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Medieval Sourcebook:
The Dialogue of the Exchequer: On The Forests, 1177

Book I, C.12.

Disciple: What is the forest of the King, and what is the reason for this name?

Master: The forest of the King is a safe lair for wild beasts; not of any kind of beast but of those of the woods only; not in any place whatsoever but only in certain places and in those suitable to the purpose; whence such a place is called a forest, the "o" having been changed from "e" as it was in "feresta," i.e., the place of wild beasts.

Disciple: Is there a forest of the King in every county?

Master: No. But in wooded counties where there are lairs for wild beasts and forage in abundance; it is immaterial who owns the woods, whether the King or a noble, the wild beasts are safe and may roam at will anywhere.



From: William Stubbs & H. W. C. Davis, eds., Select Charters of English Constitutional History, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), p. 222, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 73-74.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, September 1998