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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

That some of the enclosure fences


to which 60,000 pounds may safely

be added for future clearings if a twenty-one years' lease be granted. 100 pounds a year would suffice to keep the enclosures in repair." The commissioners, in contemplating the expediency of making a grant adapted to the requirements of iron-making, supposing the King's furnaces to be restored, considered that it "would utterly destroy the Forest, now the best nursery for a navy in the world;" since the party obtaining such a lease would be sure to consider their own advantage rather than the preservation of the district. They also urged that a grant like that intimated was opposed to the intentions of the Act of 20th Charles II., as also to the previous decisions of 1662 and 1674, and would cause much dissatisfaction amongst the freeholders of the Forest, who were prepared to petition against it. The commissioners recommended that "the making of the fellets, if put in execution, should certainly be intrusted to the present officers, who had given sufficient testimony of their care in such matters." Their report adds that "the Lea Bayly is now a spring of oak and beech of four, five, and six years' growth, but much cropped and spoiled by cattle, by reason the enclosures made for the preservation thereof have in the night been several times pulled down and destroyed by persons unknown." The other places mentioned in the Act of 1668, called "Cannop Fellet, Buckholt, Beachenhurst, and Moyey Stock," are described as "generally very well grown with oak and beech of fifty, forty,
and thirty years' growth, and under, many thousand of them being forty foot and upwards, without a bough to hurt them." They further state, that some of the enclosure fences, especially those on the north-east side of the Forest, would cost 137 pounds 10s. to repair, and 30 pounds a year afterwards, perhaps, to keep them good, the other parts formerly enclosed not needing reparation, the trees being grown up past danger from deer or cattle, "unless in case of some accident, or pulling down by the rabble, as hath been sometimes done." Viewing the places where the last fellets for cordwood were made in 1690, the commissioners state that "a very great stock has been left upon the ground for timber, and all imaginable care taken by the officers employed in making the said fellets, and preserving all the stores and saplings, with the principal shoots of such beech as grow upon old stools well sheltered by other woods, for the improvement thereof." With reference to the expediency of throwing open such of the enclosures as contained coal-pits, we learn that no inconvenience was felt on that account, as "not more than six pits had ever been so situated, and now not one, those plantations having grown up, and their fences down." The sum total of salaries paid to the conservators and six keepers was 210 pounds per annum, arising from wood sales. Various repairs are stated to have been necessary. The Castle of St. Briavel's, it is said, "hath been a very great and ancient building, but the greatest part is ruined and fallen down, and only some part kept up for a place to hold the courts in for the King's manor and hundred thereof, and also for a prison for debtors attached by process out of the said courts, and for offenders and trespassers within the Forest. The same is very necessary to be repaired; and for mending the roof and tyling, and in glazing, plaistering, repairing the prison windows, and building a new pound, &c., will cost the sum of 10 pounds 14s. 2d. The cost of rebuilding Worcester and York Lodges, pulled down by the rioters in 1688, and repairing the Speech House, which was likewise much injured at that time, will be, they calculate, 219 pounds 10s."


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