Post-Medieval colonisation in the forests of Bowland, Knaresborough and Pickering
Taken from PrefaceIt is the intention of this thesis to examine late settlement on the wastes of former royal hunting forests in Yorkshire. Three forests only were selected for study in detail; those of Bowland, Knaresborough, and Pickering, but they were well spaced across the former county of Yorkshire with their extremities extending virtually from coast to coast. Although their origins were diverse, and they show considerable differences, they were chosen largely on account of their unifying characteristic - the fact that all became part eventually of the Duchy of Lancaster.This is of some importance since it conveys uniformity to a principal source of information - the lists of those fined at the forest courts for illegal encroachment on the forest wastes. It was, in fact, the principal means of colonisation ' in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the existence of many such lists at the Public Record Office - most particularly for the Forest of Knaresborough - constitutes a hitherto untapped source, for this Forest at least. It is clear that lists of names are of little use unless they can be related to particular places, and this information is never given explicitly. A large part of the research was therefore concerned with correlation of different sources with this end in view. In the process, it was discovered that other civil sources, too, were capable of revealing more about the geographical location of individuals than they are normally given credit for, particularly when used in conjunction with parish registers by utilising the technique of family reconstitution.