Tuesday, 26 July 2011

the Oldest known boundary

The oldest known boundary for Sherwood Forest- or the forest in Nottinghamshire comes from an inquest into the rights of the Arch-Bishop of York with regards to forest laws.

This inquest was held in 1155/6 (see Crook 1994 in bilbliography).

This was at the start of the reign of Henry II.

Henry II was the grandson of Henry I.

Henry I was king from 1100-1135. He died leaving his daugther Matilda on the throne.

She was married to his main rival Geoffrey Planaganet the Duke of Anjou.

The Norman barons feared having the Duke of Anjou on the throne and instead invited Stephen of Blois a Norman lord and nephew of Henry I who became King Stephen of England in 1135.

Matilda and Geoffrey fought back and a civil war known as the 'Anarchy' enveloped England for nearly 20 years.

The ultimate result was that Stephen accepted Matilda  and Geoffrey's son Henry of Anjou as his successor.

Henry became king of England as Henry II in 1154 (reigning until 1189)

He set about restoring his kingdom to how it had been in the reign of his grandfather Henry I.

In Nottinghamshire he held the inquest mentioned above to determine the extent of the forest and the Archbishops rights against it in the reign of his grandfather.

This boundary covered the western half of the county extending from the Trent in the south up the Doverbeck river in the southeast to where it crossed the Kings Highway to York.

It then followed this road to the boundary of the county at Bicarrs Dyke in the far north.

Everything to the west of this line was called the 'old forest in the time of Henry I (1100-1135).

This is interesting in that this area is significantly larger than that defined as Sherwood Forest in the 13th century (see boudaries page).

This boundary includes the area to the north known as 'Hatfield' meaning heath field- a logical inclusion within a forest.

Does this mean the original forest followed this boundary?


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