The proceedings of the Forest Eyres and Attachment courts are full of the records of encroachment on the woods of the forest.

People were constantly being fined for chopping down trees.

Alongside this attack on the 'Green' or 'Vert' of Medieval Sherwood Forest by the people who lived there, there were also natural disasters that chopped away at the trees and woods of the forest overtime.

One obvious problem of living in an area dominated by vast areas of open heathland; native deciduous woodland does not easily catch fire according to Oliver Rackham, but the heather of the abundant Sherwood heath land was sensitive to it, and was in fact subject to controlled burning in medieval times.


Forest fire









The main problem for people living in the Forest was that their houses were constructed of timber.

The Middleton Forest Book opens with a reference to the village of Mansfield  Woodhouse burning to the ground in 1304! (Boulton 1964)

Timber was requested of the King from Sherwood Forest to allow the rebuilding of the town including the Kirk (church) which had been ‘brenned’ or burned in the disaster.

Radio-carbon dating of charcoal fragments found in test-pits (undertaken by Nottinghamshire County Council, and led by David Budge (now Director at Mercian Archaeological Services CIC) produced dates from within 10 years of the 1304 date.

This information helped Budge interpret something of the original layout of the village- which he has suggested was altered in the rebuilding.

This disaster at the end of the reign of Edward I is documented because Mansfield Woodhouse was part of the Crown manor of Mansfield.

Another disaster from the end of our period shows well the panic and mass response to the terror of a forest fire, and shows how dangerous a long hot summer in Sherwood could be:

In 1624 during the great drought of that year Sherwood Forest suffered a great fire, and White (Worksop, the Dukery, and Sherwood forest) quotes from a manuscript preserved in the British museum in which it says that there was such a mist of smoke and particles that people thought it was an eclipse of the sun, but when the true cause was discovered ‘there came command from the justices to raise the country there about and bring pickaxes, spades and shovels to make dikes and trenches to break the fire in the forest’. This fire, four miles long and half a mile wide, was stopped at the wood between Mansfield and Nottingham’.
(Illingworth Butler 1946)

If you imagine a world where shepherds would sit with flocks on the open heath, charcoal burners plied their trade in the myriad of woods, travellers camped by the roadside, foresters, woodcutters, woodwards, sawyers and many others had fires as they worked…and where outlaws lit fires in the depths of the woods…

...also a world where timber-framed buildings and thatched roofs were the norm…

…it is undoubted that the threat of fire was a very real and very common occurrence in Medieval Sherwood Forest.



(Andy Gaunt, first published 13/11/2011)


Click here for more ‘Stories from the Forest’…





The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project Logo The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project

Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Community Archaeology Derbyshire, Community Archaeology Leicestershire, Community Archaeology East Midlands, Mercian Archaeological     Services Community Archaeology for Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Sherwood Forest,     Leicestershire and the East Midlands. Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Community     Archaeology East Midlands, Community Archaeology Leicestershire. Archaeological




Mercian Archaeological Services Community Archaeology in the East Midlands

Fire in Sherwood Forest

Award Winners 2016

for "Engaging people in the heritage, history & archaeology of Sherwood Forest".


Young Archaeology Club Sherwood Forest Trust Magna Carta Sherwood Forest

Some funders and partners:

World-wide Robin Hood Society

Robin Hood Society Feather in Your Cap Award 2016 Heritage Lottery Fund Archaeology Thynghowe Vikings Sherwood Forest Discover King John's Palace free excavation Robin Hood Town Tours
Home About Us & Contact Services Projects Publications Community Arch Testimonials Meet the Team

email: info@mercian-as.co.uk



Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

Specialists in Community Archaeology, Public Involvement, Research & Training


Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Excavation, Research, Volunteering, Community Archaeology Derbyshire, Training, Social, Learning, Community Archaeology Leicestershire, Heritage, Involvement, Belonging, Knowledge sharing, Community Archaeology Lincolnshire, Topographic Survey, Talks and Presentations, Outreach, Archaeology Projects , Open Days, Schools, Finds Processing, Day Schools, Field Schools, Young People, Archaeology and History of Sherwood Forest, Pottery Research, Medieval, Roman, Prehistoric, Community Interest Company, Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire.



Community Archaeology in Nottinghamshire

Community Archaeology in Derbyshire

Community Archaeology in Leicestershire

Community Archaeology East Midlands

Community Archaeology in Lincolnshire


© Mercian Archaeological Services CIC 2013. Registered Business No. 08347842. All Rights Reserved.

The Future of Sherwood’s Past

 


Project page links:

-------------------------------

 Project Home page

-------------------------------

About the Project

-------------------------------

Awards

--------------------------------

 Media

--------------------------------

Research Aims

--------------------------------

 Working with Specialists

-------------------------------

Social Media - Follow us

--------------------------------

The Sherwood Forest
National Nature Reserve Archaeology Survey

-------------------------------

Long term Research at 
King John’s Palace:
Ancient Royal Heart of Sherwood Forest

-------------------------------

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Training Fieldschool

--------------------------------

“Scirwuda- Mapping the Greenwood”: Place-names,
Ghost and Shadow woods of Sherwood Forest Project

-------------------------------

Investigating Thynghowe Viking
Meeting Site

-------------------------------

Searching for the 
The Battle of Hatfield

-------------------------------

Edwinstowe Church Survey

-------------------------------

 Fieldswork at St Edwin’s Chapel

-------------------------------

St Mary’s Norton- Cuckney Church Survey

-------------------------------

 Mapping Medieval Sherwood Forest

-------------------------------

The Sherwood Forest LiDAR
Project

-------------------------------

Warsop Old Hall
Archaeological Project

-------------------------------

The Sherwood Villages Project:
Settlement Development in the Forest

-------------------------------

Sherwood Heath Survey

--------------------------------

 Clipstone Village Dig

-------------------------------

Researching Edward IIs fortification at Clipstone Peel

-------------------------------

Ransom Wood Survey

-------------------------------

Thoresby Estate Survey

-------------------------------

 Robin Hood’s Village Dig

-------------------------------

The Cistercians of Rufford Project:
Settlement Development, Dynamics and Desertion.

--------------------------------

Sherwood Forest Environmental Survey

--------------------------------

World War II in Sherwood Forest - Mapping the camps, munitions and more

-------------------------------

World War I in Sherwood Forest - Mapping the camps, munitions and more

--------------------------------

About Medieval Sherwood Forest

-------------------------------

Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest

--------------------------------

 Outlaws & Villains

-------------------------------

 Historical Research

-------------------------------

 Stories from the Forest

-------------------------------

Book Reviews

-------------------------------

 Bibliography

-------------------------------

 Funding the Project

-------------------------------

 Project Partners

-------------------------------

 Project Sponsors

-------------------------------

 Robin Hood Challenges

--------------------------------

Outreach Bus Tours

-------------------------------

 Links page

-------------------------------

























Talks & Workshops Indoor Training Outdoor Training Vitual Training Fieldschools Experience Days Events Calendar Sherwood Forest