THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search



Share page  



Previous Contents Next


2
HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
the chase within its boundaries. It formed part of the possessions of John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward III., by whom it was enclosed, becoming known as Lancaster Great Park. The hunting castle, erected by the Duke of Lancaster, was in the Vechery Wood (a name derived from the Norman-French "vacherie"a cow-house or dairy)a part of the Buckhurst property, but now belonging to Mr. S. M. Samuel, M.P. Herds of deer and swine formerly roamed at will through its glades and woods; wolves and wild boars had haunts therein; less than a century ago eagles frequented its almost untrodden warrens; and the now rare blackcock was often seen. Mr. John Turley, a local poet, in a volume issued in 1856, records the fact of two eagles being caught alive in dog traps some years before on the Forest. They were brought to Counsellor Staples, who lived at Hurst-an-Clays, and the men in charge of them started, later on, to take them to London. They never reached the Metropolis, however, for a press-gang seized the men, and the fate of the birds is unknown. The presence of deer in the Forest gave rise to several of the local names, such as Hart-field, Buck-hurst, Buck-stead (now Buxted), Hind-leap and Kid-brook. The last of the wild deer was killed by the Hartfield Harriers about 1808.
In time the Forest became neglected, fences went to decay, the public gradually began to regard it as a sort of no-man's land, and in 1611 common rights were granted over about 6,400 acres, of which some 800 were in East Grinstead parish. In 1625 the Earl of Dorset was appointed Master of the Forest, Governor and Master of the Game and Keeper and Surveyor-general of the Woods. This appointment was made by the Duchy of Lancaster.
When Charles I. was dethroned, Parliament took possession of all the Royal lands and Cromwell had a very careful survey made of the Forest. To inhabitants in East Grinstead rights were confirmed over two sections, in all 723 acres in extent, one part lying between Plawhatch, Wych Cross and Kidbrook, and the
Previous Contents Next