The Future of Sherwood’s Past

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project Logo

The Butcher, the Bacon and Bestwood: Trespass in Bestwood Park in 1440

Mercian Archaeological Services Community Archaeology The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project

Visitors since 7th November 2013

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

Community Archaeology in the East Midlands,

 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.

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

Community Archaeology in Nottinghamshire

Community Archaeology in Derbyshire

Community Archaeology in Leicestershire

Community Archaeology East Midlands

Community Archaeology in Lincolnshire

Click here for more ‘Stories from the Forest’…

Click on the image above to help sponsor the project

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project is a Community Project sponsored by the community for the community. Please consider supporting us and our work.

Bestwood Park was the largest Royal Deer Park in Sherwood Forest.

On Janurary 16th 1440, an 'action by Ralph, Lord Cromwell, for breach of Bestwood Park', was brought before the Nottingham Court...

Sherwood Forest Pannage medieval pigs

The inquest begins:

'Radulphus, Dominus de Crumwell, myles (Ralph Lord of Cromwell, knight), complains of William Fisher, of Nottingham, butcher, in a plea of trespass against the peace of our lord the present King...

...And whereupon he says, by his attornies William Alwin and John Morton, that the aforesaid William, together with others, on Tursday next after the feast of All Hallows, in the 19th year of the reign of king Henry VI, here at Nottingham, with force and arms, to wit, with a club, drove four hogs (porcos) put and arrested for pannage within the Park of Bestwood out of the park aforesaid, and broke the park aforesaid... to the cost of 20s...'

William presented himself to the court to show he was innocent...

Unfortunately there is no follow up to the case, so it is not certain of the outcome of the trial.

What is strange is that this is not poaching in the normal sense.

These are not the Kings deer, and the butcher was not hunting with a bow.

He went in to the park, broke the park pale (three metre high fence) down, and stole four pigs who were grazing within - using a club.

Clearly Bacon was not easy to come by for his butchers shop at that time...

The pigs were grazing in the park legitimately under the pannage system.

Home About us Services Testimonials Projects Publications Staff Contact 
Sherwood Forest History

Click on the image below to see the project blog:

Robin Hood Town Tours

Pannage was a common right for peasants who were allowed to graze their pigs in the woods of the forest when the acorns fell and for a period of time after. This season was decided at the Verderers Court (see Forest Law page for more details) and the numbers of pigs were monitored by Agisters who acted as tax collectors.

This entry shows that with the demise of the Forest Eyre Courts by the time of 1440 (see 1287 Sherwood Forest Eyre Court and 1334 Sherwood Forest Eyre Court entries); how breaches of the forest law were dealt with.

The Keeper of the Forest here brought complaint before the Nottingham Court to gain the money back from the accused, caused by the trespass and damage to the park.

Ralph Cromwell was Keeper of Sherwood Forest and Constable of Nottingham Castle as appointed by King Henry VI in 1437. He held land and a manor house at Lambley- and may also have been the man for whom the Belvoir Map of Sherwood Forest was made.

Info 4 Groups Talks and Tours Experience Days Heritage Bus Tours Field Schools Sherwood Forest Notts 1000 Shop


Award Winners 2016

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

Official Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project T-Shirt for just £9.99 +p&p

Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project T-Shirt Sherwood Forest Archaeoogy Project Mug

Official Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project Coffee Mug for just £8.50 +p&p

World-wide Robin Hood Society

Robin Hood Society Feather in Your Cap Award 2016

 Project page links:


 Project Home page


 About the Project


 Funding the Project


 Project Partner Organisations


 Project Sponsors


 Robin Hood Challenges






 Finds Processing


 Bus Tours - Outreach


 King John’s Palace


 Robin Hood’s Village




 Battle of Hatfield


 St Edwin’s Chapel


 Clipstone Village Dig


 Medieval Sherwood Map




 Links page


 About Sherwood Forest


 Forest Law


 Why Sherwood Forest?


 Boundaries of Sherwood


 Landscape of Sherwood


 Outlaws & Villains


 Stories from the Forest