The Deerfold Project: Documentary Evidence Surviving historical documents
The Deerfold Project: Documentary Evidence Surviving historical documents offer a unique insight into Deerfolds past Letters, surveys, legal disputes, witness statements Dates, places, people, occupations, interests, conflicts, human nature Learn research skills by visiting archives and locating, handling, photographing, reading and interpreting historical documents A Deerfold Timeline from the Written Word 1567 Theise are to will and commaunde you to make sale of the saide
woodes to the Quenes Majesties moost proffitt and advauntage, leavinge sufficient stores and staddells in the same, accordinge to the statute in that behalf provided for seinge to the sufficient fensinge therof, for the safegarde of the springe Letter to Henry Hodgekins, Woodward in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire The royal forest required careful management for the Crowns benefit 1596 The homage aforesayd do say  that the forrestes of Mocktree, Bryngwood, Evenhay and Prestwood , and also Darvole, are demeane woodes belonginge to the sayd honor  and Darvoyle doth contayne CCC acres of wood land
The sayd Richardes keepeth a certayne number of goottes and other beastes, sheepe and swyne in Darvoile Survey of the Honour of Wigmore Surveys record the forests rich resources, and how local people used them 1603-04 ... Wee doe also certifye that the saied Forestes of Bringewood, Dorvall and Mocktree are statelye and forest-like groundes The number of oakes of all sortes in Dorvall [...] doe amount unto 22,050 trees, and be worth [...] vs a tree The underwoodes and coppice [...] are [...]
399 acres Survey of the Possessions of Sir Henry Lindley The forest was large and well-stocked with timber trees and underwoods 1613-14 Thomas Turnor of Adforton, a yeoman aged about sixty years, answered: 2. He thinks that the Rowle is part of Darvall, but does not know for sure. 5. Fox and others did falle and cutt downe three acres of [...] the Rowle, and coaled the same, and converted the same or a greate parte thereof to his owne use. And the rest rotted upon the grownde Attorney-General v. Sir Edward Fox. Does the Rowle belong to Darvall Forest or the Manor of Atherton?
When disputes arose, local people gave evidence as witnesses 1617-18 He paid Turner about forty shillings for timber from Darvall,with which he made a frame of a house, which was about fowreteene fote square After building a townhouse in Presteigne, he bought a parcell of barke dresinge of okes felled in Darvall from Turner Being a tanner by trade, he has bought good quantities of barke of the trees felled within the said forrest from Turner, paying about twenty pounds Attorney-General vs. Thomas Turner. Waste and Spoil in the Forest of Darvall
Local people needed timber and wood for their buildings and livelihoods 1617-18 ... He lent Turner twenty shillings  and had a timber tree from Darvall from him, which yielded two loads of sawn boards and almost a load of other timber. [...] Turner told him that he hadd accompted but for twelve shillinges for the said tymber to His Majestie When he and John Griffithes, also a carpenter, were labouringe in their trade in Darvall, they saw divers cords of woodd piled up to be sent away to the [...] ironworkes. On measuring them, they found them to be in height half a foote more then the due scantlynge, and in the length of woodd a proporcion more then ought to be Attorney-General vs. Thomas Turner. Waste and Spoil in the Forest of Darvall
Wasting and embezzling in the royal forest equated to stealing from the monarch 1617-18 In Darvalls precincts stands one kylne for the making of earthen pottes and vessells, built  by Richard Jones, the master workeman thereof.  He has often seen the potters or workemen [...] carrie on horses, and sometimes on their headds, severall quantities of earth to the said kylne, which they brought alonge the said forrest ... Since he moved the kiln he had previously built on his landlords freehold, Turner did at twoe severall tymes pull downe parte of the said kilne and reprove him for building it
Attorney-General vs. Thomas Turner. Waste and Spoil in the Forest of Darvall The cottage pottery industry supported by Deerfold was a focus for contention 1634-35 He believes the works have caused the greate decaye of the woodes and underwoodes of the said forestes and chase by coleinge and otherwise The wheeles, troughes and waterworkes [...] are in dispayre, the waterworkes and growndworkes decayed They agreed to have 6,000 cords from Bringewood, Prestwood and Mocktree for Sir Henry Wallops use, at three shillings and eight pence the cord. If this many could not be supplied, they should be taken from Darvold at two shillings
and eight pence Robert, Earl of Lindsey vs. Sir Henry Wallop and others. Ironworks in the Forest Bringewood Ironworks consumed local wood for fuel and repairs on a great scale 1634-35 When the defendants were entreated to sell timber trees in Darvold, they said My masters, are you madd to have us sell trees that wee have noe warrant for? He thinks the warrant they obtained was only for trees fit for firewood, and not timber He bought eight dotard oaks from Darvold for firewood, but some proved fit for pannells, puncheon and bendware, which he, being a bendwareman, used in his
trade At the sales, did you choose such trees as were of better use then for fyreing, and then, by a knocke upon that tree, or some other secrett signe, informe  the buyers? Robert, Earl of Lindsey vs. Thomas Bond and Francis Botfield. Felling and Sale of Trees for uses other than Firing At wood sales, officials could make underhand profits and buyers seek bargains 1639-40 They had common of estovers in Darvall to repair their hedges and enclose their tenements, and dead and windfall wood for firewood, without restraint or punishment. Those who cutt downe any great trees were amerced at the Court of Swainmote held in Burrington for Darvall, Bringewood, Mocktree and Prestwood
The hamlets consiste of very many inhabitants,  their said tenements are but small, and  the inhabitants thereof can hardly subsist and maynetayne  their familyes without the use and benefitt of their said common, which they have soe longe enjoyed. The loss of their common would prove very prejudiciall and hurtfull to them Robert, Earl of Lindsey vs. John and William Tyler and others. Common of Pasture, Encroachment and Waste and Spoil in Darval Tenants paid for minor offences at the local forest court, and relied on their common rights 1639-40 Did Lindsey go to Darvall intending to make improvements for his own benefit and to raise the yearly rent? Did he give notice to local people and
those claiming rights there, causing them to seek satisfaction for their rights? ... ... They were persuaded to sign a certificate in opposition of the enclosure and division of Darvall, but did not understand  what the same was Robert, Earl of Lindsey vs. John and William Tyler and others. Common of Pasture, Encroachment and Waste and Spoil in Darval Landowners wanted to profit from improvements such as draining and fencing lands 1677 1722
... They affirme my Lord Craven alowed them to inclose as much as they pleased at 1d yeare, and alow them 3 yeares rent for inclosing. The freeholders tell them they shall have no common when this is confirmed, which will undoe them The said Earl of Oxford will [...] demise [...] all that tenement or cottage, and about eleven acres [...] enclosed out of  Dervold [...]. Hughes shall be allowed [...] three tun of lime [...] to be brought and laid upon the said premisses [...] and [...] twenty shillings towards planting apple trees and quick' ... List of the Inhabitants of Deerfold; Agreement for a Tenement on Deerfold Improvements could benefit local people, but resulted in the loss of common rights
1869 ... The Forest has now lost its wild character. It is completely inclosed and for the most part under cultivation.  Now the woods are chiefly confined to the steep hanging slopes of the hills . The final inclosure took place in 1818, and the straight roads and formal allotments then made will long disfigure the district Bull, H.G. (1869). The Ancient Forest of Deerfold. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club, 164-192 As the historian Dr. Bull noted, improvements changed Deerfolds character forever
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