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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

And an increase rent of 3 pounds 8d


As Mr. Evelyn writes that he "heard" what he states of the matter, Mr. Secretary Pepys was probably his informant, who was told it by his friend Sir John Winter, who again heard it from his grandfather, Sir William Winter, vice-admiral of Elizabeth's fleet, but kinsman to Thomas Winter of Huddington, who at the close of this reign was constantly aiding the Spanish Romanists in their intrigues here, and eventually took part in the Gunpowder Plot. Such tradition is highly to the credit of the Forest timber of those days, if not to the iron as well. Both must have been renowned for supplying an important portion of the materials used in the Royal dockyards, which were at this time much enlarged, an increase of the navy being found necessary; whilst the stock of timber then standing in different parts of the kingdom was judged so insufficient for the wants of the Government, that recent acts of the legislature had directed that "twelve standils or storers likely to become timber should be left on every acre of wood or underwood that was felled at or under twenty-four years' growth," and prohibited the "turning woodland into tillage," and required that, "whenever any wood was cut, it must be immediately enclosed, and the young spring thereof protected for seven years." Moreover, no trees upwards of a foot in the square were to be converted into charcoal for making iron.

The returns from Sir Julius Caesar's collection preserved in the Lansdowne MSS. recognise the above regulations, as well as the market for wood created by the Forest iron-works, now greatly enlarged; they possess considerable interest, and will be found in Appendix No. I.

CHAPTER II. A.D. 1612-1663.

Grants in the Forest to Earl of Pembroke--Mining restricted to the Foresters--Iron cinders of old workings re-smelted in the new furnaces--Last justice seat held in 1635, extending the limits of the Forest to those of Edward I.--Grant to E. Terringham--Forest surveyed in 1635--Sale of the woods to Sir J. Winter--Disturbances of the Civil War at Coleford, Highmeadow, Ruerdean--Adventures of Sir J. Winter at Westbury, Little Dean, Newnham, Lydney--Events on the north side of the Forest--Incidents of the Protectorate, riots and devastations of the Forest--Sir J. Winter's patent restored--Effects of a great storm--Survey of the Forest in 1662--Mr. J. Pepys and Sir J. Winter on the Forest--The latter resumes his fellings--Inhabitants suggest replanting and enclosing the Forest--Act of 20 Charles II., c. 3--Sir J. Winter's licence confirmed.

On the 17th of February, 1612, William Earl of Pembroke obtained a grant "of 12,000 cords of wood yearly for twenty-one years at 4s. per cord, being 2400 pounds, and reserving a rent besides of 33 pounds 6s. 8d. per annum," with "liberty to dig for and take within any part of the said Forest, or the precincts thereof, such and so much mine ore, cinders, earth, sand, stone, breaks, moss, sea coal, and marle, as should be necessary for carrying on the iron-works let to him, or which he should erect; no person or persons whatsoever other than the said Earl to be permitted during the said term to take or carry out of the said Forest any wood, timber, mine ore, or cinders, without consent of the said Earl, except such timber as should be used for his Majesty's shipping." The Earl obtained, on the 13th June of the same year, a grant of "the lordship, manor, town, and castle of St. Briavel's, and all the Forest of Dean with the appurtenances, and all lands, mines, and quarries belonging thereto, except all great trees, wood, and underwood, to hold for forty years at the yearly rent of 83 pounds 18s. 4d., and an increase rent of 3 pounds 8d."


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