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Lower Part. | 247 Maisemore
| 248 Preston
The following places are either members of aggregate hamlets in the same, or of parishes in different, hundreds. The figures prefixed mark to which they respectively belong: 206 High Leaden
243 Littleworth 228 Hucklecot
231 Kingsholm 231 Wotton
244 Prinknash 206 Highnam
243 Tuffiey 231 Longford
231 Twigworth 206 Linton, and Over
Woolstrop is a portion of Quedgeley (180).
At the time of the conquest, WESTBERIE, WESTBERIES, part of LEDENEI, and TEDENHAM, were included in the modern hundreds of St. BRIAVELS and West
BLITESLAU, BLIDESLAWE, and part of LEDENEI, in BLIDESLow.
BOTELAU, part of WESTBERIE, in Botlot and the DUTCHY OF LANCASTER.
DUDESTAN, DUNESTAN, LANGEBRIGE, TOLANGEBRIGES, in DUDSTON and King's-BARTON.
FOREST OF DEAN.
THE most conspicuous feature in this division is the FOREST of DEAN, situate in the western part of the county, between the rivers Severn and Wye. The name has been variously defined. Camden and Atkyns derive it from the Gaulish and British word Arden, by removing the first syllable. A very extensive forest in Gerniany was so called before the time of Cæsar, and is so at the present period. The Latin writers, among whon is Giraldus, called it, Danica Sylva, Danubia, or Dane's Wood, from the traditional account of that people having sheltered themselves in it. Others derive it from the dens, or small vallies, which abound in the forest.
No history or record mentions the origin of any of the forests belonging to the crown, (the New Forest, in Hampshire excepted,) which, though made by William the Conqueror, is called by Manwood, “ the newest forest in all England.” The bounds of many of the forests were enlarged by Henry II., Richard I., and John ; but they were reduced to their ancient limits in the reign of Edw. I. agreeably to the provisions of the Charta de Foresta ; and, in order to ascertain those limits, perambulations were then made, and afterwards confirmed by Parliament. In the tenth year of Charles I. at a justice seat held at Gloucester castle, the ancient and legal bounds were settled, according to the perambulations made 12 Hen. III. and 10 Edw. I.; and within these bounds are contained 23,015 acres belonging to the crown, exclusive of a tract of land called Abbott's Wood, containing 872 acres, which was granted in fee, 42 Hen. II. to the convent of Flaxley, and at the dissolution, 36 Henry VIII. granted to Sir Anthony Kingston and his heirs, from whom, by purchase and inheritance, it has descended, with the manor of Flaxley, to Sir Thos. Crawley Boevey, Bart. The original grant reserved the herbage for the : King's deer and wild beasts; with all mines and quarries, giving power to the grantee to inclose one-tenth part thereof, and to hold the same inclosed, against all animals, except the King's deer and other wild or venary beasts, leaving nine parts always open.
In consequence of public commotions, the grants of weak or improvident Princes, the neglect or abuses of of. ficers, and the unlawful encroachmants of others, great waste and devastations have been committed at various periods. In no instance perhaps was greater mischief done than by Sir John Wintour, to whom a grant was made by Charles I. of all the King's coppices and waste soil of the forest, (except the Lea Bayley) with all mines and quarries, in consideration of 10,600l, and a fee farm rent of 19501. 12s. 8d. for ever, At this time, within the limits of the forest so granted, there were growing 105,557 trees, containing 61,928 tons of timber, 153,209 cords of wood. The full extent of the mischief likely to be occasioned by this grant was prevented by the civil war, which put an end to this patent. Eighteen thousand acres were intended to be inclosed, but the inclosures which had been
made were now thrown down, and the whole re-afforested. On the restoration of monarchy Sir John's grant was revived; but on the representation of the neighbouring inhabitants to government, of the injury they and the public were likely to sustain, a commission was issued for the purpose of enquiring into the state of the forest; and upon an accurate survey there were found 25,929 oaks, and 4204 beeches, containing 121,572 cords of wood, and 11,335 tons of ship timber fit for the navy. On return of this commission, a new grant was made to the nominees of Sir John Wintour, of all the above mentioned trees, except the 11,335 tons of ship timber. Five hundred cutters of wood were immediately employed, and so rapid and alarming was the devastation, that an order of Parliament was made to put a stop to any further felling of timber or cutting of wood. The parliament, however, being prorogued before a bill could be passed, Sir John was left at full liberty to continue cutting, so that on a new survey in 1667 it was found, that of the 30,133 trees only 200 remained; and of the 11,335 tons of ship timber reserved, not more than 1100 tons had been delivered, and there would be a deficiency of 7 or 8000 tons. To repair these mischiefs, by an act of 20 Charles II. 11,000 acres were inclosed, planted, and carefully protected; and it is chiefly in the parts at that time inclosed, that the timber with which the dock-yards have since been furnished from this forest, has been felled, and in which any considerable quantity of useful timber is now to be found.
Another cause of considerable mischief was, the incroachments and intrusions of the free-miners and others; therefore during the usurpation, Cromwell expelled nearly 400 cabins of beggarly people, living upon the waste, and destroying the wood and timber. In 1680, about thirty
cabins had been again erected, which were demolished, with the inclosures about them. Sir Robert Atkyns observes, that in his time the six lodges built for the keep
were the only houses within the forest, and that all the cottages were pulled down. These attentions and regulations seemed to have produced many beneficial effects, and it is probable that, by the zeal and co-operation of the crown officers, surveyors, and other subordinate agents, the forest was in its best state about this time.
From the relaxation, however, of the legal government of the forest, and the neglect of those to whom the care of this valuable property was entrusted, abuses gradually crept in, and have been suffered to increase to such a height as sufficiently accounts for the wasted and unprofitable condition to which it is now reduced. In 1714 it was computed, that there were 27,302 loads fit for the navy, and 16,851 of about sixty years growth, besides 20,066 loads of dotard 1 and decaying. In 1783 it was computed,
fresh survey, that there were 90,382 oak trees, containing 95,043 loads, and 17,982 beech trees, computed at 16,492 loads; and in 1788 the timber growing in the forest was nearly as follows: 24,000 oak trees, measuring on an average a load and a quarter each, girt measure ; 22,000 about half a load each, besides unsound trees, which were numerous, and a considerable quantity of fine large beech, and young growing trees in various parts. The persons employed in the last survey observed, that if the survey of 1783 were accurately taken, an immense quantity of timber must have been, in one way or other, taken down since that period. The ravages, indeed, of the timber stealers are very great. In seven years, Thomas Blunt, Esq. with the assistance of the keepers, brought to conviction 247 persons of this description