Laws of Forests

11 February 1225

Laws of Forests


  • Intro

    England's forests had once provided the common people with a place to forage for food and firewood, and space for their animals to feed. But by the 1300s, a number of kings had claimed much of this valuable land as their own, preventing others from using it to their own advantage. Anyone seen to be misusing the land could face harsh punishments and fines.


    The Charter of the Forest restored the traditional rights of the people. ‘Free men’ were allowed to find pasture for their pigs, collect firewood, graze animals, or cut turf for fuel. At this time, however, only about 10 per cent of the population was ‘free’; the rest were locked into service to a local landowner, some of them little more than slaves. This document recording Forest Law was written on 11 February 1225.


    Shelfmark: Add.Ch.24712

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