Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[9 June, 1657.]
Owners, Tenants and Occupiers of lands within the Forest of Dean may cut down and dispose of timber, trees, woods and underwoods upon their Tenements and lands And may improve their lands.
Whereas the Forest Laws have seemed to be grievous and burthensome to the good People of this Commonwealth Inhabiting within the Forest of Dean, in the County of Gloucester, by reason of the rigorous execution thereof, in things neerly concerning their particular Estates and proprieties; for the mitigation thereforeof, the rigor of the said Laws, and for the establishing of the Rights Liberties and Priviledges of the said People, endeavoured to be violated and taken from them in the Raigne of the late King Charls by Sir John Wintour Knight, and others, Be it Enacted by His Highness the Lord Protector and this present Parliament and by the authority thereof, That from henceforth it shall and may be lawfull, to and for all and every the Owners, Tenants and Occupiers of all and every the Lands and Tenements which remain and are within the Metes, Limits and bounds of the said Forest, To cut down and dispose of any the Timber Trees, Woods and UnderWoods growing in and upon all and every their several and respective Lands and Tenements at their own will and pleasure without Licence of any Justice in the Eyre or his Deputy, and without the Licence or view of any Officer of the said Forest whatsoever; And also to manure and improve their said several Lands and Tenements, by plowing, ascerting, digging, inclosing and fencing the same at their will and pleasure, and to keep their Dogges unexpediated (any Statute, Act, Ordinance, Assize or Law of the Forest to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding).
All such persons may enjoy their lawfull rights according to the assize and laws of the Forest.
And that all and every person and persons whatsoever, shall and may henceforth have and enjoy, All and every such their Lawfull Rights, Liberties and Priviledges, within the said Forest, according to the Assize and Law of the Forest, as he or they might or ought lawfully to have had and enjoyed, Any Grants, Charters or Letters Patents granted or made to the said Sir John Wintour, John Gibbon, John Mansel, Ambrose Babin, or any other person or persons by the said late King, or any Act or Ordinance of Parliament to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
Grants by the late King for sale, destruction or dissolution of the Forest, Repealed.; The demeasne, woods; and wasts shall remain as they were in the 20. year of King James, and be in the possession and seizen of His Highness and his Successors.; His Highness and his Successors may encoppice for preserving wood and timber.; Not more than a third part to be inclosed at one time.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every Bargains, Articles, Covenants and Grants of or concerning the Demesne Wasts and Woods of the said Forest of Dean, or any part or parcel thereof, or of the Wood and Timber thereupon being, or of any Mines, or other things therein made and granted by the said late King to the said Sir John Wintour, John Gibbon, John Mansel and Ambrose Babin, or either of them, And all Letters Patents and Charters made or granted thereupon or in pursuance thereof, by the said late King, for the sale, destruction or dissolution of the said Forest, shall be and are hereby Declared and Enacted to be henceforth repealed, annulled and void, and of no force nor effect in the Law; And that the said Demesne Woods and Wasts shall henceforth be and remain in the same state and form and condition, as they were in the twentieth year of the raign of the late King James to all intents and purposes whatsoever; And that the same from henceforth shall be and remain, and are hereby Enacted to be and remain in the real and actual possession and seizin of His Highness the Lord Protector and his Successors for ever to the use of the Commonwealth; Any Grant, Charter, Letters Patents, Act, or Ordinance of Parliament to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding. And it is Declared and Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be Lawfull to and for His Highness the Lord Protector and His Successors, from time to time, to encoppice and inclose such part of the said Demesne Wasts of the said Forest as by reason of the growth and thriving of young wood, there shall be thought fit and most convenient, for and toward the raising and preserving of Wood and Timber, so as there be not inclosed and incoppiced above one third part of the said Demesne Wasts at any one time, but that from time to time, upon any new inclosing or incoppicing, whereby more then a third part shall come to be inclosed and incoppiced at any one time, so much of the former inclosure, as shall be best grown, and freest from the danger of spoil by Cattel, shall be, by convenient gappes and waies made in the Fences and Mounds thereof, left open, whereby all such person or persons as lawfully Claim any Rights, Liberties and Priviledges therein as aforesaid, may have and enjoy the same, according to the Law and Assize of the Forest as aforesaid.
The inclosure shall not be continued above twelve years.; The Court shall be held on the Tuesday every three weeks.
Provided alwaies, and it is hereby further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Inclosure of such third part of the said Forest, or of any parcel of the same third part shall not be continued above the space of twelve years, to be accounted from the time of such Inclosure as aforesaid. And it is lastly Enacted and Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That the Court of the Mannor and Hundred of St. Briavels, usually held on Monday every three weeks before the Constable of the Castle of St. Briavels, within the said Forest of Dean, or his Deputy, shall from and after the four and twentieth day of June, which shall be in the year of our Lord God One thousand six hundred fifty seven, be held on the Tuesday every three weeks, Any Law, Custom or Usage to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.