Postby Medicus Matt » Mon May 14, 2012 3:23 pm

How to go about it or what the penalties were if you got caught?
Last edited by Medicus Matt on Mon May 14, 2012 3:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Re: Poaching in the time of King John.

Postby Bad Viking » Mon May 14, 2012 3:43 pm

I would be interested in both if you had any info !! :thumbup:


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Re: Poaching in the time of King John.

Postby Medicus Matt » Mon May 14, 2012 3:52 pm

He can download a copy of 'The Pleas of the Forest' here:-
http://archive.org/details/selectpleasoffor00engluoft

If he goes straight to page 149, he can read accounts of those taken whilst deemed to be commiting offenses under Forest Law. Might be a good place to start and it's interesting reading.
Of course, it depends WHEN in John's reign he's doing it, as things change after Magna Carta (which contains a number of clauses relating to Forest law) which went some way towards relaxing the stranglehold on England's forests that had been exerted by the Norman/Angevin aristocracy.

Reading Manwood's "Treatise of the Forest Laws" would be worthwhile as well (especially as it contains the laws of Canute relating to hunting, which show that you couldn't just run about slaughtering wild-life at random before the Conquest):-
http://archive.org/details/manwoodstreatis00manwgoog

Or, if he can't be arsed to do a bit of research, there are a few things he should commit to memory.

1 'Venison' didn't just mean deer
2 'Forest' didn't just mean a place covered in trees
3 If you were caught in a Royal Forest (which, after the Assizes of Woodbridge in 1184, covered pretty much anywhere that didn't have houses on it that wasn't a swamp) with a bow and/or a dog, you were presumed to be guilty of poaching
4. They didn't like you cutting down trees, gathering firewood or doing anything else that involved...well, anything really.
5 By John's time, you were unlikley to be hanged or mutilated for offenses. You were much more likley to get fine heavily or have all of your land/property/posessions/mud etc taken away if you couldn't afford to pay.


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Re: Poaching in the time of King John.

Postby Bad Viking » Mon May 14, 2012 4:51 pm

Thank you ! that is fabulous -- really really helps out a lot !!!!
You sir are a gem !


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Re: Poaching in the time of King John.

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon May 14, 2012 8:32 pm

He just needs to work to the Lord's 11th Commandment "Thou shall try not to get caught."


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Re: Poaching in the time of King John.

Postby Medicus Matt » Tue May 15, 2012 8:40 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:He just needs to work to the Lord's 11th Commandment "Thou shall try not to get caught."


Reading some of the accounts in 'The Pleas of the Forest', it seems like the foresters went to great lengths to track down poachers. When the head of a deer was discovered in a Northamptonshire wood, the entire town of Maidford was 'seized into the King's hand' and there are frequent accounts of towns being fined because they hadn't turned in known malefactors.

They also had stop and search powers, and could search your house. One Ralph Nernut was arrested for having an unauthorised crossbow and bow in his house.


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Re: Poaching in the time of King John.

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue May 15, 2012 10:23 am

I never said it would be easy.


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