1609, May 2.
Receipt for 40/-, "my Lord Treasurers free gifte
to mee for makeinge of a speech before Brittains Burss on May day
in the morninge".
Signed: Francis Berrey. Endorsed: "xls given to one Berry
for makeinge of a speech before Brittains Bursse on May daye."
⅓ p. (Box U/2.)
[After May 6, 1609].
"Observations towching the cause in
question between his Maty and others concerning the foreste of
The common people of the countrye use noe other appellation of
Kingswood but the Foreste of Kingswood, which hath continued
amonge them manie generations by tradition. [Marginal note:
That Kingeswood is a Foreste.]
The adversaryes woulde have it onlie a chace. Everye forest
contayneth in it a chace, but not contrarye. But a justice seate
hath bene kepte for this place (as is sayde) and therefore a foreste.
And consequentlie it can not be denyed but the soyle with all the
profits were ab origine the Kinges. So that neyther the whole nor
any part of theis forest groundes coulde passe from the Kinge but
by speciall graunte, and whosoever hath used the same without
such lawfull graunt, he is a meere intruder upon the Kinge.
[Marginal note: It hath officers and lawes which a chace hath not.]
Some suche grauntes maye peradventure be produced by some
of the defendants, and the same maye carrye wordes to seeminge
good purpose to confirme their pretended righte. But if theis
grauntes be dulie examined, ther wilbe found a great defecte, for if
there be wordes of lande and wood lyinge within Kingeswood and
yet the quantitie how muche nor the place where it lyes, noe butts,
boundes, meeres or lymited markes, to expresse the meaninge of
the grauntor, it is a question what passeth in the graunt. But
they to confirme their claymes will produce a companie of sillie
countrye partially affected inhabitantes, stryvinge by them to prove
the use, who can not speak of above 60 or 70 yeares, a weake prooffe,
to depryve the Kinge of soyle, timber, wood, bushes, mineralls and
whatsoever profits. They havinge noe recorde will force the Kinge
to show recorde for his owne most auntient righte. But noe dowbt
the lawe will adjudge it playne that prescription avayleth nothinge
agaynst the Kinge without recorde in such a case. [Marginal note:
Some may show graunts for lande and wood in Kingeswood, yet
short to carrye what they clayme.]
Of this nature I take the claymes of the Lorde Barkeley and La.
Newton whoe pretend their case (being alike) verye clere, for that
they can showe grauntes and confirmations de Rege in Regem for
longe time of lande and woode in Kingswood, not mentioninge
wher it should lye nor how muche it shoulde be. And yet under
couler of this, they carrye awaye above 1300 acres of soyle, wood,
coale and all other profits. Wheras it is unknown whether their
pretended portion be affected out of the forest (as it is verye like)
or the moste of it, for where the forest is for the most part ells
where invironed with a wall, about the place of their clayme there
appeareth none. [Marginal note: Lo. Barkley and La. Newton.
If the graunte be good, it must be for a quantitie expressed, and
no confirmation can increase the portion.]
Within the divisition [sic] of the Lorde Barkeley and Ladie
Newton ther are certayne subdivisions, as the La. Staffordes, Mr
Westons, Sir Rowland Lacies, one Mr Evenses and one Mr Prizes.
Theis are distinguished by boundes of composition betweene them
and the Lorde Barkeley and La. Newtons clayme, and because
their graunde division hath noe boundes by the wordes of the
graunt, they adventure to take in the supposed boundes of the
parish of Bitton Hanham. But I take it thowgh a foreste may lye
invironed with manie parishes, it is a question whether the forest
it selffe be parcell of the parishes or not. But the poynte materiall
is they are to prove the extent of their clayme by autentique recorde.
[Marginal note: Lo. Barkeley and La. Newton for want of a
limited proportion in their graunt have made the supposed boundes
of the parish the boundes of their portion.]
Sir Henrye Billingesley claymeth two partes. The firste confineth his owne manor of Sison not divided from the mayne foreste,
and that he holdeth (as is sayd) by the name of Purlieu, which
can not be unlesse it be a forest, and that part some time to have
bene deaforested, which he must prove. [Marginal note: Sir Hen.
Billingesley hath 2 shares, his firste Purlieu.]
The seconde parcell claymed by him lyeth above haulfe a mile
from any part of his manor above 600 acres. By what couler he
claymeth it, it is to me unknown, but as it appeareth onlie by use,
the auntient enymie to the Kinges right. [Marginal note: 2,
forest by consequens.]
One Mr Barkley hath a division adjoyninge the former above
500 acres by the like title. [Marginal note: Mr Barkeley.]
Mr Chester, owner nowe of the Barton in fee, hath all the reste
1380 acres, pretendinge it to be parcell of the manor of Barton,
wher it appeareth that the castle was the head seate of all the manor
and the Barton was in nature as in name a meere graunge of provisition [sic] for the castle. And therfore not likelie without
suffitient wordes to passe the foreste in his graunte that his clayme
can be good. [Marginal note: Mr Chester. The Barton, supposed to bee a manor, was but a graunge for provision to the
And like unto his I holde Mr Barkleyes and Sir Henrye Billingsleyes to be, for that they are all parcell of the Barton hundred as
Mr Chesters is. And if Mr Chesters belonge to the Barton so doe
theires. But there is but one small tenement of all the supposed
manor of Barton borders anie thinge nere the forest. But another
manor lyes betwene the forest and it. [Marginal note: Sir Henr.
Billingsleys, Mr Barkeleys, Mr Chesters partes ly all within the
hundred of Barton.]
To speake of the Kinges part, he hath neyther quantitie nor
qualitie but quite exempted the foreste. The Kinge was not so
fortunate to be at the sharinge. But they say the Kinge hath a
riche portion, herbage, for his deere. It is some no thinge, for
nowe are there noe deere lefte for the herbage. [Marginal note:
The Kinge hath a foreste but other men share all the lands and
In two dayes travayle everye waye throwgh the principall lawnes
and covertes of the foreste, there will hardlie be seene 2 brace of
deere in a herde. But in two howres travayle a man may finde
4 herde of goates nere 40 in a herde. His Maty beinge at contynuall
charge with officers of his game whoe suffer the royall game to fall
and the moste abandonable foes to forest game to flourish.
[Marginal note: In steede of the Kinges deere the country have
filled the foreste with goates.]
Suche abuses, as in this, are in the moste of his Mats forestes,
chaces and wastes, whose originall increase and force have bene
begotten, cherished and confirmed by time, negligence and corruption of some originall and succeeding officers; as also by the too
much greatnes of some forest comaunders whose proper territories
confined the forestes, chaces, etc. And to put more life into theis
abuses, the neglect of kinges in takinge the benefite of their owne
lawfull revenew, as of their timber, wood, bushes, mineralls and
such like profites, hath bene a great furtherance. For kinges
sparinge for love of posterities, subjectes spoylinge for present
lucre, officers connivencie for affection or gayne, hath bredd use,
use custome, custome habite, of whence growes that prescription
which all offenders holde and mayntayne to be stronge enowgh
(as it were) to curbe or coosen the Kinge of the meere revenewes
of his crowne. [Marginal note: How suche gross abuses have
growne upon his Mats forestes and chaces.]
It may be observed into what degrees of discontentment the
rude vulgar begin to run upon the shadowe of his Mats takinge
benefit of his own woodes. Some stick not to resiste with rebellious
force his Mats officers that come not to sell but to see, as in the
Forest of Deane. What is it probable they would have attempted
if such lawfull sale had bene made, as his Maty maye. Some others,
and it may be observed in generall, where his Maty hath made the
smalest sales in aboundinge woodes, the hartes of the inhabitantes
are so sett on fire as (though they seeme to hurle at the instruments)
they kick agaynst his Mats prerogative. [Marginal note: The
degrees of the peoples discovery of their discontentmentes at his
Mats taking some small profit of his owne woodes.]
I doe verilie beleve that his Maty hath lost more by precedinge
negligence and corruption of officers in profits accruable by forestes,
chaces and wastes then now his Maty quietlie reduces unto his
crowne. [Marginal note: His Maty hath lost nere as many forest
profites as he now receyveth.]
Many perticulars are needfull to be remembred upon this occasion, but my ignorance and present weaknes can not nor dutie will
not suffer me to bee more (being too) tedious."—Undated.
Endorsed: "Forrest of Kingeswood." 2⅓ pp. (132. 169.)
[See H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. XXI, p. 50.]
John Witham and Roger Tocketts to the
Earl of Salisbury.
[After May 31, 1609].
Thomas Johnson, by virtue of the King's
commission dated March 29, issued a proclamation at Darnton, co.
Durham, informing the inhabitants of the neighbourhood of Gainford that he would appear on a certain day to sell some of the
King's trees in Gainford Wood. He remained there two days, but
few people came to buy trees, and even those who wished to purchase timber refused 200 of the best trees at eight shillings a tree.
Johnson with Henry Tonge, a Justice of the Peace, sold to petitioners and certain others 1200 trees at 6/8 a tree, and took a bond
from them for the payment of £400 to the Bishop of Durham to
the King's use upon the last day of June. Petitioners and others
felled, sold and carried away many trees and disposed of the bark
to tanners in the vicinity. Lately, however, upon information
made by Mr Haggat, Salisbury and Sir Julius Caesar have prohibited any further felling or transportation of trees at Gainford,
and sent letters to that effect to the Bishop of Durham and Haggat.
Petitioners inform Salisbury that, notwithstanding the contract
of sale, they have not felled more than 760 trees, and of that number
have not sold more than 220, nor carried away more than 70. All
these trees, in the opinion of the Bishop of Durham, Haggat and others,
are unfit to be used in the Duke's building, since they are small.
However, the bark of the said 1200 trees has been sold to tanners,
who have spent much money in peeling the trees and are now
prevented from taking the bark away.
In view of these circumstances, petitioners ask that the contract
be allowed to stand. If it is found unfitting that so many trees
should be sold, they propose that those already felled should be
carried away by the buyers, since they are tenants of the King
who have bought the timber for their own use. As for the trees
that Salisbury thinks should not be sold, there should be abated
6/8 for every such tree. They request finally, that the Bishop of
Durham should receive the money due for the felled trees, and upon
payment redeliver the above-mentioned bond to them.—Undated.
1 p. (P. 472.)
[See H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. XXI, p. 60.]