Catalogue description Duchy of Lancaster and Justice of the Forest South of the Trent: Forest Records

Search within or browse this series to find specific records of interest.

Date range

Details of DL 39
Reference: DL 39
Title: Duchy of Lancaster and Justice of the Forest South of the Trent: Forest Records

This series comprises the relatively few surviving forest records of the Duchy of Lancaster, relating to the Duchy's forests mainly in the north of England and north midlands, with only two outliers in the south.

The most numerous relate to Needwood forest in Staffordshire, from 1609 to 1844, with significant numbers from Braydon forest in Wiltshire (mainly swanimote court rolls, for the reign of James I only) and Knaresborough forest in Yorkshire. They include too some forest eyre rolls from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, swanimote court rolls, forest petitions to the Chancellor of the Duchy, and material on disafforestation and enclosure.

The series also includes a significant number of rolls, files and other materials deriving from the eyres of Sir Reginald Bray as justice of the forest south of the Trent between 1486 and 1503, at the same time as he was Chancellor of the Duchy.

Finally, there are some miscellaneous records, including a perambulation of the forest boundaries in Huntingdonshire and a thirteenth-century view of the groves of Ivo Malet in Devon.

Date: 1207-1844

Arranged in chronological order.

Related material:

For the main series of forest records see:

For similar records of the Palatinate of Chester see CHES 33

E 32

E 146

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Not Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin

Duchy of Lancaster, 1399-

Justices of the Forest, 1166-1817

Physical description: 155 files and rolls
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

Duchy of Lancaster

Accruals: Series is accruing
Administrative / biographical background:

Duke Henry of Lancaster (1351-1361) appointed his own forest justices, although he had received no grant specifically allowing him to do so, and as earl of Lancaster held an eyre at Lancaster.

In 1378 John of Gaunt was given permission to appoint forest eyre justices. It is therefore not surprising that records of forest justices and local forest records which came to them as a result of their activities are to be found among the duchy records.

The duchy forests were nearly all in the north of England and the midlands, and included the forests of Amounderness, Blackburn, Bowland, Quernmore and Wyresdale in Lancashire, Knaresborough and Pickering Lythe in Yorkshire, Needwood in Staffordshire, Peak and Duffield Frith in Debyshire, and Leicester forest. The only duchy forests in the south were Ashdown forest in Sussex and Braydon forest in Wiltshire.

A large proportion of the series consists of the records of the justices in eyre of the forest south of the Trent for the reign of Henry VII, when the justices held a great many forest eyres as part of an attempt made by the king to revive forest administration generally.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research

How to look for...