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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

And from thence down Blackpool Brooke to Blakeney


To

remedy this bad state of things, Mr. Bond proposed that a new law should be passed, explanatory of the Act of 1668, by enforcing the Forest officers to do their duty, and by superseding the odious, because unlimited and arbitrary, proceedings of the former Chief Justices in Eyre by a jury, and convictions before the verderers at their Swainmote Court, with a power lodged in those officers to fine, under a certain sum, all offenders. The Surveyor-General of the Crown Woods had the above proposal submitted to his consideration, and was directed to attend the Attorney and Solicitor-General, Sir John Willis and Sir Dudley Ryder, to take their opinion thereon, which was, that "the offences were chiefly owing to the neglect of putting the Stat. 20th Charles II. in execution; and they recommended, therefore, that the several vacant offices of the Forest should be filled up, that the Forest Courts should be regularly held, and that the officers should be strictly enjoined to do their duty." It is disappointing to find no evidence that anything was done in consequence of this opinion.

About this time the _fifteenth_ of the series of "Orders" enacted by the Mine Law Court of forty-eight, informs us that it met by adjournment at the Speech House on the 6th of December, 1737, before William Jones, Esq., Deputy Constable of St. Briavel's Castle.

Owing to the injury which it was considered foreigners had done to

the free miners by carrying coal out of the Forest for merchandise, it was decided that for the future no such carrying should be allowed except to certain persons named, under a penalty of 5 pounds, or property to that amount, or imprisonment in St. Briavel's Castle for a year, to the perpetrator or any cognizant thereof. From this it seems perfectly plain that the free miner regarded the carrying of coal as much a part of his profession as getting it, and therefore equally requiring protection. The "Order" proceeds to direct that in every suit before the Mine-Law Court the plaintiff and defendant were to pay 6d. to the Clerk for entering the same, which was to form his salary. The rights of free-minership were conferred upon the Honourable Thomas Gage, Christopher Bond the younger, Esq., Thomas Crawley, Esq., James Rooke, Esq., Thomas James, Gent., Thomas Barron the younger, Gent., Thomas Marshall, Yeoman. John Wade was to be made "free" on his working a year and a day in the mine; and making it a rule that a foreigner's son, being born in the Hundred, and seeking to become a free miner, was to serve by indenture an apprenticeship of seven years. The above "Order" has only twenty-three marks attached to it, more than half the jury signing their own names.

Proceeding to the date and objects of the next "Order" of the same Court, we find that it had been adjourned to the 2nd March, 1741, at the Speech House, before Edward Tomkins Machen, Esq., Deputy. It commences by explaining the terms "above" and "beneath the wood" to be two ancient divisions of the Forest, "beginning at the river Wye at Lydbrook, where the brooke there leading from the forges falls into the said river, and so up the said brooke or stream unto a place in the said Forest called Moyery Stock, and from thence along a Wayn-way at the bottom of a place called the Salley Vallett, and so along the same way between the two old enclosures that did belong to Ruardean and Little Dean Walks unto Cannop's Brooke, and down the said brooke to Cannop's Bridge; and from thence along the road or highway to the Speech-house, and from thence along the said highway to Foxe's Bridge, and from thence down Blackpool Brooke to Blakeney."


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