Forest Law

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Colin Middleton
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Re: Forest Law

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:40 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:Finally, this thread seems to be really about military provisioning and I believe there was direct reference to that in the "History Cold Case" episode discussed on here recently, in a 14th century context - the provisions included large quantities of salt fish and salt meat, which could be kept for long periods and transported fairly easily.


I have a vague memory of reading about some military campaigns taking live animals with them to be butchered as required. There's something to be said for having your food cary itself around the country for you.

Obviously there were also provisions for purchasing food locally as the army travelled and for raiding the local area when in enemy teritory.


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Re: Forest Law

Postby Ranger Smith » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:04 am

Ok here goes

Forests were and are indeed areas of mixed habitats including but not exclusivley woodland, heathland, moor and other open land. They could include planned countryside (farmed) but the one overiding condition was that they were governed by Forest Law (the courts were known as forest eyres) and were predominantly owned and managed for the benifit of nobility or gentry (depending on time period). Forests in the main had formalised bounderies although these may not be solid bounderies i.e. fences/walls

Parks were enclosed traditionaly ditched/hedged and/or fenced formaly managed areas. The game within was formaly stocked and managed (deer and Boar(after1297))

Chases are unenclosed hunting grounds

Warrens enclosed areas predominantly for Rabbit (although in earlier periods other animals were concidered as beasts of the warren e.g. fox) especialy in later periods. Free Warren could be granted to men of a lesser status (although still rich and land holders) to hunt fox, badger, squirrel, martin and otter. during the later medieval period the right of free warren was extended to include those of a lower class.

Coneygers- similar to warrens (earlier name (for rabbits))
Chases and Parks were subject to common law courts killing a heart would attract a fine of £10 in 1470

Warreners were paid £5 per annum and foresters 3d per day (1470)

notable trespassers were sir william stonor who tresspassed on to Queen Elizabeth Woodvilles forest and chase at Barnwood and the Earl of Darby who was prossicuted for slaying over 2000 of the kings deer over a 6 year period.

Pheasants are a difficult one as they do not appear verry often. There were two limited introductions (one by the romans one by the normans). It isnt untill its mass introduction in the 1700's that it appears as a regularly hunted game bird. during the medieval period it was common accross much of france (the same as the rabbit) Red (or common) Partridge would have been a more common game bird in england.

Found a reference for two small rabbit colonies (wild outside a warren in East Anglia) which were incorperated into the protection/ laws governing the near by (parent) warren in 1297 (notable as it was an unusual occurence)

The animals hunted (beasts of the chase) were devided into Noble or vernery (venison (at this time the term is not reserved for deer)) and other beasts of the chase.

Noble or vernery beasts were (this just means they provided suitable sport for the gentry)

Red deer Stag (5years old) heart (10 years old) wolf wild boar hare and bear (europe only)

other beasts of the chase

Fallow buck/doe read deer hind fox and martin

Beasts of the warren

Rabbits and the aforementioned (free warren species)


All the above were owned by royalty or rich land owners including the church.


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Dave B
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Re: Forest Law

Postby Dave B » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:58 pm

There is an article I quite liked in 'The field' although I don't know how accurate it is.

http://www.thefield.co.uk/features/433314/The_history_of_the_pheasant.html


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Re: Forest Law

Postby Kernow Levy » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:17 pm

Thanks for the info - interesting, I'll pass it on. :)

Do you know when hunting seasons were introduced - was there an equivilent in C13-C15, or was it a case of getting what one could (referring pheasants here in particular)?


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Re: Forest Law

Postby Ranger Smith » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:36 am

For deer (out of season dates)

Fence month (may to June) or 15 days before mid summer to 15 days after. Hunting not alowed

Red deer Stag mid may to september
hind september 14th to January 14th

Fallow deer buck june 24th to september 14th
doe september 14th to February 2nd

Roe deer buck easter to 29th sptember
doe september 29th to february 2nd

Unable to find much in the way of set seasons for game birds the glorious 12th is well entrenched for upland grouse hunting as well as the upland season for woodcock in the Autumn.

Many game birds would have been taken with hawks and Falcons for sport

I have found a reference for pheasants being reared in the same fashon as capon for the table.

other birds would have been taken by trapping predominantly when they were plentifull the same as they are now


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Re: Forest Law

Postby bonnacon » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:51 am

I'd just like to sneak in here and thank everyone for their contributions - a couple of squires in one of the groups to which I belong are considering setting up a "huntsman's tent" as part of the camp (early days, lots to be worked out yet) and the info on this thread is brill. :thumbup:


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Colin Middleton
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Re: Forest Law

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:50 pm

Sorry for resurecting an old thread, but I was flicking throuh the latest PostScript magazine and spotted a book of great relevance to this topic:

Rabbits, Warrens & Archaeology by Tom Williamson. They're selling it at £6.99 (pluss P&P) (http://www.psbooks.co.uk/BookDetailsBySubj.asp?ver=Fts&prm=Archaeology&sel=False&selG=False&subG=True&Code=84942&pg=Archaeology&ur=History_Archaeology_Fts.asp?pgn=1&pgSz=15%23Nav84942).

There are loads of other history books on there too, but this one seemed relevant to a query that comes up often.

Best wishes


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Re: Forest Law

Postby Lonestan » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:22 pm

Hey Colin, that is a very cool find. I shall definitely be making a purchase, and then adding it to the (gargantuan) pile that need to be read!


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Colin Middleton
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Re: Forest Law

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:29 pm

No problem. I always read the PostScript magazine when it comes in, it's my favourite piece of junk mail! I've just ordered 3 books from them myself!


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Re: Forest Law

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:11 am

They are indeed Colin.
And there are lots of source material around describing cattle and pigs being herded along for slaughter by armies on the move throughout the medieval period. I would imagine, given the harsh punishments and various statutes that warn against it, that hunting, like the theft of livestock would be a sign of desperation or deliberate military policy.


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Re: Forest Law

Postby Captain Reech » Tue May 22, 2012 1:03 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:They are indeed Colin.
And there are lots of source material around describing cattle and pigs being herded along for slaughter by armies on the move throughout the medieval period. I would imagine, given the harsh punishments and various statutes that warn against it, that hunting, like the theft of livestock would be a sign of desperation or deliberate military policy.


I'd agree but with the proviso that laws only tended to get thought up when there was actually a problem with the offence in question. The large amount of legislation against poaching, unlawful hunting, trespass on preserved land etc suggests that, at certain times, enough people were driven to the extreme (either by hardship or greed) for this to be a problem of sufficient magnitude to be deemed worthy of new or amended laws.


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Re: Forest Law

Postby Fox » Wed May 23, 2012 9:39 am

More than that, there are documents describing people (of all sorts of levels of society) being charged, at manorial court, with hunting small game like rabbits; punishment seems to have been pretty minor.




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