The Size of Sherwood Forest
Above is a map of the Royal Forest of Sherwood in the 13th Century. Many fiction writers and enthusiasts of Robin Hood, often give wildly exaggerated descriptions of its extent. But by the time of the death of King John in 1216, the great forests of the North and Midlands, including Sherwood had been considerably reduced.
In 1218 Sherwood’s boundaries were defined for the first time by King John’s son, Henry III (1216-1272). Henry instructed a group of knights and freemen to set out on a journey and record its size. Their route around Sherwood Forest is described thus:
“........leaving by Stoney Street in Nottingham they road through Whiston [then a hamlet on the Nottingham to Mansfield road] to Blackstone Haugh [by the Dover Beck] to Rufford and following the way to the village of Wellow on to the King’s ford. They then headed west across the north boundary following the water [River Meden] to Perlethorpe and Pleasley. Thence by Newboundhill to Windhill [now travelling south] -and thence by the hedges between the roads of Sutton and Kirkby to the middle of the pond at Newstead Priory, and so by the river Leen to the Trent.
During the reign of strong and powerful kings like Henry II (1154-1189) forests were extended, but with weaker monarchs, the reverse was the case. Sherwood was roughly triangular with slight changes occasionally. In 1232 the area south from Oxton to Lowdham and the Trent was included. But for most of the early Middle Ages, Sherwood Forest's boundaries, as defined in 1218 remained constant.
Royal Sherwood: Nottinghamshire County Council
The Quest For Robin Hood: Jim Lees
The Sherwood Forest Book: H.E. Boulton (ed.)
Labels: Sherwood Forest