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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

Your Lpp hath now made 500li ffyne


I write not in any sorte to

capitulate with your Lpp; for wthout any consideration at all, I am redie to yealde upp this bargaine, rather then by reteyning thereof to harbour in your noblest thoughts the least ill conceipt of mee or my proceedinges. But nowe, Sr, howe profitable a bargaine you have made for the Kinge, these considerations followinge will easely demonstrate--ffor whereas in former tyme a greater proffit was never raised out of these wooddes than XXVS per ann. vntill my Ld your ffather and Sr Walter Myldemaye did let them by lease, and soe made VIILI rent, wthout any ffyne, your Lpp hath now made 500li ffyne, and 20li rent, wch is noe smale improvement, consideringe that _these 25 yeares last past not one pennye rent or proffitt otherwise hath bene made out of them, but left as a thing forgotten_. That the coppice woodd or vnderwoodd through the abuse of the last ffarmer, who never inclosed these wooddes, and the contynuall spoyle and havocke of the country thereabouts, _is utterly destroyed_. That there is nothinge nowe eft in 4 of those 6 coppices for wch I have bargained but old beaches, heretofore topt and lopt, whereof many of them nowe are scarce worth the cuttinge out to any man but myselfe, in respect of my iron workes beinge soe nere to them. That the other twoe coppices which are well stored have nothinge in them but younge beaches, and some other woodd of XX or XXX yeares growth. That in dyvers of those coppices there are many acres wch have noe manner of woodd standing vpon
them at all. Lastly, that the enclosinge of these coppices wth a sufficient mound will cost me 200 markes the least, beside the great quantitie of woodd that must necessarilye be spent therein, for wch no manner of allowance is made mee, &c. &c. &c.'"

The next MS. in Sir J. Caesar's collection seems designed to promote the extension of the iron-works, and relates several interesting particulars. It is headed "Reasons to move his Mtie to make vse and profitt of the woodes within the fforest of Deane." The Forest woods are said to "containe of great standing woodes, though of severall and different sortes, 15,000 acres, parte beinge tymber, and parte other, the most parte well sett, the lawndes not accompted. The same fforest is a forest for waste, and of soe ill condicon for hunting, as that the preservinge the woodes thereof will nether yield pleasure to the hunter nor profitt to the owner; and the woodes thereupon soe subject to waste, will dayly grow worse and worse. The fforest is for II. or III. myles vpon the skirts soe exceedingly wasted, as well by the inhabitants as other the borderers adiacent, that yt is grief to see soe many goodly trees to be spoiled, the vse whereof hath bene such as yt hath converted the tymber trees to Dotards, and that almost generally vpon the borders of the same fforest. The liberty of makinge sale of the wood hath bred in the same such a multitude of poore creatures, as it is lamentable to thinke soe many inhabitants shall lyve vpon soe bare provision as vpon spoile of the fforest woodes, wch yf in tyme yt be not forseene, will consume all his Mties woodes without accompte. It appeareth by Recorde, that in the raigne of Henry III., Edward I., II., and III., and longe sithence, there were divers forges within the fforest, and noe other but the Kinge's only; and of these there were VIII. at one tyme, as


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