free ebooks

The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

Machen on Tuesday at Little Dean


Another Memorial was likewise presented by a dozen of the inhabitants of the Forest, showing that, instead of their cottages and gardens tending to throw a burden on the adjoining parishes, the very contrary was the case, as many were therefore enabled to support themselves without applying to those parishes. The petitioners also prayed that no further part of the Forest might be enclosed for the supposed benefit of the adjacent parishes, as thereby many persons would be deprived of grazing-land for their cattle, and in consequence be necessitated to apply to the next parishes for assistance.

Alluding to the state of the woods at this time (1833), Mr. Machen's Notes, under the date of the 29th of May, state:--"This is now the fourth year in which the blight has been so prevailing upon the oak and in the Forest. I think this year it is worse than ever, and now the young plantations suffer most, the large timber being comparatively free. Park Hill, Oaken Hill, Nag's Head, Barn Hill, Stapledge, &c., and especially all the higher parts of them, are leafless, except where a beech or a chesnut shows its green foliage amidst the brown oaks. I saw a few rooks in Russell's to-day, and last year I noticed great numbers. They seem to be drawn to the Forest to feed on the grubs, for they are not generally here, and I only hope they will increase. The woodmen complain that in some situations the running of the bark has been checked; but considering it has now been four years, it seems wonderful that more injury is not done to the trees: they put out new leaves at the midsummer shoot, and appear to recover. June 4th: found the grubs changed into a chrysalis, enclosed in a leaf, with a kind of web round it. June 18th: the moths appeared in vast numbers. The rooks are still about in Park Hill."

The usual Report to Government, being the fifth annual one, was issued on the 28th August, 1833, signed "Duncannon, W. D. Adams, B. C. Stephenson." Licence was granted to construct 600 yards of tramway from the Severn and Wye line up to the Church Hill Colliery at Park End, and the Dean Forest Commissioners appointed under the Act of Parliament (1 & 2 Gul. IV. c. 12) had their commission extended.

In the autumn of 1833 the Dean Forest Commissioners directed their attention to the important object of settling the limits of the Forest, in doing which they wisely determined to be governed by the Messrs. Driver's maps of 1787, according to which the Forest boundaries had for a length of time been regarded as practically settled, comprising the soil, timber, and herbage actually belonging to the Crown. Its boundaries as thus defined were perambulated in due ancient form, commencing on the 10th of September. {118} The cavalcade included Commissioners Robert Gordon, Esq.; Mr. Serjeant Ludlow; Charles Bathurst, Esq.; and Edward Machen, Esq., the Deputy-Surveyor; with Mr. Graham, their Clerk; and Mr. Hosmer, their Surveyor; followed by the keepers and woodmen. "We began" (writes Mr. Machen) "on Tuesday at Little Dean, and ended at Breem; Wednesday we ended at Hoarthorns, Thursday at Drybrook, Friday at the Stenders, and Saturday at Little Dean. We were occupied eight or nine hours each day, accomplishing about nine miles daily by the map, but the actual distance must have been nearly double."

The year 1834 is marked by the Dean Forest Commissioners issuing their second Report, dated 1st of May, in which, after briefly explaining the data on which the late perambulation had been conducted, they proceed to state that, as respects the various encroachments, 1,510 acres 2 roods 32 poles were taken in before 1787. Since that date, and up to the year 1812, further encroachments to the extent of 573 acres 10.5 poles had been made, and again from 1812 to the present time 24 acres 2 roods 9.5 poles had been taken in. In consideration of the Crown never having reclaimed the old encroachments, the Commissioners recommended that all such lands "should be declared to be freehold of inheritance," provided no additional dwelling-houses were erected on them without the licence of the Crown. They advised that the next oldest encroachments "should be granted to their present possessors for three lives, not renewable except at the pleasure of the Crown, and paying rents varying from one shilling to two shillings per acre." As to the latest encroachments, they gave their opinion that "their possessors should have terms varying from fourteen to twenty-one years, paying rents varying from four to eight shillings per acre; the condition as to building dwelling-houses to apply to these classes also." The following table, showing the acreage of the encroachments, classed as stated above, with the number of houses situate in the six "Walks" of the Forest, serves to exhibit the localities of the population of the district for the last hundred years.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us