Charter of the forest

Charter of the forest

The Charter of the Forest is a little-known charter sealed in England by King Henry III. "Carta de Foresta" was, in substance, part of the great constitutional reforms imposed by his barons upon King John. It was issued in 1217 as a supplement to Magna Carta which the previous King John wished to repudiate and annul with Papal authority as a "shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the king by violence and fear" and revised in 1225.

In comparison with "Magna Carta", it provided some real rights, privileges and protections for the common man against abuses of encroaching aristocracy. []

At a time when the Royal forests were the most important potential source of fuel for cooking, heating and industries such as charcoal burning, this charter was almost unique in providing a degree of economic protection for serfs and vassals.

It provided a right of common access to (royal) private lands that would wait until the Union to be equalled within the realm.

It repealed the death penalty for taking Royal game and abolished mutilation as a lesser punishment.

It was the statute that remained longest in force from 1217 to 1971.

External links

* [ Charter of the Forest]
* [ BBC Radio 4 "The Things We Forgot to Remember," Broadcast 3 of 4]

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