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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

The head Gaviler of the Forrest


in most parts of ye Forest,

one in the bowells, and the other towards the surface of the earth. But, whether it be by virtue of the Forrest laws, or other custome, the head Gaviler of the Forrest, or others deputed by him, provided they were born in the Hundred of St. Briavel's, may go into any man's grounds whatsoever, within the limitation of the Forrest, and dig or delve for ore and cinders without any molestation. There are two sorts of ore: the best ore is your brush ore, of a blewish colour, very ponderous and full of shining specks like grains of silver; this affordeth the greatest quantity of iron, but being melted alone produceth a mettal very short and brittle. To remedy this inconvenience, they make use of another material which they call cinder, it being nothing else but the refuse of the ore after the melting hath been extracted, which, being melted with the other in due quantity, gives it that excellent temper of toughness for which this iron is preferred before any other that is brought from foreign parts. But it is to be noted that in former times, when their works were few and their vents small, they made use of no other bellows but such as were moved by the strength of men, by reason whereof their fires were much less intense than in the furnaces they now imploy; so that, having in them only melted downe the principal part of the ore, they rejected the rest as useless, and not worth their charge: this they call their cinder, and is found in an inexhaustible quantity throughout all the
parts of the country where any glomerys formerly stood, for so they were then called."

CHAPTER IV. A.D. 1692-1758.

Condition of the Forest described, and management examined--Depredations--Ninth and tenth orders of the Miners' Court--Timber injured by the colliers--The Forest in its best state, 1712--Eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth orders of the Miners' Court--Fourteenth order of the Miners' Court--Swainmote Court discontinued--Extension of coal-works and injury of trees--Forest neglected--Fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth orders of the Miners' Court--Grant of 9200 feet of timber to the Gloucester Infirmary.

Reverting to the general condition and management of the Forest, an important commission was issued this year, 1692, to the Crown officers and some of the neighbouring gentry, directing them to examine and inquire into the six following particulars:--I. The quantity of coppicewood fit for being cut from year to year for twenty-one years to come--II. The annual charge for the next twenty-one years of maintaining the enclosures--III. What the cost would be of disenclosing certain coal-pits, with which some of the plantations were encumbered--IV. What the salaries of the Crown officers of the Forest amounted to, and the cost of making such repairs as the buildings they occupied required--V. As to the way in which the timber fellings of 1688 had been disposed of, with the state of the enclosures, if those who had charge of them had duly protected them from injury--and VI. How far trespass and pounding had been enforced, or unlawful building permitted.

These were all very important questions, and under the first head, as to wood fit to be cut for cording, &c., the commissioners report, that "there are great and valuable quantities of scrubbed beech and birch, with some holly, hazel, and orle, fit to be cut and disposed of, being 192,000 cords, worth at 4s. 10d., amounting to 46,488 pounds, of which 12,000 cords might be cut every year, worth 2,900 pounds. Or, as the total quantity of such wood was 615,500 cords, their worth at 4s. 10d. was 148,745 pounds 16s. 8d.,


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