Wayback Wednesday: Charter of the Forest 1217

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Charter of the Forest Image
Photo Credit: visitlincoln.com

Eight hundred, two years ago, today, the Charter of the Forest (Carta Foresta) was declared and sealed by young King Henry III (a nine year old boy under the regency of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke I). Issued at St. Paul’s Cathedral, it evolved out of the Magna Carta and re-examined Forest Law.

William the Conqueror established the system of Norman law, proclaiming forests as ‘preserves’, restricting hunting and use by local inhabitants not of the monarchy or aristocracy. Grasslands and wetlands were included, as well as villages and towns that resided within. His heirs continued to enforce the laws. King Richard I and King John extended the forests, taking larger and larger areas, eventually covering one third of southern England.

This charter re-established free men rights of access, alleviating the hardship on the common people to farm, hunt, forage and generally use, and tend to, the land they lived on. It was reissued in 1225 with wording changes and then joined with the Magna Carta in the Confirmation of Charters (Confirmatio Cartarum) in 1297 by King Edward I.

Wording of the Document

Storytelling for Kids (cute)

16 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: Charter of the Forest 1217

    Dayphoto said:
    November 7, 2019 at 11:22 AM

    I’m pretty sure my family (of way-back-then) rejoiced to finally get some freedoms to actually use the land they lived on! 🙂


    jmshistorycorner said:
    November 7, 2019 at 8:47 PM

    William the Conqueror, John, Henry III, Edward I, and William Marshal are all my direct ancestors, so this is my family history. I hadn’t heard about this before. Fascinating!


      The Hinoeuma responded:
      November 8, 2019 at 12:11 AM

      Glad you enjoyed. When I do history pieces, *something* has to appeal to me. The most I know, right now, is that I am a direct descendant of the MacPherson clan (paternal side)

      Since William was from Normandy, that means some French ancestry, yes? How long have you been studying your genealogy?

      My maternal grandmother stated, on more than one occasion, that we were descendants of “red-headed, Irish people”. LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

        jmshistorycorner said:
        November 8, 2019 at 12:37 AM

        My great-grandfather was Irish (as was his father-in-law, my great-great-grandfather). Yes, I have distant French ancestry – along with German, Scottish, Russian, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Roman, Jewish, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Greek etc, etc. And that’s not including my immediate predominant English, Welsh and Channel Island ancestry.
        I’ve been studying my genealogy from a young age; my Grandma runs an online family tree (on MyHeritage), which sparked my interest.
        I have an old family tradition (on m maternal grandmother’s side) that I descend from Charles II, although I’ve never proven that. (Ironic, since I’ve traced my ancestry back to Adam and Eve.)


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