Catalogue description Palatinate of Chester: Forest Records

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Details of CHES 33
Reference: CHES 33
Title: Palatinate of Chester: Forest Records

This series contains the Palatinate of Chester's forest records. The records begin in 1286 and relate to all four Cheshire forests, Wirral, Delamere, Mondrem and Macclesfield. They consist mainly of rolls of regards of the forests, and plea rolls of proceedings before the justice of Chester and other forest justices appointed by the successive royal earls who held the county after 1237. The first two items in the series consist mainly of regards and forest pleas held in Wirral, Delamere and Mondrem forests in the reign of Edward I.

The second largest item is the roll of the first forest eyre in the county, imposed by Edward the Black Prince in 1347, and which is similar in content to the rolls of eyres held in ordinary forest counties. Another eyre was supposed to have been held at the same time as a general eyre for common pleas in 1353, but was postponed until 1357, when the forests, except Macclesfield, paid with heavy communal fines.

Wirral was disafforested in 1376 and the records are contained of a retrospective fine paid to Richard II in 1384-1385. The only later document in the series is the roll of eyres held in the remaining three forests in 1503 by justices appointed by Henry Prince of Wales, and although Delamere survived as a forest until the nineteenth century there are no further records.

Date: 1286-1503

The rolls now bearing the references CHES 17/12-15 were in 1860 classified with CHES 33, while at that time what are now CHES 33/5 certainly and CHES 33/7 probably were not included, being added at some point before the publication of the printed list in Lists and Indexes, XL in 1914. This catalogue was replaced in 1995.

Related material:

For forest records for other counties for the same period see:

DL 39

E 32

E 146

Separated material:

Forests existed in Cheshire in the time of the non-royal earls of Chester, before 1237, but no records of their administration have survived from that period. Virtually no subsidiary records of local forest administration and courts have survived down to the point at which these records were transferred to the Public Record Office in 1854, although a great many must once have existed.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 9 roll(s)
Unpublished finding aids:

Much information about Cheshire forests in period between 1351 and 1365 is in the Chester volume of the Black Prince's Register, E 36/279, published in Register of Edward the Back Prince, part III (1932).

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