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Freedoms of the forest, ancient and modern | Letters

David Carpenter and Ralph Hanna point out that the 1217 Charter of the Forest wasn't a great emancipation for ordinary people, while Kevin May sings the praises of modern-day Kielder Forest in NorthumberlandFelicity Lawrence (For a fairer share of our resources, turn to the 13th century, 8 November) states that the 1217 Charter of the Forest "asserted the rights of ordinary people to access from 'the commons' the means for a livelihood and shelter". It thus "represented an early constitutional victory for ordinary people over a wealthy elite". Alas, this view needs considerable qualification. The key concessions in the charter were granted to "free men", and thus deliberately excluded the unfree, who formed a large proportion of the population. Far from being a victory of the ordinary people over a wealthy elite, the charter was, in some ways, exactly the reverse.David CarpenterLondono Yes, the 1217 Charter of the Forest opened forests to use of non-aristocrats. No, this wasn't wildly emancipatory. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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