Forest Laws in the Middle Ages

One of the hallmarks of the feudal system that William of Normandy imposed on England after 1066 were laws.  In the case of forest laws, Norman law superseded the prior Anglo-Saxon laws in which rights to the forest (not necessarily just woods, but also heath, moorland, and wetlands) were not exclusive to the king or nobles, but were shared among the people.  Feudal forest laws, in contrast, were harsh, forbidding not only the hunting of game with in the forest, but even the cutting of wood or the collection of Read More…

The Wildwood — the lost forest of the UK

Imagine all of the UK covered in a thickly wooded landscape, much like portions of the western United States.  I just spent the last 1/2 an hour looking up native plants in Wales, trying to come up with a couple that would have reliably flourished in Gwynedd in the 13th century.  My sister-in-law is a botanist, and she agreed that agrimony and juniper would good choices.  What has been difficult to determine, as with the Roman and ancient roads, is what the landscape looked like in the Middle Ages.  England Read More…