Thursday 14 August 1662

Up early and to look on my works, and find my house to go on apace. So to my office to prepare business, and then we met and sat till noon, and then Commissioner Pett and I being invited, went by Sir John Winter’s coach sent for us, to the Mitre, in Fenchurch street, to a venison-pasty; where I found him a very worthy man; and good discourse. Most of which was concerning the Forest of Dean, and the timber there, and iron-workes with their great antiquity, and the vast heaps of cinders which they find, and are now of great value, being necessary for the making of iron at this day; and without which they cannot work: with the age of many trees there left at a great fall in Edward the Third’s time, by the name of forbid-trees, which at this day are called vorbid trees. Thence to my office about business till late, and so home and to bed.

31 Annotations

Terry F.   Link to this

"vast heaps of cinders which they find...being necessary for the making of iron at this day; and without which they cannot work:"

L&M note: "Slags of Roman and medieval bloomeries, which had been only slightly smelted, could still be used both as ore and flux...."

Terry F.   Link to this

"vast heaps of cinders which they find...being necessary for the making of iron at this day; and without which they cannot work:"

L&M note: "Slags of Roman and medieval bloomeries [charcoal-heated smelters, typically in the form of small pots], which had been only slightly smelted, could still be used both as ore and flux...."

Australian Susan   Link to this

Vorbid trees - any tree fallen in a storm or other natural disaster.

Terry F.   Link to this

"many trees there left at a great fall in Edward the Third's time, by the name of forbid-trees, which at this day are called vorbid trees.”

L&M note: “A ‘forbid’ was an order of the Mines Law Court: the miners were not to cut down these trees. The gale was that of 1362.”

(got this one right the first time, I think)

Australian Susan   Link to this

There is information here about this practice and also much else about early naval supply history. There were problems right back in the 1570s about who had the right to this timber in the Forest of Dean. Familiar names pop up in this account such as Pett and Winter.
http://www.danbyrnes.com.au/business/business3....

Bradford   Link to this

"look on my works", ye mighty, and despair!

Welcome back, Venison Pasty #17.

dirk   Link to this

Fallen trees

Maybe -just maybe - the storm that caused these trees to fall "en masse" in King Edward III's time was the same storm (but on the British side of the Channel) as the one described here:

1360, April 13, Black Monday, English army camped on approach to Chartres is hit by hailstorm killing men and horses, scores die of the cold

http://www.themcs.org/timeline.htm

dirk   Link to this

John Evelyn had an important visitor today:

"... This After-noone her Majestie Queene-Mother (with the Earle of St. Albans, & many greate Ladys & persons) was pleased to honour my poor Villa with her presence, & to accept of a Collation, being exceedingly pleased, & staying "till very late in the Evening:”

dirk   Link to this

venison-pasty etc

Menu of the month - August

"A Bill of Fare of Suitable Meat for every Month in the Year"

1. Calves-head and Bacon.
2. An Olio, or grandboil'd meat.
3. A Haunch of Venison roasted.
4. A Pig roasted.

Second Course.
1. Marinate Smelts.
2. A Pidgeon-Pye.
3. Roast Chickens.
4. A Tart.
5. Some Creams and Fruits.

From:
"The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex", 1675
http://chaucer.library.emory.edu/cgi-bin/sgml2h...

Terry F.   Link to this

Australian Susan, Upnor Castle is also named in the site you cite: "Wages of shipkeepers, clerks, watchmen and the gunners at Upnor Castle, repair and maintenance of stores and wharves would be met under the...system [in place before 1579]. Dry-docking and heavy repairs would be seen to by the navy board."

JWB   Link to this

SOME WEATHER EVENTS IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY II.

(ANGEVIN PERIOD: 1301-87)

http://www.sci.u-szeged.hu/eghajlattan/akta99/K...

Terry F.   Link to this

This isn't in the Forest of Deane, but "In 1362, when a violent storm blew through Norwich, it toppled the Cathedral's second wooden spire, sending it crashing the Presbytery roof of the Cathedral's east end. The Norman clerestory was totally destroyed and needed rebuilding, which it was, but in the Perpendicular style, by Bishop Percy." http://www.easterncathedrals.org.uk/norwich.html

Terry F.   Link to this

"13 January 1362, Great Britain: A great sou'wester gale known as St Maury's Storm, strikes Britian [sic]." http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/almanac/d...

Many vorbid trees that year.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

with the age of many trees there left at a great fall in Edward the Third's time, by the name of forbid-trees, which at this day are called vorbid trees.

Vorbid trees - any tree fallen in a storm or other natural disaster. (Aus Susan)

L&M note: "A 'forbid' was an order of the Mines Law Court: the miners were not to cut down these trees. The gale was that of 1362." (Terry F.)

Any trees felled in the storm of 1362 would surely have mouldered away by 1662?

How can one “forbid” the cutting of trees already downed by nature?

Cumgranissalis   Link to this

so all trees blew down; then how come
there be 25,929 Oaks 4,2205 Beeches]\
and a Acre of land be worth 5/-.per annum. Plus coppices for running the tubs of melted iron ore. See the ref F. Deane above at the H of C :
|_/\__/\_| ...... |_\/_\/_|....

Terry F.   Link to this

Keen analysis, A. Hamilton. Australian Susan quotes that website's definition of "vorbid". OED: "Forbid, ppl. a. Obs. = Forbidden, Forbid tree (see quot. 1662)...1662 Pepys Diary 14 Aug. Many trees there left at a great fall in Edward the Third's time, by the name of forbid-trees, which at this day are called vorbid trees.” No separate listing of “vorbid.”
What if we supposed that “vorbid” is indeed a corruption over time of “forbid,” as Pepys himself suggests, and the website Aussie Susan quotes was not knowing of the definition of “forbid” as it applied to a tree still-standing after St Maury's Storm?

Terry F.   Link to this

Sir John Winter has a contract to harvest the Forest of Dean's trees, surely the "vorbid" old growth, large trees, ergo good for, say, masts.

L&M & OED tell us what "forbid" means here, but is 'vorbid' now used to OBSCURE the earlier meaning?

Recall Fri. 20 June (NOT referenced at "Winter, Sir John"): "Up by four or five o'clock, and to the office, and there drew up the agreement between the King and Sir John Winter about the Forrest of Deane; and having done it, he came himself (I did not know him to be the Queen's Secretary before, but observed him to be a man of fine parts); and we read it, and both liked it well. That done, I turned to the Forrest of Deane, in Speede's Mapps, and there he showed me how it lies; and the Lea-bayly, with the great charge of carrying it to Lydny, and many other things worth my knowing; and I do perceive that I am very short in my business by not knowing many times the geographical part of my business.”
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/06/20/

So Pepys is very impressed with the man, what he knows, how he works.

Pauline from the L&M Companion: “He and his father were the principal developers of iron and timber in the Forest of Dean. He bought 18,000 acres in 1640, but was deprived of it as a papist in 1642. In 1662 he was granted an eleven-yer lease, but by 1668 the contract lapsed through his failure to deliver the agreed quantities of shiptimber. He had an interest in all sorts of technology. Pepys like[d] his "good discourse" (though not his timber). But his Catholicism, combined with his expert knowledge of gunpowder, made him an object of mistrust.”

AND a new link by JWB shows Sir John’s career exploiting the Forest of Deane more complicated, extreme, and exciting than that; now with the protection of the QM, with whom he returned from France, and a contract that, true to form, he will exceed: “By 1663 Sir John had re-established control over much of the area and allegedly had as many as 500 woodcutters working in the Forest. Somewhat inevitably by 1667 his controversial over activity in timber cutting was again a matter for Parliament.” JWB on Sun 14 Aug 2005: Wintour family & Forest of Dean, The Forest of Dean History Society:
http://www.fweb.org.uk/dean/deanhist/tudor.htm

andy   Link to this

many trees there left at a great fall in Edward the Third's time, by the name of forbid-trees

Read “by” for “at” - the great number of “vorbid-trees” that were left standing after the great storm of 1362 have now grown strong and tall, but are still “forbidden” to the miners, and therefore are an immense resource for wood. Additionally, the slag that remains from inefficient burning can still be used for iron production. A lot of natural resources to be plundered here.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Great note Terry

The following modern travel blurb suggests the forest survived Sir John.

(No, George that doesn't mean you can go devastate Alaska.)

"Welcome to the 'Queen of Forests' one of England's few remaining ancient forests covering over 110 square kilometres of woodland.

The Forest of Dean lies in the western part of Gloucestershire, between the rivers Wye and Severn and on the borders of Wales and Herefordshire. It is one of the most distinctive areas of Britain, having a seductive charm and character that is uniquely its own. Its range of stunning landscapes and spectacular scenery has inspired artists, craftspeople, inventors, poets and playwrights, as well as the many visitors who return to the area year after year...

With 27,000 acres of ancient woodland, hundreds of kilometres of off-road cycling, walking trails and riding paths, plus one of the country's most unspoilt rivers, all set within spectacular scenery, the Royal Forest of Dean is the perfect adventure playground, whatever the weather.
...
(They mention 'whatever the weather' many times in the full blurb)

The Royal Forest of Dean is a truly inspirational place where creativity flourishes. The magical environment of the Forest has nurtured poets, potters and painters, and has been the inspiration for many writers of international renown such as JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien and Dennis Potter.

(And they forgot to mention our Sam! Outrageous!)

...visit our website: www.forestofdean.gov.uk for full listings of accommodation, attractions, activities and events."

Mary   Link to this

Forest of Dean.

The tourist blurb makes it sound like a mini-paradise. Others find it a thoroughly spooky, creepy area of the country remeniscent of The Blair Witch Project.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Read "by" for "at"

I think Andy is right. One could also read
“after” for “at” in the passage regardng vorbid trees, a term which appears to refer to old-growth timber that had been protected from cutting for 300 years. I wonder what kinds of tree were protected? Would it have been practical to harvest these old giants?

Glyn   Link to this

Good find, Dirk. That would go well in the section on Recipes at:

http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/311/

Terry F.   Link to this

"many trees there left at a great fall in Edward the Third's time”

Weathering the gust of demurrals by Andy and A. Hamilton demurring, L&M stubbornly cling to their “ats”.

(Sir John seems the kind of fellow who would hire illiterate woodsmen — deniability, you know — with orders to take on any big ‘uns “chop-chop.”)

Terry F.   Link to this

(Odd redundancy in my last; but it was a wind to fell trees.)

Terry F.   Link to this

(Odd redundancy in my last; but the wind worried me 'bout my 'ead.)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

And Sir John is a (fellow) Papist to boot...I smell a fiendish plot brewing in Rome.

Darth Vader march plays as Pope enters, cardinals rising...One steps forward to kneel before His Holiness...

"Speak. What news of our fiendish plot to ruin the heretic English navy with inferior timber?"

language hat   Link to this

Dennis Potter's magnificent The Singing Detective very well conveys the spookiness of the Forest of Dean.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Presumably the miners were wanting timber for pit props?
Catholics were not as "suspect" in the 1660s as they were to become in the 1670s, when the political and social climate became like McCarthyite America in the '50s. Catholics in closets/Reds under the beds.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Apropos language hat's note

on the Forest of Dean & Dennis Potter's "The Singing Detective, I have read that three of Potter's four great-grandfathers were Forest miners.

http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/dpotter.htm

Australian Susan   Link to this

For anothertake on living in the Forest of Dean read Winifred Foley's "A child in the forest" Information at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0...
She also wrote others on the same topic.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

In the years following the bubonic plague there was great weather disturbance and particularly violent storms. One of these storms hit Ireland in 1362 on the feast of St. Maury and became known as "St. Maury's Wind". A contemporary chronicler described "a vehement wind which shook and threw to the ground chimneys, steeples, and other high buildings, trees beyond number and divers belfries and the bell tower of the Friars Preachers in Dublin...."
http://listowelconnection.blogspot.com/2013/01/...

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.