Skip to main content Accessibility help

Woodland Management in Hampshire, 900 to 1815

  • ALAN ALBERY (a1)


The coppice and underwood trades in north Hampshire lasted almost unchanged for over one thousand years, yet the conspicuously wooded landscape of today is no more than three hundred years old. The landscape is an outcome of the enclosure of the common fields and replacement of their temporary dead-hedges by permanent living hedges, together with a radical reorganisation of the methods by which both wood and timber were grown, managed and marketed. These processes abolished the old extensive, open landscape, comprised of coppices, underwood, timber and rough grazing: the land-use system now termed wood pasture. It created the closed landscape of intensively managed woodland that prospered between 1750 and 1870. Evidence is drawn from the records of Crown, church, college and lay estates, besides contemporary comment, interpreted in the light of experience in restoring and managing an area of wood pasture.



Hide All


1. Hudson, W. H., Afoot in England (London, 1906, reprint 1939), p.122.

2. Vancouver, Charles, A General View of the Agriculture of Hampshire (London, 1813), p. 11. District 1 is referred to throughout as ‘The Woodlands’.

3. Standing coppice for sale was annually advertised from September to November in the Berkshire Chronicle, Reading Mercury, and Hants and Berks Gazette. In 1862 the Berkshire Chronicle alone advertised over one thousand acres for sale; Woods, K. S., Rural Industries Round Oxford (Oxford, 1921); FitzRandolph, Helen E. and Hay, M. Doriel, The Rural Industries of England and Wales (Oxford, 1926).

4. Brough, Peter, Gibbons, Bob and Pope, Colin, The Nature of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (Buckingham, 1986), p. 23.

5. Eversley, Lord, Commons, Footpaths and Forests (London, 1910), p. 9. The Statute of Merton (20 Henry III., c. 4, A.D. 1235) allowed Lords of Manors to enclose waste lands on their manors provided sufficient common land was left to satisfy the rights of the free tenants.

6. Collins, E. J. T., ‘The Coppice and Underwood Trades’ in Mingay, G. E., ed., The Agrarian History of England and Wales, Volume VI, 1750–1850 (Cambridge, 1989), p. 484.

7. Alan Albery, ‘Agriculture and Wildlife Conservation: Accident or Design?’ in

British Wildlife, 11 (1999), 10–16.

8. Kemble, J. M., The Saxons in England (London, 1876), Volume 1, p. 38.

9. Klingelhöfer, Eric, Manor, Vill, and Hundred: The Development of Rural Institutions in Early Medieval Hampshire (Toronto, 1992), p. 23.

10. Berkshire Record Office: Englefield Estate Papers, D/Eby E53, Grant made 22nd May 12 James I.

11. Gilpin, William, Remarks on Forest Scenery and other Woodland Views (London, 1791), p. 286.

12. Vera, F. W. M., Grazing Ecology and Forest History (Wallingford, 2000), p. 120.

13. Close Rolls 36 H III 1252 (London, 1927), p. 44; Page, Mark, ed., The Pipe Roll of the Bishopric of Winchester 1301–02 (Winchester, 1996), p. 92; ibid., The Pipe Roll of the Bishopric of Winchester 1409–10 (Winchester, 1999), p. 211; Hampshire Record Office, Herriard 44M69/C/765, Lease 1564; BRO, D/Eby E53, Mr Wilbraham's Case, 1756.

14. National Archives, E178/2049: Pamber Forest Survey 38 Elizabeth 1595–1596; Gras, N. S. B. and Gras, E. C., The Economic and Social History of an English Village (Crawley, Hampshire) A.D. 909 – 1928 (Cambridge, Mass., 1930), pp. 710, 707, 726.

15. Calendar of Close Rolls, 1339–41 (London, 1901), p. 507.

16. Information from Lee Morgan, formerly of the Environmental Education Centre, Bramley Frith, near Basingstoke, Hampshire.

17. J. D. Young, ‘An Economic History of Woodlands in Southern England, 1700–1914’ (unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Reading, 1976), p. 45.

18. Meiggs, Russell, Trees and Timber in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Oxford, special edition, 1998), p. 267.

19. Hockley, S.F., ed., The Account Book of Beaulieu, Camden Fourth Series, Volume 16, RHS (London, 1975), p. 199; Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E11/97; Hampshire Hazel Coppice Auction 2002, 4th October at the Malshanger Estate, Hampshire; and pers. comm. to the author from Martin Giles, Estate Forestry Manager.

20. Hampshire Record Office: Basingstoke Borough Council Documents, 148M71/7/4/2, Lease for twenty-one years by the Skinner's Company to Thomas Cuffle of Pamber, Yeoman, 21st September, 1720.

21. Adkin, Beniah W., Law of Forestry (London, 1914), p15.

22. Williamson, Henry, In the Woods (Llandeilo, 1960), p. 43. See also Monteath, Robert, The Forester's Guide (Stirling, 1820), pp.166–8.

23. Reverend Rham, W. L., The Dictionary of the Farm (London, 1858), p. 160.

24. Worlidge, John, Systema Agriculturæ (Facsimile of the Second Edition (1675) Los Angeles, 1970), p. 75.

25. Brears, Peter, All the King's Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace (London, 1999), p. 46; Hampshire Record Office: 312M87/74/3 Will and Codicil of Thomas Cuffley of Pamber, Yeoman, 1758. Even in a well wooded countryside full use was made of other sources of fuel, such as peat and turf.

26. Hampshire Record Office: The Eleventh Report of the Commissioners appointed to Enquire into the State and Condition of the Woods, Forests and Land Revenues of the Crown, 6th February 1792, p. 35.

27. Williams, Michael, Americans and their Forests: A Historical Geography (Cambridge, England, 1992), p. 134; Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E7/7.

28. Williams, Americans and their Forests, p. 78.

29. Ibid, p. 34.

30. Gras, Crawley, p. 592; pp. 320–25 list underwood receipts under Lord's Income.

31. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E4/20.

32. Gras, Crawley, pp. 592, 588. Presuming the bushes at that time to be principally blackthorn, gorse, and juniper, which are extremely difficult to control even with the help of sheep, this is a good example of medieval pragmatism. The inhabitants have a free but controlled source of fuel, whilst the owner receives free labour to keep the scrub in check.

33. Ibid, pp. 597–622.

34. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E2/11 Indenture for Cowdrey's Copse, 1596; Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E8/2/46/12; Hackwood Estate 19M61/335 and -/342.

35. Mark Page, ed., Pipe Roll, 1301–02; and Pipe Roll 1409–10. The uses by individual manors are listed throughout.

36. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E13/2/64.

37. Hampshire Record Office: Hackwood 10M57/E1.

38. Close Rolls, 1237–1242, 24 Henry III 1240 (London, 1911), p. 216; Close Rolls, 1247–51, Henry III 1251 (London, 1927), p. 394; Close Rolls, 1256–58, 42 H III 1258 (London, 1932), p. 233; and 1259–61, 43 Henry III 1259 (London, 1934), p. 367, are representative of several entries for the period; Close Rolls, 1234–37, 19 Henry III (London, 1908), p. 95; Close Rolls, 1247–51, 35 Henry III 1251 (London, 1922), p. 409.

39. National Archives, E178/2049: Pamber Forest Survey 38 Elizabeth 1595–1596.

40. Monteath, Forester's Guide, p. 168.

41. Gardiner, Julie, ed., Before The Mast: Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose (Portsmouth, 2005), p. 732.

42. Ibid, p. 197; Pill-box information from Brian Appleton, owner of artefacts and papers of the late Frank Idenden, Baughurst, Hampshire. See also Woods, K.S., The Rural Industries Round Oxford (Oxford, 1921), p. 89.

43. National Archives, E178/2049 Pamber Forest Survey 38 Elizabeth 1595–1596.

44. Calendar of Inquisitions, 1348–1377, 38 Edward III 1362 (London, 1916), p. 206.

45. Rodger, N. A. M., The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain, Volume I, 660–1649, p. 481. This was the fifty-five-gun Prince Royal of between 890–1200 tons.

46. N. A. M. Rodger, The Command of the Ocean, A Naval History of Britain, 1649–1815, pp. 614–15. These were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rated ships.

47. Perrin, W.G., ed., The Autobiography of Phineas Pett, NRS Volume 51 (London, 1918), xvi.; Burney, William, ed., Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (London, 2006, Reprint of 1815 edition.), p. 462. NB. Burney gives one oak tree = two tons. One load of timber (fifty cubic feet) did not equal one oak tree. One load weighed approximately one ton, and a mature oak tree (eighty plus years) can contain up to five tons or more of useable timber.

48. McGowan, A.P., ed., The Jacobean Commissions of Enquiry 1608 and 1618 (London, 1971), pp. 52–4.

49. Holland, A. J., Ships of British Oak: The Rise and Decline of Wooden Shipbuilding in Hampshire (Newton Abbot, 1971), p. 37.

50. Burney, Dictionary of Marine, p. 211.

51. Holland, Ships of British Oak, p. 37.

52. McGowan, ed., The Jacobean Commissions, p. xiii.

53. Ibid, pp. 72–4.

54. Hampshire Record Office: The Third Report of the Commissioners appointed to Enquire into the State and Condition of the Woods and Forests and Land Revenues of the Crown, 11th December 1787, p. 87.

55. Hampshire Record Office: Sir Henry Whithed's Letter Book, Vol. I, 1601 – 614 (Winchester, 1976), p. 89; Hampshire Record Office: Sydmonton Estate papers 19M61/1688; Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E6/105/11.

56. Godwin, Civil War, p. 346.

57. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E6/161.

58. Hampshire Record Office: Sydmonton 19M61/1688, and -/360.

59. Wood, Michael, Domesday: A Search for the Roots of England (London, 1987), p. 109; Gras, Crawley, p. 231; Hampshire Record Office: Sydmonton 19M61/231 and -/341.

60. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E8/2/25.

61. Sir Henry Whithed's Letter Book, p. 47.

62. Hampshire Record Office: B3364, Eric Lundquist, ed., Sir Richard Paulet's Diary (1610), pp. 141–45.

63. Munby, Julian, ed., Domesday Book (Chichester, 1982), p. 2.12.

64. Law, Ernest, The History of Hampton Court Palace in Tudor Times (London, 1885), p. 368; National Archives: Acc 5411/104 c1602–04 22nd October 1604.

65. Godwin, G. N., The Civil War in Hampshire (Alresford, 1973), p. 89.

66. Hampshire Record Office: Vyne Estate, 31M57/585.

67. Richard, and Muir, Nina, Hedgerows: Their History and Wildlife (London, 1987), p. 28. Calculated from sixty-four cartloads used to make 99½ perches (547¼yards) at Farnham Castle in 1231.

68. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E61/167; Edward Lisle, Observations in Husbandry (Farnborough,1970), Volume II, p. 268.

69. Gras, Crawley, p. 588.

70. Wood, Domesday, p. 109.

71. Gras, Crawley, p. 243.

72. Hampshire Record Office: Beaurepaire Estate, 48M50/9 personal account book of Thomas Brocas April 1680-March 1681, 13th May 1680.

73. Mark Page, ed., Pipe Roll 1409–10, p. 80.

74. Malden, Walter J., Workman's Technical Instructor (London, 1895), p. 156.

75. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E13/3/74.

76. Gras, Crawley, pp. 167–77.

77. Hampstead Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E1/1/15. In 1635 Henwood covered 146 acres 3 rods 15 poles. In 2008 it covered 140·2 acres (Herriard Estate Map).

78. G. B. Grundy, ‘The Saxon Land Charters of Hampshire’, The Archaeological Journal, LXXXIV (1927), pp. 261–2: Stenton, Sir Frank, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1988), p.283. Anglo-Saxon Charter CS 625, used by Grundy, was written in 909 CE, and includes a description of Winchester Cathedral's Overton manor outlier that covered the southern areas of the contiguous modern parishes of Pamber, Tadley, and Baughurst that, after 1066, formed part of Pamber Forest. Stenton used CS 625 when concluding that this ‘wooded country’ of north Hampshire was ‘divided between a small number of large “folks” and used in accordance with their ancient customs’, i.e. wood pasture.

79. Maine, H. J. S., Ancient Law (London, 1861), p. 150.

80. Hampshire Record Office:16M79/2, Reverend William Bingley's General Notes arranged from Collections for the History of Hampshire, Vol. 2 1807–1813, Pamber Manor; 42M87/4 Case of ye Free Franchisers of ye Manor of Pamber, Inhurst, and Ham. Pamber manor was a legal fiction created by the Franchisers in pursuance of their individual claims of land and rights within Pamber Forest.

81. Great Pipe Roll, Henry III 1241–42, (Yale, 1918), p. 272, lists purprestures (land enclosed and built on) in Pamber Forest in the early thirteenth century, adding to the large 909 CE enclosure made by Winchester Cathedral. The acreage is calculated by subtracting the 1500 acres of land cited in the 1611 survey of the Forest from the 2000 acres of the thirteenth century parish. In fact, Pamber was extra-parochial, because it had no church, no manor, and no common fields. See P. Hase, ‘The Development of the Parish in Hampshire’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Nottingham, 1975), p. 321.

82. Loades, David, The Life and Career of William Paulet (c.1475–1572): Lord Treasurer and First Marquis of Winchester (Aldershot, 2008), pp. 36, 184.

83. Berkshire Record Office: D/Eby E53–58, Grant made 22nd May 12 James I, and Pamber inhabitants’ Petition to the Privy Council 1616.

84. Ibid., Survey of Pamber 1652. Calculated by subtracting this acreage from the 1611 acreage.

85. Thompson, E. P., Customs in Common (London, 1991), p. 110. See also n. 5 above.

86. Hampshire Record Office: Oakley Estate Title Deeds 1707 (312M87/T1/9) and 1835 (T63); Berkshire Record Office: D/Eby E131, Wither Bramstone's claim, as Lord of the manor of Wyford [sic], to the soil of commons and waste lands within the Tything of Pamber. Wyeford was an independent manor formed by the Normans out of land at Pamber and Tadley taken from the original Overton outlier.

87. Berkshire Record Office: D/Eby T102 Map of Pamber Forest 1720; HRO: Q23/1/2 Pamber Enclosure Award in Book of enrolments at Sessions Easter 1814-Midsummer 1830.

88. Thompson, E. P., Whigs and Hunters: The Origins of the Black Act (London, 1975), pp. 102,108.

89. See note 5 above.

90. Hampshire Record Office: Q23/1/2 Pamber Enclosure Award. Although the Award ratified the unofficial enclosure of 1720, its main purpose was to extinguish the commoners’ rights. Frame Green was so named after the ‘frames’ or patterns that were used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to pre-shape the knees before their transport to London.

91. Berkshire Record Office: D/Eby E53, Case – with Mr Wilbraham's Opinion 1763; E58, Account of Coppices at Pamber 1758–1815.

92. Hampshire Record Office: Sydmonton 19M61/1482; Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E11/101.

93. Reverend Wilkinson, John, The Farming of Hampshire, Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, 22:2 (London, 1861), p. 308.

94. Cobbett, William, Rural Rides (Aylesbury, 1983), p. 65. The conifers were initially used for hop poles but increasingly by the nineteenth century for pit props.

95. Baker, Denis, Agricultural Prices, Production and Marketing, with special reference to the Hop Industry: North-east Kent, 1680–1760 (London, 1985), p.473; Worlidge, Systema Agriculturæ, p. 133.

96. Berkshire Record Office: D/Eby T115 Deeds relating to a field in Pamber 1713–1782.

97. Baker, Agricultural Prices, pp. 493, 503.

98. Ibid, p. 605; Edlin, H. L., Woodland Crafts in Britain (London, 1949), p. 49, gives over 2000 poles per acre of hops; Richard Filmer, Hops and Hop Picking (Shire Publications Ltd, 1992 reprint), p. 23, gives 4000 poles per acre.

99. Baker, Agricultural Prices, pp. 493, 503. Baker's only figure is three loads (thirty nine hundredweight) to dry ten and three quarter acres of hops in 1749; Armstrong, Lyn, Woodcolliers and Charcoal Burning (Horsham, 1978), p. 74, gives a load as thirty sacks containing three bushels each. This computes to thirteen hundredweight to a load. It takes five to seven hundredweight of wood to produce one hundredweight of charcoal.

100. C. D. Begley, Growth and yield of Sweet Chestnut Coppice, Forestry Commission Forest record No. 30, gives 421 to 810 stools per acre; Rackham, Oliver, Ancient Woodland, (London, 1980), p. 334, gives seven poles to a stool at eighteen years.

101. Close Rolls, 36 Henry III 1252 (London, 1927), p. 56.

102. Joseph Cullom's Wood Book, 23rd March, 1863. Unpublished. Privately held by the author.

103. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69E14/56.

104. Money, Walter, A Royal Purveyance (Newbury, 1891), pp. 55111; National Archives, E178/2049 Pamber Forest Survey 38 Elizabeth 1595–1596. Entries throughout the twelfth century Pipe Rolls, in the form xs [ten shillings] de firma de Penberga (Pamber), could be an oblique reference to the Crown leasing the Pamber coppices to a local buyer, hence their ‘well preserved and kept’ condition over time, in contrast to the lack of any coherent Crown policy of management of the timber on the plains.

105. Camden, Brittania, description of Hampshire, 1610 translation, p. 272,; National Archives, E178/2049: Pamber Forest Survey.

106. Hampshire Record Office: Sydmonton 19M61/338; six and a half tons brought overland from Reading to Sydmonton House in 1692.

107. National Archives, E178/2049, Pamber Forest Survey; HRO: Herriard

4M69/E11/97; Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/E4/20; Messrs Bulbeck and Godwin accounts 28M64.

108. Hampshire Record Office: Herriard 44M69/G/3/426.

109. Berkshire Record Office: D/Eby E53, Case – with Mr Wilbraham's Opinion 1763; D/Eby E58, Account of Coppices at Pamber 1758–1815.

110. Herriard Estate Wood Book 1776–1903. This is held by the Estate office. Seen by kind permission of the owner, Mr J. T. L. Jervoise.

111. HRO: The Vyne 31M57/602 and -/604.

112. J. D. Young, An Economic History of Woodlands in Southern England, p. 45.

113. Hampshire Record Office: Sydmonton 19M61/1320; Thomas, Keith, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500–1800 (London, 1983), p. 200. I am grateful to Professor E. L. Jones for this reference.

114. Christopher Sykes, Simon, Black Sheep (London, 1982), p. 210.

115. Faye, Deirdre Le, ed., Jane Austen's Letters (Oxford, 1995), p. 193.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Rural History
  • ISSN: 0956-7933
  • EISSN: 1474-0656
  • URL: /core/journals/rural-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed