We saw in Part 2 that the right of free warren was ambiguous. A long feud developed with the Earls of Arundel because of the presumption of the Archbishops.
The rights of the Earl’s Forest of Arundel; one of the most important appendages of the ‘Honour’ bestowed by the King upon his loyal subject, was the Forest and Chase of Arundel, which includes our Northwood. Like most forests, its origin has been lost over time but it is not improbable that it was used by King Harold and dated to the era of the Saxon Kings. Its justice – with courts, Verderers, Foresters and Rangers – was similar to a Royal Forest.
In 1234, Hugh de Albini, Earl of Arundel, obtained possession of the estates which he had inherited from his brother ten years before.
One of the most constant and formidable trespassers was found to have been the newly-consecrated Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, who asserted an unlimited right to hunt in any and every forest within the kingdom, at his pleasure.
The Earl issued instructions to his Foresters to prevent future intrusion and to seize dogs in the event of resistance.
This irritated the Primate who declared it to be an attack upon the immunities of the Church; the Earl was denounced as the oppressor of religion and threatened with ex-communication.
Rather than yielding to spiritual blackmail, Arundel appealed to Rome and when the Archbishop arrived at that Supreme court in 1238 to prosecute another suit, he found his appeal quashed and court expenses due to him.
Edmund’s successor still continued to urge while the Earl consistently resisted the disputed claim; 20 years elapsed before it was finally set to rest by King’s charter in 1274.
It secured the Forest of Arundel to the Earl and his successors, “free from all persons whatsoever” but it provided that the Archbishop, with due notice given, might once in the year whilst going to and returning from his manor of Slindon, be allowed to hunt with six greyhounds and without bows. If more than one beast were taken by the party, the Archbishop should deliver the remainder for the use of the Earl.
It further stipulated that the Earl and his heirs should annually deliver to the Archbishop of Canterbury thirteen head of deer which should acknowledge the exclusive right of the Earls, and relinquish whatever claim the archbishop might be supposed to possess on the forest or chases of Arundel.
The places called Overs and Baycumbe in the wood of Slindon were not to be enclosed, but to remain open so that deer could pass freely.
The Earl should not inclose any part of the forest adjoining the wood and renounced all sporting rights in the wood of Slindon.
Our Northwood sculpture is presently in the wood of Slindon – just beyond the ‘enclosing’ park pale – and we are next carving 10-4 on both Sat May 2th and Bank Holiday Monday 4th! Come and see what is emerging…