A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.
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In the earliest reference to the Forest of Dean as an administrative unit, Domesday Book records that Edward the Confessor had exempted from tax the manor called Dean, comprising land in the area of Mitcheldean, in return for the service of custody of the Forest. The lord of the manor, William son of Norman, (fn. 1) was the first of a family which was later surnamed Forester and kept forests under the Crown until the early 13th century. (fn. 2) The Forest was thus in the late 11th century administered from an estate based on the valleys at its eastern edge, and a significant role was perhaps played by a Norman castle at Littledean, called the old castle of Dean c. 1150 and well placed to command the main approach from Gloucester. (fn. 3) The later administrative centre, St. Briavels by the Wye on the western edge, was not a royal manor at Domesday and there was no mention of its castle or the liberty later centred on it. William I, who probably hunted in Dean when his court was at Gloucester, (fn. 4) enlarged the royal hunting grounds before 1086 by adding two manors near the Wye; some decayed manors in the same area were left as part of the Forest waste, probably by deliberate policy. (fn. 5)
A grant by Henry I of the tithes of venison from his forests of Dean and the Severn area c. 1105, addressed to his foresters, huntsmen, and bowmen of the region, (fn. 6) reveals little of the administrative arrangements then in place. Hugh, the son of William son of Norman, retained custody of the Forest in 1130, paying a farm of £13 for it and forests in Herefordshire, so it is likely that it was still administered from the manor of Dean. St. Briavels castle had been built by then but was in the custody of the hereditary sheriff of Gloucestershire, Miles of Gloucester, (fn. 7) and may have then been of military significance only. In 1139 when Miles became one of the principal supporters of the Empress Maud she granted him St. Briavels castle and the Forest of Dean in fee. (fn. 8) Miles, who was created earl of Hereford in 1141 and died in 1143, and his son Roger, earl of Hereford, held the Forest during the wars of Stephen's reign. A grant made by Miles was addressed to all his officers and foresters of Dean and one by Roger was addressed to his sheriffs and all his foresters of Dean. Both grants concerned forges, (fn. 9) a reminder that its ironworking industry gave the Forest an additional value in wartime. Roger used part of the Forest woodland and waste to found and endow Flaxley abbey, reputedly sited on the spot where his father met his death in a hunting accident, (fn. 10) and the earls also held former royal demesne manors at Newnham, Awre, Rodley, Minsterworth, and probably elsewhere in the region. In 1154 or 1155 Earl Roger released his rights in the Forest and St. Briavels castle to Henry II. (fn. 11)
At Henry II's accession the area under forest law probably comprised the royal demesne woodland and the manors of St. Briavels hundred. Before 1228, however, the Forest was enlarged to include all the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire manors in an area bounded by the rivers Severn and Wye and extending as far north as Newent. As elsewhere in England, the main motive for the enlargement was financial. The wider bounds included substantial private woodlands but in several, notably those in Tidenham and Woolaston belonging to the Marcher lordship of Striguil (Chepstow), private chases were sanctioned, (fn. 12) while others, such as Birdwood, in Churcham, and Kilcot, in Newent, were too far distant from the main block of woodland to add much to the preservation of game. The hunting rights in Dean, though often used by huntsmen with orders to supply the royal household with venison or wild boar, were apparently not often enjoyed by the monarchs in person. Henry II hunted there on one or more occasions. (fn. 13) King John, who was recorded at St. Briavels castle on five occasions and for whom the castle's royal apartments were probably constructed, appears to have been the most frequent royal visitor. Henry III stayed at the castle on five occasions, only one of them probably more than a brief break in his joumeyings, and Edward 11 went there in 1321 for reasons connected with threatening levies of men in the Marches rather than for the hunting. (fn. 14) Edward III, who stayed several times at Flaxley abbey before 1353, (fn. 15) was possibly the last monarch to enter the royal demesne woodlands of Dean until the 20th century.
Between 1155 and 1166 the Forest was administered by royal appointees, paying an annual farm of £10. No later record of its administrators appears to survive until 1194; from then until 1206, William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, lord of Striguil, and sheriff of Gloucestershire, held it at the same farm. (fn. 16) St. Briavels castle, which was recorded in possession of the Forest's custodians in 1160 and in 1198, (fn. 17) appears to have been the administrative centre of the Forest throughout the period. It certainly was so by 1207 when the custodian, or warden, was termed constable of St. Briavels. (fn. 18)
FOREST OFFICERS AND COURTS.
By the early 13th century, when its main elements become clear, the administration of the Forest was firmly centred on St. Briavels. The castle was the headquarters of the chief officer of the Forest, the warden and constable, who ex officio held St. Briavels manor and the adjoining royal manor of Newland and exercised the Crown's rights in the tenanted manors that formed the hundred or liberty of St. Briavels. A number of small estates at St. Briavels were held as serjeanties by foresters, and the manors of the liberty supported the foresters, or woodwards, of 10 bailiwicks in the demesne woodland. The term 'Forest of St. Briavels' was sometimed used during the 13th and 14th centuries, apparently for the demesne woodland alone rather than for the whole area then subject to forest law. (fn. 19)
The head of Dean's administration was styled both warden of the Forest of Dean and constable of St. Briavels castle. The two offices were regarded as separate, though it would be difficult to distinguish which duties belonged to which; for convenience the holders are referred to in this account as constables of St. Briavels. During the 13th and 14th centuries, when they usually held during royal pleasure for only a few years, the constables were great magnates or royal administrators with other wide responsibilities. (fn. 20) Among those who had local connexions, John of Monmouth, lord of Monmouth (fn. 21) and a number of Forest manors, served from 1216 to 1224, and William de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, who was lord of Lydney manor, (fn. 22) served in the early 1270s. William Hathaway, constable 1287-91, who was also chief forester of Dean by tenure of an estate in St. Briavels, (fn. 23) was unusual as an appointee from the local gentry.
The constable, whose office was given an enhanced military significance by the Forest's role in supplying weapons and miners as sappers, was inevitably caught up in the struggles between Crown and barons. John Giffard of Brimpsfield, a leading adherent of Simon de Montfort, was appointed in August 1263 and retained the office after his return to the royal cause; he and Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, took refuge in the Forest with their forces in the spring of 1265 when de Montfort came to Gloucester. (fn. 24) The following year Henry III placed St. Briavels castle and the Forest in the charge of his son Edward. During the troubled later years of Edward II's reign there were rapid changes of custody, and local supporters of the dissident barons secured the castle during the fighting of 1321. (fn. 25) After Edward's success the following year superior custody over St. Briavels castle and the Forest was given to Hugh le Despenser the younger. In January 1327 castle and Forest passed to Queen Isabella following her successful invasion. Under Edward III the Forest's administration had more stability: Guy Brian, a distinguished soldier, (fn. 26) was made constable for life in 1341 and remained in office until his death in 1390.
The status of the holders of the constableship during the 13th and 14th centuries meant that most of the duties were performed by deputies whom they appointed. Some of the deputies were local landowners. In the 1220s the deputy was Hugh of Kinnersley, owner of an estate near Coleford, (fn. 27) and Guy Brian's deputies included John Joce and John Greyndour, owners of an important estate in Newland parish. (fn. 28) By the mid 16th century the constable was also supported by seven underforesters, one of whom was styled the constable's bowbearer. (fn. 29) The constable apparently had some of that staff of minor officials from 1350, when Edward III had recently appointed four foresters at wages, to be paid out of the issues farmed by the constable. (fn. 30)
The early constables had wide responsibilities, the office combining the roles of forester, manorial steward, military purveyor, justice, and gaveller. A writ de intendendo addressed to all foresters and verderers when a new constable took office (fn. 31) emphasized that he was the principal forester of Dean with overall charge of its vert and venison. The great majority of the orders addressed to the constable required him to arrange for royal gifts of timber and venison, the former going mainly to religious houses and other local landowners for building purposes, (fn. 32) or to provide facilities for huntsmen sent down to take deer or wild boar for the royal household. (fn. 33) The constable had also to regulate the exercise of commoning rights in the Forest, (fn. 34) and supervise the assarting of land and assess the new rents to be paid. (fn. 35) In the administration of the forest law he, or more usually his deputy, presided with the verderers over the attachment court (fn. 36) and provided executive support, in particular maintaining a prison in St. Briavels castle. (fn. 37) Occasionally the castle was used to house prisoners from outside the region, including some Scots in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II. (fn. 38) The constable controlled the Crown's mineral rights in the Forest, collecting the king's share of ore from mines and regulating or attempting to suppress, depending on current policy, itinerant bloomery forges operating in the woodland. In the early 13th century he managed a large royal forge at St. Briavels (fn. 39) and throughout that century supervised the manufacture of crossbow bolts, distributing them, and sometimes other products such as horsehoes and pickaxes, to royal armies and castle garrisons throughout England and Wales. (fn. 40) He levied men within the Forest for military duty, including those with specialist mining skills. (fn. 41) In 1281 or 1282 the king required 100 tree fellers to join the royal army in Wales. (fn. 42) Forest men were apparently well thought of as ordinary footmen and archers and large contingents were sometimes levied by the constable: in 1333, when 500 men were to be levied in Gloucestershire, 300 were to come from the Forest area. (fn. 43) The constable Guy Brian had Forest men under his command in France in 1360. (fn. 44) Also in the constable's direct management were the manors of St. Briavels and Newland with the castle, demesnes, mills, and fishing weirs. For the tenanted manors of St. Briavels hundred he acted as receiver (fn. 45) and escheator. (fn. 46) He was also chief judge of the hundred court held at the castle. (fn. 47)
The bulk of the profits of Dean were included in the constable's farm in the 13th and 14th centuries, the main exceptions being the fines and forfeitures imposed by the justices and the proceeds of timber sales. The Forest estate was increasing in value in the early 13th century, as a result of rents levied for new assarts and probably also a rise in the profits from mining. In 1210 the farm paid by the constable remained at £10 a year, (fn. 48) the same as it had been in the 1150s. By 1230 it had risen to £36 13s. 4d., (fn. 49) by 1255 to £140, (fn. 50) and by 1287 to £160. (fn. 51) About 1250 the profits collected by the constable were valued at £153 a year: about a third was drawn from the manors of St. Briavels and Newland and the rents paid by the owners of the other manors of the liberty, and about a third from mining and ironworks, including a toll levied on the shipping of sea coal from the Forest, royalties from the iron and coal mines, and rents paid by forge-owners; about a sixth was provided by the herbage and pannage payments of the commoners; and the remaining sixth was supplied by the sale of windfall trees and by other profits of the demesne woodlands. The great forge at St. Briavels castle had formerly contributed another £50 or so but it was declared to be uneconomic and given up at about the time of the valuation. (fn. 52) In the year 1279-80 the profits farmed by the constable produced £170 and the following year £143. (fn. 53) The profits of the Forest had fallen by 1341 and were valued at just over £117. The alienation from the royal estate of certain assets, such as fishing weirs, was cited as among the causes, but so was the large reduction of the juridical Forest which was finally accepted by the Crown in 1327, suggesting that there were benefits for the constable in the form of fees or other exactions which did not figure in the accounts cited above. On Guy Brian's petition the farm was reduced to £120 in 1341. (fn. 54) In 1349, because of losses in the great plague, it was further reduced to £70, (fn. 55) and from the following year, to supplement the income that supplied it, Brian was allowed to fell underwood on a regular basis for charcoaling or other purposes. (fn. 56)
From the end of the 14th century there was a change in the character of the office of constable. The castle, manors, and general proWts of the Forest once farmed by the holder (which are referred to here as the St. Briavels castle estate) were granted in fee by the Crown, and later, having reverted to the Crown, were granted on long leases. (fn. 57) The constableship was evidently subsumed in a grant in fee of the St. Briavels castle estate to John, later duke of Bedford, in 1399, but after his death in 1435 the office was separated from the estate. (fn. 58) Constables were appointed at an annual fee paid out of the estate (fn. 59) and had the use of parts of St. Briavels castle for keeping the courts and prison. (fn. 60) During the next 100 years men from local gentry families often served, including John Ashurst, landowner in English Bicknor, and members of the Baynham and Hyett families. In 1546, however, the earls of Pembroke began a long association with the office, and from the mid 17th century, when the constableship was usually held with the lease of the St. Briavels castle estate, it was the preserve of leading Gloucestershire magnates. (fn. 61) The constable continued to appoint a deputy constable, mainly for holding the courts, (fn. 62) and his bowbearer and six under-foresters. The six were later termed rangers or keepers (fn. 63) and had the specific task of keeping the deer; (fn. 64) they took on an enhanced role at a reorganization of the Forest's administration in the 1670s. (fn. 65)
Under the constable's overall control a tier of senior foresters administered ten divisions, called bailiwicks or baileys, in the demesne woodland; they were usually termed forestersin-fee in the Middle Ages, but to avoid confusion with another group of foresters (fn. 66) they are referred to here as woodwards, which was their usual style in the modern period. The woodwards held manors adjoining the demesne woodland by the serjeanty of keeping a bailiwick and paid a chief rent to St. Briavels castle. The bailiwicks and bailiwick manors (listed in clockwise direction around the demesne) were Ruardean, Lea, Mitcheldean, Abenhall, Littledean, Blaize (or Bleyths) which was held with Blythes Court manor in Newnham, Blakeney, Bearse which was held with an estate in Newland and St. Briavels, Staunton, and English Bicknor. (fn. 67) About 1245 all the bailiwicks were said to be held by ancient tenure, (fn. 68) and some were apparently in existence by the mid 12th century. Before 1155 Roger, earl of Hereford, confirmed to William of Dean an office in the Forest which William had enjoyed under Earl Miles and which owed a rent of 20s. and military service within Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Worcestershire. Later William's successors as lords of Mitcheldean manor paid the 20s. rent to the constable, kept Mitcheldean bailiwick with two under-foresters, and owed military service to the Crown, and in 1319 the earl's charter was produced as evidence for the tenure of Mitcheldean manor. (fn. 69) The lords of Abenhall held on very similar terms in the late 13th century - 20s. rent, custody of Abenhall bailiwick with two under-foresters, and military service within the bounds of the Forest (fn. 70) -and it is likely that their bailiwick, too, was in existence under the earls of Hereford. In 1199 six of the ten bailiwicks, those of Ruardean, Lea, Mitcheldean, Blakeney, Staunton, and Bicknor, were recorded; (fn. 71) Abenhall, Blaize, and apparently Bearse, were recorded in the early 1220s, (fn. 72) and Littledean, evidently an offshoot of Mitcheldean bailiwick, was possibly a separate bailiwick by 1250 (fn. 73) and certainly was by 1282. (fn. 74)
The woodwards seem to have had a general advisory and supporting role in the constable's administration of the whole Forest. For their individual bailiwicks they presented offenders against the vert at the attachment court (fn. 75) and kept rolls of attachments for offences against the vert and venison to present, with other foresters and the verderers, before the justices-in-eyre. (fn. 76) At the forest eyre of 1634 each woodward produced a hatchet as the symbol of his office, (fn. 77) so their duties probably included marking timber trees that were ordered to be felled in the bailiwick. The direct personal duty of the Staunton woodward, recorded in 1342, of carrying the king's bow when he came to hunt in the bailiwick (fn. 78) was presumably common to all, though few holders can ever have performed it. For only Mitcheldean and Abenhall is the obligation of military service recorded. All the woodwards had to maintain under-foresters, two each in the larger bailiwicks like Abenhall and Blakeney and one in the smaller ones like Blaize. Those in Abenhall were bowmen, patrolling on foot, in 1301 (fn. 79) and that was presumably the case with all. On appointment under-foresters had to make an oath before the attachment court. (fn. 80) The woodwards' deputies of the early modern period were evidently their successors. (fn. 81)
The woodwards claimed various privileges within their bailiwicks by right of office. Claims common to all included rights of pannage, herbage, and estovers for themselves and their tenants, and in 1282 all claimed to keep unlawed dogs and some to course for small game. (fn. 82) In the early 13th century six or more of the woodwards had the right to operate itinerant forges in the woodland and were exempted from general prohibitions of forges that the Crown attempted to enforce. (fn. 83) Claims to take wood probably originated in connexion with their ironmaking operations. In 1223 they had the right to freshly broken wood, (fn. 84) presumably the windfallen trees which they all claimed later; in 1565 it was explained that the claim extended only to those trees whose trunk was snapped by the wind, in distinction to those blown over and uprooted, which were the perquisite of the constable. (fn. 85) In 1234 a claim made by the woodward of Staunton established that all had the right to the loppings of oaks granted as gifts by the Crown, (fn. 86) and c. 1282 several claimed an oak trunk at Christmas. Other claims advanced by various woodwards c. 1282 and evidently not uniform throughout the bailiwicks included eyries of hawks and falcons, honey, and nuts, and the woodwards of Blakeney and Abenhall made the more ambitious claim, possibly never secured in full, to iron ore and sea coal in their bailiwicks. (fn. 87) In 1634 when the woodwards entered their claims of privileges before the forest eyre there was still considerable diversity: windfalls were claimed by almost all, but only three claimed the trunk at Christmas, five claimed the bark from trees felled as gifts, and four claimed eyries. Only Blakeney then claimed ore and coal. (fn. 88)
The differing privileges and terms of tenure suggest that the pattern of bailiwicks was not devised as a coherent scheme at one date, and the boundaries of the bailiwicks as described in a Forest regard of 1282 (fn. 89) (in so far as the landmarks are now identifiable) suggest that they were always of disparate size. By 1282, however, the pattern had already been much obscured by assarting. Staunton bailiwick was by then divided from its parent manor by the south part of Coleford tithing in Newland, but that part seems formerly to have been within the bailiwick to judge from rights in it later claimed and chief rents from it received by the lords of Staunton. (fn. 90) Blaize had lost a large part of its area by the Crown's grant in 1258 of what was later called Abbots wood to Flaxley abbey. (fn. 91) Much of Bearse had been lost to Newland and St. Briavels parishes and by further depletions in the earlier 14th century it was left as scattered parcels. (fn. 92)
In 1250 for various misdemeanours by the woodwards six of the bailiwicks were forfeited to the Crown. (fn. 93) Lea (fn. 94) and Staunton were returned to the owners of the manors later in the century, but Mitcheldean and Littledean remained divorced from their parent manors in 1319, as did Ruardean in 1385 and Blakeney until the early 16th century. (fn. 95) By the mid 16th century all ten bailiwicks were once more held with their manors and they remained with them for as long as the office of woodward continued to be officially recorded. In the early modern period there were usually no more than seven woodwards in all, as some of the bailiwick manors were in joint ownerships, and in the 18th century Littledean bailiwick, which had become known as Badcocks Bailey, ceased to be separately distinguished. (fn. 96) Their duties having become nominal, the woodwards figured in the late records of the administration of Dean mainly in connexion with claims to perquisites.
Another group of foresters were usually called serjeants-in-fee in the Middle Ages but later foresters-in-fee. Unlike the woodwards, they performed the duty of protecting the venison and vert and attaching offenders throughout the Forest woodlands. (fn. 97) They were headed by a chief serjeant, also called the chief forester, who held a small manor in St. Briavels by his service and enjoyed valuable privileges, including an allowance of venison. He performed his duties on horseback, whereas the other serjeants went on foot, and he appointed an under-forester, known as the bowbearer. There were as many as 11 other serjeants-in-fee during the 13th century, and five or more of them held small estates in St. Briavels by the service. (fn. 98) They presented hunting-horns as their symbols of office at the forest eyre of 1634, (fn. 99) and a horn and a short sword are among the accoutrements shown on the effigy of the serjeant John Wyrall (d. 1457) at Newland church. (fn. 100) By the early modern period the office of the ordinary serjeants-in-fee appears to have become purely hereditary, with only the chief forestership, held for many centuries by the owners of the Clearwell estate, still served in right of its St. Briavels estate. (fn. 101) The chief forester and eight serjeants continued to be listed on the swanimote rolls until the late 18th century, (fn. 102) but the office was probably purely nominal by the mid 17th.
An officer called the riding forester or rider was recorded from 1282 and two rangers from 1390. The three officers were salaried and were directly appointed by the Crown. (fn. 103) All three officers apparently had the power of making attachments throughout the Forest, but in 1565 the rangers were said to have particular responsibility for policing the 'lands', the Forest glades. (fn. 104) In 1634 the rangers were required to appear at the eyre with bags of hogrings, presumably symbolic of an ancient duty of regulating pannage. (fn. 105) By the early 16th century the rangerships were held with posts in the royal household and had presumably become sinecures. (fn. 106) The offices of rider and rangers have not been found mentioned after 1673. (fn. 107) Two minor offices in existence by the mid 16th century were a bailiff at large and a beadle. (fn. 108)
Dean's verderers were recorded from the early 13th century. During the Middle Ages there appear to have been four or five of them, (fn. 109) but three was the usual complement in the 16th and 17th centuries, (fn. 110) and there were consistently four from the early 18th. (fn. 111) As in other forests the office was an appointment for life, made by royal writ, under the authority of the county sheriff. (fn. 112) In the 13th century the verderers acted as coroners for St. Briavels hundred, (fn. 113) and they were also distinguished from the other foresters by their duty of presiding over the attachment court; (fn. 114) otherwise they shared in the foresters' functions of supervising assarts, (fn. 115) selecting timber for royal gifts, (fn. 116) and presenting offenders at the eyre. (fn. 117) Their perquisites, as claimed in 1634, were the taking annually of two does and one oak and one beech. (fn. 118) Dean had the usual body of 12 regarders, appointed before the eyre and responsible for enquiring into and reporting at the eyre encroachments and other invasions of royal rights under a series of heads, such as forges, assarts, and waste of private woods. (fn. 119)
The forest eyre, usually referred to in the early modern period as the justice seat, was held in Dean at regular intervals in the late 12th century and the 13th. (fn. 120) Records of the proceedings survive for 1258, 1270, and 1282, (fn. 121) and for the last eyre there is also the roll of the regard, drawn up by the regarders for the coming of the justices. (fn. 122) The session of 1282 was possibly the last time until 1634 that the full apparatus of the forest eyre, including not only the determination of vert and venison offences but also the enrolment and punishment of offences brought to light by the regard and a general inquiry into the privileges and conduct of the forest officers, was invoked in Dean. (fn. 123) In the early 15th century, however, justices of the forest occasionally visited Dean to punish offenders. (fn. 124)
As in other royal forests, an attachment court, in Dean in the early modern period usually called the 'speech court', (fn. 125) was held for taking cognizance of offences against the vert. (fn. 126) Records of its proceedings survive for 1335-41, (fn. 127) 1566, and 1568, (fn. 128) and estreats for most years in the period 1601-25. (fn. 129) It met about every six weeks - the customary interval was 40 days - and was presided over by the deputy constable and the verderers. By the 1330s some sessions at least were held in a courthouse on or near the site of the later Speech House at Kensley, in the centre of the royal demesne woodland. Most attachments recorded at the period had been made by the woodwards within their respective bailiwicks; occasionally they had been made by the serjeants-in-fee or other foresters. Most of the offenders were taken to St. Briavels castle, presumably there to be bailed against the coming of the justices, but in some cases the woodwards who had attached them were charged with producing them. No fines are mentioned as levied by the court, and all offences were presumably then reserved for punishment by the justices. The court at that period aimed to account for all timber taken from the forest for whatever reason: apart from trees stolen, it recorded those delivered by custom to the miners for shoring their workings, those taken for building work or other needs of the Crown, and those granted to neighbouring religious houses or other landowners. (fn. 130)
By the 1430s the attachment court was apparently imposing small fines for at least some offences, for profits of the court amounting to c. £9-13 a year were then recorded among the profits of the Forest received by the duke of Bedford and his successors. (fn. 131) By the 1560s, when Forest eyres and presumably also visits of justices had long since lapsed, the attachment court had begun to impose a fixed scale of fines for offences, the standard items being 6d. for hewing timber with a bill, 12d. for felling with an axe, 6d. for being caught with a packhorse load of timber, and 2s. for being caught with a wagon load. (fn. 132) Later, with growing concern about illegal destruction of the woodland, higher fines were imposed. In 1601 and 1602 felling an oak or even destroying underwood could incur 5s. and cart ing timber away 20s. (fn. 133) By the 1620s there was a scale based on the size of a stolen tree in terms of 'loads' of timber: for example an oak measured at three loads might incur a fine of 30s. (fn. 134) In the first decade of the 17th century the total of the fines levied by the court, by then paid directly to the royal Exchequer, averaged c. £20 a year. (fn. 135)
The term 'swanimote', which in forests in general originally denoted seasonal gatherings for regulating pannage and other commoning rights, (fn. 136) was sometimes used in Dean as a term for the attachment court. At the forest eyre of 1282 an under-forester of one of the bailiwicks was said to have made his oath of office before the deputy constable and verderers in the 'swanimote', an event which in 1622 was said to happen at the speech (i.e. attachment) court by ancient custom, and the justices also complained in 1282 that the pleas of vert had been insufficiently presented in the 'swanimote'. (fn. 137) In 1565 there was an unequivocal reference to the 'speech court alias the swanimote'. (fn. 138) In the 17th century, however, the term swanimote was used for gatherings which were distinct from the attachment court and had a wider range of responsibility. In 1634 and 1656 swanimotes were held to record presentments under the articles of the regard in preparation for the forest eyres of those years, (fn. 139) and a swanimote held before the verderers at Littledean in 1637 was attended by all the forest officers, including regarders, and four men and a reeve from each township in the Forest bounds. (fn. 140) In the late 1670s and 1680s the swanimote was held once or twice a year before the verderers and attended by the officers and the township representatives, to record presentments concerning the vert, venison, and encroachment, (fn. 141) but it may have only recently been given an enhanced role in support of the new government policy of managing the Forest as a nursery of timber. The use earlier of the term swanimote for the attachment court, taken with the character of the 17th-century swanimotes, may indicate that there were in the Middle Ages one or two special sessions each year of the attachment court, attended by all the Forest officers and the township representatives and dealing with a wider range of matters than the vert.
Courts held in the Forest for purposes other than the administration of the forest law - the hundred court and leet for St. Briavels hundred (fn. 142) and the mine law court - are described elsewhere. (fn. 143)
COMMONING TO THE EARLY 17TH CENTURY.
A central strand in the Forest's history and often a cause of dispute and violent confrontation was the exercise of commoning rights in the demesne woodland and waste. Up to the early 17th century, with beeches equal in number to oaks among the great trees of the Forest, it was the feeding of pigs on the mast in autumn which was of most importance. The pannage in Dean yielded £3 6s. 1d. for the Crown in the year 1184-5 (fn. 144) and £24 for the four years ending in 1194. (fn. 145) About 1250 the receipts from pannage averaged £20 a year compared to £5 from the herbage of cattle. (fn. 146) Rights of estovers enjoyed in the woodlands by the local inhabitants were recorded from 1223. (fn. 147)
Dues for the exercise of the rights were paid to the constable and later to the St. Briavels castle estate. By the early 15th century they took the form of fixed collective payments of a few shillings a year by each parish or tithing. In 1435 the total owed was £5 8s. 1d., (fn. 148) in 1591 it was c. £7, (fn. 149) and in 1746 £5 11s. 9d. (fn. 150) In the early 17th century, with pigs presumably still preponderating, the levy was termed swine silver, (fn. 151) but later it was called herbage money. Some places were exempt from the payment, including the royal manor of St. Briavels and, perhaps as a result of being granted to religious houses in the Middle Ages, Flaxley and Hewelsfield. (fn. 152) The regulation of commoning, which included keeping a pound and driving the Forest to check on those pasturing illegally and at prohibited seasons, passed from the constable to the lessee of the St. Briavels castle estate, and in the 16th century and early 17th the court leet for St. Briavels hundred, from which the lessee received the profits, heard presentments of and levied fines for commoning offences. (fn. 153) The eyre of 1634, which in its meticulous observance of procedure attempted to account for all the customary offices of a royal forest, decided that Sir Richard Catchmay, who was then under-tenant of part of the estate including the herbage money, was in effect agister for Dean. (fn. 154) In the mid 17th century Whitemead park, long held by the constable and lessees, was claimed to have originated as the pound for the Forest, (fn. 155) and in 1835 the gaoler of the castle prison was said to be responsible for impounding stray animals in St. Briavels park, another part of the lessees' estate. (fn. 156) After the 1670s the responsibility for driving and impounding was assumed by the keepers of the six walks then established, but the herbage money continued to be paid to the lessee of the castle estate. (fn. 157)
In the 13th century all freeholders within the wider bounds of the Forest then in force enjoyed the common rights; (fn. 158) later, exercise of the rights became restricted to places immediately adjoining the demesne woodlands, though still including some places which were removed from the Forest by the perambulation of 1300. From the mid 16th century the general body of commoners, with the backing of the lessee of the St. Briavels castle estate, objected to tenants of the duchy of Lancaster manors of Minsterworth, Tibberton, and Bulley exercising rights; their animals were impounded by officers of the lessee and fines were imposed in the hundred leet. The men of Bulley were excluded in the 1540s, but those of Minsterworth and Tibberton clung obstinately to their claim and later made armed incursions into the Forest to enforce it. On one occasion they established themselves and their pigs in a fenced encampment in the woods and were attacked by a large mob from the other parishes. A suit in 1592 secured a decree provisonally excluding the men of the two parishes, but leaving it open to them to prove their title. (fn. 159) Minsterworth resumed the claim on the grounds that the parish lay within the Forest bounds but its opponents countered with some blatantly manipulated evidence as to the Forest perambulation of 1300. The premise was faulty, for if the Forest bounds were to be the criterion many of Minsterworth's opponents, such as those from Lydney, Blaisdon, and Longhope, would also be excluded. In 1597, however, Minsterworth was judged to lie outside the Forest and its exclusion from commoning confirmed. (fn. 160) In 1612 the places claiming rights were all the villages and hamlets in the 14 parishes of St. Briavels and Bledisloe hundreds, together with Blaisdon, Longhope, Ruddle and other parts of Newnham, Rodley in Westbury, and, in Herefordshire, Hope Mansell, Weston-under-Penyard, and Huntsham. (fn. 161) Rodley's right, though it had been confirmed by the Crown in 1256, (fn. 162) was annulled in 1667. (fn. 163)
One of the earliest statements of the nature of the rights was incorporated in a decree of 1628 following a full inquiry. The rights were stated as herbage for cattle, with the restrictions usual in royal forests of a 'winter haining' (11 November to 23 April) and a 'fence month' when the deer were fawning (four weeks at Midsummer), pannage of pigs at the time of mast, pasture for sheep in the non-wooded parts of the Forest, and estovers, comprising firebote of dead wood and housebote to be taken on application to the attachment court and under supervision of the officers; ploughbote and cartbote were also accepted by the Crown as de facto rights. Also enunciated was the rule that the rights belonged only to ancient messuages in the parishes and could not be claimed for new-built ones. No mention was made of a stint (fn. 164) and none was apparently ever enforced. At the justice seat of 1634 claims made by individual tenants were similar, though vitally they did not specify sheep, only cattle (under the vague term averia) and pigs. (fn. 165) The claims of 1634 proved more significant than the decree of 1628, for rights that could be shown to be enjoyed in 1634 were guaranteed under an Act of 1668, which also precluded the acquisition later of a prescriptive right. (fn. 166) That evidence was cited by the authorities in the modern period, when large numbers of sheep were run in the Forest, often by people who did not hold ancient messuages in the parochial lands. (fn. 167)
ADMINISTRATION AND WOODLAND MANAGEMENT TO 1603.
The early medieval administration of Dean, as of other large royal forests, was cumbersome, inefficient, and tardy. The large body of foresters, often with overlapping duties, was difficult to supervise because of the size and nature of the terrain. There was much scope for corruption and embezzlement, which could sometimes be carried on under the cloak of the officers' customary and ill-defined privileges. Even the territory in which the forest law was to be enforced was never clear: the wide area of the 13th-century Forest had privileged enclaves, such as Tidenham chase, whose status was not clearly understood. (fn. 168) Special privileges granted to Gloucester abbey and to the bishop of Hereford in repect of woods within the perambulation (fn. 169) were probably a further cause of confusion. The evidence for Dean in the 13th century supports the general picture of the royal forest system as one of the least satisfactory and least successful parts of the medieval administration of England. Underlying the whole forest system were serious inconsistencies of policy, while the complex apparatus of petty restrictions brought only a modest financial profit at the same time as causing tension between the Crown and many of its subjects. (fn. 170)
Fines levied in 1199 by King John on most of the woodwards of bailiwicks may merely exemplify the policy of arbitrary exactions of that reign, (fn. 171) but a major purge of officers under Henry III in 1250, when five woodwards and eight serjeants-in-fee forfeited their offices, (fn. 172) suggests a deep-seated malaise. Ralph of Abenhall, one of the manorial lords still in charge of his Forest bailiwick, was accused of a catalogue of offences in 1282, and the eyre of that year also noted the serjeants' practice of taking bribes for ignoring illegal charcoal pits. (fn. 173) Successive deputy constables, left in charge of the Forest by their superiors, were reported in 1270 to have permitted numerous abuses; Robert le Waleys, who was in office c. 1260, was said to have taken bribes for appointing corrupt officials and ignoring waste of private woodlands. (fn. 174) The verderers, who were expected to be less open to corruption than the officers by tenure, had abused their position, removing from their rolls of offenders the names of the living and substituting the names of the dead. (fn. 175)
The eyre of 1282 (fn. 176) revealed the geographical difficulties of checking depredations in the Forest: the two navigable rivers which provided much of its boundary aided the speedy carriage of venison and stolen timber away and into other jurisdictions. Venison had found its way to many aristocratic and monastic households beyond the two rivers, and much was taken to Bristol, whose citizens had secured in their charter of 1252 the franchise that none of them could be indicted on account of venison found within the city walls. (fn. 177) Owners of river craft, based at landing places on the Severn in Lydney, Aylburton, and Awre, carried on a regular traffic in stolen timber, mainly to Bristol. Lydney and Aylburton men also figured in notable numbers among offenders in general, reflecting the fact that those places contained one of the largest areas of private woodland outside the Forest demesne. The total number of offences showed a considerable increase through the three eyres for which records survive, the venison offences rising from 43 in 1258 to 59 in 1270 and 120 in 1282. Modest fines, averaging under 2s., were imposed for the much more numerous vert offences, while venison offences commonly incurred as much as 40s. (fn. 178)
The potential for mineral extraction and ironworking in Dean was the chief cause of inconsistency in the Crown's policy. Long-term preservation of the woodland constantly gave way before the lure of short-term profit from industry. Measures in the early 13th century to restrict ironworking to a few licensed forges were probably not successful, but preservation was still ostensibly the priority in the 1250s when the king's own 'great forge' at St. Briavels was given up, on the ground that it consumed wood of a greater value than the profit it produced. (fn. 179) By 1282, however, when as many as 60 itinerant forges were working in the Forest, efforts to restrict ironworking were apparently little more than for form's sake and the fines levied in effect a licensing system. At the same date as many as 2,685 charcoal pits were enumerated in the demesne woodland. (fn. 180)
The few records of the Forest and the working of its administration between the mid 14th century and the mid 16th include mention of two disturbances among inhabitants of the area. In 1356 members of the Gainer family of St. Briavels and Aylburton, having refused service as mounted archers in the North of England, led an armed band in the Forest, committing depredations against the vert and venison and attacking and intimidating officers. (fn. 181) In 1375 the arrest was ordered of another group of men, some of whom were known by pseudonyms. (fn. 182) Whether those disturbances arose from discontent with the irksome forest laws and with the local administration or had more transitory origins is not apparent. Certainly a strain of lawlessness was evident among inhabitants of parishes of the Forest area centuries before it was noted as characteristic of those of them who settled as squatters on the demesne itself. It manifested itself in a complaint of 1429 that shipping on the Severn was being raided when passing the Forest (fn. 183) and in the violence associated with commoning disputes from the 16th century onwards. As regards the forest law, much potential for trouble had been removed and the task of administering the Forest simplified by the new peramulation made in 1300 and finally accepted by the Crown in 1327. The exclusion of the private chases from the Forest was confirmed and most of the other large private woodlands, in Lydney, Newent, Churcham, Longhope, and elsewhere, were taken out. Also in the early 14th century the Crown authorized substantial sales of outlying areas of the demesne woodland, (fn. 184) leaving the demesne more compact and easier to police; pressure on its bounds by illegal encroachment was presumably also much reduced by the general slump in arable farming of the period and by the great plague of 1349.
The administration of Dean begins to emerge clearly again in the mid 16th century, when the Crown was seeking to profit more systematically from its woodland and imposing by statute a national policy for the preservation of woodland. (fn. 185) By the beginning of Elizabeth I's reign eight coppices on the fringes of the demesne woodland were cut and inclosed on a regular cycle and the underwood and thinnings from them were sold to local ironworkers for making charcoal. The largest coppice was the Chestnuts, near Littledean, and the others were in the Bradley hill area west of Soudley brook and at Kidnalls above Lydney. (fn. 186) There were also more regular sales of timber trees for building and other purposes, but no consistent policy had apparently been evolved for Dean, and it has been estimated that the sales of timber and coppice wood from the Forest never produced more than c. £100 a year during the 16th century. There is no evidence that any timber was taken by the government for naval shipbuilding at that period. (fn. 187) The whole demesne woodland came within the terms of an Act of 1559 which prohibited felling of timber trees for ironworking within 14 miles of the Severn or Wye (fn. 188) and its future potential for naval use was no doubt recognized. A story that the Spanish Armada had orders to burn the Forest, as a lethal blow to English sea-power, appears, however, to be an invention of the mid 17th century. (fn. 189)
In 1565 when Roger Taverner, deputy surveyor general of woods south of the Trent, visited Dean as part of a survey of the royal forests (fn. 190) he found much to criticize in the way it was managed under the local officers. Most of the great oaks and beeches, which were the staple of the Forest, were 'shred' of their branches to supply the iron industry. Taverner's exasperation led to exaggerated claims: he said that on the borders of the woods there was as much oak timber cut and stacked as there was standing and no branch was to be seen on oak or beech as thick as the arm of a two-year old child. He concluded that the spoil was encouraged partly by a system of fees paid by charcoal burners: from each charcoal pit worked for up to six weeks, the lessee of the St. Briavels castle estate took 5s., the constable 20d., the woodward of the local bailiwick 18d., and the chief forester and rider 10d. each. The protection of the vert under forest law was undermined also by the officers' practice of making private agreements with offenders to release them from attachment at fines of as little as 1d. or 2d., whereas the scale of fines imposed by the attachment court ranged from 6d. to 2s. (fn. 191) Rolls of the attachment court for the late 1560s which survived in the Exchequer were perhaps sent there so that government officials could check on the court's effectiveness. (fn. 192)
Taverner's criticisms were levelled in particular at the lessee of the St. Briavels estate, William Guise of Elmore, who, apparently by virtue of his lease, was in charge of the sales of the coppice wood to ironworkers. Guise had failed to enforce a statutory requirement of 1543 to leave in coppices 12 timber trees to the acre, and had not ensured that the coppices were inclosed, after cutting, to protect new growth from the commoners' animals. (fn. 193) In an attempt to remedy the situation Taverner obtained a lease of the estate for himself in 1571 but he failed to oust Guise, who at his death in 1574 was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 194) Taverner did, however, cause a massive fine of £1,300 to be imposed on Guise, who had paid off a small part by the time of his death. (fn. 195) The lessee's role in woodland management was probably ended in 1583 when a renewal of the lease, though still granting 'the whole Forest of Dean', contained a clause reserving all great trees and underwood. (fn. 196)
As further evidence of central government's concern, in 1600 the chief justice of the forests south of Trent, prompted by reports of the building of new ironworks and water mills, ordered an inquiry into encroachments. The voracious blast furnaces, including some built right at the borders of the demesne woodland at Lydbrook and Lydney, were beginning to have an impact on the Forest. (fn. 197)
EXPLOITATION OF THE FOREST 1603-68.
Under the first two Stuart kings the Forest of Dean was managed for short-term monetary benefit with little care for preserving the future value of its woodlands. The Crown's main opportunity for raising revenue was provided by the needs of the ironmasters. The wood required to make charcoal for the blast furnaces, comprising coppice wood or the lops and tops of felled timber trees, was estimated for and supplied in standard stacks called cords, 8 ft. 4 in. in length and 4 ft. 3 in. in both width and height; (fn. 198) in 1611 it was calculated that 1 a. of coppice produced 80 cords. (fn. 199)
Licensed exploitation of the demesne woods began in 1611 when Sir Edward Winter, owner of ironworks at Lydney, was given a five-year lease of the 331 a. of the old coppices in the Bradley hill area; for the sum of £800, he was given a free hand to work them, the statutory obligations to reinclose and preserve timber trees being waived. (fn. 200) In 1612 a policy began of leasing the right to ironworks on the royal demesne, usually known as the king's ironworks, together with an allowance of cordwood. William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, who was both constable and lessee of the St. Briavels castle estate, was empowered to build ironworks and take 12,000 cords a year at a price of 4s. a cord. (fn. 201) In that case the statutes for preserving timber were to be enforced, and commissioners were appointed to supervise the cutting and delivery of the cordwood and the inclosure of the areas cut. Irregularities in the commissioners' execution of their task soon became evident, however: in 1614 they were found to have failed to prevent, or connived at, the felling of large timber trees, the embezzlement of wood by the making up of irregularly-sized cords, the sale of wood to coopers, trencher makers, and carpenters, and the invasion of the woodlands by squatters. Abuses in the exercise of the cordwood concessions continued under successive lessees of the king's ironworks (fn. 202) during the next 30 years. The lessees' allowance was usually restricted to 12-14,000 cords a year, (fn. 203) but in the 1620s and 1630s other rights were granted, including in 1627 wood to the value of £1,500 a year to a cooper for barrel staves, (fn. 204) and there were additional sales of cordwood to Sir John Winter of Lydney and other private ironmasters. (fn. 205) The Crown also profited from the regular sales of oak bark to tanners of neighbouring parishes (fn. 206) and to bark merchants exporting to Ireland and elsewhere. In 1630 John Duncombe had a grant of all the bark from the oak cut under the current cordwood concession. (fn. 207)
The first evidence found of the use of Dean's oak for the royal navy was in 1617, (fn. 208) and throughout the period all timber suitable for shipbuilding was, in theory, safeguarded and reserved in the grants to ironmasters and others. In 1628 the woodland of Lea Bailey in the north-east of the Forest was ordered to be excluded from the operation of all grants. (fn. 209) In the 1630s the government became more purposeful in its attempts to preserve timber for the navy's use: in 1633 a deputy surveyor for Dean, directly responsible to the surveyor of Crown woods, was appointed, (fn. 210) and the new officer, John Broughton, made a detailed survey of the surviving timber, finding the 1,000 a. of Lea Bailey at least relatively unscathed and stocked with excellent oak for shipbuilding. (fn. 211) In practice, however, the safeguarding of navy timber was imperfectly achieved during the period, for many people - the ironmasters with their woodcutters and charcoal burners, the cordwood commissioners, and the patentees, besides the commoners and free miners - then had access to the demesne woodlands and could do damage.
In the 1620s Charles I made grants of parts of the demesne woodland, totalling almost 3,000 a., to raise funds and reward courtiers. The Chestnuts was leased for 21 years in 1624, Kidnalls and an adjoining wood called the Snead for three lives in 1626, and the Bradley hill coppices for 41 years from 1629. Outlying pieces of waste at Staunton were sold in 1629. (fn. 212) More significantly, the large Mailscot wood adjoining English Bicknor was given at a nominal fee-farm rent to Sir Edward Villiers in 1625 (fn. 213) and another large freehold was created in the centre of the demesne at Cannop. A lease of 1,070 a. at Cannop made c. 1628 to John Gibbons, secretary to the Lord Treasurer, was sold by him to Sir Robert Banastre, who secured a grant in fee and left it to his grandson Banastre Maynard. (fn. 214)
The activities of the ironmasters and patentees under their grants inevitably brought them into conflict with the many local inhabitants who claimed common pasture and estovers and the right, as free miners, to open mines throughout the demesne woodlands and take timber for shoring them. The earl of Pembroke's grant in 1612 and his heavy-handed exercise of it, which included securing an injunction against the miners to enforce an unrestricted right to minerals from the royal demesne, (fn. 215) provoked both legal action by representatives of the commoners (fn. 216) and riots and the firing of the woods. (fn. 217) In the 1620s, when in aid of the inclosure of coppices for cordwood the Forest officers attempted a stricter regulation of commoning, opposition was led by two local landowners, Sir John Winter and Benedict Hall of Highmeadow. With such influential support the commoners secured an authoritative statement of their rights and the concession that due notice would be given before the Forest was driven to check on illegal pasturing. They were, however, forced to agree that the estates of the patentees were closed to their animals, (fn. 218) and a few years later the most serious outbreak of rioting in the period was directed against one of those estates when Barbara, Lady Villiers, widow of the grantee of 1625, began the inclosure of Mailscot wood. On Lady Day 1631 about 500 men, armed and with drums and colours, destroyed the new mounds and ditches and attacked the house of one of Lady Villiers's agents, and shortly afterwards there was an even larger riotous assembly. Later in the year 86 rioters were indicted. The dissidents were from the parishes in the north and west of the Forest and some gentry and clergy were accused of involvement, but the outbreak was given a more than local significance by the leadership of John Williams, alias 'Skimmington', who had been involved in anti-inclosure riots in two other royal forests, Gillingham (Dors.) and Braydon (Wilts.). Williams was arrested early in 1632, and two men who had helped to capture him were attacked by a mob at Newland church later in the year. (fn. 219)
The first two Stuart kings also re-interpreted and exploited the Crown's ancient rights. Early in his reign James I declared much of what was presumed to be established freehold in the Forest's parishes to be illegal assarts, the holders being treated as untitled occupants until they had compounded with the Crown at substantial sums. Some owners paid for their lands in 1609 and others settled with patentees who received grants from the Crown of large tracts of the land in 1618 and 1619. Altogether £5,492 was levied for a total of 10,758 a., much of it in the parishes of Newland, St. Briavels, and English Bicknor, where among other landlords the Halls compounded for c. 800 a. and the Wyralls for c. 550 a. (fn. 220)
In 1634 Charles I, when reviving the ancient prerogatives of the Crown, convened a forest eyre (or justice seat) for Dean, which in its rigorous examination of rights and detailed cataloguing of offences set the pattern for a series of such eyres for the royal forests. On patently flimsy evidence Sir John Finch, the Crown's chief counsel at the eyre, succeeded in returning to the forest law the many parishes which had been excluded by the perambulation of 1300, confirmed in 1327, but it was decided not to proceed against offenders in those parishes. In the reduced bounds, however, a total of c. £130,000 in fines was imposed for encroachments, waste of woods, and other offences against the vert and venison. Many offenders incurred only small fines but some of the ironmasters and grantees of lands were made liable for massive sums: Sir Basil Brooke and George Mynne, the lessees of the king's ironworks, were fined £59,040 for irregularities in their exercise of the cordwood concession, Sir John Winter £20,230, mainly for illegal cutting and charcoaling in the demesne woods by him and his father for their Lydney works, and John Gibbons £8,600 for supposed offences in connexion with his Cannop estate. In the event the principal offenders had their fines considerably reduced, and it is thought that no more than about one fifth of the total originally imposed was collected. (fn. 221) In the following years, however, the Crown profited by the willingness of landowners in the revived bounds to pay to disafforest their lands: Winter paid £1,000 to free his large and well-wooded Lydney estate, and other sums came from estates in Tidenham chase, (fn. 222) which had been effectively free of the forest law even before 1300.
By 1638 Charles I's government had decided that the best means of capitalizing on the Forest was to disafforest and sell the bulk of the royal demesne. It was argued, unrealistically in the light of previous experience, that a private owner would more efficiently and more economically manage the coppices, administer the cordwood concession, and preserve the navy timber. Sir John Winter, who had cleared himself of the fines levied by the justice seat and had become secretary to the queen, was probably the main advocate of the scheme. In March 1640, in return for £106,000 to be paid over six years and an annual fee-farm of £1,951, he was granted c. 18,000 a. of the demesne with the minerals, underwood, and game. He was to provide the lessees of the king's ironworks with 13,550 cords each year and allow them to carry on the works for six years and was required to preserve for the Crown 15,000 tons of ship timber. By an agreement made with representatives of the commoners 4,000 a. of the demesne were to remain open to the rights of common and estovers. Lea Bailey woods were once more wholly reserved to the Crown. (fn. 223)
Winter began inclosing and felling under his grant but met with much opposition from the commoners, many of whom claimed they had not been parties to the agreement. His position became untenable after the opening of the Long Parliament, which after ordering an inquiry and collecting evidence of misappropriation of the ship timber and other abuses (fn. 224) deprived him of his grant in 1642. (fn. 225) Winter's inclosures were demolished by the commoners, who then enjoyed a virtually unrestricted right until inclosure was again attempted in the mid 1650s. (fn. 226)
For most of the Civil War the administration of the Forest was disrupted as royalists under Sir John Winter contested control with the parliamentary garrison of Gloucester. Parliament's victory deprived the area of the influence and leadership of most of its leading gentry and holders of forest offices: Winter, (fn. 227) his cousin, the marquess of Worcester, who had estates in Tidenham and Woolaston and in neighbouring Monmouthshire, his brother-in-law Benedict Hall of Highmeadow, (fn. 228) the Throckmortons of Clearwell, (fn. 229) the Vaughans of Ruardean, (fn. 230) and the Colchesters of Westbury-on-Severn (fn. 231) were all dispossessed or heavily fined. In that situation the Forest was dominated between 1645 and 1649 by a group of former parliamentary army officers, John Giffard, Robert Kyrle, Griffantius Phillips, John Brayne of Littledean, and Thomas Pury the younger of Gloucester. They secured control of the ironworks on the royal demesne and on the surrounding estates and carried on their operations with little interference: the remaining woodwards, the minor foresters, and a surveyor and four preservators appointed by parliament to supervise the supply of cordwood were intimidated by or colluded with them. Great damage was inflicted: much navy timber was felled and used for cordwood, and abuses, such as fraudulent cords and the misappropriation of cordwood, once again went unchecked. It was estimated that over 35,000 oaks and beeches were felled in the demesne woods during the 1640s, over half of them marked earlier for use as ship timber. The woods were also invaded by several hundred cabiners, often supporting themselves by making barrel staves and trenchers from stolen wood and by keeping goats. There was also destruction in the woodlands of the royalist gentry, particularly in Lydney, Tidenham, and part of the Highmeadow estate at Hadnock (Mon.). (fn. 232) Parliament issued an ordinance against any further felling of timber in 1648 (fn. 233) and a wide-ranging inquiry was carried out the following year, but there was apparently little improvement in the management of the Forest until 1653 when the government appointed Major John Wade to run the ironworks. (fn. 234)
Under Wade, who was reappointed with general powers to administer the woodlands in 1656, (fn. 235) the ironworks, the felling and delivery of the cordwood, and sales of wood to makers of barrel staves and trenchers were retained under a centralized control and the worst abuses checked; also the bulk of the cabiners were expelled from the demesne woods. (fn. 236) With most of the ancient offices by tenure in abeyance, Wade ran the Forest through a staff of the salaried, minor foresters, namely a bowbearer, the six keepers (two of whom also acted as clerks), and the two rangers. Wade himself served as verderer, together with two others from the well-disposed local gentry, William Cooke of Highnam and Richard Machen of Eastbach, in Bicknor, and 12 new regarders were appointed. (fn. 237) In 1656 a justice seat was convened at Mitcheldean in the Protector's name and presided over by Maj.-Gen. John Desborough, (fn. 238) who had been appointed constable of St. Briavels in 1654. (fn. 239) Under a navy purveyor appointed in 1655 the Commonwealth government ensured a regular supply of ship timber. Much was shipped out to the dockyards, mainly through Lydney, (fn. 240) where a shipbuilding yard was also established to build frigates. (fn. 241)
Under an Act of 1657 which authorized the inclosure of up to one third of the demesne, (fn. 242) Wade inclosed a large tract in the south-west part; rather than relying solely on natural regeneration, he sowed acorns and beech mast and planted out saplings. (fn. 243) His inclosure produced the usual response from some of the commoners, who broke the fences and fired parts of the woods. (fn. 244) The government's failure to take effective action against the rioters made Wade disillusioned with the task of governing Dean: shortly before leaving his post at the Restoration, he described the Forest as a 'forlorn, disowned piece of ground, so much talked of and so little cared for in reality'. (fn. 245)
At the Restoration the government ordered a commission of inquiry, which, reporting in 1662, advised it to resume as much as possible of the alienated lands and follow a determined policy of inclosing the Forest as a nursery for ship timber. (fn. 246) Initially, however, Sir John Winter and other patentees reasserted their rights, and the ironworks on the demesne continued. In 1662 Winter surrendered his rights under his grant of 1640 in return for a payment of £30,000 but had a new grant of all the timber trees surviving on almost the whole demesne and the use of the ironworks; the Crown reserved Lea Bailey and another 11,335 tons of timber for the navy, to be supplied by Winter. (fn. 247) In 1663 he was said to have 500 woodcutters at work in the Forest. (fn. 248) In 1665 or 1666 under a new agreement he was given 8,000 a. of his former land in return for managing the other 10,000 a. as a nursery for ship timber, (fn. 249) but in 1668, after more opposition and irregularities in his delivery of the navy's timber, he surrendered all his rights and was discharged of the obligation to supply the timber. (fn. 250) The same year an Act was passed to return the whole demesne to government control and establish it as a permanent source of ship timber.
THE REFORMED ADMINISTRATION.
The Dean Forest Reafforestation Act of 1668 (fn. 251) remained for many years the governing instrument of the Forest, which subsequently comprised in practice only the 23-24,000 a. of the royal demesne. The operation of the forest law was confirmed in the demesne, while the manorial lands were freed from its restrictions, confirming a measure of the Commonwealth government in 1657; (fn. 252) officially, however, they remained part of the Forest until the 1830s. (fn. 253) The main provision of the Act was that 11,000 a. of the demesne should be inclosed, to be progressively laid open and replaced by other inclosures as the new growth of timber reached sufficient size to be safe from browsing animals. Rights to common of pasture, defined as those lawfully used in 1634, and mining rights were to continue in the uninclosed land, but the commoners agreed to give up estovers in response to the Crown's offer to lift the forest law from the manorial lands and end ironworking on the demesne. (fn. 254) The deer, if the Crown decided to continue to maintain them in the Forest, were to be limited to 800 beasts. Of the alienated lands of the demesne, the Cannop estate was bought back from its owner Banastre Maynard in 1670, (fn. 255) in which year the lease of the coppices at Bradley hill also fell in. The sale of Mailscot was, however, confirmed, and it soon afterwards became part of the Highmeadow estate, while Kidnalls and the Snead were left in the possession of the owners of the Lydney estate, who had obtained the reversion in fee. (fn. 256) The Act brought in the local justices of the peace to aid the implementation of the new policy: they were to be represented among the commissioners carrying out the inclosure, they were to supervise the felling of any timber, and they were to mark timber to be preserved for future growth. To pay for the inclosure and buy out Maynard £3,000 was raised by the sale of coppice wood and decayed timber, most of it to the ironmaster Paul Foley and his partners. (fn. 257)
By 1671, when Samuel Pepys and colleagues from the Navy Office visited the Forest, c. 8,500 a. had already been inclosed. (fn. 258) Five separate inclosures were formed, the largest covering the whole of the west side of the demesne and another comprising Lea Bailey and Linings wood (later Lower Lea Bailey) in the north-east part. The intention was mainly to encourage natural regeneration of oak and beech and preserve what healthy trees survived, (fn. 259) though some acorns were sown. (fn. 260)
To enforce its new policy the government relied principally on its main supporter in the county, Henry Somerset, Lord Herbert, who succeeded his father as marquess of Worcester in 1667 and was created duke of Beaufort in 1682. (fn. 261) He had been made constable of St. Briavels and warden of the Forest for life in 1660 and he acquired the lease of the St. Briavels castle estate then or soon afterwards. (fn. 262) Among the royalist gentry, Sir Baynham Throckmorton of Clearwell and Sir Duncombe Colchester of Westbury were active in support, as was William Cooke of Highnam, who had successfully accommodated himself to the restoration of the monarchy. Cooke retained his office of verderer, serving in the 1670s with his brother Edward and Colchester. (fn. 263) The determination to pursue a policy of preservation was shown by the dismantling of the ironworks in 1674, by the expulsion of the remaining cabiners later that decade, (fn. 264) and by important modifications to the Forest's administration.
In preserving the new inclosures little was expected of the principal tier of Forest officers, the woodwards of the bailiwicks. One adviser to the government cited the proven ineffectiveness of the deputies appointed by the woodwards, the impossibility of disciplining the woodwards without holding regular eyres, which he predicted, correctly, would be unlikely in the future, and the debilitating effect on their zeal of their right to common. (fn. 265) Instead the administration relied mainly on salaried and easily replaceable officers. In the mid 1670s the demesne was divided into six walks, each provided with a lodge and placed in charge of a keeper. (fn. 266) The keepers were, in an enhanced role, the six under-foresters traditionally appointed by the constable, and he continued to appoint them after the 1670s to hold office at his pleasure, besides directing some aspects of their work. Initially, the man who kept King's walk was styled bowbearer, continuing the old title of the constable's chief under-forester, but that usage soon lapsed. (fn. 267) Each keeper was assigned a small farm of cleared land adjoining his lodge and an annual salary, paid by the Treasury; (fn. 268) after an augmentation out of the proceeds of the St. Briavels castle estate, the salary was £18 6s. 8d. in 1686. (fn. 269) It was £22 in 1787 and by then each keeper received a large income in the form of fees. (fn. 270) In addition, a new office was created in 1674, that of the conservator, or supervisor, with the specific role of supervising the new inclosures. It was a direct appointment of the Treasury and carried a salary of £100. (fn. 271)
The six new walks, which superseded the ten ancient bailiwicks as the main administrative units of the demesne woodland, were named respectively the King's (or Charles II's) walk, York walk (after the king's brother), Danby walk (after the earl of Danby, the Lord Treasurer), Latimer walk (after another of the earl's titles), Worcester walk (after the constable, the marquess of Worcester), and Herbert walk (after another of the marquess's titles). (fn. 272) By the later 18th century the King's was usually called Speech House walk, after the building that served as its keeper's lodge, and York, Danby, Latimer, and Herbert had become known, from geographical location, as respectively Parkend, Blakeney, Littledean, and Ruardean walks. Worcester walk, which was on the west side of the demesne, adjoining Coleford, retained it old title. (fn. 273) The new Speech House, built on the site of the old courthouse at Kensley, served as both courthouse and lodge. (fn. 274)
The intended role of the six keepers is revealed by instructions drawn up by the marquess of Worcester shortly after 1675. They were to make regular perambulations of their walks, checking for cattle in the inclosures and for encroachments and the building of cabins. They were to take over the regulation of commoning and impound animals found in the Forest in the prohibited seasons (the fence month and winter haining), those turned in by people without rights, and uncommonable beasts, which the instructions declared to include sheep. A new Forest pound for the use of the keepers was built at Parkend, though by the mid 18th century there was one adjoining each keeper's lodge. A particular responsibility of the keepers was the preservation of the deer: they were to search houses for venison and for guns or nets, checking on dressers of skins and gunsmiths in the locality, and keeping records of all deer killed in their walks. (fn. 275)
The new office of conservator was given in 1674 to Sir Baynham Throckmorton, (fn. 276) and it was usually filled later by a local landowner. For more than 100 years from 1714, except for a brief tenure in the 1730s by members of the Bond family of Redbrook, the office was held by successive generations of the Jones family of Nass. (fn. 277) The conservator was intended to be a figure of authority, having supervisory powers over the other officers, including those by tenure and heredity, (fn. 278) but failure to achieve a continuing programme of inclosure reduced his role. It was the deputy surveyor, responsible, under the surveyor general of Crown woods, for the general management of the timber, who emerged as the key figure in the Forest administration in the 18th century. (fn. 279)
The Forest's courts were continued, apparently with enhanced powers, to aid the policy of preservation. In the years 1673-84, for which records survive, the swanimote was convened before the verderers once a year at traditional venues for Forest business, St. Briavels castle, the Speech House, or the market town of Mitcheldean. In some ways it was a purely formal gathering of the old administration, all the Forest officers and the reeve and four men from each of the parishes within the bounds being summoned to attend; but some forest offences, including poaching, damage to the vert, and encroachments, were presented by the foresters and a jury and fined by the court. Occasionally offenders were bound over to await the justices-in -eyre, (fn. 280) and in 1680 an eyre was planned to meet at Coleford, (fn. 281) but it was never held.
The attachment court, with its regular sixweekly sessions before the verderers at the Speech House, was also intended as an instrument for disciplining those damaging the plantations, and it was envisaged that it would have responsibility for more than just the vert, as formerly. Worcester's instructions to the keepers imply a role in regulating commoning and preserving the venison: animals impounded for a third offence of straying into the inclosures were to be presented to the verderers in the court and sold by them, the keepers were to report to the court all the fines that they levied as a result of driving the Forest at the prohibited seasons, and were also to present there any deer found dead. The court continued to control the supply of wood to the miners, who had to make a request to the court, which then allowed delivery under the supervision of the keeper of the relevant walk. (fn. 282) In 1677 the supply to the miners was being tightly controlled, no oak or beech being allotted but only underwood, such as birch and holly. (fn. 283) The main business of the attachment court presumably remained the punishment of vert offences, but how it functioned in practice during the late 17th and the 18th centuries is not known, as no court records have been found.
Opposition to the inclosures from the commoners took its usual form, with incidents of fence-breaking and arson reported in the late 1670s, but the reformed administration remained in control of the situation. In 1677 it was reported that the timber trees in the inclosures were doing well and three years later some inclosures were said to be ready to be laid open. (fn. 284) By 1688 most had been opened and plans were put in hand to make new ones. (fn. 285) At the close of the year, however, the programme received a serious setback. The Revolution was a signal for riots, and the new plantations were damaged, the Speech House attacked, and two other lodges badly damaged. (fn. 286) In the new reign Sir John Guise, who was in favour with William III, tried to obtain a grant to manage the inclosures, but a commission of inquiry, reporting in 1692, decided in favour of continuing public control. (fn. 287)
The position of the Tory duke of Beaufort (formerly marquess of Worcester), the mainstay of government policy towards the Forest, was severely weakened by the Revolution. The riots took a personal direction by the breaking of the fences of Whitemead park, which he held as part of his lease of the St. Briavels castle estate. Tacit support for the rioters came from some local gentry, who revived a claim made under the Commonwealth that Whitemead was not legally imparked, and incidents of fence-breaking continued there for the next 10 years. (fn. 288) In 1697 Beaufort, having failed to sign the Association in support of William III, forfeited his offices and was replaced by Lord Dursley, later earl of Berkeley, whose son some years later acquired the lease of the St. Briavels castle estate. Together with the lord lieutenancy of the county, the constableship remained with the Berkeleys for all but a few years of the 18th century; during the minority of the 5th earl in mid century their political allies, the lords Ducie and Chedworth, held it but were followed briefly by Norborne Berkeley, who was of the rival Beaufort interest. (fn. 289) The office of deputy constable was multiplied in the 18th century, the constables deputing up to six of their friends from among the local gentry. (fn. 290)
The constableship, through the power of appointing the keepers and directing part of their work, remained a more than purely formal post. It had been intended that the other chief foresters would also continue to have a role in the reformed administration: Worcester's instructions of c. 1680 assigned the woodwards and the serjeants-in-fee to act in support of the keepers. (fn. 291) By the early 18th century, however, those offices had only a nominal function. The office of woodward retained significance in the 18th century only through the ancient privileges still claimed by some holders, particularly the Gage family. The Gage's Highmeadow estate, (fn. 292) besides incorporating the offices of woodwards of Staunton and Bicknor, also had ironworks, so that rights in the demesne woods had a value in terms of cordwood. In 1743 Thomas Gage, 1st Viscount Gage, laid claim to all windfall trees and the bark of all trees felled by Treasury warrant in his bailiwicks, and his son was still pursuing those claims in 1782 and seems to have established the right to windfalls. A claim by the 1st Viscount to the right of soil in part of the demesne woodland at Hangerberry adjoining his English Bicknor manor was resolved in the Crown's favour in 1753, but another of his claims, to the manorial waste of part of Coleford against the earl of Berkeley, lessee of the royal manor of Newland, was a source of dispute for the rest of the century. In the disputes, particularly the last mentioned, political rivalry played an important part; the large number of freeholders in the Forest parishes gave a particular value to influence enjoyed there by county magnates. (fn. 293)
Other officers of the old administration, the verderers, had a continuing role as presidents of the courts of attachment and swanimote and they sometimes acted in a more general representative role, for example memorializing the government about abuses by other Forest officers. (fn. 294) During the period the four posts remained firmly in the control of the local gentry, the Colchesters of Westbury, Pyrkes of Littledean, Joneses of Nass, and Crawley-Boeveys of Flaxley serving for several generations in succession. (fn. 295)
The reorganized administration maintained a firm hold on the Forest into the early 18th century. The inclosure policy was continued c. 1706 when a new 353-acre inclosure called Buckholt was fenced off, (fn. 296) and at about the same time the thinning of beech and other species from around the oaks in the older plantations was instituted on a rolling programme. (fn. 297) It would be many years before the oaks matured for use as ship timber, but the Forest produced a regular income by the sale of cordwood to ironmasters. Until c. 1712 most was taken by the Foleys and their partners for their local ironworks. (fn. 298)
NEGLECT AND ABUSES 1720-1808.
From c. 1720 the Treasury and its officals ceased their close attention to the affairs of the Forest, allowing the salaried local officers to become lax. The pressure from commoners, miners, and potential wood-stealers and encroachers, kept in check during the late 17th century by energetic management backed by regular commissions of inquiry, was no longer contained. In 1722 the faltering inclosure programme was commented on. (fn. 299) In 1736 the conservator Christopher Bond reported that the plantations were being raided by wood-stealers, the commoners' animals were being allowed in at the prohibited seasons, encroachment and the building of cabins had begun again, and officers were conniving at the offences. (fn. 300) In 1742 the keepers, on whom much depended, were accused of poaching and of corruption in executing royal warrants for venison, and one was said to have taken wood for his own cooperage business. (fn. 301) In 1746 the Forest courts were said to be greatly neglected; (fn. 302) the attachment court later lapsed, and by 1788 the annual swanimote was said to be held largely as a matter of form. (fn. 303)
Throughout the mid 18th century wood stealing flourished, encroachments made a steady advance, and commoning escaped regulation. Two attempts to revive the inclosure programme in the period both failed. In 1758 John Pitt, the Crown's surveyor general of woods, was authorized to make an inclosure of 2,000 a. in the centre of the Forest south of the Cinderford to Speech House road, but it was soon broken open. In another scheme in 1770 Pitt made six dispersed inclosures, which he thought would be easier to police than a single large block, (fn. 304) but in them also the walls were broken down, the fencing carried off for fuel or for sale, and the young trees destroyed. Only one of the six contained a worthwhile quantity of young timber in 1788. (fn. 305) Much of the stolen wood was sold to coopers for barrel staves, for which cider production on Severnside and in south Herefordshire created a constant demand, or to wheelwrights. As in the 13th century, Bristol was one of the main markets for the trade in stolen wood, which c. 1780 was said to be brazenly carried on through Gatcombe. Much of the wood ostensibly supplied to miners was sold by the recipients, because no inquiry was made into how much was needed or its eventual destination; in 1787 the deputy surveyor of the Forest, Thomas Blunt, himself offered the opinion that less than half of that supplied went into the mines. (fn. 306)
The failure to check encroachment on the edges of the royal demesne allowed the beginnings of its fringe of hamlets. By 1752 there were already 134 cottages on the demesne, and by 1787 there were 585 and 1,359 a. of land had been encroached. (fn. 307) The number of commoners increased during the period, with the new squatters on the demesne and some men from parishes which had no customary right putting in animals. With the failure of the inclosure programme, the animals ranged through most of the demesne woodland and waste. Such measures as were taken by the keepers were mainly for their own pecuniary benefit rather than in the interests of strict enforcement. The prohibition on sheep had lapsed again by the 1780s. (fn. 308)
The burgeoning illegalities were backed by violence or the threat of it. In 1735 a gang, thought to come from the Clearwell area, attacked several of the keepers' lodges and pulled down the adjoining pounds; later it returned, armed, in an attempt to rescue one of its number who had been arrested by a magistrate. (fn. 309) In 1742 two of the keepers claimed that they lived in fear of their lives, beleaguered by assaults on their lodges and threatened by anonymous letters. (fn. 310) In an incident at Yorkley in 1780 some of the keepers were wounded while attempting to prevent a gang of men in disguise from felling trees. (fn. 311)
The abuses were encouraged by a system of fees and benefits that the officers received in the course of their various duties. It was to their financial advantage that wood should be stolen, timber felled unnecessarily, and animals illegally commoned. Thomas Blunt, who was appointed deputy surveyor of the Forest in 1780 at a salary of £50, received in addition between £300 and £500 a year from other perquisites, for which he was not required to make any account. He received a small cash fee for each cord of wood made from timber trees felled by Treasury warrant for the navy and for each tree felled for the miners, and he took the tops of all trees felled for the navy but rejected by the navy purveyors, a share of the offal wood from the miners' timber, and parts of any trees stolen and then recovered. The perquisites of the six keepers included fees for providing the miners' timber, taking deer for the Crown, and releasing impounded cattle. The last encouraged them to make regular drifts of their walks during the fence month and winter haining but not to prevent cattle being put back in those periods or to limit the numbers by keeping a check on who was running them. In the case of stolen trees that were recovered, they took the wood if, when found, it was already cut into pieces for coopers or wheelwrights, an incentive to delay action. In the early 1780s the keepers' salaries of £22 each were supplemented to over £100 a year by the fees and perquisites, and the keeper of Speech House walk, whose beat supplied most of the miners' timber, received more than £200. There were accusations that bribes in cash were taken by the keepers to overlook encroachments and by the deputy surveyor for awarding cordwood contracts, but the system made it possible for the officers to profit without the more blatant, and verifiable, forms of corruption. (fn. 312)
Local controls on the officers had mostly lapsed. The execution of all warrants for felling should, under the Act of 1668, have been supervised by two J.P.s, but in 1787 one local J.P., Charles Edwin of Clearwell, said that he had given up attending when he found his advice ignored. The lapse of the attachment court removed a means of monitoring regularly the supply of wood to the mines; in the 1780s the keepers made a return only once a year, to the swanimote. (fn. 313)
Commissioners reporting on the Crown woodlands in 1788 summed up the situation in Dean as one in which the different fees, perquisites, and emoluments 'are so many premiums for the encouragement of waste in the felling, measurement, and sale of the timber, of extravagance in the expenditure of the produce, and of profusion in the delivery of the timber to the miners, while they tend to the destruction of the inclosures, and the prevention of the growth of wood in succession'. They could find no documentary record of how 'a system of management so absurd and ruinous' had evolved, and concluded that it had been introduced gradually in the years since government control lapsed. (fn. 314)
In spite of all the problems, supplies of good ship timber were provided by the Forest in the later 18th century. The work of the administrators of Charles II's reign began to bear fruit in the 1760s as the oaks in their inclosures came to maturity. In the 26 years from 1761 to 1786 the naval dockyards at Plymouth, Deptford, and Woolwich received a total of 16,573 loads of oak; a load was 50 cubic feet, providing on average a ton of shipping. Dean supplied only a very small proportion of navy's total annual requirement, but much of the estimated 2,000 loads a year from the royal forests as a whole came from Dean and in quality it was regarded as second to none. The timber supplied to the navy in those 26 years was valued at £31,723; timber rejected for navy use and sold to local shipbuilders at Chepstow, Newnham, Gatcombe, and elsewhere produced £16,226; and of the side products of fellings and thinnings, cordwood sold to ironmasters produced £17,178 and oak bark, which went to local tanners and for export from Severnside to Ireland, produced £3,914. During the 26 years administrative costs totalled £41,657, including over £11,000 spent on roads, which served purposes besides timber production, and other sums on Crown projects unconnected with the Forest. It could be shown, therefore, that for all the waste and abuse, the woods were being run at a profit. (fn. 315)
Lord Gage, pursuing his claims in 1782, believed that because of the strength of the commoners' opposition and the dispiriting effect of the failure of the inclosures of 1758 and 1770 the Forest would never be replanted. (fn. 316) By that time, however, its demonstrable value to the navy, highlighted by the onset of another naval war, had encouraged a further attempt to halt the decline. John Pitt, who since 1771 had made a number of representations to the Treasury for firmer measures, was authorized to try a limited new scheme; 323 a. were inclosed c. 1783 and the old Buckholt inclosure was repaired. Thanks to tighter policing, including the appointment of a watchman, the new inclosures remained intact in 1788, (fn. 317) though still under threat; early the following year the fence at Buckholt was deliberately set on fire. (fn. 318) Also introduced was a system of financial rewards to informers, which led to regular convictions of timber-stealers before the magistrates in the 1780s. As it swelled the emoluments of the officers, who were usually the claimants to the rewards, it was not in other ways conducive to good management. (fn. 319)
In 1788, the first time for many years that Dean received close attention from the government, the commission of inquiry into Crown woods and land revenues made a detailed critique of the Forest's administration and suggested remedies and future policy. It recommended inclosure up to the statutory 11,000 a., appeasement of the commoners by allowing grazing in the open land all the year round, negotiation with the miners to give legal status to their rights in return for the surrender of their free timber, tough action against encroachers other than those holding anciently established plots, stricter procedure for felling timber, destruction of the deer as a cause of damage to new inclosures and an incentive to lawlessness, and introduction of turnpikes. (fn. 320)
Little was done, however, during the next 20 years, and most of the commission's proposals were not implemented until the 1830s. The recent small inclosures and Buckholt, a total of c. 680 a., remained the only land managed for future timber needs, and abuses continued. No steps were taken to check the encroachers, who took a further 725 a. of the demesne and built almost 300 new cottages between 1787 and 1812. (fn. 321) The earlier encroachments were not disturbed, so that those made before 1787 had eventually to be accepted as freeholds. Claims to rights in Staunton and Bicknor bailiwicks continued to disturb the Forest administration in 1801, though at that time the woodward by tenure, the 3rd Viscount Gage, was prompted and eventually embarrassed by his local agent, James Davies of Eastbach; Davies had a personal interest through his share in an ironmaking firm that enjoyed the Highmeadow cordwood concession and he had also developed an antipathy to certain Forest officials. (fn. 322)
The only recommendation of the commissioners carried out before the close of the century was the turnpiking of the roads under an Act of 1796. The motive was partly to aid the removal of the navy's timber, for the road leading to the main shipping points at Gatcombe and Purton was included. (fn. 323) Supplies to the dockyards continued in increased volume during the French wars, with 18,839 loads sent in the six years 1803-8. (fn. 324) It required c. 500,000 loads (fn. 325) to maintain the navy on its wartime footing over those six years, so the Forest's contribution was a small one, but Dean, together with the New Forest, came to loom large in government plans to meet future needs. The authority of Admiral Nelson was given to those plans in a report written in 1803 after he visited the area the previous year. (fn. 326)
REPLANTING AND REORGANIZATION.
A replanting programme for the Forest, equal in scale to that of the 1660s, was carried out under an Act of parliament of 1808. The Act confirmed the provision in the Act of 1668 for the inclosure of 11,000 a., empowered the making of new inclosures up to that amount, and imposed heavy penalties to protect inclosures. (fn. 327) The programme was planned and partly executed under the direction of Sylvester Douglas, Lord Glenbervie, surveyor general of woods 1803-6 and 1807-14 and chief commissioner from 1810 in the new body set up to manage the Crown estates, the Commissioners of Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues. James Davies of Eastbach was appointed deputy surveyor for Dean in 1806 with his son Edward as his assistant, and in 1808 Edward (called Edward Machen from 1816) succeeded to his father's post. (fn. 328)
Work on the new inclosures began by 1806, before the passing of the new Act, (fn. 329) and by 1818 over 25 had been planted and surrounded by stone walls or earth banks topped with gorse. They were planted almost entirely with oak, though other species, including conifers, were planted to shelter the young oaks. (fn. 330) The new plantations included most of Whitemead park, which was surrendered by the earl of Berkeley, lessee of the St. Briavels castle estate, in 1807, and farmland at Ellwood, in Newland, which the Commissioners of Woods bought in 1817. A farmhouse at Whitemead was improved to become the official residence of the deputy surveyor. (fn. 331) In 1817 the Commissioners bought Lord Gage's Highmeadow estate, which included c. 2,350 a. of woodland, mainly at Mailscot and Hadnock (Mon.), and in the late 1820s they planted large areas of the estate's farmland in Staunton and English Bicknor parishes and Coleford tithing. Highmeadow woods were subsequently administered with the Forest though accounted for as a separate Crown estate; in 1849 they covered 3,438 a. and in terms of net income occupied third place among the Crown woodlands in England, after the New Forest and Dean and before the various small royal forests. (fn. 332)
Under Glenbervie and Edward Machen, the administration was strengthened and improved, partly by installing woodmen, housed in a series of small lodges and each paid a salary of £39 a year, to police and maintain the inclosures. (fn. 333) Timber sales were more closely supervised, with J.P.s, the verderers, and the keepers all required to sign the deputy surveyor's accounts. (fn. 334) The amount of timber supplied to the miners was much restricted after 1809 when an Act for building the Severn and Wye tramroad, which became the main means of carrying out coal, ruled that no miner in receipt of free timber could make use of the tramroad. (fn. 335) The right to timber was abolished altogether by an Act regulating the mines in 1838. (fn. 336)
To help preserve the inclosures and prevent further reduction of the royal demesne, the attachment court of the verderers was revived. In 1829 verderers in royal forests were empowered to summon and convict those damaging inclosures or making encroachments, (fn. 337) and in 1838 an Act regularizing the tenure of the encroachments in Dean confirmed that new role of its verderers and required them to make annual returns of informations and convictions. (fn. 338) From c. 1830 the attachment court was held again at the Speech House before the verderers with a local solicitor as steward. The steward, who had the style of steward of the courts of attachment and swanimote, though only the former was revived, received the fines in payment; a small salary was added in 1870. Informations were presented to the court by the keepers of the walks, (fn. 339) who were instructed to patrol the whole of their walks twice a week, watching for encroachment, illegal digging of turf or soil, and offences against the vert and venison. The encroachments presented were usually minor, such as garden walls and outbuildings of cottages intruding a short way over the boundaries, and were fined at small sums of 5s. or of 10s. Timber stealing and poaching offences were rarely presented, most being dealt with before the magistrates, and poaching cases ended altogether with the removal of the deer from the Forest in the early 1850s. (fn. 340) In the early 1840s the court was held eight times a year, roughly the ancient 40-day interval, but the volume of business did not warrant that number of sessions and by the early 1860s the number was reduced by adjournments to only two a year. (fn. 341) In the period 1863-73 the court made c. 10 convictions a year on average and imposed a total of £60 in fines. (fn. 342) By the end of the century the court was often adjourned through many months because of lack of business, (fn. 343) and after 1903, apart from a token exercise in 1924, it dealt with no offences. (fn. 344)
The established landowning families of the area, the Crawley-Boeveys, Bathursts, Colchesters (later Colchester-Wemysses), Pyrkes, Probyns, and Joneses, continued to dominate the office of verderer in the 19th century. Vacancies were usually filled without a contested election, son often replacing father. (fn. 345) In 1863 when some of the coalowners threatened a contest it was seen as a challenge to a long-established tacit understanding, besides raising fears of expensive and divisive contests, all freeholders of the county being entitled to vote. (fn. 346) A contest at the next vacancy was, however, the last until 1930. (fn. 347)
Otherwise, the ancient Forest administration ended in the early 19th century. In 1836, following the death of the duke of Beaufort, constable of St. Briavels and warden of the Forest, the two offices were vested in the Commissioners of Woods. (fn. 348) The St. Briavels castle estate, by then with only few assets, was taken in hand by the Crown in 1858. (fn. 349) Two of the woodwardships, those of Staunton and English Bicknor bailiwicks, passed to the Commissioners by the purchase of the Highmeadow estate, and no mention of the woodwardships has been found after the 1830s when the holder of Blakeney revived a claim to grant gales of quarries. (fn. 350)
WOODLAND MANAGEMENT AND COMMONING 1820-1914.
The new inclosures and the tighter administration brought to prominence again the question of commoning rights in the Forest. Increasingly during the 19th century the rights were exercised by inhabitants of the Forest hamlets rather than by those of the surrounding parishes. Forest commoners, mostly working or retired miners with small flocks of sheep, were putting in the greater number of animals by 1839, (fn. 351) though in 1860 people from 15 parishes still put in animals, the largest numbers from Newland and Ruardean. The payment of herbage money to the lessee of St. Briavels lapsed c. 1835, probably because the majority of places had paid it out of the old parish poor rate. (fn. 352) The commoners from the parishes were more open to schemes for extinguishing or regulating the rights, while the Foresters defended their claims with the traditional belligerence.
By the start of the 19th century regular drifts of the Forest in the prohibited seasons had been largely abandoned, the owners of animals paying fees to the keepers to leave them in. The commoners petitioned to end those fees in 1820 and 1823, but in 1823 the Commissioners of Woods ordered that clearance in the prohibited seasons be resumed. (fn. 353) Reinclosure of much of the Forest had at first been accepted without trouble, but resentment grew later and became combined with the Foresters' grievances about the invasion of their mining rights by outsider capitalists. Over several days in June 1831, under the leadership of Warren James, a Bream miner, groups of commoners assembled and, after giving notice of their intention to the authorities, destroyed about half of the estimated 120 miles of the walls and banks around the inclosures. The riot Act was read several times but no person was attacked by the rioters and order was easily restored when troops were brought in. The rioters were treated fairly leniently: James was sentenced to death but his sentence commuted to transportation, a few others were imprisoned or bound over, and some escaped prosecution by agreeing to help repair the inclosures. (fn. 354) The main result was to highlight local grievances, prompting a commission of inquiry into the Forest in 1832, which laid the groundwork for regularizing mining and the tenure of the encroachments. Commoning rights, however, remained a seemingly intractable problem. A meeting called to discuss plans for extinguishing the rights in 1836 broke up when intimidated by a mob of Foresters. (fn. 355) Tension eased for a few years after that, however, when to aid the negotiations to settle the regulation of mining there was a tacit agreement to end the regular drifts. (fn. 356)
In 1849 the Forest administration comprised the deputy surveyor Edward Machen, two assistant deputy surveyors, four keepers, whose numbers had been reduced from six before 1841, in the old lodges, and 24 woodmen occupying the new lodges in the inclosures. The office of conservator of the Forest, still held by a member of the Jones family in the early 1820s, had apparently lapsed by the middle of the century. About 70 woodcutters were permanently employed in 1849 and another 100 or so labourers might be taken on when new inclosures were made or old ones opened. (fn. 357) After c. 13 or 14 years' growth, thinning of the plantations began and after c. 30 years the inclosures were opened. The first was opened in 1841, and c. 2,040 a. more land were inclosed during the 1840s. (fn. 358) In the new inclosures much greater use was made of conifers (usually larch) as 'nurses' to protect the young oaks.
The surviving ancient plantations continued to supply the navy until 1833 when there was failure to agree a price; no more was then sent until 1852 and 1853, when great 'falls' of timber produced 7,800 loads for the dockyards. Timber rejected by the navy continued to be sold to local merchants and shipbuilders, but in the 1840s the operation of a 'ring' restricted profits: Thomas Swift, a Monmouth shipbuilder and timber merchant, took the bulk of the timber from the Forest and Highmeadow woods, leaving other local buyers to tender for the private woodlands of the area. In the early 1850s, however, there were several Monmouth, Chepstow, and Bristol buyers, besides one or two railway builders from Birmingham and Newcastle. In the old woodlands, which had been estimated to contain 22,880 loads in 1808, only 4,500 loads remained by 1854. The thinnings from the new plantations, mainly offered to the coalowners at monthly sales, provided a steadily increasing income, £611 in 1828, £2,927 in 1838, and, after the final abolition of the free allocation to miners, £4,711 in 1848. (fn. 359) Over all, however, the woodlands were a potential rather than immediate asset, particularly in the years when no timber was supplied to the navy: in the eight years ending at Easter 1852, the income from sales of timber, thinnings, and oak bark averaged £10,033 a year while management costs averaged £11,220, though the addition of the income from the Crown's mineral rights, averaging £4,420 a year, brought the whole Forest estate into modest profit. (fn. 360)
The bulk of the oak planted in the years 1808-18 was expected to mature for naval shipbuilding in the first or second decade of the 20th century. (fn. 361) Even while warships were still being built with wooden hulls there were doubts about the concentration on that long-term investment and suggestions that some unplanted areas should be used for cultivation. (fn. 362) Machen, the deputy surveyor, remained wedded to the original policy and unsympathetic to schemes that deviated in favour of more immediate profit. In the early 1850s, when he had been in the post more than 40 years, T. F. Kennedy, one of the Commissioners of Woods, criticized his administration as overmanned and hidebound, lacking energy in finding markets for the remaining old timber and inefficient in some of its forestry practices. Against Machen's wishes Kennedy had a sawmill set up to produce plank in the hope of attracting more buyers from further afield; local buyers took the trees away uncut. (fn. 363) Machen offered his resignation in 1853 but he was supported by the Treasury, and he retired the following year, to be replaced by Sir James Campbell, Bt. (fn. 364)
With the introduction of ironclad warships in the 1860s discussion about the future of the Forest became more urgent. Supplies to the navy ceased c. 1865, the dockyards having a good stock in hand and later finding it easier to meet their limited needs from private contractors. (fn. 365) In 1869 a meeting called at the Speech House showed strong support among the wealthier local inhabitants for inclosing and selling the Forest, reserving a portion for public recreation grounds and cottage gardens. The scheme was not pursued: negotiations with the miners, at that time over wages, once more made the opening of the commoning question unwise. The scheme was revived in 1874 when a Select Committee inquired into Dean, (fn. 366) but a Bill introduced in parliament in 1875 was allowed to lapse after evidence of continuing strong opposition. (fn. 367)
During the late 19th century the Crown's profits from the woodland of the Forest were modest, as distinct from those from the mineral rights, where the new deep coal mines yielded substantial sums in royalties. The net annual profit from the woods in the ten years 1865-75 averaged £2,992, and in the years 1875-85 £2,878. (fn. 368) The mines, as they got deeper, were an increasingly important market for timber and were taking 6-7,000 tons a year by 1874, but the mineowners kept the price low by refusing to bid against each other in public auctions. (fn. 369) In the 1880s the price fell because of competition from imported timber. (fn. 370)
In 1897, when only 4,665 a. of the Forest remained inclosed, the permanent staff had been reduced to the deputy surveyor and 4 chief administrative officers, 3 keepers, and 14 woodmen. Only 229 a. of older oak, from the planting in the late 17th century and the 1780s, then remained; 10,833 a. of early 19th-century oak dominated the Forest, and there were another 3,002 a. of plantations of the 1840s and later. (fn. 371) The drastic thinning out of the plantations had produced stunted trees with long, low branches, suitable for shipbuilding timber but not for other purposes. Past management policies were criticized by two forestry experts, who maintained that the planting of pure oak had damaged the fertility of the soil, which in the past had been preserved by the mixture of beech and oak. (fn. 372) New inclosures made from 1897 onwards under Philip Baylis, who succeeded Campbell as deputy surveyor in 1893, were planted with a mixture of oak, beech, larch, and chestnut; only where the ground was suitable was oak alone planted. By 1911 the inclosed woods had reached again the statutory 11,000 a. (fn. 373) The Forest began to be used to train foresters when a forestry school was opened in 1904. (fn. 374) In 1913 to provide another use for loppings and thinnings of the hardwood trees a wood distillery plant was established at Cannop. (fn. 375)
Both Campbell and Baylis challenged the claims of the commoners, testing the legality of the exercise of rights by holders of the former encroachments and of the commoning of sheep. Sheep, which were harder than cattle to exclude from the inclosures, had become the dominant animal commoned. A drift ordered by Campbell at the start of the winter haining of 1864 found 5,868 sheep, 233 horned cattle, 218 horses and colts, 246 donkeys, 86 pigs, and 1 goat. The drift was repeated in 1865, causing some unrest and forcible rescues of impounded animals, but the Commissioners of Woods, worried at the possibility of a serious outbreak of violence, persuaded Campbell to follow a more cautious policy. (fn. 376) In 1889, while still maintaining that the majority of commoners had no legal right, he was not restricting or interfering with any who put animals in. (fn. 377) Baylis, before embarking on his new inclosures, sought counsel's opinion in 1896. A barrister concluded that the Act of 1668, while confirming the rights of the parishioners as claimed in 1634, ruled out the acquisition of any right by prescription, and that such rights could not in any case be attached to encroachments. He was less certain whether the claims of 1634 could be interpreted as excluding sheep. The Crown law officers, to whom the question was twice referred, agreed that there was no prima facie case for commoning sheep. (fn. 378) The numbers of sheep in the Forest continued to grow, a census of 1898 finding 10,851. The 236 different owners were then almost all Foresters, the great majority having flocks of under 50. (fn. 379) By 1905, when the impounding of animals found in the new inclosures and on a new road built between Whitecroft and Mirystock reawakened the issue, the commoners had organized themselves in a protection society, and a new Commoners' Association was formed in 1919. (fn. 380)
THE FOREST IN THE 20TH CENTURY.
In the First World War the need for timber for military purposes gave a new value to Dean's oak plantations, which were then reaching maturity. Established management practices were subordinated to the immediate demand: some areas were clear felled and any replanting was usually wholly with conifers. The early 19thcentury plantations had been reduced to c. 5,000 a. by the end of the war. The wood distillation operation was also much enlarged to supply the munitions industry. (fn. 381) In 1919, with the policy of providing a strategic timber reserve dominating forestry, a plan to progressively change the composition of Dean's woods to three quarters conifer was devised. In the 1920s, however, when the Forestry Commission had been established and had acquired much land elsewhere suitable for conifers, it was decided to plant hardwood, mainly oak, wherever Dean's soil was suitable. (fn. 382) The Forest, together with Highmeadow woods and some smaller Crown woods in the area, was transferred from the Commissioners of Woods to the Forestry Commission in 1924. (fn. 383) In the Second World War production was again massively increased, both in the form of hardwood from the 19th-century oaks and softwood from the more recently planted conifers. The forestry company of the Royal Engineers worked in the woodlands and by 1942 had 11 sawmills at work; 4,864 a. were clear felled. The cover of the trees was also used to store large quantities of ammunition and other equipment. (fn. 384)
In the post-war replanting programme, which was completed by 1952, the predominance of broadleaved trees over conifers was maintained: (fn. 385) in 1958 in the Forest, Highmeadow woods, and a number of smaller local woods acquired by the Forestry Commission 12,530 a. were under oak and other broadleaved trees, 5,886 a. under conifer, and 1,430 a. were mixed woodland. (fn. 386) During the earlier 20th century the usual peacetime markets for the larger timber produced were local sawmills at Parkend, Soudley, Monmouth, and elswhere and the Forest's mines continued to take large quantites for pit props. Much cordwood went to the Cannop distillation factory, which made charcoal until 1971, and a variety of uses for smaller produce included brush handles and agricultural tools, made at Longhope, and fences and hurdles, made at Huntley. (fn. 387)
In 1958 the surviving royal demesne of the Forest was calculated at 19,120 a., c. 16,400 a. of it woodland and the remainder waste (adjoining the Forest hamlets), roads, or the sites of mines and quarries. The Forestry Commission's Dean surveyorship then also administered another c. 8,000 a. in adjoining areas, including Highmeadow woods, the Tidenham Chase woods (1,865 a.) of the former Sedbury Park estate, acquired in the 1920s, and more recently acquired estate woodlands at Flaxley, Lydney, Clanna in Alvington, and Chase and Penyard in Herefordshire. The administration, still headed by a deputy surveyor with a small administrative staff at Whitemead Park, then employed 18 foresters and c. 180 forestry workers. (fn. 388) Following a reorganization in 1968, Whitemead Park was sold and a new local office opened at Coleford. Most of the woodman's and keeper's lodges, many of which had long been tenanted, were also sold. (fn. 389) In 1994, after further reorganization of the Forestry Commission, Dean and the outlying woods of the area formed an administrative district of the South and West Region of Forest Enterprise, the branch of the Commission concerned with state woodlands; the district's 11,113 ha. (27,460 a.) of woodland included 7,880 ha. (19,471 a.) in the Forest, where much former industrial land and waste had been planted. Under the deputy surveyor, based at Coleford, the employees were 8 administrative staff, 12 technical and supervisory staff, and 30 forestry workers; there were usually also 30 or 40 workers employed in the woods by contractors felling for buyers of timber. (fn. 390)
From 1960, as the national policy for a strategic timber reserve was modified, management plans for the Forest laid more stress on commercial enterprise and the planting of the most profitable species. Planting in the 1960s was mainly of conifer, so that broadleaved trees covered only 42 per cent by 1971 when, after public protests, the Minister of Agriculture directed that the proportion should decrease no further. New broadleaf plantations were made later, and the policy being followed in 1994 was intended to achieve and maintain equal areas of conifer and broadleaf. (fn. 391) In 1991 oak remained the principal broadleaved species, forming 28 per cent of all the trees in the Forest and the outlying woods of the district, with 11 per cent beech and smaller amounts of ash, birch, and chestnut; the principal conifers were Douglas fir (16 per cent), Norway spruce (11 per cent), and larch and Corsican pine (each 7 per cent). (fn. 392) Large areas of the broadleaf woodland of the district, 1,708 ha. out of 5,290 ha. in 1992, were classed as conservation woods and managed as a public amenity with only limited commercial exploitation. They included the surviving early 19th-century oaks, which were mostly concentrated in the Cannop valley and around the Speech House, and the district's Wye Valley woodland. Also to be preserved as an amenity were 86 ha. of 'community woods', which bordered villages and hamlets, and some older stands conifers. (fn. 393) In the early 1990s the commercial enterprise in the district produced c. 50,000 cubic metres of timber a year, mostly in softwood. About 55 per cent of the output was in the form of saw logs, c. 20 per cent in chipwood for furniture and other uses, c. 15 per cent in pulpwood for paper and board, and the rest in firewood and fencing material; all timber was then sold standing. Coppicing was then employed only in parts of the conservation woodland, as a means of encouraging the growth of wild flowers. (fn. 394)
The running of sheep in the Forest, though a matter of less bitterness between the commoners and the authorities, had become of more general concern by the mid 20th century. Many traffic accidents were caused by sheep straying on the Forest's roads, there were complaints from the growing residential population about damage to gardens, and the Ministry of Agriculture was concerned at the possible spread of diseases by the unregulated grazing. In 1958, in the months before the autumn sheep sales, it was estimated that c. 6,000 sheep and 4,000 lambs were being grazed by c. 250 owners, still mostly part-time or retired miners. By then no horned cattle were pastured in the open Forest, but considerable numbers of pigs were turned into areas adjoining the villages and hamlets, and some geese and poultry. A parliamentary committee, appointed in 1955 and reporting in 1958, was largely concerned with that aspect of the Forest administration. Besides registration, branding, and the introduction of a stint, it suggested that parts of the Forest be set aside as fenced sheep reservations. (fn. 395) The Forestry Commission experimented inconclusively with a sheep inclosure, but other recommendations of the committee were not implemented. (fn. 396) In the 1970s, however, negotiations between the Commission and the Commoners' Association led to an agreement in 1981, under which a limit of 5,000 ewes was introduced, 4,500 to be grazed by Association members and 500 by owners approved by the Commission. (fn. 397) That agreement remained in operation in 1994 when grazing was supervised by a shepherd appointed by the Commission and a pound was maintained at Yorkley. Some of the problems caused by the freely wandering sheep remained. A plan to surround Cinderford, the main centre of population in the commonable area, with cattle grids had not been implemented, though some new housing estates were protected by grids. Over 30 sheep a year were killed in road accidents. A few pigs were still pastured, restricted to a pannage season of 25 September to 22 November. (fn. 398)
The verderers' court survived in the 20th century as an advisory body to the Forest authorities and a means of representing the views of local inhabitants. An Act of 1927 provided that the verderers be consulted on all bylaws made by the Forestry Commission. The deputy surveyor had attended the court since the 1860s or earlier, (fn. 399) and from the mid 20th century other Commission officers also came to discuss matters such as the provision of amenities, opencast mining schemes, and commoning rights. (fn. 400) From the early 19th century the verderers had usually been appointed to commissions for new inclosures, (fn. 401) and their consent was necessary for exchanges of small parcels of commonable waste for other parcels of Crown freehold which were permitted under an Act of 1906. (fn. 402) The old landowning families were represented as verderers into the later 20th century by Sir Launcelot Crawley-Boevey (d. 1968) and by Charles Bathurst, later Viscount Bledisloe, who served from 1907 to his death in 1958 when his son, the 2nd Viscount (d. 1979), succeeded. A local coalowner, Sir Francis Brain, served from 1912 to 1921, and later verderers included John Watts (d. 1972), a Lydney industrialist, Reginald Sanzen-Baker (d. 1991), a former deputy surveyor of the Forest, and Dr. Cyril Hart, a forestry consultant and historian of Dean, who was senior verderer in 1994. From the mid 1970s the symbolic 40-day adjournments of the court were no longer recorded and the court was convened quarterly under the style of the special court of attachment. Those meetings continued in 1994 at the Speech House hotel. (fn. 403) Elections of new verderers continued to be made at county courts, convened by the high sheriff at the Shire Hall in Gloucester. (fn. 404) The role of the verderers, the last vestige of the medieval administration, was confirmed by an Act of 1971 which ended the forest law and the Crown's game rights in Dean and other Crown forests and repealed much of the old legislation, including the Act of 1668. (fn. 405)
The Forest had long attracted visitors, partly because of its proximity to the more widely known Wye Valley region, and its use for public recreation had become part of Forestry Commission policy by 1938 when, with other surrounding woodlands, it was made into a National Forest Park under a committee. A camping ground was opened at Christchurch, Berry Hill, in 1939. (fn. 406) The main development of the area for recreation was from the 1960s when the last deep mines and railways closed, to be followed by new planting and landscaping to remove the scars of the industrial past. The Commission's role included the signposting of footpaths, introduced in 1965, the opening of bicycle paths on some of the old railway tracks, and the provision of sites for camping, picnicking, and car parking. By 1994 it had established 10 picnic sites, of which the most frequented were at Symonds Yat rock, above the Wye Valley, and at Beechenhurst, in the Cannop valley near the Speech House, and four main camp sites, besides others for the use of youth groups. (fn. 407) Nature reserves were formed in association with amenity bodies, and several areas of woodland, a total of 600 ha. by 1992, were protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. (fn. 408) The sale of leaflet footpath guides and fees from the camp sites and car parks provided additonal income for the Commission, though in 1994 80 per cent of its income from the Dean district still came from the timber enterprise. The Dean National Forest Park, though the designation was still used, had no separate administrative body in 1994, but the Commission had recently instituted a general advisory panel on recreational use of the Forest, composed equally of representatives of local government bodies and of clubs and societies. (fn. 409)