history and maps

Cottingham - name, size and location

Ancient and Roman Britain

Angles, Saxons and Vikings 

Anglo Saxon Chronicle

Domesday Book

The Hundreds

Rockingham Forest

Rockingham Castle

landowners & copyholders

The Church, tithes and glebe

Kelly's Directories



Rockingham Forest

Rockinghamforestmap.gif (22007 bytes)

Rockingham Forest - original boundaries

Rockingham Forest today

Rockingham Forest was created by William I in the 11th Century. The original Rockingham Forest covered a large area, as shown opposite, and this area included Cottingham. The historical definition of a forest is 'an area of land reserved for hunting by the King', and this is the definition which applies here.

There would have been individual landowners within the forest area but, under 'forest law' only the King was allowed to hunt for deer or boar. Landowners and peasants were allowed to collect fallen and dead wood, but could not cut down trees. For a small fee, villagers were allowed to graze their animals in certain areas. Anyone caught committing offences 'against Vert and Venison of the Forest' was liable to punishment.

Forest law was administered at a local level by 'wardens', also known as 'stewards', 'constables' or 'bailiffs'. These would have been high-ranking people, residing at Rockingham Castle. Reporting to the wardens were 'gentlemen keepers', who would have been landowners of some importance and 'yeoman keepers' (minor landowners). The keepers patrolled the forest and collected fees from peasants. They lived in lodges or farms provided by the warden.  

Henry III relaxed the rules slightly, allowing major landowners to obtain, at a considerable price, a licence to fence off a piece of their land and receive a number of deer from the King for their own private hunting.  A 'deer park' was created in Rockingham in c1256, and enlarged in 1485.

Rockingham Forest dwindled under the reigns of Charles I and Charles II, with land being sold and leased back to the lords of the manors. In 1832, an Act of Parliament disbanded Rockingham Forest.



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