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BringewoodReportDL6Apr05


Bringewood Chase and surrounding countryside
David Lovelace, April 2005

Contents
Introduction, summary and acknowledgements 1. Herefordshire/Shropshire border - Domesday to the Black Death 1.1 Strife and stability of border manors 1.2 Role of woodland and grazing at the time of Domesday 1.3 Land hunger and agricultural expansion 1.4 Grazing, woods and hunting 1.5 Chases and forests 1.6 The Wigmore surveys of 1324 and 1325 1.7 Parks. The 15th century 2.1 Bringewood Chase and Wigmore woods become royal 2.2 Origins of Oakley Park

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2.

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Bringewood chase in Tudor times 2.2 Tudor accounts for the chase: grazing, woodland, honey, wax and bark 2.3 The erosion of commons rights in the forest and chase 2.4 Deer of the chase and problems for the neighbours 2.5 Taverner?s survey of 1565 3.5 Customs of the chase Elizabeth I and the commercialisation of Bringewood chase 4.1 The whingeing foresters of Bringewood 4.2 Entrepreneurs of the chase 4.3 New enclosures on the Chase – opportunists and improvers 4.4 The map of Bringewood 1577 4.5 Elizabethan wood sales from Bringewood – an analysis 4.5.1 Overview of the wood sales manuscript data 4.5.2 Weights, measures and prices for wood and trees 4.5.3 Sizes, ages and species of tree 4.5.4 Coppice woodland, ?Prestwood?, trees in pasture and tree species 4.5.5 Wood fuel sales for the household 4.5.6 Uncertainties in the records: hidden sales, thefts and time scales 4.5.7 Wood from Bringewood used by Ludlow castle 4.5.8 Non-fuel uses of Bringewood timber 4.5.9 Estimating the area of Bringewood Chase 4.5.10 Was wood consumption from Bringewood sustainable? 4.5.11 Why the Crown gave up accounting the forest economy

4.

5.

Managing game and common grazing rights in Elizabethan Bringewood 5.1 Stocking deer and apprehending poachers, a family career 29 5.2 Dealing with dogs and weapons 29 5.3 Rounding up livestock 30 5.4 Impact of enclosures on livestock management 30 Bringewood Forge: from satanic mill to picturesque idyll 6.1 A brief history of the Bringewood iron works 6.2 Iron works vs agriculture - impact on woodland, ?forests? and chase 6.3 Wood consumption of Bringewood forge 6.4 The final years of the Iron Works, Downton and ?the Picturesque? 6.5 Enlightenment forestry and the wood famine myth 31 32 35 36 37

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Bringewood 1625 to 1948, final enclosures and partial reversion 7.1 Disputes over enclosure and the “Vaughan?s Ditch” 7.2 The Crown disposes of Bringewood, Mocktree and Derefold 7.3 Lord Craven?s map of Bringewood “as it is now enclosed” 7.4 Reversion of enclosures to semi-natural pasture and woodland Oakley and Norbache Parks – Elizabethan to Victorian times 8.1 Oakley Park 8.2 Norbache Park The nature of Bringewood, Oakley and the Haltons in the 19th century 9.1 Oakley Park 9.2 The Haltons 9.3 Bringewood and Whitcliffe 9.4 Juniper in Bringewood and surroundings: 1840 to present The landscape of Bringewood and surroundings – the last 160 years 10.1 Victorian observations of forest, plantation and coppice woodland 10.2 20th century forestry and the making of the ?Mortimer? forest 10.3 Oakley and Norbache parks – post war changes. 10.4 The Haltons Biological records of the Bringewood, Vinnals and Mary Knoll 11.1 Botany 11.2 Butterflies and moths 11.3 Other orders of wildlife Prospects for restoration of the Bringewood countryside 12.1 Economics, the Mortimer forest and a ?word from our sponsors? 12.2 ?Ancient? woodland and present forest policy 12.3 From ?dig for victory? to parkland restoration 12.4 End piece

39 40 40 42 43 45 46 46 46 47 48 49 51 52 53 53 54 54 55 56 57 58 1 7 8 22 23 24 25 26 41 59 62 64 66 67 69-74

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Table 1. Domesday manors their values and mentions of woodland Table 2. Revenue from all land in the honour of Wigmore 1325 Table 3. Woods and parks in the honour of Wigmore 1325 Table 4. Average annual sales of wood and timber from Bringewood Table 5. Pollard productivity and size on Bringewood Table 6. Number of mentions of species in MSS PRO E178/969 Table 7. Household fuel requirements from Bringewood Table 8. Consumption by Ludlow castle of wood from Bringewood 1579 – 1587 Table 9. Descriptions of the enclosures of the Chase 1662 Appendix 1 Survey of the honour of Wigmore 1324 and 1325. Analysis and text Appendix 2 Example of wood sales and witness statements Appendix 3 Extent of Bringewood chase. The soils and game Appendix 4 1662 Bringewood Enclosure particulars Appendix 5 Plants of Victorian Bringewood, Oakley and the Haltons Appendix 6 Lepidoptera recorded at Bringewood Chase 1995-2002 List of figures 36 pages following page 74, in separate file ReportFigures.doc

Introduction and summary The tract of countryside that is the subject of this study is a border area in a number of ways. It comprises some 16 square kilometres straddling the Herefordshire/Shropshire county boundary, from the river Teme south to Norbache Park in Richards Castle, Downton bridge to the west and Mary Knoll to the east. Most of the high ground is occupied by Forest Enterprise?s Mortimer Forest which includes much of the former royal chase of Bringewood and rising to nearly 400 meters at the ?the High Vinnals?. Just south of the Teme at Bromfield lies Oakley Park while upstream to its west is the spectacular wooded gorge of Downton, the location of one of the most productive charcoal iron works in Britain. Descending northwards from the high ground of the chase on the Shropshire sides are ?the Haltons?; Lady Halton, Hill Halton and Prior?s Halton, small farming settlements occupying the fertile glacial terraces of the Teme. In the Middle Ages the area occupied the north east extremity of the honour of Wigmore, seat of the powerful Mortimers, Lords of the March, while the ?High Vinnals? was the western edge of the pre-conquest manor of Richards Castle. Oakley, Prior?s Halton and Lady Halton on the Shropshire side of the county boundary were part of the extensive lands of Bromfield Priory. Documentation from Domesday to the Black Death indicates rising agricultural productivity, few woods and a wood pasture economy of marginal lands. This study offers a new interpretation and analysis of a fourteenth century survey of the Mortimer manors of the honour of Wigmore which sheds some light upon the character of the woods, parks and wood pasture of these manors at this time. Bringewood became a royal chase when Edward Mortimer was crowned Edward IV in 1461 after the battle of Mortimers Cross as did neighbouring Mocktree and nearby Deerfold become royal forests. They remained in crown hands until sold off under James I. Many surveys, accounts and inquiries relating to Bringewood, Mocktree and Deerfold have survived from Tudor and Elizabethan times many of which are transcribed and analysed for the first time in this study. Feudal traditions, preserved by the semi-autonomous Marcher lordships, became weakened by the various statutes of Henry VIII who sought to unify the governance and legal systems of England and Wales. Customary rights to the resources of forest and chase, enjoyed by generations of people of the nearby manors, were gradually dismantled. By the Elizabethan era, the administration and exploitation of royal forests had become a semi-privatised industry whereby forest officials and leaseholders of royal lands made themselves small fortunes and carved little estates out of the forests. Original documents show this process in great detail for Bringewood Chase along with many vignettes of every day life such as impounding livestock, confiscating weapons and hanging dogs. The amount of wood and timber taken out of Bringewood Chase by local people, forest officials, Ludlow Castle and the Bringewood iron works is estimated and seems to have been sustainable. The analysis reveals the size, area, types and species of trees and coppice woodland that grew on the chase. The loss of the Bringewood Chase, its semi-natural resources, ancient customs and multiple uses by local people was due to its enclosure and attempted conversion to agriculture in the 17th century, much of which had reverted to secondary woodland a couple of centuries later. This development of Bringewood Chase came at a time of intellectual radicalism, which straddled the interregnum and can be described as ?Puritan utopianism?, which included novel but usually impractical schemes for the improvement of agriculture and forestry. These are examined since the same concepts resurface three centuries later in the single-minded and
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state-funded drive to ?improve? agriculture, forestry and semi-natural areas and which were to radically alter the countryside. Bringewood Chase and its surrounding countryside is a worked example of this process in microcosm. The inheritor of the Bringewood iron works and much of the surrounding land in the late 18th century was Richard Payne Knight, classicist, connoisseur and advocate of ?natural? school of landscape appreciation that became known as the known as the Picturesque. These ways of seeing the countryside were reflected in the observations of woodlands and forests of north Herefordshire by local natural historians in the 19th century. Some sense of the character and ecology of Bringewood chase, Oakley Park and the Haltons at this time is derived from a review of the records of Victorian botanists. The Forestry Commission acquired Bringewood Chase, the coppice woodlands of Richards Castle and Norbache Park in the 1920?s to establish conifer plantations now known as the ?Mortimer Forest?. The rationale of the Commission in the 20th century and its espousal of ?scientific? forestry is traced back to ideas of 17th century utopianism, alarmist claims of impending timber famine and fear of dependence on imports, which were most famously expressed by John Evelyn. Changes in forestry policy in the last two decades are traced as the Commission reassessed what constitutes forestry and public benefits. Prospects for the restoration of Bringewood Chase, Norbache Park and the coppices of Richards Castle are discussed in the context of present state ownership objectives and economics. The histories of Oakley and Norbache Parks are examined, as are their differing fates at the hands of agriculture and forestry policy in the third quarter of the twentieth century. The study investigates the effect of post-war agricultural policy on the farmed countryside of the area. The inflexibility of agricultural policy in the delivery of environmental and other benefits due to the Common Agricultural Policy is contrasted with that of forestry. Prospects for the future conservation and restoration of the farmed parts of the study area are considered in the light of current agri-environment schemes and imminent changes to agricultural support regimes. This study will show that, in spite of radical changes to its structure and character, the Mortimer Forest still retains a wealth of wildlife resources. Evidence for this in the case of butterflies and moths is reviewed in detail. Enhancement of the remaining semi-natural areas and the eventual restoration of the whole Forest to native vegetation are likely to result in regionally significant increases in biodiversity. The study relies heavily upon maps of the area from the earliest in 1577 to the most recent. Use is made of digital techniques to rectify historic maps and aerial photographs to allow detailed comparison between different periods. This evidence from maps and photographs usefully complements the written records. The report includes a fair amount of data in digital form particularly the maps which span over three centuries at a resolution of 1 meter per pixel. Only a sample are printed here in the figures starting on page 75, if hard copy, or the file “ReportFigures.doc” if electronic version. All these maps, the database of Elizabethan wood sales and witness statements, transcripts of other documents and the report itself are available on CD. Origins of the study and acknowledgements This work started as a review of the Ancient Woodland Inventory for Forest Enterprise?s land in south Shropshire and north Herefordshire. This was just at the start of the Foot and Mouth epidemic that effectively closed down the countryside for much of 2000/01 making site surveying impossible. I am grateful to David Bole and Helen Millar of the Ludlow Forest Enterprise office for allowing me to divert contract resources to research in Records Offices
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and experimentation with techniques for digitising, rectifying and analysing old maps to produce time sequences for the characterisation of site histories. I am indebted to Helen Stace and Tom Wall of English Nature (EN) who commissioned work in 2001 focussing upon the northern part of the ?Mortimer? forest and its countryside context up to the Teme. This report is the result, although the area has been expanded to include all the Mortimer Forest block. The historical work subsequently took on a life of its own with the discovery of so many original documents about Bringewood, its nature and utilisation from Medieval to Stuart times. Personal accounts and witness statements sprang from the parchments demanding voice. My thanks go to the staff of the Public Records Office (PRO) at Kew especially Carole McCormack for her encouragement of the use of cameras for recording and conserving manuscripts. The new and enlightened PRO policy of allowing anyone to photograph documents without charge constitutes a great public service to historical research. Thanks also to Andrew Davidson of the Shropshire Records Office and to Sue Hubbard of the Herefordshire Records Office. I am grateful for the many illuminating discussions I have had with Jonathan Spencer, FE?s ancient woodland specialist, Rebecca Roseff of the Herefordshire Archaeology Service and Paul Stamper of English Heritage. The role of local historians has been crucial to this work especially that of Patricia Cross whose work on the history of Richards Castle manor, its parks and coppices, I have relied upon to a considerable extent. Discussions with Penny Oliver, Beryl Lewis and John Voysey who given me further insights, information and valuable criticism. David Lloyd and Michael Faraday helped me with some of the historical connections with Ludlow town. Christopher Whittick gave me expert assistance with some of the Medieval Latin texts. I am most grateful to Dr. Michael Harper for his time and for sharing with me his uniquely detailed knowledge of Lepidoptera both for Herefordshire generally and Mortimer Forest in particular. I have reproduced the fruits his knowledge and recording together with that of other members of Butterfly Conservation to provide an up-to-date (as of 2003) account of the area?s butterflies and moths and the significance of particular species. The report does not include detailed recommendations for the area. This would be a major undertaking in its own right, but it is hoped that the information herein will further investigation and will be useful to anyone in the area drawing up land management plans. Note on the use of brackets and quotations marks in this report: Text in round brackets (..) contains my comments, square brackets [..] refers to implied or unclear original text, curly brackets {..} means brackets in the original text. Single quote marks around passages of text ?…? means that it is rendered into modern English. Double quote marks “…” means actual text. David Lovelace, Pool Cottage, Norton Canon, Hereford HR4 7BP, 01544 318138 david@dlovelace.freeserve.co.uk November 2003 Updated in April 2005 A text-only version is posted on the web. For those with text-only the many maps, figures and photographs referred to can be obtained on CD from the above address and email.

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1. The Herefordshire Shropshire border - Domesday to the Black Death 1.1 Strife and stability in border manors The Marches had been subject to periods of Anglo-Welsh border strife well before Norman authority was imposed by some of William the conqueror?s more brutal barons such as William Fitz Osbern, Earl of Hereford1. A few years after the conquest, the Saxon nobleman Edric Silvaticus ?Edric the Wild?, in league with Welsh princes, ?laid waste the county of Hereford as far as the bridge over the Lugg?2 in one of the few sustained uprisings against Norman rule in England. The Domesday survey, which assessed manors in 1085/6 and compared them with preconquest values, records the disruption to life and economy in border manors with frequent references to west Herefordshire manors being partly and wholly ?waste?. In one example, farmland in the Manor of Lye 3km SSW of Wigmore had reverted to secondary woodland ?On these waste lands have grown up woods in which this Osbern hunts and thence he has whatever he can catch?. The manors of the area studied here (figure 1) seem relatively stable during the transition from Saxon to Norman rule. This may be due to the pre-conquest military presence of the Norman warlord Richard Scrob3 whose son Osbern fitzRichard is the Osbern in the above Domesday passage. Scrob settled in Herefordshire in the 1050?s, established the manor and castle that bears his name and was a favourite of Edward the Confessor, himself of Norman origin. The following table lists the areas, values and any mentions of the woodland or waste for the manors which surround the high ground of Bringewood, Mary Knoll and the Vinnals starting with Burrington to the west and proceeding clockwise. For some of the original Domesday text for this area see figure 2. Table 1, Manor: Burrington Downton Bromfield Ludford Richards Castle Elton Aston Total Hides Value TRE 5? 40s 4 30s 10 ?20 hides? 1 ? 5? ? 7 2 12s 3 waste 25 ? ~ 1,290 hectares Value 40s 30s ? 6s 3 20s ? 7 20s 30s ? 6s 17 Woodland mentions ?very little woodland? ?woodland ? league long and 5 furlongs broad? [~120ha] see discussion below ?two furlong strip of woodland? yes Waste

yes

TRE = tempore regis Edwardi i.e in the time of Edward the Confessor before the conquest.

The Domesday survey was an assessment of manors mainly for the purposes of raising royal revenue so measures of land do not easily relate to actual areas4. Even so, one ?hide? is usually taken roughly as 120 acres (~50 ha) of cultivated land. The use of linear measures for the extent of woods is more difficult to interpret but may refer to the length of boundaries with farmland. The king?s surveyors had an additional interest in recording potential increase in manorial revenue compared with the time before the conquest (TRE).

1

Rowley, Trevor, The Welsh Border. Tempus 2001 chapter 6.

2 3

Forester, T (Ed.) The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester. Bohn 1854. F.M. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England 1971 OUP, P. 562 4 For a discussion of Domesday as a source of land use information see: Domesday Book, Special Studies, Alecto 1987 and P.D.A. Harvey, Manorial Records, British Records Association 1999. Bringewood and its countryside Page 1 DL April 2005

If the value of a manor remained similar before and after the conquest this is an indication that the productive land continued to be worked without major disruption from the time of its Anglo-Saxon ownership. Discounting Ludford and Bromfield which are not valued before 1066, the average value per manor increased by just 17% (from 11s 3d per hide to 13s 2d per hide) from the time of Edward the Confessor (TRE) to 1086. Bromfield, the largest of these manors occupies a large tract of the fertile Teme valley and had a pre-conquest assessment of 20 hides, but for 10 hides Domesday says ?there is waste and it is recorded as waste? but that ?in total land for 54 plough teams?. This contradictory entry seems due to a pre-conquest ownership dispute between the crown and the canons of Bromfield Priory details of which occupy 7 out the 12 lines of the manuscript. Subsequent documents of the 12th and 13th centuries show that Bromfield had part of the pre-conquest ?forest of Mocktree? and two other named woods (see 1.4 below) which may have formed part of the disputed 10 hides that surveyors described as ?waste?. With the building of Ludlow castle in the early 12th century to its NE, the upland area of Bringewood, Mary Knoll & the Vinnals had castles close by on three sides with Richards Castle to the south and Wigmore castle to the west. One can reasonably conclude that for these seven manors there was little interruption in the land use economy during the Saxon to Norman transition. From the 11th century to the Black Death was a period of sustained population growth with little opportunity for the reversion of land to secondary woodland. What Domesday suggests is the land use can only have became more intensely managed so that any woodland which survived to be mentioned in documents of the next two and half centuries is very likely to have been present pre-conquest. 1.2 Role of woodland and grazing at the time of Domesday Notable is the small area of woodland recorded by Domesday for many of these manors; only Downton is mentioned as having a significant quantity at about 120 hectares. The entry for Burrington, which includes most of the area of what was to become Bringewood Chase had ?a tiny piece of woodland? [Domesday text: “paululum silve”, Figure 2]. This entry is similar to that for Covenhope another Mortimer manor 5km south of Wigmore and mostly hill land which had “not much woodland” [Domesday text: “parvula silva”]. Covenhope is now part of Aymestrey parish now one of the most wooded in the county. Elton?s recorded woodland is ?2 furlongs? and even if it?s extent was twice that in the other dimension this only amounts to 30 hectares (one square furlong = 4 hectares). For Bromfield?s Domesday woodland we have to extrapolate back from later documents (see 1.4 and 1.6 below) to give an estimate of 160 hectares, making a total of 310 hectares for the 8 manors considered here which is one fifth of the area of cultivated land. The fact that Domesday bothers to record small parcells of woodland or comments how little there is in certain manors indicates their importance. Subsequent and more detailed medieval surveys (1.6 below) show that the larger areas of woodland contributed very little direct revenue to the Manor due to their primary use as common grazing with other customary rights. The Domesday meaning of ?boscus? and ?silva? is these cases seem not to refer to land dedicted to trees as we would understand it today and but to wood pasture or land that could not be cultivated without infringing the customary rights of local tenants. Much of the ?woodland? recorded for the 8 manors is likely to have been in this category.

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Oliver Rackham?s analysis of Domesday shows England to comprise 43% arable, 38% pasture & meadow and 18% wood and wood pasture5, excluding mountains, heaths and moorland. Domesday surveys are brief and must necessarily omit the finer structure of the countryside, including some small woods, so there is no need to fill in supposedly unaccountable land with large tracts of imagined woodland. A meticulous study6 of the medieval records of Warwickshire woodlands cross-checked against Domesday indicates that small woods were indeed often omitted. For our area, later medieval documents also throw up a few additional woods, which must have been present at the conquest. With the exception of Bromfield which is especially poorly described, later documentation is broadly consistent with what Domesday indicates are the major land uses of the 8 manors. Woodland is not one of them. Domesday is a record of potential manorial revenues flowing to the Lord and visible to the royal exchequer. Any ?internal economy? of the manor such as ancient customary rights to hill, common, marginal or wood pasture areas enjoyed by the tenants will be under-recorded or not at all. This is especially true in the Marcher lordships whose frontier role gave them unusual freedom from royal prerogatives and where ancient feudal tenures and customs were solely the business of who ever happened to be the Lord. 1.3 Land hunger and agricultural expansion. Population grew considerably after Domesday and by the mid 14th century such that settlement and land development7 was approaching the limits of contemporary agrarian technology. Herefordshire Archaeology?s Woodlands Pilot Project?s first two years of survey (2002 & 03) has regularly found evidence of medieval cultivation and settlement in most of the county?s ?ancient? woodland8. This land hunger gives rise to an increasing number of documented disputes in the decades up to the Black Death of 1348-9. A few records survive giving a glimpse of farming on the land between the Teme and the north flank of Bringewood and Whitcliffe, comprising the ?vills? of Hill Halton, Lady Halton, Prior?s Halton (aka ?the Haltons?) and Oakley: In 1313 a group of men (and a woman) broke the house of William Orm at Priors Halton, assaulted him, drove away 40 of his sheep (price 6 marks), killed them, drove away a further 100 sheep and 6 oxen (price ? 20). They cut his standing corn and carried them away with other of his goods9. Seven years later William Orm, now living in Ludlow, is a witness to a grant of ?certain fields of Okleye next Bromfield?10. Records of land exchanges and leases imply a mixture of enclosed and open fields at this time. A typical example from 1374 concerned ?6 acres of land and appurtenances in the fields of Okeleye of which 4 acres lie between the land of John of Haughford on one side and the land of Henry de Halghton on the other and extending from the green road from Okeleye to Ludlow up to Holeweysiche (ie Holloway Ditch)? and ?5 selions (arable strips) lie in the field of Werebroke between the lands of the Lord of Okeley on either side and extends from the land

5 6

Rackham, O., The History of the Countryside Dent, 1986. p16. Wager, Sarah J. Woods, Wolds and Groves, the woodland of medieval Warwickshire BAR 1998. 7 Postan M. M. The Medieval Economy and Society Berkeley 1972. pp21, 25 8 Ray, Keith & Hoverd, Tim. Archaeological surveys of individual Herefordshire woodlands, Herefordshire Archaeology Wood Reports 2002 & 2003
9

Calendar of Patent Rolls (CPR) 1313

10

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of “Orangie by Bromfield up to Oystremedwe”11 together with a certain parcel of meadow adjoining?12. In 1221 Oakley was a ?vill? (a small township) included with West Halton as part of the lordship of Adam de Halton and having a ?quarter of a hide? of arable with some common pasture. By 1385 Oakley had expanded and was described as a manor. Oakley Park was not created until the late fifteenth century (see 2.2 below). 1.4 Grazing, woods and hunting The fattening of livestock on marginal land, usually by ancient right was an essential part of the economy. If the hills and slopes of Bringewood, Mary Knoll and the Vinnals were mostly rough pasture, wood pasture and a little woodland in 1086, then by the 14th century such grazing pressure would only have increased, as would the upland limit of attempts at cultivation. A charter13 of c1156 from Henry II licensed the monks of the Bromfield priory to assart and otherwise do as they pleased with the ?forest already granted to them?. This has to be the ?forest? of Mocktree which later boundary surveys show extended from Leintwardine to the western half of Bromfield manor north of the Teme. A second royal charter c1180 13 gave them the right to hunt deer referring to two woods separate from Mocktree and called Ailrichewude14 and Esrugge, which like Mocktree must have been present at the time of Domesday. These last two wood names are long gone but they can be tentatively located between the Teme and Bringewood as follows: The ?Bosc? of Ailrichewude is described as extending as far as the ?fount [source of] of Werebroc? a stream name now lost. We know however that it was part of Oakley manor, since in 1374 “2 acres land in Okeley” is described as being “between the land of John de Brun and the brook called Werebrock”15. A number of streams flow from springs on Bringewood?s north flank towards the Teme through Oakley. This places Ailrichewude between what is now Oakley Park, and the lower slopes of Bringewood scarp above Lady and Hill Halton farms. Since the wood would have occupied the more fertile ground and does not seem to appear subsequently in other documents it may have been converted to farmland during the general population increase and land hunger of the decades preceding the Black Death. The ?Bosc? of Esrugge (eastridge) is described as extending from ?Eilsichewey even into Ludford along the road called the Rugwey?. This is consistent with the Esrugge occupying the eastern end of the Bringewood scarp perhaps Mary Knoll and descending to Ludford bridge through Whitcliffe common. We can only guess the areas of these two woodlands but they are unlikely have been more than about 30 hectares apiece while Mocktree ?forest? extended over many times that area either side of the county boundary occupying mainly Leintwardine and Bromfield. The 14th century survey of the part of Mocktree in the honour of Wigmore (1.6 below) gives it as ?300 acres of great trees? and subject to common grazings rights. Assigning a similar wooded area to Bromfield makes Mocktree 600 acres and we can assume it had been reduced by agriculture
?Oyster meadow? Could this imply a meadow next to the Teme where fresh water clams are harvested? SRO 20/6/123 13 Eyton?s Antiquities of Shropshire volume V – chapter on Bromfield p212. See also Monasticon Anglicanum by William Dugdale (Royal Commission 1817-30), the entry for Bromfield. 14 ?Alric?s wood?. Alric was a minor Saxon Shropshire landholder 15 SRO 20/6/123 Bringewood and its countryside Page 4 DL April 2005
11
12

and other pressures from its Domesday extent. If we assume a reduction of a third then 800 acres seems a not unreasonable estimate of the extent of Mocktree at Domesday or 320 hectares split between Leitwardine and Bromfield. The building of the castle encouraged the expanding settlement of Ludlow which emerges as a centre of the local livestock trade and for which grazing rights on nearby land were important. In 122116 the burgesses of Ludlow were defending their right to graze stock on the priory land of Whitcliffe (this is presumably the origin of present day Whitcliffe common) claiming they had bought the rights. As well as assart of ?forest?, reference is made at this time to an assart of the ?moor of Wulnroughale?17 (yet to be identified) at ?West Halton? one of the Haltons between Oakley park and Bringewood. In c1200 Alexander, the Prior of Bromfield, allowed Symon son of Robert of Bromfield to make assarts in the wood of Mocktree in Bromfield and to have common pasture and pannage for their pigs in the wood of Mocktree ?as their ancestors had done?. The reference confirms Mocktree as a pre-conquest ?forest? along with the two woods above. Downton?s woodland appears to have remained separate from Mocktree according to a now lost document, which was used as evidence to an inquiry by the Council of the Marches into Mocktree and Bringewood in 1595. It is quoted as saying that: ?the said Edward Hopton [forest keeper] about 30 years past saw in a book owned by Mr. Fox deceased [Sir Charles Fox] now called the Black Book of Wigmore a release in French whereby the Lord of Downton released to Roger Mortimer Lord of Wigmore all the chase of his Woods of Downton for savage beasts?. A copy of this document was then produced for the council members to see. This Black Book dates from between six possible times between 1149 and 1398 since there were six Lords of Wigmore named Roger18. 1.5 Chases and forests ?Chase? is similar to ?forest? in defining a tract of land where game and its habitat were preserved by ?forest? laws. These included restrictions on land use and fines payable for transgressions (felling, assarting, grazing etc) by the local population some of whom also lived and farmed within it. These fines became formalised as rents for grazing and farming activities such as assarts19 or as one off payments earning the Lord or the crown a regular income. In a ?chase? the Lord had the prerogative (by royal permission) and could raise fines in his own court while the ?forest? was the King?s and administered by his officials. Neither necessarily imply the presence of woodland although they tended to include marginal land and wood pasture. ?Wood? (boscus) is difficult to interpret in original documents since it is used interchangeably to mean the same as ?forest? and ?chase?. The boundaries and extent of chase and forest were of two kinds: the physical extent and the game extent, a source of confusion for modern historians as well as for local people at the time. The physical extent, sometimes referred to as its ?soils of the forest?, was defined in boundaries and landmarks. The ?game extent? could go well beyond these bounds into neighbouring manors and farmland and was a cause of disputes, for example, when neighbouring tenant?s
16 17

Eyton volume V 213 and SRO 356/MT/720 Eyton volume V reference 47 on page 212. 18 The possible time windows for the lost Black Book are the Lordship dates of the six possible Roger Mortimers: Roger (I) 1149 – 1153, Roger (II) 1180 – 1214, Roger (III) 1247 – 1282, Roger (IV) 1301 – 1330, Roger (V) 1346 – 1360 and Roger (VI) 1393 – 1398. 19 Young, C. R. The Royal Forests of Medieval England University of Pennsylvania Press 1979. pp121 122 Shows that for England generally “large areas of the forests were drawn more closely into the agricultural life of the country”. Bringewood and its countryside Page 5 DL April 2005

crops were damaged and where forest officials exercised the right to patrol, arrest and fine outside recognised boundaries. The two extends for Bringewood have been found in documents and are transcribed in appendix 3. Examples of disputes over the ?game extent? are detailed in 3.3 below. For Bringewood and Mocktree, the Lords of surrounding manors had an annual token gift of venison for the nuisance involved (see section 3.5 below) while all the tenants could do was complain. In 1206 ?woods called Boryngewode and Derfold? are included as part of the lordship of Wigmore at the Inquisition Post Mortem (IPM) for Roger (II) de Mortimer. In a 1301 IPM, the ?Chases of Moktre, Buringwode & Derefold? are mentioned among ?chases & parks? belonging to Edmund de Mortimer. The Wigmore manor accounts for 120920 include expenses for falconers ?carrying three sparrow hawks to Wigmore 3d?, the cost for feeding bread and oats to hounds and ?two round barrels bought for sending venison to Wigmore 6d?. Locations within the manor of Wigmore manor are not recorded but these quotes gives a general idea of the importance of the game culture at this time. By the 14th century hunting was declining and the lord?s main use of ?chase? and ?forest? was income from fines or rents from expanding agriculture and provisions (meat, fuel etc) for castles and halls. Customary grazing by the local population still remained the primary land use on the marginal land whether or not ?forest? laws applied. W. Rees21 considers that common rights were exercised without restriction throughout the Marches at this time. While the lord was unable to levy fines for ancient rights there was nothing to stop his home farm exercising those rights and adding to the numbers of livestock in forest and chase. We have yet to see direct documentary evidence for this period detailing the precise nature of these customary rights for Bringewood chase and Mocktree ?forest?, how they were exercised, by whom and what other uses were made of chase and woodland. Welsh medieval records for ?forest? and woodland, including those of other Mortimer manors, have been studied in greater detail than for Herefordshire, which perhaps have not survived. The Welsh manuscripts give an insight into the multiple uses of these areas which, in addition to wood and hunting, included charcoal, bark, mast, foliage, herbage, honey & wax and wood ash 22. We have yet to find documents earlier than the Tudor period, which give the equivalent level of detail for Bringewood and surrounding areas (3.1 below). 1.6 The Wigmore surveys of 1324 and 1325. Wood, park and farmland in the 14th century. Two surviving surveys of the Honour23 of Wigmore24 for the years 1324 and 1325 give some figures for land use for the home farm, tenancies, fish ponds, markets as well as woods and parks. Woods such as Bringewood are described as having ?great trees? but appear to have been open structured sustaining the common grazings of the entire estate, sales of underwood, feeding of pigs and, in the parks, deer as well as livestock. While fairly brief, these ?extents? record the revenues for the manors in Wigmore and give us a picture of the structure, economy and extent of parks and woods in the Shropshire/ Herefordshire border area in the decades just before the Black Death. Although we do not have equivalent surveys at this time for the manors of Downton, Bromfield and Richards Castle it is fair to extrapolate the generality to neighbouring land.
20

Rees, W. South Wales and the March A social and agrarian study OUP 1924 References 2 and 3 page 111 Rees, W. op. cit. 22 Linnard, W., Welsh Woods and Forests – A history. Gomer 2000 pp 40-49. 23 Honour: A lordship of several manors. 24 PRO SC 12/8/18 Wigmore: Extent of the castle and lordship. 18, 17 Edw. II. Bringewood and its countryside Page 6 DL April 2005
21

The Honour of Wigmore and its castle was the power base of Roger Mortimer IV, Earl of the March who also had extensive holdings in Wales, the March & elsewhere in England and Ireland. Roger was part of a group of barons who rebelled unsuccessfully against Edward II in 1321 and for this he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1322. King Edward requisitioned Roger?s estates, which is how they came to be surveyed and stored in the archives of the royal exchequer. At the time of the surveys Roger had escaped the tower, fled to the continent where he was plotting to overthrow Edward II in the company with Edward?s estranged wife Isabella25. PRO SC12/8/18 is three parchment sheets in the same hand. Two are dated April 15th 1324, the one an annotated and corrected copy of the other, while the 3rd sheet is dated February 8th 1325. Part of the original is shown in figure 3, transcription and analysis in appendix 1. The proportion of land use by revenue and by area of the c6,000 acres surveyed is shown in the pie charts below. Although the results of the analysis are given to 0.1% the uncertainties in the figures are much greater than this as discussed in appendix 1.
1325 land use by revenue Honour of Wigmore from appendix 1 table 2c column 5
1325 Land use by area Honour of Wigmore from appendix 1 table 2c column 6

All arable 45.6%

All arable 57.7%

Parks 1.8% Woods 2.7% All pasture 3.8% All meadow 46.1%

All meadow 15.6%

Parks 10.8%

All pasture 2.6% Woods 13.3%

Woods and parks occupied a quarter of the countryside but contributed only 5% of the revenue. The 60% arable area probably represents the maximum that a medieval agriculture could sustain. Meadowland was nearly four times and pasture twice as valuable as arable. Although the precise meaning of ?acre? in the documents of this period is a source of uncertainty I am here basing most of my analysis on area ratios of different land uses. Table 2 gives the actual revenue break down and for consistency the later 1325 survey is used: Table 2 Revenue from all land in the honour of Wigmore 1325 revenue acres average d/acre Arable ? 5s 6d 43 3,462 3.0 Meadow ? 13s 9d 43 937 11.2 Pasture ? 11s 11d 3 154 5.6
25

Hopkinson, C. & Speight, M. The Mortimers Lords of the March. Logaston Press 2002. Chapter Five. Bringewood and its countryside Page 7 DL April 2005

Table 2 Revenue from all land in the honour of Wigmore 1325 cont. revenue acres average d/acre Woods ? 11s 8d 2 800 0.8 Parks ? 14s 4d 1 650 0.6 All land ? 17s 3d 94 6,003 3.8 Revenue from woods and parks by type pasture ? 0s 0s 1 650 0.4 pannage ? 2s 8d 1 1,150 0.2 underwood ? 3s 4d 2 1,050 0.5 All parks & woods ? 6s 0d 4 1,450 0.7 Livestock grazed the woods and parks that were also browsed by deer, but the revenue generated is very small considering the value of pasture and meadowland. The reason is found in Table 3, which lists the six parks and woods detailed in the manuscripts. For consistency this table uses the 1325 survey. Table 3 Woods and parks in the honour of Wigmore 1325
rights of revenue d per annum Name of park or wood acres comments deer common pasture pannage underwood Wigmore Park 300 only young oaks 100 80 Gatley Park 350 few oaks 100 160 12 160 Foreign wood by Gatley 100 yes 40 Bringewood 200 great trees yes 80 120 Mocktree 300 great trees yes 80 160 Derefold 200 great trees yes 60 80 Total parks and woods 1450 200 240 272 520

The total area of woods (as distinct from the parks) is 800 acres and all have rights of common grazing important for the ?internal economy? of neighbouring manors. Wood pasture revenues for woods are zero yet the pasture contributed to the wealth of the estate. The lord would have had indirect benefits through rents levied upon the free tenants exercising their common rights. This explains the very small acreage of pasture since it is likely that for generations cattle and sheep for surrounding manors would have been pastured in the woods/wood pasture. Rights for pasturing pigs (pannage) were more restricted, for example they were excluded from the forest in the ?fence month? (mid summer) when deer were fawning and by custom the Lord was paid for an annual fee for each pig. These rights for Bringewood were only detailed when compensation was being assessed at the time when they were extinguished. (3.5 below). There are of course no such rights in parks, created under royal license as deer preserves for hunting. But no grazing potential is wasted and so, as the manuscript puts it ?beyond what the deer need? Wigmore and Gatley parks26 generate 20s a year in pasture revenue. Wigmore park is now the area occupied by Forest Enterprise?s ?Wigmore Rolls? An annual cut of underwood produced as much revenue from the woods (and Gatley Park) as the grazing. Even though Bringewood, Mocktree and Derefold are described as having ?great trees? they must have been at sufficiently low mean density to sustain both common grazing and coppice regeneration (which were probably protected from stock). In Gatley Park there were ?few oaks? while Wigmore Park only had ?young oaks? which comments explain the low pannage revenue in the former and its absence in the latter (see above table).
In 1337/8 an IPM of Wigmore manor and its outlying members mentions ?two great parks viz Gatelithe (Gatley) and Wygemor park?. Gatley is south of Bringewood. Bringewood and its countryside Page 8 DL April 2005
26

There are discrepancies in the areas of woods and parks between the two differently dated surveys and the total inceases from 960 to 1460 acres in the 10 months between the two dates. D.G. Bayliss has claimed27 that this was evidence that Roger Mortimer was increasing the area of woodland by tree planting, presumably on farmland. His thesis and subsequent publication made an analogy with, and justification for, modern conifer planting on the ?Mortimer forest?. This claim is far fetched for many reasons, three of which are: (a) There are only 10 months between surveys, (b) The estate was in the hands of royal officials concerned with annual revenue and (c) Roger Mortimer was in Holland at the time with other things on his mind such as the invasion of England to foment a baron?s revolt, not to mention his affair with Isobella. The manuscripts themselves give some clues in that they are heavily corrected with many crossings out, annotations and changes to the monetary values expected from woods and parks. In one version the scribe misses out Mocktree completely and has to add it in to the margin afterwards. While the area of demesne farmland is measured to the nearest acre and is the same for all three versions of the survey, acreages of woods and parks are mostly rounded to the nearest 100 acres. There is a more plausable explanation for the changes in apparent area of woods and parks. Namely, that crown officials surveying the newly requisitioned Wigmore estate made little effort to account for tracts of marginal common land on the periphery and which contributed a tiny fraction of the revenue. By comparison, the meadowlands would have been easily measured, accessible and valuable while the arable lands would have been in well identified strips. Wigmore and Gatley Parks both have 100 acres added to them in the 1325 survey but there is no evidence of more trees. The comment ?only young oaks? in Wigmore Park occurs in all three surveys so could not refer to new ones appearing in 1325. This observation in the text is made as an explaination for the lack of pannage revenue. The most serious discrepancy is for Bringewood, which is described in April 1324 as ?mostly waste? with an area of 50 acres while in February 1325 it is 200 acres of ?great trees? with income from pannage and underwood. Since Bringewood borders the adjacent manors of Richards Castle, Bromfield and Downton for several km this probably reflects uncertainly as to the location of its eastern boundary. There is also the possibility that Bringewood was shared in some way with the manor of Richards Castle (see 1.7 below). 1.7 Parks A ?park? was the Lord?s private enclave but required royal permission to establish. The two parks of the honour of Wigmore detailed above also appear in an IPM of 1303, which refers to the ?park of Wigmore? and ?Gatelith park?. Just south west of the Vinnals (between Climbing Jack Common and Hanway Common) is Norbache Park (SO480710) within the Lordship of Richard Castle that survived intact until the early 1950?s when it was cleared and coniferised (10.3 below). Calender of Patent Rolls for the year 1284 refers to ?…persons who hunted and took deer in the park and free chase of Robert de Mortuo Mari of the Richards Castle?. The ?free chase? here could well refer to Bringewood which may have had some shared arrangement between Richards Castle and adjacent manors.

Bayliss D.G M.A. Thesis “The Leintwardine area of Northern Herefordshire” University of Manchester 1957. pp 59, 60 “they [these surveys] are the most important record of a policy of afforestation in the Borderland, necessary after the use of much wood in the past centuries … is interesting in view of modern afforestation … the modern picture must approximate to that of the fourteenth century” and referring to the post WWII conifer plantings for the Forestry Commission p133 “It is fitting that the new woodland is called the Mortimer Forest after the forest-planting barons of that name…”. This claim is repeated in an article “Lordship of Wigmore in the 14th century” published in the Transaction of Woolhope Naturalists Field Club 1958 pp 42-48. Bringewood and its countryside Page 9 DL April 2005
27

Hugh Mortimer28 confirmed a charter of 1301 which gave the burgesses of Richards Castle (1 mile south of the Vinnals) and his tenants in outlying townships within the manor ?common of pasture for all beasts in all my woods within my said lordship of Richards Castle .. at all times of the year except my park called Norbach and my Hay lying betweene New ditch called the Twithyings Lawnde and one hedge called the Ray and which are enclosed and parked in at all times of the year..?. Norbach is an old name for Hay Park29. This grant also included rights to collect wood for fencing, house repair and fuel from the above mentioned ?woods?. His tenants were to pay ? for the pasture rights and 12s a year for the wood. 20 Apart from confirming the existence at this time of the park, the document shows that ?woods? were grazed all year round and presumably comprised the higher marginal land of the west and north part of Richards Castle, and/or the eastern flank of the Vinnals and the Mary Knoll valley. Mortimer?s grant of these rights in western Richards Castle would lead to later disputes with the royal officials of Bringewood chase (see section 4.3 below). Oakley Park (SO480760) and Ludford Park (SO505735) do not appear in the records until the 15th century. 2. The 15th century. Compared with the centuries before and since, the 15th century is notable for the virtual absence of documentary evidence so far discovered pertaining to the project area. There was a general dearth of documentation at this time as Rackham observes30 “The 14th century was well documented in England; records then gradually fade away, and there is another dark age from 1450 until record keeping was again revived at the dissolution of the monasteries.” Sources and locations for this century not yet researched include the Court Rolls and the various Harley papers held in the British Library, Bodleian and at Brampton Bryan. For the year 1418/9 there is an account of payments for the carriage of four large oaks for a chamber at Ludlow Castle being brought from ?Madiknell wood?31 considered to be a reference to Mary Knoll wood and if so it is the earliest so far found. 2.1 Chases and woods become royal When Edward Mortimer became king Edward IV in 1461 following his victory over the Lancastrian army at Mortimers Cross, Bringewood Chase with all the ?forest? areas (mainly Mocktree and Deerfold) of the Mortimer Honour of Wigmore became Royal Forest. Previously, Bringewood chase was the baron?s own land although the deer on it were the king?s. Bringewood remained a royal chase until it, along with Mocktree and Deerfold ?forests?, were sold off during the reigns of James I and Charles I. 2.2 Origins of Oakley Park The earliest reference to Oakley park is from Ministers Accounts32 for 1478 which record a fee of 60s 8d a year paid to Richard Sherman for the post of parker, this reference comes from the accounts of Richard Crofte receiver of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The park could not have been in existence for long before that, because the 1490 Calendar of Patent Rolls has the same Sherman being granted the ?keepership? of the ?new park? at Oakley, for 51 shillings a year to
28

Cross, P. Coppices and Commoners; an account of the Richards Castle woodlands. TWNFC Vol XLIX 1999. This Mortimer is a quite different branch of the family to the Wigmore Mortimers. 29 Cross, P. ibid. 30 Rackham, O., The History of the Countryside, Dent 1986. p17 31 PRO SC6/967/21 Ministers Accounts. I am indebted to Michael Faraday for this reference. 32 PRO SC6/966/19 Ministers Accounts. This reference is also courtesy of Michael Faraday Bringewood and its countryside Page 10 DL April 2005

be paid ?as part of Ludlow Corporation?s fee to the crown?. This arrangement could mean that the new park was managed by Ludlow corporation on behalf of the Crown. A question arises as to why the Crown should wish to establish a new park on fertile agricultural land next to the Teme and bordering an existing chase and ?forest?? This was at a time some two centuries after the heyday of park creation when generally “parks went out of use”33. We know from later accounts (see section 5.1 below) that both Bringewood and Mocktree were regularly ?replenished? with deer. Other studies show that parks were used for deer farming in the middle ages34 and that live deer were moved about to re-stock park and forests some miles distant from the source35. Oakley Park?s creation in the years preceding 1478 was not long after the enthronement of Edward Mortimer in 1461 putting the land and the game in all the forest and chase areas of the Wigmore manors under unified royal administration. It is therefore tempting to speculate that Oakley Park was created out of Bromfield Priory lands as a deer farm and breeding ground conveniently placed to maintain the deer populations of Bringewood and Mocktree, both of which are adjacent. It was also easy to manage from Ludlow, the seat of the Council of the Marches, and may also have been for the enjoyment of council members. 3. Bringewood chase in Tudor times. The royal forest and chase was dominated by the mutual feudal obligations of commoners and king or his tenants in chief. Land use in the forests and chases of the Honour of Wigmore had become a complex interaction of commoners exercising a range of customary rights, a bureaucracy of forest officials controlling ?infringements? of the royal forests, deer hunting and re-stocking. A system of ?fines? for ?transgressions? or ?spoile? had become formalised into a beaucracy of rents and standard payments that produced revenue for the exchequer but even more for the local officials of forest and chase, the forester, keepers and underkeepers. 3.1 Tudor accounts for the chase: grazing, woodland, honey, wax and bark, The earliest document36 relating to Bringewood so far found from the Tudor period is a an exchequer revenue account dated 1508 (Figure 4) giving some hints as to the internal structure of the chase. Seven named coppices and woodland are mentioned ?Bradley Grove?37, the valletts38 of ?Prestwode, Busshley, Redehurst, Maryknoll, Quenesvalet and Blakestone? from which there is income from timber and mention of wind blown branches and trees. Most of the income is from pannage for swine and from ?pasture called Fennalles? - the earliest reference so far found to the ridge now known as the High Vinnals. There is also ?grazing from one enclosure lying in the waste of Mary Knoll?. Of particular interest in this document is mention of wild honey and wax, bark and ?wormtak? an obscure Welsh term referring to payment for the Lord?s obligation to allow the pigs of the manorial bondmen to be pastured in the forest 39. Since this is an account of the ?issues from the forest? there is no mention of common rights details of which only become documented with their demise (3.5 below). It is clear from these
33 34

Rackham, O. The History of the Countryside. Page 126 Dent 1986. Rackham, O. The Last Forest. Page 55. Dent 1989. “Havering Park yielded four times as many deer as Hatfield forest for the same area of land.” 35 For example, 15 does and 5 bucks were transported ?at the king?s expense? from the forest of Wibbel (Weobley) to Sugwas to stock the bishop of Hereford?s park there. Cal LR vol II 1240-45 p 67 36 SC6/HenVII/1690 dated 1508. 37 ?Bradley Green? appears on the c1840 Tithe map of Burrington (parcel 43) as pasture as it is today just north of the FE Vinnals car park (SO474732). 38 A ?vallet? is regularly coppiced woodland 39 Linnard, W., Welsh Woods and Forests. Gomer Press 2000. page 239 Bringewood and its countryside Page 11 DL April 2005

brief accounts that Bringewood Chase was not a uniform tract of land but had many defined areas and even enclosures. A later set of accounts for Bringewood40 of 1540 has income from the same sources but some of the woods are differently spelt41. In addition there is now income from ?an enclosure from the waste called the Shuttes alias Onereves?. These are just south east of the Vinnals in the southern most part of Bringewood and became smallholdings in later documents and are depicted on the map of 1577 (4.4 below). 3.2 The erosion of commons rights in the forest and chase Medieval Marcher Lordships were semi-autonomous fiefdoms separate from the English realm having their own courts and officials. They were finally abolished under the Act of Union of 1536 after which local power in the Marches became vested in the Council of the Marches in Ludlow which became the regional centre of crown administration in 1543. The Act unified laws governing Welsh and English parts of border manors and removed any remaining manorial obligations of tenants to the Lord. While the demesne agricultural land had already become free tenancies, the ancient and complex system of grazing and other rights in ?forests? and chases continued but was weakened and undermined. Many tenants of Marcher manors found themselves losing their feudal customary rights to ?forest? resources as newly mobile peasants settled in the ?forest?, yeoman farmers expanded their land and forest officials took new opportunities for private gain. The late sixteenth century was a time of increasing prices and population with rising demands for wood from Ludlow town, its castle and surrounding villages. The Crown?s concern was to increase its revenue from ?fines?, rents and wood sales while also upholding old customs of deer preservation. These two objectives became increasingly incompatible. 3.3 Deer of the chase and problems for the neighbours Deer remained a major concern of the crown, shared by the tenants of neighbouring manors, though for different reasons. In 1551 Lord Ferrers, chief justice of the King?s42 forests, received complaints from the Bringewood keeper Edward Hopton about incursions by one William Heath into the eastern part of Bringewood chase. Heath had just acquired the tenancy of Richards Castle manor, was killing deer straying from Bringewood and disputing Hopton?s right to stop him. He did not accept that the ?liberty of the game? extended beyond the physical bounds of Bringewood Chase. As far as the crown was concerned the king?s deer had the right to wander well into the manor of Richards Castle right up to the Ludlow road. Thomas Hopkis the keeper stated to a Council inquiry 36 years later ?of her majesty?s forest of Bringewood, for the game there [he] says that he always heard his elders say that the soils and liberties for the game went unto the Lordship of Richards Castle and so down to the way that leads from Richards Castle towards Ludlow and so unto all the wood above Overton and so towards Ludlow and so into all the woods and vallets above Ludlow and Halton.? (see appendix 3) Ferrers ordered Hopton to review the state of the boundary and report how many deer had been killed (Heath had dispatched about 60). The key issue here was who had the responsibility for the royal deer and the effects of their browsing outside the royal ?soils? in a neighbouring manor. Ferrers was clearly not sure himself and ordered Hopton to report back as to ?whether
40

Harleian 4151 MS in British Library dated 30 to 33 Henry VIII. I am indebted to Dewi Bowen Williams for showing me a copy of this document. 41 ?Bradley Grove? becomes ?Bentley Grove?, ?Redehurst? becomes ?Budhurst? and Blakestone Vallet is not mentioned. 42 This is Henry VIII?s successor the young and sickly Edward VI. Bringewood and its countryside Page 12 DL April 2005

that any other keeper or keepers have been accustomed to walk the woods grounds & pastures of Richards Castle as keeper of the deer there other than the king?s rangers foresters or keepers of the said forest or chase and whether it has not been at all times lawful to the same rangers foresters or keepers to fetch in the deer out of the said woods pastures or grounds of Richards Castle into the said forest or chase?43 3.4 Taverner?s survey of 1565 Elizabeth?s ?Chief Justice of the Forests South of the Trent? was Roger Taverner whose 1565 ?book of survey? for Bringewood and Prestwood states that they are “set with old Oaks of 200 and 300 years growth whereof the most part have been lopped and shredd to make cole for the council at Ludlowe and set with birches and lyme trees of 100 years growth by the said measure 1068 acres”44. These ages are consistent with calculations based on pollard crop weights derived from detailed accounts a decade later (section 4.5.3 below). His acreage seems low compared with later surveys unless measured in ?wood acres? which would give an area of 1700 statute acres45 (section 4.5.8). A statement of accounts dated 1571 shows that Ludlow castle had permission by the royal warrant to pollard “two hondred hedes of fuell wod and allso hath taken on hundred hede in colle”46. Analysis of the price of pollard poles (see 4.5.2) show this to be the equivalent to about 1000 tonnes of wood. It is not clear over what time period this refers or what proportion came from Bringewood chase rather than the more distant Mocktree and Deerfold forests. Later accounts give more details of wood consumed by the castle from the chase (see 4.5.7). 3.5 Customs of the chase When in 1595 Elizabeth leased Bringewood to her favourite (at the time) Walter Devereux, the Earl of Essex he wished to establish what rights had formerly existed in order to assess compensation for aggrieved commoners. His review47 of manorial rights in Bringewood was partly based upon interviews with a number of local octogenarians. These were written down so we have some idea of the ancient customary rights ignored in previous surveys and accounts: For example: ?all the ancient tenants of Aston have time out of mind had and used to have common of pasture in Bringewood chase and all manner their cattle without number .. and their swine fed in Bringewood in pannage times for 2d a piece and a store boor and a store sow tackfree. Also custom wood: - a bough or a shell and 3 carriage load of wood. Every Christmas tenants exercising these rights gave 1 hen and 2d and 1d yearly to the lord of Wigmore {now to the lord of Leinthall Starkes}. Also heyboot (hedging) for the fencing of their corn.? Burrington tenants had similar rights but in addition: ?free liberty to browse their cattle in winter season within the said chase by cutting pulling down and lopping all manner of underwood with hook and hand and also common of estovers, housebote, heibote, firebote, plowbote and cartbote to be spend and employed in and upon their several messuages, tenements and lands in Burrington. They pay the lord of Wigmore 2d at Michaelmas for their wood called woodmall money?.
43 44

PRO E178/2903 PRO Land Revenue Record office 5/39. 45 ?Wood acres? were still used in Herefordshire in the 18th century: A 1708 survey (HRO C99/III/242) of the Chandos Herefordshire estates gives woodland areas in both statute and ?customary? wood acres, the latter being 61% larger than the former. By 1662 some enclosures within Bringewood had been sold by the Crown so its area would be expected to be smaller than that of Taverner?s time. 46 PRO E10/138 30 & 13Eliz 47 HRO LC 5887 Bringewood and its countryside Page 13 DL April 2005

Landowners of manors neighbouring the ?forest? were eligible for a token compensation called ?fee deer? for the fact that royal game could roam beyond the physical boundaries of chase and forest and still be protected by royal statute administered by forest officials. This old custom was hardly compensation for deer damage to crops and boundaries which was anyway born by the landowner?s tenants. “towchinge the payemt of ffee dere owt of the said fforest of Mocktree and Bryngwoode ther was a ffee buck & a ffee do paid to Charles ffoxe esquire for the Lordship of bromfilde also to Sir John Savage knight the like for the Lordship of wotton also to Sir Andrew Corbet the like for the Lordship of Shelderton the like to Mr Hopton for the Lordship of Downton all wch dere he hath known to be paid but in the tyme of the restraynt48 all wch dere are paid furth of the fforest of Mocktree also he hath knowen a ffee bucke & a doe paid to Mr varnam of stokesaye for the soyles of Ladie halton.” 4. Elizabeth I and the commercialisation of Bringewood chase. How royal ?forests? and chases were utilised and managed, especially in Wales and the Marches, changed greatly during Elizabeth?s reign as local people?s customary rights were eroded by commercial exploitation organised by forest officials. Woodwards, keepers and under-keepers turned the forests and chases into their own private businesses with the tacit agreement of favourites of the royal court who ?farmed? forests and chases as Crown leaseholders. Parts of the chase were also sub-let to tenant farmers, some of whom were also forest officials, keen to expand onto to the former margin lands of the manor. In Bringewood, as in other Crown forests, chases and woods, Elizabeth?s exchequer found that the enormous numbers of tiny individual wood sales proved impractical to police and to administer fines for. Increasingly, the Crown found it easier to lease ?forests? and chases such as Bringewood for a set annual amount and to leave their exploitation to the local economy. The uses and the nature of Bringewood Chase and Mocktree forest during this transitional period from ?medieval manor? to ?private estate? are illuminated in a series of detailed royal inquiries administered by the members of Council of the Marches at Ludlow. The investigations involved many sworn statements from the commoners, keepers and vendors of wood and timber and include details of what they remember of past practices. These have been preserved on long parchment rolls at the Public Records Office occupying several large boxes they have been transcribed for the first time by this project. The documents provide a wealth of detail on the working lives of the people in and around Bringewood chase and their reliance upon its various resources. The quantitative nature of much of the evidence allows estimates to be made of the quantities of wood and timber, species, value, effects of enclosure and the relative impacts of different end users. 4.1 The whingeing foresters of Bringewood In 1568 Thomas Gwilt and John Brimell were appointed as ?sworn regarders and perservers? of Bringewood chase by Roger Taverner. They reported49 over the next few years on the “waste spoyles hurtes and trespasse donne and committed in the Quenes maiesties woodes in the forrest of preste woode and in the chase of Brindgewoode” in what is simply an account roll of the sales of wood, timber and browse. Most of the 50 or so entries are for felling, pollarding, cutting browse for stock and for fencing enclosures: Here are some typical examples:

What the ?restraynt? referred to here means I am not sure. PRO E10/138/30 Bringewood and its countryside Page 14
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“John Dyronde dwellinge in Astonne cutt downe one stubb tree valued at 12d and the same John falled one Byrche 6d. John Shin[] dwellinge in Astonn … cutte downe the heads of some tres valued at 8d. William Blakwaye dwellinge in the parishe of Burington have felled for browse for his cattell to the value of 12d. Thomas Tyler dwellynge in Overton cutte downe 4 trees for reparations of maricnowle (=Mary Knoll) hegges valued at 2/6d every tree”. (Note the use of dead hedges for enclosures). A responsibility of the ?regarders? and ?preservers? was to maintain the deer population, including making sure they had enough browsing. “Also that the kepers have fallen for browse for the Queen?s maiestys deer.” The implication of this entry maybe that the ground vegetation could become heavily grazed by stock to the detriment of the deer. There is an interesting reference to the enclosure of a coppice wood within Bringewood: “Roger Hopkins fell 4 poles by the appointmet of William Hopton esquire for the inclosing of the Quenes majesty?s coppices.” 21 years later we read that “sixe trees fallen by Thomas hopkins for the enclosure of Prestwoode Vallett”. This and other references, including the one above for the repair of Mary Knoll hedges, show that enclosure ?hedges? in the chase were generally dead hedges. This is confirmed by the depiction of hedges in the 1577 map of the chase (see 4.4 below) and figures 5 and 6. “Thomas Hopkins being under tenant in maryknowll hath fell 2 powlles for the ringe hegg [value] 2s, the keper hath taken to ther fee all brows wod and winfall wod”. Hopkins was one of the keepers of the chase who was developing his farmstead and taking payment in kind. Bringewood supplied timbers to Oakley manor, for a new bridge and for a mill on the Teme: “we do present that .. Thomas Chroft esquire hath fell by warant 4 timber treis for the reparacion of the Occley parcke …. that Elton Burrington and Aston hathe fallen 3 tember trees for the making of the quenes brigge wch is called burington brigge by warond …. the reparacions of the quenes majs mill in the parishe of burington.” The keeper?s lodge at Bringewood was in a poor state at this time and the account for 1570 states that “the lodge in Bringewood is fall in decaye for wante of syll..[parchment damaged]” and in the 1572 “william hopton esquire hath fallen v stube tres for the reparacion of the loge in bringwod valued at vs”. From later documents (see 4.3) we know that the lodge was in Burrington and that it was taken over and expanded by the later keepers. Vestiges of the old ways continued: “Also we do present all that the quenes maiustie tenantes of the manors of Elton and Burington hathe had by deleverance accordinge to ther olde ancient Costom sold stubbes trees with other under wood and the heades of dead trees.” Such quaint old customs were evidently not enough to recompense the forest officials who complain at the end of the parchment in an uneducated scrawl: “to the right worshippefull Roger Taverner esquire this shall be to understand that we the said regarders have ben unpayed this 7 yeres and never had our wagges but one yere therfore we shall desier your worshippe to let us have our wagees according to the accouties and then to put others in our places”. Forest keepers Gwilt and Brimell were ?of the old school? and failed to appreciate that the new political climate was about to create undreamed of opportunities for holders of their office.

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4.2 Entrepreneurs of the chase “Edward Edwardes, John Hamond and Thomas Hopkyes were nothinge worthe when they were fyrst underkepers there and nowe they are of great wealthe havinge no allowance as aforesaid and that the lodge of Bringwood beinge in Burrington is rented out by the keper to a tenante, and the keper hathe made buyldinges in sundry places in Bringwood” So reads a passage from manuscript E178/969 a detailed Elizabethan exchequer inquiry50 into sales of wood from, and enclosures in, Bringewood which was conducted by the Council of the Marches at Ludlow on behalf of the Crown in 1576. Just a few royal keepers were between them selling wood and timber out of Bringewood to the local population and making about ? 35 a year by the late 1570?s. These keepers had no need to be a burden upon the royal purse nor did they need to write begging letters the Chief Justice of the Forest. The inquiry was held in front of the members of Council, in effect a jury of local worthies and it records the details of 191 sales of wood and timber made by royal officials to 88 trades people and cottagers surrounding Bringewood. More than half of them lived in Ludlow town and 53 gave their sworn statements in person which were written down by the Council scribes. The inquiry also includes unauthorised enclosures, unlicensed ploughing and erection of buildings. Such was the amount of wood coming out of Bringewood and Mocktree that it seems to have been the main traffic on the roads at this time. Thomas Harris (witness number 40) of Priors Halton who managed the woods of its owner Charles Fox told the jury that “On the worke dayes he hath seene diverse halliers of the towne of Ludlowe and others passe from said wood of Bringewoodd in the highe waye neere adioyninge towardes Ludlowe aforesaid with their horses loden with woodd of diverse sortes some greene woodd and other wherof the certen nomber he cannot sett downe but thinkethe he hathe seene some dayes 12 and some dayes 16 or above beside some waynes and cartes.” The traffic out of Mocktree to Ludlow was hardly less according to Roger Hill (witness 24) a smith in Bromfield who “saieth that .. workinge in his shopp in or neere the highe way that leadethe from Mocktree to Ludlowe hathe seene for the moste parte of these 8 yeres last paste one carte of the said John Hamonde passe that way three or foure tymes every weeke for the moste parte of the yere and somtymes twice in a daye towardes to the towne of Ludlowe loden somtymes wth clifte oken woodd somtymes wth greene woodd and somtymes other woodd And thinkethe in his conscience that he hathe carried yearly at the leaste 80 or 100 carte loades that waye during the said space of 8 yeres”. Andrew Sonybank (witness 52) the Ludlow goldsmith recorded that John Hamond?s servant “goethe and comethe all the sommer longe with his carte to the towne of Ludlowe sometymes once a daye & somtymes twise a daye and all the winter once a daye .. and thinkethe in his conscience that the under kepers doe sell out of the forest of Mocktree and Bringewoodd so muche as ys worthe ?40 by yere”. Once in the town, wood was being further retailed: “Johane Rocke of the towne of Ludlowe wydowe a keper of a vittelinge house (=the grocers) for muche fyrewood as two horses contynually wynter and sommer have carryed from the said chase to her house in Ludlowe beinge distant asunder aboute a myle, which hathe risen to suche a quantitie as besydes the fyndinge of (=supplying) her house wth sufficyent fyrewood some yeres she hathe solde to her neighbours at home”. In some cases wood was stolen. Griffithe ap Rees was hired to fell about 200 wain loads of wood for the Council of the Marches but ?60 or more? of them were stolen
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by Harry Howle and sold in Ludlow to various people including Rees the hatter and Charles Wigley. There was also some freelance wood gathering as when Hugh Edwards of Lady Halton took 2 or 3 ?blocks? containing 3 or 4 cart loads which he took without license or permission “but paid 3d when challenged by Edwardes”. Edward Edwardes was a keeper. A number of reasons are advanced to explain some of the felling; including cutting ?under the pretence of gathering branches for browsing?, a tree ?burned by the collier by mischance? and in one case a tree set on fire ?to kill a wasps nest?. The forest officials were happy to accept payment in kind for wood. For example, Thomas Bethel a Ludlow dyer “paid no certain price but by dying clothe for Hamonde and his children” as did another Ludlow dyer William Backhouse who “paid cash sometimes but mostly be dyed cloth and other things for Hamond and his household”. John Hamonde probably cut a dash as an increasingly wealthy forest keeper being attired as befitted his office51. John Rawlings a Ludlow sadler had “20 or 40 loades of wood in Bringewood aforesaid wherof some was oke some birch and did not paye any monye for the same but paied them wth sadlers geerthes (= horse girths)”. Rawlings exchanged a ?scotts bridle? for one old tree and a saddle for 10 ten ?wayne loads? of wood - about 17 tonnes - so the saddle was a ?top of the range? model. For ?about 5 wood loads a year? John Sheppard “did sometymes plowe and husbandrye the ground of the said Edward (Hopton) and sometymes carried his heye and did other wurke for him”. John Fletcher a baker paid keeper Edward Hopton 24 loaves for a ?stub tree?. 4.3 New enclosures on the Chase – opportunists and improvers Enclosures of some kind have always been part of the life of the ?forest? and Chase, for example to protect the coppices or ?vallets?, to create pounds for sorting livestock, to define areas for grazing tenancies and for capturing deer. The Bringewood place names of ?Evenhay?, ?Overies? (aka Overhay) and ?New Tynings? indicate such enclosures while the name ?Shuttes? implies a funnel or channel as in ?cockshoot?. The loosening of controls on settlement and enclosure at this time began a process that was to lead eventually to parts of the chase becoming permanent private farmland. These kinds of incursions in the chase conflicted with the traditional rights of commoners and were regularly reported to the Council of the Marches by forest officials. The ?penalty? for such speculative developments was invariably to pay an entry fine and then an annual rent, in effect formalising it as a new tenancy. Some of the ?culprits? were themselves forest officials. Complaints of the kind: “great destruction & spoil of her majesty?s woods within the said chase and hindrance of her majesty?s customary tenants” appear regularly in the documents appealing to royal custom and a feudal era already lost (Figure 7). Edward Hopton felled “certeine birches and croppes of diverse trees towardes the fencinge of enclosures wthin the said forrest and chase” and Lawrence Beck “dyd erect and buyld one newe barne upon the said parcell ground called maryknoll lynge wthin the said chase of Bringwood wch barne conteynethe in lengthe 4 bayes or [parchment damaged] storey? strong buylt, and that the said Becke had all the tymber that went to the buyldinge thereof [from] said parcell of ground called maryknowll”. (See figure 8).
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Forest officials had a distinctive uniform, a tradition that carried on at least another 2 centuries. For example when agents for the Guy?s Herefordshire?s Estates appointed Samuel Morris of Aconbury as wood reeve “We confirmed him in the same office within that district and gave him a green coat that he might appear in character”. HRO C99/III/235 (c1759) Bringewood and its countryside Page 17 DL April 2005

Beck furthermore “in the 17th yere of the raigne of Quene?s majs (1575) without warrant or lawfull authorities knowen to the said jurors, dyd cutt downe and converte to his use out of the said parcell of ground called maryknol the quantytie of 2 acres of wood worth 40s, and aboute the same tyme the said Becke dyd cydd (i.e. seed) and stocke aboute 8 acres of roughe ground in maryknowell aforesaid and plowed and sowed the same, and one John Coston tenante to [Be]cke aboute marche last past dyd fell and carrye away 3 oken polles worthe 4s out of maryknoll aforesaid”. Becke?s building and his enclosures were beautifully depicted two years later on a 1577 map (figure 6) which sought to confirm that a number of enclosures newly rented by Edmund Walter were separate from the Chase even though they were clearly still part of it at the time. New unauthorised enclosures in Bringewood mentioned in the manuscript of 1576 as follows: name Bradleys Green (SO474732) Byrles (in Burrington, by the Teme) Hullocks (in Burrington), Mounstiers (=Monstays) Vallets The Hey (Burrington) Black Ven (Lady Halton) acres 1 2 30 140 4 made by Edward Edwards William Hopton William Hopton ?the keeper? Richard Roe

The Byrles which is somewhere near where Bringewood forge was to be erected a few years later and rented to ?Thomas the charcoal burner? for 5s a year. The Hey is ?the Heyes? on Craven?s 1662 map (see table 7 section 7.3 below). The Council received complaints about this enclosure because the fields ?ought to lie open in common from midsummer to March 25th that the same hay now is kept by the keeper all the year, so as the Queen?s tenants cannot have their common of pasture there as they were accustomed & of right ought to have?. This entry shows that it is not the enclosure per se that caused the complaint by the commoners but the fact that it was permanently closed off denying them their customary hay and aftermath grazing. The Black Ven was part of Lady Halton on the northern edge of the Chase, the complaint being that Roe had built a house and cottages on it, was living there and that the wood and firewood to supply this holding produced “great destrucion & spoyle of her woodes wthin the said chase and forreste and hynderance of her majs customry tenantes”. The council also heard that “that the lodge of Bringwood beinge in Burrington is rented out by the keper to a tenante, and the keper hathe made buyldinges in sundry places in Bringwood.” A survey of the manorial customs of Mocktree and Bringewood 159552 lists other recent enclosures: ?Thomas Canland gent has enclosed about seven years ago one parcel of wood ground called the Powles about 50 acres and one other parcel of land common or wood ground about 30 years ago enclosed about 12 acres called Scotts Wood.? The Poles farm is at SO467747 and Scotts Wood, or its remnant, survives to this day SO470755. ?Edward Edwards about 5 years ago enclosed about 30 acres of land called the Scallets. Edward Crowther about 30 years past enclosed about 30 acres of land called Wellers Vallet.? For locations of ?Wellers Vallet? (Wheelers Vallet) and ?the Scalletts? (Shallets) see figure 26.
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?William Langford and Thomas Christall about 15 years ago enclosed two leasowes or pastures of Mr Foxes land near Burringtons Bridge wherein the tenants of Burrington time out of mind have had common of pasture after sickle and scythe?. This latter comment confirms the custom of common of aftermath grazing following haymaking. These relatively small-scale enclosures were precursors to the planned whole scale enclosure of the entire Chase following Bringewood?s final disposal by the crown in 1638 (section 7). 4.4 The map of the eastern part of Bringewood in 1577 (Figure 6) This stylised map provides an unusual visual insight into conditions on the chase and its surroundings at this time. The map complements much of the contemporary manuscript records regarding ?unauthorised? enclosures, tree felling, building and ploughing. Only the eastern part of the Chase is depicted but all the land northwards up to the Teme, Ludlow town and quite a bit of Richards Castle manor is included. The map seems to have been made as a result of a dispute over the occupancy of enclosures by Edmund Walter, an important person in Ludlow and later chief justice of South Wales. The enclosures in question are given an exaggerated scale while other areas are contracted or omitted, see articles published in 191353 and 199654. Because of its interesting detail this project has photographed the original at high resolution (Figures 5 and 6). The map is unusual in another way in that it depicts felled trees from a timber sale described in an unrelated contemporary document. The chase itself is shown with images of deer, trees, stumps and pollards, dead hedges and the “dyche and hedge that divideth the Chase from the other grounds”. This ditch and hedge ran along the north-south spine of the Vinnalls ridge, then NNE through what is now Sunny Bank Dingle to Mary Knoll. It is clearly seen in the 1948 RAF air photograph taken just after the felling of the Victorian plantation on the Vinnals (figure 15). The mapmaker seems to imply that the Chase stops at the western boundary of the Vinnalls and Shuttes enclosures. However Walter?s lease a year earlier (March 1576) states “the premysses are parcell of the sayd fforest of Boringwood … yielding to the Queen?s Majties the yerelie rent aforesaid (10/4d)”. Lawrance Beck?s house ?Beck?s barn? appears in the Mary Knoll enclosure which is shown as quite wooded, as we know it was from the documentation. The wavy red lines depict his ?unauthorised? ploughing and seeding as documented 4.3 above. The 5 fields of the “Fennals” enclosures occupy the eastern slope of the High Vinnalls from the Mary Knoll valley to the depicted house next to one of the park gate entrances to Norbache park. This entrance and the adjacent banks are still visible today (figure 28). Three of the Fennals enclosures are shown as arable but the most northern one has trees that appear to have their lower branches lopped. “Shutte alias Overies & Overies alias Shutte vallet”, as it is called on the map, is divided into six fields surrounding what is now Vallets Farm SO476710 whose name derives from ?Shutte Vallet?. The north two are “leased to Mr. Walter” but the south four are “sould to one Hopkies”. This explains why private ownership of the Chase, following its disposal by the Crown, only extended as far as the boundary between these two occupancies (green arrow figures 6 and 15). The semi-circular eastern boundary is also that of Elton Parish as it bulges eastward towards the Castle abutting Hanway Common – described on the map as the ?waste

Weyman, H.T. The Walters at Ludlow – an Elizabethan plan. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society (TSAS) Vol III part II 1913 pp 263-282. 54 Cross, P. A 1577 plan … A re-evaluation of the landscape TWNFC Vol XLVIII 1996 pp 573-581. Bringewood and its countryside Page 19 DL April 2005
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of Richards Castle?. This common is where the trees are shown lying which have been felled from the north most enclosure in which are depicted the stumps of trees with one remaining. These three enclosures (Mary Knoll, Vinnals and Shuttes) were already established at the time of map since they appear in the accounts of 1508 (4.2 above) as being let for pasture. It was customary (4.3 above) for such enclosures to be opened for common aftermath grazing and/or hay in summer. It was the exclusive use by the new tenants that caused contention. The actual felled trees depicted on the map are almost certainly from the following transaction involving 60 oaks that is also the largest of the 191 listed in the inquiry of 1576 E178/969. “Thomas Hopkyes and Edward Crowther of Ludlowe .. aboute ij yeres nowe last paste wthout warrant or lawfull authoritie knowen to the said jurors dyd cutt downe, converte to their owne use and sell away to Roberte Wright of Ludlowe, taylor, and to the inhabytantes of Ashford and Richardes Castell and others about fyve score okes and tymber trees out of a parcell of ground called Overies alias Shutts lyinge wthin the sayd chase of bringwood which trees the said hopkyes and crowther dyd cutt downe and sell away under the couller of a supposed purchase they supposed theymselves to have thereof of one Roberte Bury and John Amyas.” (“under the couller of” = in the pretence of) This is 3 years before the date on the map showing the oak butts awaiting collection after being dragged out of Overies alias Shuttes down Hanway Common just west of the Ludlow road. The house of Thomas Hopkis is shown prominently. Hopkis was by this time a wealthy ?underkeeper? of Bringewood and recent buyer of part of the Shutte fields. This house at Mary Knoll house was demolished and re-built on the present site by Richard Payne Knight. The map was mainly concerned with these enclosures so that the northern part of the chase, Haltons, Oakley are highly truncated. Oakley park is not actually mentioned and the Haltons only feature as ?Mr. Foxes land?. Norbache park is omitted. It is interesting to compare the 1577 map with the almost contemporary boundary statement by Thomas Hopkis in appendix 3. The enclosure and lane boundaries are drawn as dead hedging of woven sticks and stakes consistent with what the documentation implies. 4.5 Elizabethan wood sales from Bringewood – an analysis 4.5.1 Overview of the wood sales manuscript data Nearly 200 transactions involving wood and timber from Bringewood Chase are described in the exchequer commission of inquiry PRO E178/969 dated 1576. . Some 88 witnesses mainly from Ludlow gave evidence under oath about their purchases of wood from forest officials as well as observations about comings and goings in the Bringewood chase and Mocktree forest. The inquiry gives names, occupations, amounts of wood, payments and tree species. Comments and asides of witnesses give valuable glimpses of life in and around the Chase. The detail and thoroughness of the inquiry invites a quantitative estimate of the wood and timber resource of Bringewood and its uses. The Bringewood iron works had not been constructed at this time. Most people were buying wood for fuel so there is more detail about its price and quantity than its origin or species. The wood they were buying is typically described as ?trees?, ?poles?, ?boughs?, ?stubbs?, ?hedes? or ?crops? of trees or ?windfall? trees. The species of wood or timber is mostly unspecified but some 11 species appear in the manuscript with Oak as the most frequently mentioned followed by Birch, Hazel, Hawthorn, Maple, Holly and Lime, see table 6 below. The phrase ?oak and diverse sorts? is typical, so Oak is over represented.
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The inquiry details wood sales from Bringewood Chase equivalent to an estimated annual extraction of 870 tonnes per year of which Ludlow Castle accounted for 30 tonnes (about 5% of the total). Some 115 tonnes a year came from the more distant Mocktree forest. Forest officials, mostly just three forest keepers, are documented as receiving a ? 15s per year. 41 Witnesses gave their age, occupation and many (55 out of 88) their place of residence of which 37 were from Ludlow, 7 from Bromfield and remainder from Lady Halton, Priors Halton, Burrington, Stanton Lacy, Ludford and Stokesay. 4.5.2 Weights, measures and prices for wood and trees Wood from Bringewood was delivered and paid for in a variety of units such as ?horse loads?, ?wain loads?, ?seames?55, and?faggots?. The price and quantity of these units is recorded for each transaction but the actual weight per unit has to be estimated. The most frequent unit is the ?horse load? which is estimated at 80kg, the amount a pack horse of the time would be expected to carry from Bringewood to Ludlow, a distance downhill of 1 to 4 miles depending on location in the chase. The average price per horse load from nearly 2000 such loads was almost exactly 1 pence. To estimate the quantity of wood sold out of Bringewood at this time the assumption is made that the wood was being sold at a similar price whatever its type or origin. Since the documents invariably state the prices, this allows a conversion based upon the horse load of 1d = 80 kg (12? d per tonne) to be applied to all sales. This assumption is justified since almost all the wood, including whole trees, was converted to smaller material as fuel, transported and paid for by local buyers at a fairly constant price whether it was from a tree, pole, pollard etc. Averages based upon the large number of sales will smooth out variations in quality and other variables. Whole trees would be expected to produce timber and so have a higher value per unit volume than poles or branches, but there are two reasons why this may not have applied in Bringewood and neighbouring forests. (a) Most trees would be growing in an open situation with short trunks, low branches, frequently hollow and shaped by decades of lopping (see Taverner?s survey 3.5 above). Such trees would be unsuitable for conversion into more valuable beams. ?Stubbs? and ?hollow trees? are frequent descriptions of the Bringewood trees on the chase. Even armed with modern chain saws, trees of oversize girths present severe difficulties in felling and converting to utilisable timber. (b) Trees on Crown land were traditionally felled only by royal warrant and we know from other accounts that the recipients with customary rights to trees to repair houses (housebote) paid a standard ?fee? per tree of 16 pence (see 4.5.8 below) which was actually much less than the average tree?s ?market? value when converted to fuel. With the relaxation of royal bureaucracy controlling felling, locals buying whole trees rather than wood would not have been willing to buy such trees for more than they were worth as fuel. Since the locals themselves constituted most of the market, the sellers would have had to accept such prices. The transcriptions of a typical sample of two of the 88 witness statements and the methods used here to extracted the data and create the database are shown in appendix 2. Details of the transactions and the analysis are contained on the accompanying Excel spreadsheet bringewoodsales.xls.
The OED states that “a seam” can be a ?horse load? or ?cart load?, the meaning I use here. A ?seam? also had a meaning as an official volumetric measure = 8 bushells which = 64 gallons. As a measure of weight for grain, the bushel could vary enormously and even in late Victorian times a bushel could mean anything from 35lbs to 90lbs (Report of the House of Commons Select Committee into Weights and Measures 1893.) Bringewood and its countryside Page 21 DL April 2005
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All wood and timber sales have been sorted according to the units used: ?horse loads?, ?seames?, ?croppe of a tree? etc. The total amount and number of all sales for each of these units was summed and an average price per unit calculated. Using the conversion for a horse load of 1 penny per 80 kg (=12? d per tonne ) allows the weights of the other units to be derived and these are listed in table 4 below. Table 4: Average annual sales of wood and timber from Bringewood (1) No. Wood sale units total paid average pence Weight per tonnes of all % of all ofunits in pence per unit unit tonnes sales by unit wood sales 0.5 270 faggots 66 0.24 0.02 5.3 2.6 330 firewood 330 1.00 0.08 26.5 2.1 288 wood 258 0.90 0.07 20.7 0.3 31 blocks 34 1.10 0.09 2.7 14.4 1800.5 horse loads 1797 1.00 0.08 144.0 8.9 799 loads 1110 1.39 0.11 89.0 6.2 547.5 seames 775 1.42 0.11 62.2 9.9 282 cart loads 1235 4.38 0.35 99.0 6.8 83.5 wain loads 848 10.1 0.81 68.0 6.4 19 trees 794 41.8 3.35 63.6 32.7 69 oaks 4084 59.2 4.74 327.4 0.3 5 birch 33 6.60 0.53 2.6 0.7 7 stub & hollow trees 82 11.7 0.94 6.6 1.3 7 croppe of a tree 157 22.4 1.80 12.6 0.7 7 poles (some oak) 91 13.0 1.04 7.3 1.1 2 windfall oaks 136 68.0 5.45 10.9 1.4 13 pieces of timber 176 13.5 1.09 14.1 3.8 2 acres with trees 480 240 19.24 38.5
Total 12,486 1,001 100

100 All whole trees

4993

49.93

4.00

400.2

40.0

Notes: (1) The total 1,001 tonnes includes some sales from Mocktree which are included because a few transactions stated that wood was from “Bringewood and Mocktree”. To estimate the 870 tonne total from Bringewood these transactions are assumed to have been split 50:50 between the two. (2) The row in blue italic “all whole trees” is the sum of the 4 rows for whole trees in blue giving an average size of a whole tree of 4 tonnes. (3) This table excludes the estimated 30 tonnes a year taken by warrant for Ludlow Castle (see below)

There is a distinction between a ?cart load? which was about 1/3 of a tonne and a ?wain load?, probably a four-wheeled wagon, able to carry nearly over 3/4 tonne of wood. A bundle of faggots weighing about 20 kg was a farthing. 4.5.3 Sizes, ages and species of trees We have an independent check on the conversion rate of 1 pence per 80 kg based upon the horse load above because some entries give both ?horse loads? and other units for the same transcation. For example: John Rawlings a Ludlowe sadler said in his evidence that “one Bedowe of wigmore hadd one tymber tree in Bringewood wch so affirmed was a fee tree56 wch tree the said Bedow bargayned to this examinate for a sadle wherof this examinate had aboute ix or ten wayne
A ?fee tree? would be one felled by royal warrant Bringewood and its countryside Page 22
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loades of timber and woodd”. Using the conversion table above this tree would have been 7 or 8 tonnes (9 or 10 x 0.81 tonnes per wain load from the above table). Richard Cother a Ludlow clothier said “aboute fower yeres past he also bought of Edward Edwardes one windfall oke for xvjs and hath therof aboute xx wayne loades of wood”. This tree was about 16 tonnes (20 x 0.81) and his payment of 16 shillings is very close to the 12? d per tonne derived from the horse load estimate of 1 pence per 80 kg. Pollards of the Chase The information regarding oak pollards is especially revealing and we have three transactions featuring individual oak pollards and where the resulting crops are given as amounts of wood: Table 5, Pollard productivity and size for 8 oak pollards in Bringewood Pollard description No. converted to number of pence Total tonnes Tonnes/pollard paid 96 ?tops of oak? 3 wain loades 7.5 6.1 2.0 ?crop of oak? 1 seames 60 78 6.8 6.8 ?crop of oak? 4 cart loades 40 132 14.0 3.5 total 8 306 27.0 Average/oak pollard 38 3.4 At an average of 3.4 tonnes of pollard crops per tree, these must be fairly large spreading individuals growing in an open situation, one of which appears to have produced a staggering 7 tonnes of branchwood. These trees are presumably at the upper end of the size distribution on the Chase. It is reasonable to assume the volume of the stemwood and the branchwood of these oaks would be similar57 just before pollarding so one can estimate an average of 6.8 tonnes per individual oak pollard tree. For comparison the average weight of the other 7 “croppes of trees” in table 4 is 1.8 tonnes and the average weight of 69 ?oak trees? is 4.7 tonnes. Ages of the trees The age of the Bringewood oak pollards at this time can be estimated as follows: Assume a pollard height of 3 meters58, an equal split of volume between branchwood and stemwood just before pollarding and 1 tonne = 1 cubic meter of green oak59. A cylindrical stem of volume of 3.4 cubic meters requires a diameter of 1.20 meters60, which, at a mean ring width61 of 2 mm gives an age of 300 years (1200/(2*2)). The same calculation for the above 7 ?croppes of trees? gives an average age of 220 years and for the 69 ?oak trees? an average age of 250 years. These ages are consistent with Roger
Corbyn, I.N. et al “The estimation of the branchwood component of broadleaved woodlands”. Forestry, Volume 61, No. 3, 1988 pages 193-204. Table 1 (page 197) has figures for branchwood as a % of stemwood increasing quadratically with diameter for oaks in a high forest situation. The resulting regression formular is: b=0.0096*d^2+0.093*d+13.6 where b=% branchwood and d=diameter at breast height in cm. b=100% (ie branchwood=stemwood) for d=90cm and 75% for d=75cm. The proportion of branchwood for the open grown pollard oaks in the Chase would be much greater than for oaks in woodland so ?b? would be equal to or greater than 100% for size ranges much less than d=90 cm. 58 Oliver Rackham ranges pollard heights 8 to 12 feet. I?ve taken them here as 3 meters 59 This green oak density is within 6% of the figure published in Forest Mensuration Handbook Forestry Commission booklet No. 39 1988. 60 D = (4*V/(pi()*H))^0.5 in excel formula notation. D, H = diameter and pollard height respectively in meters, V = volume in cubic meters. 61 Fletcher, J.M. Annual Rings in modern and medieval times. Paper in The British Oak eds Morris, M.G. and Perring, F.H. BSBI 1974. Bringewood and its countryside Page 23 DL April 2005
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Taverner?s 1565 survey above “set with old Oaks of 200 and 300 years growth whereof the most part have been lopped and shredd to make cole for the council at Ludlowe”. Area of crowns of felled trees The area occupied by the trees felled on the chase can be estimated from Hummel?s formula62 that relates crown diameter to trunk diameter for free grown oak. The largest of the 8 pollards above had a crown diameter estimated at 35 meters (covering about quarter of an acre), the crowns of all eight oak pollards together them would have covered just 1 acre or 0.4 hectares. If all the recorded 870 tonnes of wood extracted per year from the chase came from felling average sized trees (217 trees at 4 tonnes per tree) their total crown area would amount to just 6.6 hectares or 0.9% of the area of Bringewood chase. If all the wood had come from pollards rather than whole trees the area per year would be about 2%. Both are well below the natural rate of regrowth as discussed in section 4.5.11 below. Tree species The inquiry is terse about the species of wood since it was mostly for fuel. ?Diverse sorts? or ?Oak and others? are common descriptions, yet there are 76 instances where species are mentioned, although it is clear that Oak is over represented. 11 species are nonetheless mentioned: Table 6. Number of mentions of species in PRO E178/969 Oak 41 Birch 17 Hazel 6 Hawthorn 3 Lime 2 Maple 2 Crab 1 Wych Elm 1 Alder 1 Ash 1 Holly 1 total 76 A couple of typical statements mentioning tree species are as follows: Anne Hopton a Ludlow widow bought “xij horse loades of Birche oke hasyll and other sortes” and Williams Williams a Ludlow hatmaker bought “vi dussins of woodd in Bryngewoodd aforesaid wherof some was oke, some birch some orle and some lyme”. It is interesting to see that Birch and Lime are both mentioned in Roger Taverner?s 1565 ?book of survey? quoted 3.4 above although he doesn?t mention Maple. Birch is characteristic of regeneration on open or disturbed soils. 4.5.4 Coppice woodland, ?Prestwood?, trees in pasture and tree species of the Chase We know from the Tudor surveys that there were at least seven individual woods or coppices named in Bringewood (3.1 above) and that these coppices had to be regularly fenced against stock (4.1 above). Accounts of their management only rarely appear separately in these
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Hummel, F.C. Forestry Commission Report on Forest Research for the year ending March 1950 pages 65-66. 1951 Crown diameter (c) relates to to stem diameter (d) in meters for free grown oak as c=20*d + 1.2. Bringewood and its countryside Page 24 DL April 2005

inquiries but we do have an account63 from Robert Berry the fines clerk at the Council of the Marches. He reported that between 1580 and 1584 the 10 acre Prestwood vallett was sold to ?diverse inhabitants of Ludlow? for ?14 13s 4d and that 16 acres of Ratcliffe64 vallet sold for ? 6s 8d (=34s 4d per acre in both cases). Using the above conversions this works out at 65 28 tonnes per acre or 30 years growth at a yield class of 5. Some of the produce may have between trees growing within the coppice, which would reduce this estimate of the age of the standing coppice. Coppice cycles varied between 8 and 30 years at this time although more usually 14 to 20 years. 30 years was typical for oak bark for tanning. We can surmise that Prestwood was not pure coppice as John Rawlings the Ludlow sadler said in 1576 he had “one olde tree of the said Hopkys in Prestwood parcell of Bringewood”. The name Prestwood sometimes confusingly appears in legal documents as an alternative to Bringewood for example “Bringewood alias Prestwood”, but more often Prestwood appears as the name of one of the enclosed coppices within the chase. An explanation maybe that Prestwood was the most accessible coppice to Ludlow and one of the first that a land agent would encounter as he travelled up the Whitcliffe road from the town to make his inquiries. The name Prestwood does not appear in Lord Craven?s 1662 list and map of the enclosures of Herefordshire part of Bringewood chase (see section 7). Taking the evidence together Prestwood coppice can tentatively be placed on the Shropshire side of the border between Mary Knoll and Whitcliffe Common. Robert Berry also reported that ?400 saplings had been sold for ?20 (12d/tree) out of a pasture called Maryknoll?. Indicating that areas of pasture on Bringewood could have growing trees upon them. Lawrence Beck felled ?the 2 acres of wood worth 40s? as part of his farming operations at Mary Knoll (see 4.3 above) which is the equivalent of 5 trees per acre. 4.5.5 Wood fuel sales for the household A number of individuals stated that their requirements were for their own household, three of whom are listed in table 7 below and average 1.3 tonnes a year. Traders such as bakers are excluded. This will be a minimum amount as doubtless fuel would have been augmented by unaccounted wood gleanings from a variety of other sources and places. Table 7, Household fuel requirements derived from Bringewood sales Witness Wood Number Years Total purchase Pence Tonnes sale units of units in pence per year per year Richard Backhouse loads 104 16 243 15.2 1.2 William Hardinge loads 90 18 270 15.0 1.2 A saddler (name unknown) firewood 120 7 120 17.1 1.4 Average 15.8 1.3 4.5.6 Uncertainties in the records: hidden sales, thefts and time scales Hidden sales and pilfering will not appear in the records but the evidence is that the keepers and underkeepers kept a close eye and a tight hold on the Chase. The records appear to be comprehensive since even payments ?in kind? (see 4.2 above, last paragraph above) and the occasional theft are recorded. There is also an independent check on the worth of the recorded annual consumption of ? which comes from a remark by the Ludlow goldsmith, Andrew 42 Sonybanke who “saiethe and thinketh in his conscience that the under kepers doe sell out of
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PRO/LR2/258 Is this another name for ?Redehurst vallet? in the 1508 accounts see 3.1 above? Bringewood and its countryside Page 25 DL April 2005

the forest of Mocktree and Bringewoodd so muche as ys worthe xl?(? by yere and so yt ys 40) comonly reported by neighbors”. This is less than is accounted from Bringewood alone. The inquiry asked about wood use over a period of 18 years and this is where a major uncertainty resides. People would tell the Council how much they had used over so many years or that they had so many horse loads per year for so many years. Often only the last year or so was mentioned so one has to decide whether this was typical of the other years or that they had just started buying wood. The approach taken here is to derive an average annual use from the number of years specified. If they only mention sales in the last year this is taken as the annual consumption for that year. So if someone had 10 horse loads over 5 years and someone else said they received 5 horse loads last year this is taken as an average for the two customers of 7 horse loads a year for the year of the inquiry. 4.5.7 Wood from Bringewood used by Ludlow castle Ludlow castle relied heavily on Bringewood for its fuel and the charcoal mentioned below is presumably for the castle smithy: Entry for 1575 includes: “Also we present all that is delivered by warond from the steward of the quene of wigmore and all that is donne by costome and also the quenes maiustie counsell in the marche of wales hath had by deleverance and by warand in the quenes foreste 2 hundred lodes of fuell wood to be delivered in the quenes chastell at Ludlow and also hath on[e] hundred lodes in colle to the foresaid Castyll”. Accounts for Ludlow castle for 8 years to 1587 include: “Item the collier hath falen and coaled wthin these viij yeares last paste one thousand loades or thereaboutes by estimacion for provision of her majs howse in Ludlowe wthin viz. walke (i.e. within Bringewood). Item more for her majs howse wch was cropped three score and vij trees betwene the could thorne and the park gate and twelve trees fallen for the same. Item delivered by the woodward for the provision of her majs house in Ludlowe three score and vij trees wch doeth amounte to viij C loades wthin the compas of theise viij yeares last past wth other croppes and underwoodes.” Items for Ludlow castle appear without prices as that they are ?by warrant? and supplying the needs of the crown. The amounts involved above (1587) are expressed in tabular form below: Table 8. Consumption by Ludlow castle of wood from Bringewood 1579 - 1587 Quantities Units Est?d tonnes 1000 loads for charcoal 104.5 800 loads (including from 67 pollards) 83.6 12 trees assuming an average of 6.9 tonnes 50.0 Total 238.0 per year 29.8 This consumption of the Bringewood resources by Ludlow castle is less than 5% of that being sold to private individuals and trades people by the keepers and is the equivalent of the requirements of 24 households (see table 7 above). The castle would also be deriving its fuel from outside Bringewood Chase, a possible location being the nearby and extensive Richards Castle coppice woods which may be the reference to “other croppes and underwoods”.

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4.5.8 Non-fuel uses of Bringewood timber We have already seen (4.1 above) that timbers from Bringewood were supplied to Oakley park, used for a new bridge and for a mill on the Teme. The following entry indicates there had recently been a serious fire in Leintwardine: ?Item - two timber trees fallen by Sir Richard Pawfroy vicar of Downton which were delivered by the woodward by warrant granted from the prince toward the repairing of his buildings that were burned in Leintwardine at the Queen?s majesty?s price which is 16d a tree? and ?item sold by the woodward to the inhabitants of Leintwardine 15 trees at 16d a piece.? From Mocktree: ?three timber trees fallen by Sir Richard Pawfroy clark of Downton by warrant granted from the prince toward the re-edifying of his houses being burned in Leintwardine 16d a tree.? This was the standard price for trees felled by royal warrant. The following entry is first known mention of the fish pools of Oakley Park. ?Item: one tree fallen by John ap Brymeld of the parish of Orleton for to make troughs 65 for the pool head in Oakley park by warrant from the council - 3/4d.? Other entries include: ?4 timber trees fallen by Richard Clenche of the wardrobe of her majesty?s house toward the making of the clock in the castle of Ludlow.? Richard Clench was a Ludlow clockmaker and this is the first evidence of where he obtained his timber. A William Harding had “one Stubbe wytche tree whereof the said hardinge made weynescote66”. ?Item: one timber tree fallen by the keeper to make shingles for the Lodge 3/3d?. This passage is from an account of Mocktree but is of interest since it shows the use of wooden roofing shingles. John Map of Ludlow farm worker bought 6 or 7 blocks some of them to serve as bridges over his ditches for which he paid 21d. 4.5.9 Estimating the area of Bringewood Chase Roger Taverner?s 1565 figure of 1068 acres seems far too small unless he used ?wood acres? which would make it 1700 statute acres. Later surveys may have excluded contemporary enclosures and surviving documents which describe the boundary of Chase are difficult to follow in places. Lord Craven?s 1662 survey of the Chase ?as it is now enclosed? (section 7) accounts for 1509 acres but this excluded any part of the chase in Bromfield manor in Shropshire nor did it include the 100 acres or so of the western flank of the Vinnals ridge (i.e. that part of the Chase west of the ?ditch and hedge? and depicted as Chase in the 1577 map). Evidence from witnesses in 1625 (section 7.1) referring to the Chase as they remembered it gives estimates of 2000 and 1900 acres. What is now the Poles Farm and Scotts Wood were enclosures within the Chase in Bromfield along with other locations in Lady Halton manor and these occupy in total about 1km square (~250 acres). Adding this and the western Vinnals to Craven?s 1509 acres we arrive at 1850 acres or 760 hectares for Chase, a bit less than witness estimates but rather more than Taverner?s figure (unless he used wood acres). This is about the best we can do with currently available evidence.

65
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OED ?trough? 4. late ME. A channel, pipe or trunk for conveying water
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?Wainscot? in Elizabethan England meant panelling for room. Bringewood and its countryside Page 27

4.5.10 Was the wood consumption from Bringewood sustainable? The total annual amount of wood and timber consumed according to all recorded combined with that for Ludlow castle amounts to 870 tonnes, equivalent to 1.14 tonnes per hectare (870/760) from the account figures. The key unknown for Bringewood Chase is what proportion of its total vegetative production was wood? The overall production from native woody species known to grow on the Chase (see table 6 above) would have been around 5.5 tonnes per hectare year so a sustainable yield of 870 tonnes per hectare could come from just 160 hectares or 21% of the Chase. Even if the accounts have missed out a quarter of all actual wood exploitation due to concealed sales, theft, gleanings etc. (220 tonnes per year unaccounted for) the wooded proportion of the Chase required for this rate of exploitation to be sustainable is still less than 30%. We know that the distribution of woody vegetation on the Chase was uneven, that there were at least seven areas of dedicated coppice and that some areas of pasture had trees. There were many old pollards and a lot of trees had to be removed to create farmable enclosures in the later decades – for example those in Mary Knoll and the Shuttes. We also know that there was abundant natural regeneration both within the coppices and in the pastures. Indeed the colonisation of new enclosures by secondary woodland was to become an obstacle to the planned expansion of farming on the Chase (see 7.3). The 1662 enclosure map of the Chase shows that significant areas of wood and trees remained even 80 years later. Even though there will be a fair margin of error in my estimates, the documented output of wood from the Chase does not appear to exceed its annual wood increment. The evidence is certainly inconsistent with the idea that uncontrolled felling was destroying the Chase, whether to supply Ludlow, its castle, surrounding inhabitants, or even the later iron making interests. It was not the keepers selling wood, nor the commoners exercising their ancient rights nor was it the charcoal burners who planned the removal of the trees and their roots. It was not them that mapped out and created enclosures or rented them out for arable cultivation. 4.5.11 Why the Crown gave up accounting the forest economy In a letter67 to Robert Berry the Queen?s surveyor in Herefordshire dated 14th June 1586 from his officials: ?there were diverse sales of coppice wood and great trees in sundry of her majesty?s woods in the county. Some by warrant others by pretence of warrant it seems there is no money answered nor accounts made thereof, a matter surely very strange which should be considered for reformation thereof? The huge number of individual wood sales, some very small, from Bringewood alone would have been expensive and quite impractical for a local bureaucracy to administer, and for England as a whole would have defeated any centralised accounting procedure. Net Crown income from all royal forests in Herefordshire was apparently zero in 1559 and just ? from 65 68 1580 to 1586 . The Crown took the line of least resistance and ended up leasing the resources of its forests to various court favourites (such as the Earl of Essex). In so doing it allowed the keepers and the local market in wood to reach their own market equilibrium and rent for enclosures to be levied by the leaseholders bailiffs. Even with modern technology, keeping track of all the activities and transactions that were going on in Elizabethan Bringewood Chase would have kept a local office very busy.
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PRO/LR2/258 Hammersley, G. The Crown Woods and their Exploitation in the 16th and 17th century Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research Volume XXX (1957) pp 154-159 Bringewood and its countryside Page 28 DL April 2005

5. Managing game and common grazing rights in Elizabethan Bringewood Although the forest keepers were running a free market in wood sales from Bringewood and Mocktree they remained assiduous in upholding the Queen?s interest by protecting deer, apprehending offenders and controlling commoners? livestock. Manuscript PRO E178/2903 dated 1587 details deer protection, rounding up of livestock, checking up on enclosures and defining boundaries. Of particular interest are the many descriptions and place names within Bringewood which can be cross referenced to other accounts. 5.1 Stocking deer and apprehending poachers, a family career. The official posts of keeper and under-keeper were passed down father to son as keeper John Hamond testified “that he doeth and hath knowen the fforeste of Mocktre and Bringwood this xxixth yere and more of good memorye for he was brought up in the lodge and hath walked as an underkeper ther sethens the death of his ffather Thomas Hamonde who died keper therof”. Forest and chase were regularly re-stocked with game and a number of keepers stated that “that they hath byn replenished wth dere and other game all the tyme of his rembrance”. Elizabethan foresters had the opposite problem with deer to that of the modern woodland manager: a continuously dwindling population. It cannot have been due to unsuitable habitat. Keeper William Hopton esquire the keeper ?hunted in the company of diverse persons with bows and hounds to serving all warrantes out of the Lordship of Lady Halton and also in the Lordship of Richards Castle [and] any other part [of] the forest of Bringewood and that Thomas Hamonde a keeper in Mocktree, was sent over the water (ie the Teme) into Bringewood to watch in the Lordship of Lady Halton to take a stealer of deer called Bryswood the which he did take in a place called the Skalled in the Lordship of Halton and arrested him & his bows & arrows?. 5.2 Dealing with dogs and weapons Deer poaching was a popular past time and locals regularly had their weapons confiscated. These include handguns, cross bows and bows and arrows. Hunting dogs were hanged when caught there being several instances recorded for this. Keeper Edwards when in ?Lady Halton did take one John Cooke of Ricards Castle with a brace of dogs in a place called Whellers Vallett within the Lordship of Lady Halton which dogs Edward Edwardes did presently hang in a tree not far from the place where they were taken.? This presumably is the origin of the name of the enclosures on Lord Craven?s 1662 map of Bringewood (see figure 12) on the top of Bringewood above Deepwood called ?The Dog Hanging?. Some dogs fared better from these encounters: ?he (ie keeper Edwards) found a foil (track of a hunted animal) in a place called Winter Acre Moor within the Lordship of Lady Halton and drew after it into the house of one Robert Wall and there watching the house sent for his master who when he was come did send for one Sheppard of Hill being a constable & went into Wall?s house and found the flesh in a salting trough which he gave part to his hounds & gave the rest away & also took certain skins which they found there with them … he had also took the aforesaid Robert Wall in the night time with a tiller bow69 and arrows with forked heads in one of the fields of Lady Halton which bow & arrows he seized to the Queen?s use?. Suspects could expect nocturnal visits as shown by this account by keeper Hopton who went ?to a place called Long Acre Moor being within the Lordship of Lady Halton where there was a house, lately erected wherein dwelt one Meredith Lewes who the said Edward Hopton did
OED ?tiller?= wooden beam in a cross bow grooved for arrows. Bringewood and its countryside Page 29
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call out of his bed and did charge him with keeping of the crossbow in his house which the said Meredith denying the same Edward Hopton commanded Ivan ap Ivan to go into a little house, where there was a stack of oats & searching of the same, found the crossbow with a border and arrows with forked heads which the said Edward Hopton did arrest to her majesty?s use and took away.? The following gives the place name of Deptwood, the first occurrence of which I am aware of ?Deepwood? on the county border on Bringewood?s north flank ?[the keeper] did take one Thomas Breem and Richard Beddow of Ludlow in a place beneath the way out of the Deptwood in the Lordship of Lady Halton having with them a brace of dogs of one Anthony Rowdens & Mr Hodley which dogs he presently hanged.? Being owned by a substantial landowner and secretary of the Council of the Marches did not exempt a dog from being strung up from the nearest tree if found acting suspiciously within the extent for game of the chase. Keeper Thomas Hopkys “did take away hounds of mr seckeretery ffox in a place called the ocker(n?) vallett wthin the Lordship of of ladie halton aforesaid & did hange the dogges & aboute that tyme he did take a good bytch of Richard Huckes of Ludlowe in ffrindes vallett beinge wthin aforesaid Lordship of halton & did hange the same”. The keepers foiled what appears to be an attempt to snare deer: ?one Richard Gylley and Richard Parks of Richards Castle had hanged wethers70 and cords for to take deer in a place called Hanny Bank within the Lordship of Richards Castle.? 5.3 Rounding up livestock Every so often livestock, mainly cattle, pasturing by right in Mocktree forest and Bringewood chase would have to be rounded up, impounded in a special enclosure called the Queen?s pound, sorted to find strays and rest given back to their owners. The Crown confiscated strays and owners with no rights were fined. A detailed explanation of the process for Bringewood is given in Hopkys?s statement that also has place names allowing the location of the pound to be roughly determined: ?Upon a warning given by the forester or his keepers of the said forest to the inhabitants of the township of Aston, Elton, Burrington and Halton [and] they or the most part of them would come themselves or send over the next morning, but commonly Aston & Elton would go to Gatley park pale, and so drive from there all such cattle as were thought to be strangers and drive them to the Queens pound by Bradleys green, or in bradleys green, and then those persons would go into some other part of the forest over that side the crest and bring the like drift to that pound and Burrington men would drive all the other part of the forest from Burrington to the Haye hedge and so all the other part of the forest from the Hay to the Queen?s pound .. then the whole company, or the most part of them, would go into the woods of Lady Halton and so drive from Frinds Vallet hedge which lies within the great ditch that comes from the gate called the park & so drive all those woods throughout [and] beyond the Skallet to the Queen?s woods and also the Black Fen & Poles, and the Skottes wood as long as it lay open & all those woods were driven to her majesty?s pound aforesaid. Which done, the tenants of Aston, Elton & Burrington would come and draw out their cattle [and] have them freely.? A similarly detailed account of the ?drive? in Mocktree is also given.

OED ?wether? = fleece obtained from the second or subsequent shearing of a sheep, so presumably this is a snare made from woollen thread. Bringewood and its countryside Page 30 DL April 2005
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Commoners? pigs were required to be taken out of the forest and chase during the ?fence month? of mid summer when the deer were fawning. The custom for Bringewood and Mocktree was for the priest of the parish churches of Aston, Elton, Burrington, Bromfielde, Downton, Leintwardine & Onibury to announce on the appropriate Sunday that “all persons should voide their swyne owt of the said fforeste .. and if any swyne were founde after they were impounded”. By the 1580?s pigs are never mentioned as being in the forest but the local vicar was still expected to remind their congregation to round up all their swine from Bringewood and Mocktree after the service. Sir Richard Hill vicar of Bromfield and Leintwardine refused to interrupt the flow of his services with such medievalisms and was duly reported to the Council for his contempt of ancient customs. 5.4 Impact of enclosures on livestock management An increasing amount of enclosed farmland, both arable and pasture, was appearing around and within the forest boundaries. Not only did this cause more problems of deer damage for the occupiers but also the enclosure hedges interferred with the annual round up of stock. ?he says that all the time of his service he has driven to the Queens use all the freeholders soils whose it was thought needful or any strangers cattle thought to be, some times diverse of the commoners & their servants with the keepers and some time he & his followers & their servants with them but all times quietly without comptrolment or let, until of late, in the said drift the drivers for their ease have omitted to go over & throw certain hedges & new enclosures made within some part of the freeholders soils lying within the said Forest of Mocktree, which have & ought [still] to be common.? This passage also confirms the impression from other sources that enclosures were often made of ?dead hedges? designed to be temporary. In Bringewood along the northern boundary with Lady Halton there was a similar dispute regarding new enclosures and six elderly witnesses had to be called to the Council to state that they “have deposed that three parcells of lande in the Lordship of Ladie Halton called by the names of the Skallett Blackfen & Powles & are wthin the precynctes lymyttes & bounds of the foresaid fforest of Bryngwood and that the fforesters & kepers did alwayes use to dryve those groundes for all strangers cattell depasteringe ther and to dystrayne & impounde them in the Quenes pounde in Bryngwood”. 6. Bringewood Forge: from satanic mill to picturesque idyll 6.1 A brief history of the Bringewood iron works The Bringewood iron works was built on the Teme by the orders of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex. Its location was chosen with care at a place where the Teme is confined by a long narrow gorge between Burrington and Downton on land that was part of Bringewood Chase which Essex had leased from the crown. It had become operational by the early 1580?s, a time of rapid expansion for the charcoal iron industry in areas outside the traditional centres of the Weald and the Dean. This Bringewood location was especially well suited for iron making for these reasons: ? Motive power for trip hammers, bellows etc. provided by the fast and reliable flow of the Teme through the natural Downton gorge, to be augmented by a mill-race and wheels. ? Availability of labour recently freed from manorial ties.

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? Ready access to wood for charcoal from coppice woodland in north Herefordshire and south Shropshire as well as to the wood resources of Mocktree, Derefold and Bringewood following their enclosure and partial conversion of agricultural tenancies. ? Access to nearby limestone quarries for flux (see figure 27). ? Access to ore or ?ironstone? deposits of the Clee hills delivered by mule pack and river. After a century of successful operation the then owner Lord Craven leased the Bringewood forge, furnace and chase to Richard Knight who improved the works, adding the tin plate rolling mill which gives its name to the nearby wood. In its hey day it was one of the most productive forges and iron mills in England helping to make the fortune of Richard Knight who was able to buy the works outright and buy up neighbouring land including Bringewood Chase to augment his extensive iron making interests in the West Midlands71. During the 1720?s Knight bought the manors surrounding Bringewood: Burrington, Elton, Leinthall Starkes, Leintwardine and Downton. The Bringewood charcoal iron works was one of the last in England when it finally closed in the early 19th century. Knight?s grandson was Richard Payne Knight, connoisseur, classicist, collector and advocate of the naturalistic ?Picturesque? philosophy of landscape design and appreciation. Operations finally ceased sometime around 1810 leaving the ?natural? character of the gorge as a quiet haven of ?picturesque? beauty admired to this day. 6.2 Iron works vs agriculture - respective impacts on woodland, ?forests? and chase. Most published accounts of the history of North Herefordshire have held Bringewood Forge responsible for denuding the surrounding ?forests? of Mocktree, Bringewood and Deerfold of wood during the seventeenth century. The reality was rather different. Certainly there were complaints by commoners, their representatives and the burgesses of Ludlow who found themselves competing with the forge for wood and timber in Bringewood and other ?forests?. A petition of 161172 is typical, complaining that ?there is apportioned to the maintenance of the Iron Works in Bringewood and Mocktree a 1000 cord of wood yearlie to be taken. So that in a short time it will be utterly consumed … and the tenants and inhabitants destitute of the relief for buildings & necessities they have been formerly accustomed to receive? and ?so general a spoil of all kind of wood, save a little remnant in Bringewood, as they now dig up the ground and pull out the old roots?. Many contracts were indeed drawn up with a succession of leaseholders from the 1590?s onwards to supply the forge with wood and charcoal from the forests of Derefold, Mocktree and Bringewood Chase. Such was the local feeling against these contracts that those responsible for implementing them had to be permanently ?on site? to prevent harassment. Hugh Evans was responsible for “for the delivery of the cord wodd for ye iron works in ye said forest” for the iron master Henry Wallop who had the lease of Bringewood. He had made a 4 acres enclosure in Bringewood Chase, built a cottage and “nowe (1605) in consideration of his charges and for his better attendance upon the said workes & preservation of the said woods from dayly spoylers humbly praieth to have a lease of the premisses for xxjty yeares”.73 Any unsustainable felling or uprooting in forest or chase was confined to areas of planned conversion to agriculture. For example, in 1638 Sampson Eure paid ? 1000 to Earl Lindsey for
Downes, R.L. The Stour Partnership 1726 – 1736. Economic History Review III 1950 pp90-96. HRO formerly Hereford City Library Local Collection (LC) 5571 73 PRO/LR2/258 1605 Exchequer accounts Bringewood and its countryside Page 32 DL April 2005
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?the roots of woods and trees and to cut, fell, dig up by the roots? in Derefold forest. ?After the said Earl?s part of Darvoll is enclosed from the commons? Eure paid 2s per acre for ?that enclosed part with all the timber trees woods underwoods and roots for 30 years?. Eure?s lease required him to ?enclose the said ground, maintain mounds, hedges & fences at his own expense?74. The conversion of most of Derefold to farmland was realised within the century. In contrast, parts of the ?forest? and chase earmarked for coppice woodland to supply charcoal to the forge were treated with great care to ensure natural regrowth after felling, as was universal practice in such woods at the time. This of course meant excluding commoners and their stock, so the protection of the coppice was regarded as much an infringement of their rights, and a source of complaint, as enclosure for agriculture. Ludlow castle?s consumption of charcoal has been described above and they may well have found themselves in competition with iron works for coppice contracts in local woods. For example, the nearest coppice woods to Ludlow were the extensive ?Vallet woods of Richards Castle? of which 420 acres were leased from the early 17th century to various iron making interests including the Foleys and the Knights. The commoners of Richards Castle considered it their right to take wood for routine hedge and building repairs and to be able to graze animals in the woods after the coppice had grown up. The iron masters however regarded them as common wood stealers and despoilers of coppice. The resulting dispute75 ended up in legal proceedings with the commoners basing their claims on Hugh Mortimers grant of 1301 (see 1.7 above). In 1619 the Prince of Wales leased the Bringewood iron works together with the royal ?forests? of Mocktree and Deerfold and Bringewood chase to iron master Edward Vaughan for 41 years. This lease included 231 hectares of coppice woodland, ?woodground? and ?treed ground? of which 59 hectares were in Bringewood Chase: “And all those treed grounds within the said chase of Bringewood also as the same doe now lye inclosed called by the name of Radletts & Hullockes … conteyning by estimacion 140 acres … & one other vallett or coppicewood lying in the said chase of Bringwood nere unto a place called Maryknowle containing about 5 acres” Radletts and Hullocks occupy the NW flank of the chase down to the Teme, opposite Downton and the coppice at Mary Knoll can be identified as ?Kings Copse lying at the east end of Mary Knowle? on the map of 1662 see figures 13 and 16. This enclosure of the wooded part of Bringewood Chase amounted to fewer than 10% of its 710 hectares. The contract protected the coppice woods from grazing and ensured their exclusive management for wood for the duration of the lease. “Vaughan … shall not nor will not at anie tyme hereafter during the said terme cutt or fall anie the coppices aforesaid but at seasonalle tymes of the yeare & fitt mannr as shalbe best for the new spring & growing againe of said coppice woods”. Vaughan had to secure boundaries against stock: “And shall also upon every fall & cutting of the coppices aforesaid & every of them to well & suffeciently preserve & defend the young spring of the said woods from distrucion and hurte by anie mannr of cattle or othr wise and to that end shall make suffecient hedges ditches fences & mounds in & about the coppice woods soe cut downe & the same fences & mounds & well & suffeciently preserve untill the said woods shall be growne past the danger or hurte of cattle.”

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HRO/T74/184 Cross, P. Coppices and Commoners; an account of the Richards Castle woodlands. TWNFC Vol XLIX 1999 Bringewood and its countryside Page 33 DL April 2005

He had to conserve and make an inventory of all the timber trees and to “maintaine & preserve [them] from felling spoile & distrucion during the said terme and in the end of the said terme shall leave the same growing upon the said premysses”. Trees were also required to be conserved within any worked woodland “[leave upon] the said coppices and wood grounds such & so manie storrers & standers as are appointed by lawes & statutes of this realme”. A reference to the 1543 Act for the Preservation of Timber, which required 12 standards per acre to be maintained within worked coppice. The lease conditions forbade any ploughing in the royal forest and chase:“nor will at anie tyme hereafter during the said terme plowe or teare up any meadowe ground or auntion (=ancient) pasture grounds or sheepe walks parcell of the demysed premysses but the same shall remaine & continue as now they are.” This contract was hardly a license to despoil and waste the whole area or to dig up tree roots, indeed it even protected ?ancient pasture or sheep walks?, further evidence of a long history of grazed open ground on these ?forests? and chases. The lease had a similar effect on the commoners to the agricultural enclosure of ?forest? and chase since it created an exclusive land use in place of the multi-functional mainly grazed ecosystem which had developed over centuries of people exercising their customary land rights. As we shall see (7.1 below) Vaughan?s enclosures of the Hullocks and Radletts were pulled down soon after he had created them, an action which brought leading members of the Council of the Marches into legal conflict with the crown. A couple of years after this contract expired Lord Craven drew up his map for the further enclosure of Bringewood chase “The Chase of Bringewood as it is now enclosed 1662”. On the map (figure 13) the Hullocks and most of the Radletts are shown enclosed for agriculture. The Hullocks appears virtually treeless and the main part of the Radletts split up into rectangular fields with just a scattering of remaining trees and only a 10 hectare strip next to the Teme mapped as dedicated woodland. The enclosure of Hullocks and Radletts produced the feature known as the “Vaughan Ditch” which appears in a number of documents and was the cause of a disputed enclosure of the chase (see section 7 below). The Radletts & Hullocks are now the main part of Deepwood Farm. All the woodland described in the above lease as ?coppice? (totalling 42.5 hectares) has remained as woodland to this day. By contrast, the land described as ?treed ground? or ?wood ground? (totalling 188 hectares) became farmland within a century. The charcoal supply contracts happened to be a convenient and profitable way to clear land for agriculture. One of the coppices in this 1617 agreement was Gravely Wood (now called Garden House Wood) some 8 miles from the works showing how far it was practical for charcoal to travel. In 1640 another contract was drawn up to supply ?for the first seven years .. at least 3000 cords of wood and roots to be delivered within 6 miles of the works? this averages 93176 cubic meters per year. In 1663 Edward Harley was selling between 400 and 800 cords a year at 5s to the iron master Richard Walker who also had another supplier guaranteeing between 400 and 1000 cords. This is an average of 1,100 cords a year equivalent to 2,50077 cubic meters a years.

These are ?statute cords? 8 x 4 x 4 feet which, using the Forestry Commission?s hardwood stack conversion factor of 0.6 (Forest Measuration Handbook 1988 p32) gives a cord volume of 2.2 cubic meters. 77 The cord dimensions in this contract = 9 x 4 ? x 4 feet (TWNFC 1868 p270) work out at 2.75 cubic meters. Bringewood and its countryside Page 34 DL April 2005
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The coppices of Richards Castle, 420 acres of which were leased to iron making interests at this time, would by themselves have been yielding an average of 800 tonnes a year of cord wood (420x5.25/2.471). More than 200 years later in 1861 there were 741 acres of coppice in Richards Castle called Hayes Coppice, Wood Eaves, Lower & Middle Valletts, Upper Vallets, Hope Coppice, Sunny Hills, Upper and Lower Evans. These were “cut periodically at about 20 years growth and the best sticks left for two falls and are then cut as timber” 78. Iron masters quantified their input costs showing that the process of cutting, cording and charcoal made up a significant proportion. Regularly managed coppice woods with their high density of straight uniform poles would have been many times quicker and more economic to convert into charcoal than the scattered old pollards, stubbs and roots being cleared as a oneoff operation for agriculture on parts of Bringewood chase, Derefold and Mocktree. The iron works were not the only commercial users of wood at this time. Local coppice was considered profitable even without a nearby charcoal iron industry as a survey79 of Bringewood and Mocktree dated 1604 makes clear: ?If there be noe Irone workes the woods may yearlye be sould for ever for ?250 [per annum]?. 50 years after the closure of the last iron works in c1810, coppice, mainly for charcoal, was still the major user of woods (section 10.1). This 1604 survey also estimates the increase in rent to be had from ?improvement? of land in Bringewood and Mocktree: ?Landes enclosed there and let by lease at ? 10s 4d to be 5 improved to ?26?. The manor of Burrington ?is lett for ?12 4s 2d per annum and may be improved to ?156 6s 8d.?. This enormous estimated increase reflected the fact that Burrington manor included most of the western parts of the Chase. It was in the commercial interest of the leaseholder of these royal lands to specialise the land use, either coppice or improved farmland, but not both on the same ground. This was the opposite of the medieval multi-purpose use of forest and chase which had served the multifarious needs of local communities for generations. 6.3 Wood consumption of Bringewood forge About 2 ? ?loads?80 of charcoal were needed to smelt ore for a ton of unrefined ?pig iron? and a further 3 ?loads? for forging and refining it to utilisable ?bar? iron in the late 17th century. Some 8.5 cubic meters of wood were required to produce a ?load? of charcoal81 and using Linnard?s82 yield class estimate of 5.25 cubic meters/hectare/year for coppice woodland managed for charcoal in Wales in 1700?s, one ton of finished iron per year from the ore required the annual increment of 9 hectares of woodland (5.5 x 8.5/5.25). Estimating the rate of utilisation of wood from the output of Bringewood forge is difficult since there are few reliable figures for iron making at the works83, irregular production was a
78 79

Cross, P ibid. Reference 8. Valuation of Moor Park Estate. Harley Manuscript 354 folios 1-2. From Weyman, H.T. TSAS Vol III part II 1913 pp 263-282.(op cit) 80 A ?load? is a cartload of 12 sacks of charcoal and would have been a reasonably consistent quantity. Its precise weight doesn?t effect the following calculation since we know the amount of wood used to make a ?load?. 81 Hammersley, G, The Charcoal Iron Industry and its Fuel 1540 – 1750, Economic History Review, 2nd series, Vol XXVI No.4 Nov 1973. 82 Linnard, W op cit. P 87, This figure comes from an estate in Breconshire and it seems a reasonable assumption that coppice woodland in upland north Herefordshire would not be too different. Published figures for present-day pure oak coppice give an average yield class of 4 m3 per hectare per year (Crockcroft, K.J. and Savill, P.S. Forestry, Volume 64, No. 1 pages 30 – 49. 1991). Other species eg ash will have a higher yield. Hammersley uses a higher coppice yield class of 7 cubic meters/hectare/year for his calculation of the fuel requirements of the British Charcoal iron industry. 83 van Laun, J. Bringewood Furnace and Forge. A preliminary report (unpublished) 1979. Bringewood and its countryside Page 35 DL April 2005

feature of the charcoal-iron industry and there was wide variation in the relative amount of effort put into pig iron (from the furnace) as opposed to its refinement (at the forge and mill) 84. In other words, finished ?bar? iron output for one year may have been forged from pig iron cast from the furnace the year before or even from another furnace. H.C. Bull85 writing in 1869 quotes an ?old pamphlet of about 1714? saying that ?Brindgewood formerly produced 350 tons yearly, but at that time only 300 tons?. Records of the number of cords required and amounts of charcoal consumed at the Bringewood works are more numerous and consistent than that for the iron output. An inventory86 made between 1714 and 1719 allows the average annual cost of charcoal entering the works to be ? 1765 16s 4d. Published figures for iron works in the west of England at this time give an average cost per delivered load of charcoal as 32s 2?d or 1,096 loads a year. While this is necessarily an approximate figure it is not inconsistent with the above production rate of 300 tons of iron per year using 3.7 loads of charcoal per ton. After cording and ?coaling? this rate is equivalent to the annual volume increment of 1,774 (1,096 x 8.5/5.25) hectares of coppice woodland an area which is a mere 3.4% of a circling around the works with an eight mile radius, the distance of the furthest documented source of charcoal for Bringewood, Gravely wood, Aymestrey. By this time the ?forests? of Mocktree and Deerfold and the chase of Bringewood had already suffered the majority of their enclosure and whatever was to be uprooted and unsustainably felled had already been so. Yet there is no documentary evidence of concern about lack of wood for the iron works or any interest in new woodland at the expense of agriculture. This is despite the fact that some higher enclosures, for example on Bringewood, were already showing signs of being agriculturally non-viable. 6.4 The final years of the Bringewood Iron Works, Downton and ?the Picturesque? By the 1760?s the charcoal iron industry was in decline as a result of technological developments allowing the use of coal rather than charcoal and steam engines rather than running water as motive power for bellows and hammers. It appears that low river flows in summer was a key factor favouring coal and steam over charcoal and water wheels in iron manufacture. Evidence to a Parliamentary Committee in 1723 stated: “the extraordinary scarcity of water this long dry season [has] has laid farr the greater part of the Iron Works of this Kingdome idle”87. While the Teme was not the only river rising in the Welsh hills and so having advantages over rivers in the Midlands and Southern England, its passage through the long and narrow natural channel of Downton gorge made the water supply for the Bringewood iron works unusually reliable. Ceasing production c1815 Bringewood was the last major charcoal-based iron works to be operational in England. When in c1770 Richard Payne Knight inherited Downton, nearby manors and Bringewood iron works, he was a wealthy gentleman connoisseur with interests in arts, classics and poetry. He collected coins, fine paintings and classical sculptures. He is best remembered as an advocate of the naturalistic ?Picturesque? philosophy of landscape appreciation in opposition to the formality of landscape engineering typified by Lancelot ?Capability? Brown. He started
Hammersley, G, Op. cit. p 599. He cites the case of the Lydney furnace at the end the 17th century which ?operated for only 5 months in 24, just to provide 600 tons or so of pig iron which could then be worked up by the owners forge?. 85 Bull, H.C. TWNFC 1869 pp54-59. 86 Bull, H.C. Op. cit. ? 7,504 14s 4d worth of charcoal entered the works from Christmas 1714 until Lady Day (March 25) .
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Evidence from John Crowley Iron Master, PRO Adm. 106/753 30 September 1723 Page 36 DL April 2005

designing Downton ?castle? on open ground a mile upstream from the iron works in 1772, the same year that Brown was drawing up designs for a formal makeover of Oakley Park on the neighbouring estate of Lord Clive (section 8 below). A series of watercolours by Thomas Hearne made between 1784 and 1786 shows the castle in both ?formal? and ?picturesque? settings and ?clad with rich wood in a variety of shapes to its very summit and opening at parts into rude sheep walks?88. For all his aesthetic interests Knight did not neglect the management of his estates nor his interests in iron manufacture. In 1784 he leased the Bringewood iron works and its surrounding lands to William Downing iron master of Strangeworth forge Pembridge for 31 years (i.e. to 1815) for ? a year. This is a rather small sum for what was, a few decades 114 earlier, one of the most productive iron works in England and indicates that it was at this time operating at a fairly low level of production. Nonetheless, the lease protects Knight?s ?natural? environment, game interests and views. For example Limestone “is not got or burnt within sight of the castle”. Knight excluded ?all timber and other trees, woods, underwoods, bushes and shrubs now growing or may grow hereafter on the leased land which lies on the north side of River Teme? although Downing could have timber ?in the rough for repairs of walls, piles etc within 2 miles of the works?. It is not clear whether this contract ran its full course since there is no mention of any industrial operations in accounts from the late 1790?s of Downton?s now famous ?natural? landscapes. “The most wild, rich and solitary path I ever trod” wrote a correspondent to the Gentleman?s Magazine in 1797. Bayley and Britton?s ?Beauties of England and Wales? 1805, describes Downton as “one of the most picturesque seats in England” and with the ruins of the tin mill as its highlight: “The river meanders through the grounds to an extent of about three miles, its banks being fringed with wood, rising to a considerable height through a great part of that distance: indeed, the landscapes are particularly rich; the most eminent perhaps, is that which includes a mill between one and two miles below the house, and, with its adjuncts, composes a scene of uncommon grandeur”. The ideas of Knight and others in the ?picturesque? movement such as Uvedale Price of Foxley (just south west of Weobley, Herefordshire) soon found expression in the opinions of Victorian naturalists such as the Rev. Thomas Woodhouse and Dr. Bull as they regarded with regret the remains of Mocktree, Derefold and Bringewood Chase (see 10.1). Knight and Price can also be seen as precursors of the modern conservation movement. They would have applauded current ideas of restoration of ancient forest from the damage of ?improvers?. 6.5 Enlightenment forestry and the myth of a wood famine The idea that charcoal wood fuel became ?exhausted? or scarce so causing of the demise of the charcoal-iron industry is part of an enduring myth89 of timber famine that has influenced woodland history and occasionally forestry policy for at least four centuries. John Evelyn?s famous work ?Sylva, or a discourse of Forest Trees? published in 1664 advised the Government that “'twere better to purchase all our Iron out of America, than thus to exhaust our Woods at home”. This fallacy was challenged by Andrew Yarrington in his ?England?s Improvement by Sea and Land? 1677: “I affirm that Iron-works are so far from the destroying
88

Quoted from Clarke, M & Penny, N The Arrogant Connoisseur Manchester University Press 1982.

89

The myth was exposed as such in the 17th century but persisted into the 20th to be demolished by two key papers: Flinn, M.W., The Growth of the English Iron Industry 1660 – 1760 Economic History Review 2nd Series 1958 pp 144-153 and Hammersley, G. The Crown Woods and their Exploitation in the 16th and 17th century, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research Vol XXX (1957) pp 154-9. Bringewood and its countryside Page 37 DL April 2005

of Woods and Timber, that they are the occasion of the increase thereof. For in all parts where Iron-works are, there generally are great quantities of Coppicies or Woods which supply the Iron-works: And if the Iron-works are not in being, these Coppices would have been stocked up and turned into Pasture and Tillage.” Far from there being a wood shortage at the height of the charcoal iron industry, the Shropshire based Edward Knight (Richard Knight?s third son and Payne Knight?s uncle) stated to a Parliamentary committee90 that he was paying twice the amount per cord before 1718 than he was now (1736). John Evelyn based much of his ?Sylva? on the writtings of authors before him such as Arthur Standish91 and Silvanus Taylor who both warned of a serious and impending ?timber shortage?. This was claimed to be a dire and immediate threat to the economic and social well being of the British realm. Government must plant up ?waste ground? and land owners plant (or to be made to plant) five trees for every one they fell. These ideas92 were in keeping with the spirit of the age which sought radical means to ?improve? nature and society in the decades leading up to the civil war and contributed to the intellectual climate of the Restoration. The enthusiasm of these polemicists and pamphleteers often far exceeded their practical knowledge. Many failed to realise that woodland regrew or that ?waste grounds? like Bringewood Chase were already productive and an important resource to local people. Evelyn appears strangely ignorant of woodlands, even those of his own family?s estate that supplied a forge, as this passage shows: “That a Forge, and some other Mills, to which he furnish'd much Fuel, were a means of maintaining, and increasing his Woods; I suppose, by increasing the Industry of planting, and care; as what he has now left standing of his own planting, enclosing and cherishing in the possession of my most honour'd brother, Geo. Evelin of Wotton, does sufficiently evince; a most laudable Monument of his Industry, and rare Example”. He genuinely thought that woodland owners had to plant a coppice wood after every coppice fall. No wonder he was worried about the effects of iron making! Other recommendations by Evelyn are pure fancy: “For the improvement of the speedy growth of Trees, there is not a more excellent thing then the frequent rubbing of the Boal or Stem, with some piece of hair-cloth, or ruder stuff, at the beginning of Spring: some I have known done with Seales-skin”. Authur Standish wanted to establish high yielding plantations and so release more land for arable cultivation. In a 1613 ?New Directions of Experience to the Commons Complaint? Standish predicted that “..within thirty years all Spring Woods [i.e coppice woods] may be converted to tillage and pasture”. 1642 Gabriel Plattes published a reformist tract which envisaged high yielding plantations so that “Crowns lands be improved to the utmost, as Forrests, Parkes and Chases etc. by which means his revenues are so great that, that hee [the King] seldome needeth to put impositions upon his subjects”. Silvanus Taylor?s 1652 “Common Good: Or, The improvement of Commons, Forrests, and Chases by Inclosure” advocated the state sponsored enclosure of marginal and forest lands and parks in order to create plantations. These authors assumed that their imagined plantations would be more valuable to the nation than existing woodlands.

Common?s Journal XXXIII 113-4 1737. Linnard, William. Authur Standish: An Appreciation of Evelyn?s Forgotten Predecessor, Quarterly Journal of Forestry Vol. 68, 1971 pages 34-40 92 For this section I have drawn from Lindsay Sharp?s detailed article ?Timber, Science and Economic Reform in the Seventeenth Century?. Forestry, Volume 48 Number 1 1975 pp 51-86. Bringewood and its countryside Page 38 DL April 2005
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These utopian ideas were to re-emerge virtually intact three centuries later to drive the national forestry policy in the early and mid 20th century (10.2 below) which was to profoundly transform Bringewood Chase, Norbache park and the coppices of Richards Castle. There is no evidence of tree planting in Bringewood or its surroundings until the Victorian period except the occasional requirement for a small number to be planted as part of a farm lease for repairs (see following section) and for amenity in Oakley park (section 8.1). 7. Bringewood 1630 to 1948, final enclosures and reversion of higher ground. 7.1 Disputes over enclosure and “Vaughan?s Dyke” In 1625 a Crown commission93 of inquiry heard complaints about the breaking down of new enclosures on Bringewood Chase, damage to crops from deer and disputes over livestock access to the Chase. It is significant that this inquiry was held at Leominster rather than Ludlow since the Crown had reason to regard the Council of the Marches as biased since key members were local landowners with interests in Bringewood. One of the main complaints concerned Vaughan?s 1619 contract with agents of the Prince of Wales over his right to enclose and take wood from the Hullocks and Radletts (6.1 above). At over 100 acres this was a sizeable new enclosure leased by the Crown?s agents but without agreement with commoners who retained customary rights or thought they did. William Lemor employed by Vaughan to ditch and hedge the enclosure gave evidence on behalf of the Crown telling the court that: ?In midsumer three years ago [the enclosure] was broken down and defaced in several parts thereof by one Thomas Powell and Griffith Powell with their hedge bills and other weapons part thereof was done by day and part by night and they affirmed that they had warrant so to do from the Lord President [of the Council of the Marches] Sir Robert Harley and Sir Charles Foxe.? Then these Powells and ?diverse others brought their cattle into the said grounds and there depastured the same and said grounds do ever since then lie open.? A number of commoners appeared for the defence using the opportunity to complain about recent previous enclosures naming amongst others Mary Knoll, the Vinalls, Evenhay, Bringewood Heyes and Deepwood which they said amounted for some 800 acres of enclosure of the Chase. The Hullocks and Radletts were just the most recent enclosures to threaten their right to pasture in the Chase and to collect wood for fuel and to repair houses. John Weale aged 74 of Aston was pleased to state that ?Since the breaking open of the enclosure made by Mr. Vaughan the farmers & tenants have continued the use of their commons in the said Chase & parcels enclosed as formerly they used the same.? ?Vaughan?s Ditch? became a well-known local feature and was used in surveys to identify fields (see 7.3 below). Those defending the breaking of the enclosures said that there was not now enough of the Chase left unenclosed for them to exercise their rights and that the deer damage to their crops neighbouring the Chase had become intolerable. As Weale expressed it on behalf of his fellow tenants ?they are much oppressed & damnified in their corn, grain and grass growing upon their own several grounds by the deer and game of the said Chase.? Thomas Bridgewater said that the deer damage was so bad that tenants of Elton ?are enforced to leave much of their tillage unmaintained.? When answering the question concerning the acreage of Bringewood (including the enclosures) William Bird vicar of Burrington said ?two thousand acres? and Robert Hopkys of Aston a yeoman aged 84 gave the figure of one thousand and nine hundred acres. Hoskys also complained about enclosures in the Bromfield part of the Chase that Lord Vernon late of the
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manor of Halton ?hath at several times enclosed about one hundred acres of the said Chase the which do still remain enclosed.? 7.2 The Crown disposes of Bringewood, Mocktree and Derefold. The commoners lost their case in Leominster and in 1638 they lost their rights to the entire Chase when the High Court revoked all commoners? claims to Bringewood. Supported by their landlords the surrounding tenants did manage to achieve a little recompense for the loss of these ancient rights. The tenants and commoners of Burrington were given 300 acres of allotments and the commoners of Elton, Aston and Petchfield received 500 acres out of the chase. Bringewood was acquired by the Earl of Lindsey who was given a royal license to kill all the deer in Mocktree and Bringewood, a necessary pre-cursor to the planned enclosure of the entire chase. The deer cull was part of the deal with the commoners affected by browsing damage on their crops. A year earlier Lindsey had leased to Sampson Eure the enclosures of Evenhay, Munstie and the Crabtree Leasow totalling 100 acres as well as ?all that coppice wood next to the Park Gate? but reserved ?all timber trees and saplings fit for timber.? Eure could ?cut down timber for house repairs, shall not damage woods or underwoods, leave sufficient underwood for covert and shade for cattle? and agreed to pay 40s for each acre ploughed. 7.3 Lord Craven?s 1662 map of Bringewood “as it is now enclosed” After Lindsey was killed at the battle of Edgehill, the Herefordshire part of Bringewood Chase passed to the Earl of Craven, who in 1662 drew up a map94 of planned enclosures which was unusually detailed for this period. Entitled “A Particular of the Chase of Bringewood as it is now enclosed” the map covered 1509 acres giving details of enclosure, building and tenant. These are listed in appendix 4 with their areas estimated to the nearest perch (0.0025 hectares). Note the parcel identifed as “D5” and described as “The land below Vaughans Dike from the Heyes to the forge”. The map depicts the distribution of trees throughout the Chase confirming that, despite a century of ?exploitation? and enclosure starting with Elizabeth?s reign, remaining areas of wood pasture and coppice had not been stripped bare by greedy keepers or voracious iron works. It is interesting to compare Craven?s map with the tithe map 1840, the 6” to the mile 1886 Ordnance Survey and the 1946 RAF aerial photographs - see rectified map sequences figures 12, 13, 14 and 16. Some of the enclosures had reverted to secondary woodland by the midVictorian period. It is also possible that some of the planned enclosures were in fact never carried out. The survey of the these enclosed lands gives some indication of what the nature of these enclosure and the hoped for rents following arable conversion (table 9 next page):

Table 9. Descriptions of the enclosures of the Chase 1662. Compare with appendix 4. Name of Bringewood enclosure Comments rent/ac
Mary Knoll, Kings Coppice & small piece at East End (83 acres)
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Part of it rough & uneven & some good corne land on the south side & some good corne land on the top

3s 4d

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The Hassalls worth (17 acres) The Hill (15 acres) Crabtree Leasow (19 acres) The new Tineing (59 acres) The Wignolds (106 acres) (= The Vinnalls) Earles Arbour (109 acres) The Dog Hanging (92 acres) The Lodge & Leasow (56 acres) The Hullocks (69 acres) The lands below Vaughans Dyke (128 acres) The Radletts wood (54 acres) House & part of the [Upper] Radletts (138 acres) The Fire Place (105 acres) A piece called Mosty (=Monstay) (55 acres) Part of Brindgwood Hays, the east part (102 acres) [Other] Part of Brindgwood Hays Evenhay lying near Gatley park (26 acres) Two small crofts (2 acres)

High yet reasonable good corne land Being steep & high to be coppised in for wood Rough & uneven Steep & uneven north side of the hill The greater part steep rough and uneven but the top towards the middle & west good corne land Steep mountain & heathy Barren on the south side the hill on the north side rough & uneven but better grassland Rough uneven apt to cast birch hasle & other woods Well husbandred but apt to cast wood Uneven & rough & full of rocks steep etc [as in all] by good husbandry is made meadow Pasture & meadow Part of it heathy apt to cast birches hasles & others some reasonable pasture little good corne land High mountain ground & very barren on south side south part steep & rough fit to be coppiced for wood the other part good land high uneven ground thet good grass land towards the north part the rest barren high rough uneven ground good especially tow?ds the west which is fit for wood no bringing the wood of[f] good corne land if well manured lately taken out of the common of Brindgwood adjoyning to Even Hey

3s 4d 2s 3s 4d 3s 4d 2s ? 2s 4s 3s 4d 3s 4d 3s 4d 2s 6d ? 2s 6 2s 4s

Note the comments “apt to cast woods” for some of the enclosures indicating the tendency for woodland regeneration. This includes the Hullocks which was only recently woodland when converted to farmland under Vaughan?s 1619 lease above. Woodland would return after the failed attempts to make a viable agriculture out of the higher enclosures (see 7.4 below). Lord Craven subsequently leased the eastern and southern Bringewood enclosures to Richard Salwey who had the bought the manor of Richards Castle in 1650. A number of new farm holdings were created at this time and many of the original associated leases95 drawn up between Salway and his tenants have survived showing that a succession of yeoman and small farmers were keen to take on a new farm enterprise or expanding their existing one. While Craven sold the remaining trees on these enclosures to Salway he ensured that enough trees remained to be used on his estate. He also retained the right to enter his properties to take these retained trees. For example, in 1676 Craven leased ?Mary Knoll alias Sunny Hill recently split into several parcels? and sold Richard Salwey ?all timber and trees on the property except 100 marked young oaks none under 20 years to be preserved for timber which Craven can take during the 99 year lease?. Salwey?s leases (effectively sub-leases) to tenants included similar provisions, for example his lease October 1662 to Arnold Roberts of ?The New Tyning & part of Vynnals, I hold of Lord Craven? included the covenant ?to plant 8 trees of oak, ash, elm, crabtree or appletree & wthin 2 years quickset all, suffer no waste any upon my coppsies & liberty of water for my cattle in other part of the Vynnals?. This is one of the very few references to tree planting on the Chase but is associated with estate husbandry - repairs of buildings etc - not forestry in the modern sense.
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Title of land was sometimes disputed due to the unauthorised nature of many enclosures and settlers could find themselves homeless. Roland Cooper recalled being evicted around 1700 as a nine year old child after the death of his parents from a house his grandfather built ?on the waste? on the edge of Evenhay when “that disagreeable gentleman Mr. Littleton of the More being Lord of Manor (i.e Richards Castle) turned me and brother out doors to seek our bread in dissolate places [and] seased what little rubish we had”96. In describing the origin of nearby settlement Cooper gives a rather charming image of the process of piecemeal enclosure “Hopkins built his house & he throwd up a ditch round this spot of ground & quicked itt planted the inside with frute treese & likewise at the same time planted the slip of ground on the north side of the house on the left hand as you go down to thee spring toward Elton.” 7.4 Reversion of enclosures to rough pasture and woodland These Bringewood chase enclosure plans were being drawn up and implemented in ways similar to what was happening to the remnants of Mocktree and Deerfold forests. However, the height, exposure and poor soils of the higher and steeper parts of the chase would doom many of them to failure. Lord Craven?s neat lines on his 1662 Bringewood map with its hopeful tenants and expected rent receipts only materialised in the sheltered valleys and lower slopes like Mary Knoll, Monstay, Shuttes and Overies (now Vallets Farm) or the lower Hullocks and Radletts (now Deepwood Farm) which all remain as farmland to this day. The new enclosures near the ridge such the Dog Hanging, the Fire Place and the upper Radletts struggled to remain viable and by the time of the 1840 Tithe survey more than 200 acres of them had reverted to secondary woodland and scrub with scarcely a trace of the 1662 enclosure boundaries. By the time of 1886 6” series Ordnance Survey the area of secondary woodland had increased still further. Much of the Vinnalls, ?sheep walk? on the 1840 tithe map, had by 1886, become a conifer plantation and precursor to the Forestry Commission?s wholescale conversion of the area to conifers in the 20th century. The 1930 Land Utilisation Survey maps many of these high areas as scrub or heath while the 1948 RAF aerial photographs reveal that large areas remained natural scrub, rough pasture and trees. The same aerial photograph also shows the advancing dark blanket of new conifer plantations which were about to smother what remained of the chase left over by unsuccessful agriculture. This novel instrument of ?improvement? to the chase was to become uneconomic in an even shorter time than Lord Craven?s high enclosures, but being backed by Government persisted into 21st century. See the map regressions See figures 12 to 16.

96

HRO/R33/11738 Letter 24th March 1749 from Cooper, then about 60 years old, to Richard Knight. Bringewood and its countryside Page 42 DL April 2005

8. Oakley and Norbache Parks – Elizabethan to Victorian times 8.1 Oakley Park From its creation some years before 1490 (2.2 above) the park remained in royal hands administered by the council of marches until its acquisition by the Herbert family in 1635. In the late Elizabethan period Oakley Park?s grazing and pannage was leased to various officials for example in 1588 to Thomas Crofts who was appointed keeper of the Park ?with all profits etc of that office including ?herbage and pannage??. In 1590 to Katheryn Weste, widow of the one of her majesty?s servants, leased by letters patent ?herbage and pannage of her majesty?s Park of Okeley?97. Oakley park lodge was rebuilt at royal expense in 1553 for which the original accounts survive98. “The costes charges and expences as well in pulling downe one house being utterly decayed as also in the new buyldyng of a nother house in the same place of the same length and breadth disbursed and layd for the by Thomas Croft keper of the same parke”. This involved felling 90 trees from Mocktree and Bringwood “and within the said parke of Okeley” as well as 220 loads of timber from Mocktree and Bringwood and from ?from dyverse places in the said parke?. There is an interesting entry which relates to the destruction of the Carmelite Priory99 in Corve Street Ludlow, recently excavated100: Bromfield parishioners were paid ? 7 for “cariage of clx lodes of stone from the late whitt friers in Ludlow to the said lodge being distant one myle after xij d the lode”. When the park was surveyed by John Woodward in 1609 it extended to120 acres, contained 400 “doterd” Oaks and 200 timber trees, had 2 enclosures of meadow within it of 5 acres and 2 other pieces of ground ?adjoining the pales of the park and part of it called Billetts 4 acres used for pasturing the swine of the underkeeper?101. In 1617 the chancellor Sir Henry Hobart in trust to the prince of Wales (the future Charles I) leased its herbage and pannage rights to Sir Charles Foxe102 for 31 years with the stipulation that he ?must maintain the deer and game in the park – at least 100 deer – allowing them feeding and keeping both winter and summer?103. Foxe was clearly not interested in this part of bargain and that same year the Council of the Marches demanded that he show “by what title he doth hold Oakly Park and keepeth more sheep and cattle than deer”. Whatever the outcome 10 years later in 1627 Fox remained renting the park described as “130 acres pasture and 10 acres of meadow with lodge and houses and all appurtenances together with all woods, deer, liberty of the park to keep deer there”104. In 1628 Charles I granted the reversion of Oakley Park to Fox and his heirs for all time. In 1670 fee farm rent of “?20 issuing out of Okley Park”105 was payable to Charles II?s Surveyor General. By this time Matthew Herbert, Sir Charles Foxe?s son in law, had become owner of Bromfield manor. Descriptions of the fields and boundary of Oakley park appears in a deed of exchange of 1710 whereby Francis Herbert of Oakley acquired certain lands from the ?bailiffs and burghesses of
97 98

SRO 20/6/127-8 PRO E101/478/24 99 Faraday, M., Ludlow, A Social, economic and political history 1085–1660. page 64 Phillimore 1991 100 Klein, P. The Carmelite Friary, Corve Street, Ludlow Excavation. English Heritage 1990. 101 SRO 20/6/132 102 This is the son of the Sir Charles Fox who appears in section 5. This son?s daughter marries a Herbert whose son Francis Herbet acquires Oakley from the crown in 1635. 103 SRO 20/6/130-1 104 SRO 20/6/133-4 105 SRO 20/6/145-6 Bringewood and its countryside Page 43 DL April 2005

Ludlow?. These include for example ?Inclosure out of Priors Halton Field joining the Park pales? and ?piece between the park pales and field adjoining the Great Pool?106. Examination of the probate valuation107 of Francis Herbert?s effects at Oakley Park estate in 1759 indicates that a century later the park was adjunct to and part of farmland and livestock grazing land. “A true inventory of the cattle, sheep and swine pt. of the said ffrancis Herbert at Oakey Park aforesaid taken & valued and apprized by Thomas Duppa and Richard Bishop the thirty first day of March 1759 as follows vizt:
ten feeding oxen 12 working oxen 24 milch cows and 13 suckling calves 1 Bule (sic) 10 young cattle 13 yearling calves 40 swine of all sorts 26 polesall hog sheep at 8 shillings a peice 20 welsh weathers and a ram 23 clun weathers 144 store sheep 64 tuns of old Hay about and in the barns 4 tuns in the deer house Barley unthreshed about 200 strikes (strike=bushel) Pease unthreshed about 80 strikes Oats unthreshed about 200 strikes ? 75 ? 10s 64 ? 107 ? 3 ? 25 ? 15s 20 ? 33 ? 8s 10 ? 5 ? 9 ? 8s 50 ? 96 ? 6 ? 22 ? 10 ?

This reads as a fairly typical mixed livestock farm of the period with no mention of deer, except a ?deer house? from the old days, now used to store hay. The Herbert and Clive families had been linked by marriage since 1751 and in 1767 Oakley and Walcot parks were bought by Robert Clive on his second return from India. By 1772 Clive was considering plans for Oakley drawn up by Lancelot ?capability? Brown fashionable for his formal sweeping vistas with clumps of trees. Professor Mainwaring, a friend of Brown, who had the rectory at Church Stretton wrote to him August 1773 saying: “I am happy in finding that you think so highly of Oakley Park, because I have no doubt of Lord Clive?s concurring with your opinion, and of your making it, rude and savage as it now lies, the glory of this county.” Brown plans were notable for taking little account of previous land use or historic features and these are never indicated in his plans. Land ?improvements? such as grubbing and levelling of hedgerows, the burying of land-drains in place of field ditches, were major expenses in the implementation of a typical Brown plan108. Clive died in 1774 and it is not known whether Brown actually drew up any plans, but his son Edward Clive had already been employing the Shropshire landscape architect William Emes. Emes was however a follower of Brown and he worked on both Oakley and Walcot. One of the entries in the 1773 Clive accounts has a Mr. Bennet being paid ? 80-13-6 for “Levelling 109 ground and planting trees at Oakley park” .

106 107

SRO 20/6/107 PRO PROB/3/18/271 108 Stroud, D. Capability Brown. Faber and Faber 1975 109 SRO 515 2/10/685 Bringewood and its countryside Page 44

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Two 18th century maps of Bromfield manor and Oakley park survive. One dated 1733 is in private hands with a tracing deposited at the Shropshire Records Office (SRO) and another also at the SRO is undated but is between 1745 and 1764 for reasons examined in figure 26. These dates are consistent with the map being prepared shortly after the death of the occupier Francis Herbert in 1759. The southern boundary of the park was extended between the dates of the two maps to take in some of the fields of Lady Halton (figure 19). The 1733 map shows only 2 avenues one along the road from Bromfield bridge to Priors Halton and another to its east. The c1760 map shows these as well but also the ?Duchess Walk? and a number of other avenues nearby. There is some evidence that the Oakley Park part of the c1760 map was more a plan that a true survey. The only avenues depicted in c1760 and mapped on the 6” Ordnance Survey c1880 map are the Duchess Walk and the western half of the Prior?s Halton to Bromfield road. Elsewhere there is no trace of alignments of trees in the places where they appear in the c1760 map. Crucially, two short lines of trees south of the Duchess Walk (a, b, c in figures 18b & 19) appear in 1880 (and in an air photo of 1951) but are not on the c1760 map. Yet these trees must have been present in 1760 since they are clearly hedgerow trees of boundaries that existed in 1733. The east-west line of trees ?a? marks the 1733 southern park boundary while tree line ?b? and ?c?, transverse to the Duchess Walk, are on the line of 1733 field boundaries. Both maps predate Mainwaring?s comments about Oakley being “rude and savage”. How far Emes?s ?taming? of this park extended beyond the vicinity of the main house is difficult to judge. Certainly the 1840 tithe map, which does not show trees, depicts the southern boundary of the park as a single sweeping boundary which, sometime since 1760, had obliterated the sinuous line of the ancient enclosures of Lady Halton seen in c1760. (Figures 19 and 20). Oakley?s neighbour, of course, was Richard Payne Knight of Downton, famous castigator of the ?formal school? and whose poem ?The Landscape? published in 1794 was aimed at Brown?s style of landscape make over and could well have applied to his neighbour?s park. “ See yon fantastic band, with charts, pedometers, and rules in hand advance triumphant, and like lay waste the forms of nature and the works of taste! t?improve, adorn and polish, they profess: but shave the Goddess whom they came to dress level each broken bank and shaggy mound, and fashion all to one unvaried round” If any 18th century ?improvements? at Oakley Park merited Knight?s scorn they would be dwarfed by the destruction wreaked upon the park by 20th century agriculture (figures 18 and 21). 8.2 Norbache Park Norbache Park (SO480710) is 1 km north of the castle of Richards Castle bordering the SE flank of the High Vinnals ridge. The park dates back to at least 13th century (see 1.7 above) and remained intact until most its trees were felled and it was coniferised in the early 1950?s. The name Norbache disappeared from maps by the 19th century and is forgotten. The most recent document mentioning it is the 1861 valuation110 of the Moor Park Estate that refers to

110

Cross, P. ibid reference 8.

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“the well known valley of Norbatch”. On modern maps it is referred to simply as “deer park” and although smothered in conifers its boundary banks survive as do a few old Lime trees. A rent account of the mid 17th century has 5 tenancies totalling 95 acres under the heading of Norbache Park. In July 1652 another part of the park ?all that parcell of wood land called Ruffe Norbache 16 a with all the woodes thereupon? is leased. Reserved out of the lease are ?the body of all oaks ashes & crabtrees and all the present wood now growing upon a bank with the said premisses from a place called the Bentlie(s?) to a banck now in the possession of John Rea & adjoyning to a common called Hanway common on the south side?. 9. The Victorian Botany of Bringewood, Oakley and the Haltons 9.1 Oakley Park Whatever the changes to Oakley Park over the proceeding decades, it was still a botanist?s paradise in the 19th century. The botanist William Leighton was supplied with 81 plant records from Oakley Park for his first county flora of Shropshire published in 1841. Most of the plant records came from two local botanists, Mr. Henry Spare and Miss McGhie, who focussed their attention upon the pool and the park grassland. It is interesting to note the presence of Greater Burnet characteristic of flood plain meadows (and even then considered ?very rare?) as well as plants such as Meadow Clary (now extinct in the West Midlands) and Columbine. All these plants were clearly of general occurrence in the “Oakley park meadows” as well as seven species of Orchid. The list of Oakley?s notable Victorian plant records published by Leighton are listed in appendix 5 along with a reference to discussions as to why some of Spare and McGhie?s records (not included in the list) are disputed. 9.2 The Haltons From the farmland between Oakley and Bringewood Chase, Leighton lists Autumn Lady's Tresses, now rare but known until recently from fields around New House Farm (SO453730). Leighton lists Spider Orchid from Prior?s Halton but his source, Henry Spare, is now considered unreliable possibly confusing it with Bee Orchid (see reference 135 appendix 5). At the Poles Farm, Spare recorded Buckbean Menyanthes trifoliata which at that time in the Shropshire countryside was “frequent, marshy places and boggy margins of pools”. At Oakley, and generally for Bromfield, Corn marigold is recorded which would have been a common arable weed. 9.3 Bringewood and Whitcliffe. Leighton?s Shropshire flora does not mention Bringewood Chase since it was mostly in Herefordshire but nearby Whitcliffe coppice was a favourite haunt of Ludlow botanists being just up the road from the town. Whitcliffe coppice would probably have been fairly typical of coppice woods in Bringewood or Richards Castle at this time and may serve as a proxy in the absence of equivalent Herefordshire records. Some 40 plant records were supplied to Leighton from Whitcliffe coppice including plants such as Milkwort, Petty Whin, Bilberry, Heath Bedstraw and Rock Rose typical of heath or scrubby open habitat. Petty Whin Genista anglica was generally found in Shropshire in “moist heaths and moory ground” it is now “very rare”. Broad-leaved Helleborine was observed “In great profusion and beauty on the borders of a horse-tract through Whitcliffe woods near Ludlow.” Three of the plants in Leighton?s Whitcliffe list now appear to be extinct in Shropshire (appendix 5 page 67).

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Straying into Herefordshire, Leighton lists McGhie?s record of Butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris from “Vinnals” presumably from a sunlit spring, perhaps at the head of the Mary Knoll valley. For Butterwort he says “Bogs and moist heaths, not very common”. Victorian Herefordshire records for the Bringwood/Vinnals area are sparse but we have a diary entry111 for the Rev. Augustin Ley who walked from Ludlow station via Mary Knoll valley over Bringewood to Downton on the 6th July 1878. He recorded Petty Whin Genista anglica from the south side of Bringewood Chase which, together with the 1841 Whitcliffe record above, indicates that the plant was distributed both sides of the county border along the ridge. He also records Tawny sedge Carex hostiana there. Ferns: Purchas and Ley?s ?A Flora of Herefordshire? published in 1889 gives records for Stags-horn Clubmoss Lycopodium clavatum on the Vinnals and Wood Horsetail Equisetum sylvaticum was recorded between the Vinnalls and Mary Knoll. The former has been recorded only at Brampton Bryan in recent years but seems to be absent now. (see 11.1). 9.4 Juniper in Bringewood and surroundings, 1840 to present. Leighton includes Miss McGhie?s records for Juniper “in the neighbourhood of Ludlow” and four other sites112. Cross checking with the Purchas and Ley?s Flora of Herefordshire which lists six Juniper locations including “Aymestry and Vinnals”, it seems reasonable to assume that McGhie?s record refers to the Bringewood/Whitcliffe/Vinnals area. Leighton?s general comment on Juniper is “woods and heaths; rare” while Purchas and Ley has “native, on open hills, preferring calcareous soils; rare”. In the 1905 volume of the Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club there is an enigmatic record of “a small hill covered with Juniper” in Deerfold Forest in ?Notes additional to the Flora of Herefordshire?. It seems that the last time wild Juniper was identified in Herefordshire was in the early eighties by Martin Noble on the Herefordshire part of Bringewood Chase, and published in the ?Ecological Flora of Shropshire? 1985 (page 178). Martin (now working for Forest Enterprise in the New Forest) gave a couple of grid references when recently contacted but says the area was planted up with conifers. Attempts to find it have so far failed. The more easterly grid reference he gave is next to the enclosed fields, formerly Aston common, on the knoll known as ?Juniper Hill? (SO473728) on the 1886 Ordnance Survey but not so named on the 1840 tithe map. These fields appeared as rough scruby pasture on the RAF 1948 air photo and John Voysey (letter to the author dated 12/12/2003) knew Juniper there in the 1960?s. Professor Clifford-Smith also remembers Juniper as a youth in the late 1950?s growing on the south side of ?Juniper Hill? (email to author 30/1/2004). Mark Lawley?s ?A Botanical Stroll through North Herefordshire? - undated but printed c1999 - reviews some Juniper records (including Noble?s) but does not list the plant now. Juniper seems to be able to hang in unsuitable habitat for some years since it was recently (2003) re-discovered in secondary woodland on the northern slopes of Westhope Hill were it was last recorded 30 years ago. Juniper in this area is remembered as locally frequent up to the 1950?s by living residents: Mrs Joyce Underwood of Westhope Hill and Mr. Thomas Jay of Derrndale. A review of Juniper in Herefordshire is available on CD from this author.

Quoted in Lawley, M. ?A Botanical Stroll Botany of North Herefordshire?. - undated but printed c1999 ?Near Kingswood, truly wild. ..Woods Burford Ashford Carbonal and the Wyre?. Bringewood and its countryside Page 47 DL April 2005
111 112

10. The landscape of Bringewood and surroundings – the last 160 years 10.1 Victorian observations of forest, plantation and coppice woodland By 1840 many of the enclosures created out of Mocktree, Bringewood and Deerfold forest and chase two centuries early had become well-established farmland. However those on the higher, steeper and thinner soils especially on Bringewood Chase such as the Dog Hanging and Vinnals had reverted to rough pasture and secondary woodland. The coppice woodlands that supplied the Bringewood iron works remained as coppice wood but were now supplying other local industries, for example the local potteries, or were promoted to broadleaved high forest. A new element in the landscape of North Herefordshire and the borders was the plantations, mainly of Larch, a development subject to debate that is surprisingly familiar to present times. The Rev. Thomas Woodhouse vicar of Aymestrey wrote in the Woolhope Club Transactions for 1870 comparing these plantations to his parish?s native coppice woodland that included those such as Gravely, Pyon and Sned which supplied the forges and furnaces of Bringewood. “Such woodlands as these are immeasurably more picturesque than the formal coverts and plantations of the modern improver and lead ones thoughts back to the time when these hills were clad with veritable forests, of which the present woods are doubtless the descendants and counterparts.” Half a century after the closure of the Marches iron industry charcoal was still the primary output from these woods. “Considerable quantities of charcoal are made here. The charcoal burners pitch their rude huts on some clearing in the woods, and often remain there throughout the summer. The level patches on which the heaps are burnt, blackened with small fragments of charcoal, are familiar features of these woods. I have known Aymestrey long enough to remember this phenomenon occurring in almost all parts of these extensive woods.” Woodhouse observed the cyclical flush of ground flora “The underwood chiefly consists of hazel and young oaks. The coppice wood is generally cut down and cleared off at intervals of about twenty years, some taller standards being spared; and as this process is going on every year in some part or other of the many hundred acres of wood which this parish contains, one is always sure of finding some open spaces amidst the "Boundless contiguity of shade". From such clearings the eye catches the most charming glimpses of woodland, hill, and valley; and underfoot they are often carpeted with flowers, of the gayest hues.” He was less complimentary about the plantations established on places such as the Vinnalls. “If a new plantation is made, it is in nine cases out of ten composed of Larch, stiff, monotonous, wiry looking trees, which cannot compensate by their fresh verdure during the short month of spring for their dreary meagreness through the rest of the year.” He also published what may be some of the first concerns about the effects of conifers on ground flora when he described conifers in generally as “gloomy in colour, monotonous in outline, and fatal to all undergrowth”. Another Woolhope Club contributor was Dr. Bull, the first to publish113 a description and history of North Herefordshire?s forests and Bringewood forge. Although he was refering to Deerfold his comments could equal well apply to Mocktree or to much of Bringewood. “The Forest has now lost its wild character. It is completely inclosed and for the most part under cultivation… It will be some time too before that sign of a forest district disappears, the remains of the charcoal burner?s fires, which the plough turns up in almost every field. The
113

Bull, Dr. ?The Ancient Forest of Deerfold?. Transactions of Woolhope Naturalists Field Club 1870 and ?Some Account of Bringewood Forge and Furnace? Transactions of Woolhope Naturalists Field Club 1869. Bringewood and its countryside Page 48 DL April 2005

“charking places” are very numerous all over the Forest”. He observed the loss of common rights: “The whole land is now freehold, and the poor have no more right to the woods of Overlye than they have to cut the shrubs of Yatton Court or to gather flowers in Lord Bateman?s garden at Shobdon”. Writing about 60 years after the closure of the Bringewood works Dr. Bull was able to record Bringewood?s oral history. “It is still within the memory of man that bands of mules, or pack horses, in single file, carried iron ore down the steep slopes of Bringewood Chase, in direct route from the Clee Hill to the Forge”. “There are still those who remember the busy scene at the Forge with all its life and activity; and who can still recall vividly the picturesque effects produced [by] the column of sparks rising high above the woods brightly reflected in the river below”

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