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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

And for the produce of timber for the navy


would be interesting to know what was the disposition of the inhabitants of the Forest, and of the neighbourhood generally, towards the exiled Sovereign, as the way to his restoration began to open out. A slight clue is afforded by Captain Titus's letter, reporting to the King that "he had been in the Forest of Dean, and had found the gentlemen very forward; that several of them had engaged for considerable numbers."

The return of Charles at once restored Sir John Winter to liberty, and to the benefits of the Patent which the late King had granted him, as also to his place as Secretary and Chancellor to the Queen Dowager. He proceeded to act upon the former, by repairing his enclosures, in spite of determined opposition from the neighbouring inhabitants, who strongly represented to the Government that the continuance of that grant would injure both it and the public. Sir Charles Harbord, under date 28th of December, 1661, thus describes the way in which the above complaint was preferred:--"His Majesty hath been pleased to be present with my Lord Chancellor, and Lord Treasurer, &c., at the hearing of this business, and hath given order that a Commission shall be forthwith issued out of the Exchequer to inquire into the state of the Forest; intending, upon the return of the said Commission, to acquaint the Parliament with the true state of the business; and to recommend it to their wisdom to provide that the said Forest may be restored to his

Majesty's demesne, and re-afforested, and improved by enclosures for a future supply of wood for a constant support of the iron-works there, producing the best iron of Europe for many years, and for the produce of timber for the navy, and other uses in time to come; which might be of great use for defence of this nation, the old trees there standing being above 300 years' growth, and yet as good timber as any in the world; and the ground so apt to produce, and so strong to preserve timber, especially oaks, that within 100 years there may be sufficient provision there found to maintain the navy royal for ever." Perhaps the ancient trees here named are those of which Sir John Winter spoke in the "good discourse" Mr. Pepys had with him, as "being left at a great fall in Edward the Third's time, by the name of forbid-trees, which at this day are called 'vorbid trees.'"

Here it may be noted, that there happened on the night of 18th February, 1662, a dreadful storm of wind, alluding to which Pepys writes:--"We have letters from the Forest of Deane, that above 1,000 oakes and as many beeches are blown down in one walke there;" and Mr. Fosbroke has recorded from some other source, that near Newent "the roads were impassable till the trees blown down were cut away, in some great orchards it being possible to go from one end to the other without touching the ground."

The Commission mentioned above was directed to Lord Herbert, as Constable of the Castle of St. Briavel's and Warden of the Forest, and others, to examine the state and condition thereof. After a careful survey, it was reported by them that they had found 25,929 oaks and 4,204 beeches, containing 121,572 cords of

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