All about the bounds. What medieval perambulations can tell us about the New Forest – Abstract

Author: Nfknowledge

The following paper was presented at the New Forest Knowledge Conference 2017 entitled: New Forest Historical Research and Archaeology: who’s doing it? Below you will find the abstract of the paper and a video of the paper given if permission to film it was given by the speaker.


Richard Reeves

This paper first outlines the changes in the bounds of the New Forest using evidence from the Domesday Book, medieval and later perambulations.  It will consider the changes in and challenges to the perambulation that have occurred through the history of the Forest.  In particular, the period around the time of the designation of the Forest and subsequent reorganization of the Saxon hundredal boundaries to form the New Forest Hundred coterminous with the demesne lands of the Forest.  Also following the implementation of the Carta de Foresta of 1217 and the struggles for disafforestation surrounding it.  It will then briefly cover the formation of the Bailiwick and Walk boundaries into which the Forest was historically divided.

The second section will consider the individual bound-marks of the perambulations, particularly in reference to archaeological features, including prehistoric barrows, Roman roads and other route-ways, as well sites near contemporary with the bounds themselves, focusing on those relevant to the historic management of the Forest.

Lastly, the impact of the various bounds will be considered in terms of historic management, in particular commoning, with special reference to purlieus both outside and within the Forest, impacts on the jurisdictional history, specifically the interest of the various types of forest officers and legal history of the Forest, and what this tells us about the more widely about forest law.

In summary it will demonstrate how the designation of the Forest impacted on the development of the Forest and its hinterland, thereby creating the landscape we see today.

Date: 2017

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