• A little piece of 300 year old ephemera - an Act to save trees

    Acquired this lovely little piece of ephemera dating to 1716 concerning the preservation of trees and woodland in the realm, or more specifically, endeavouring to curtail the mischief of, 'divers lewd and disorderly persons, and others, [that] have sometimes in a clandestine and malicious manner, broke down, cut up or otherwise destroyed such timber-trees, fruit-trees and other trees to the great discouragement of the planters and owners thereof..' and provides legislation enabling the judiciary to commit offenders to, 'the house of correction, there to continue and be kept to hard labour for the space of three months,' or where no such institution is available, 'to such prison as is appointed for other criminals, there to continue for a space of four months; and shall also order and adjudge that such offenders shall be publickly whipt by the master of such house of correction once every month.' Alternatively, where there is no house of correction, 'offenders shall be publickly whipt by the hand of the common hangman or executioner once every month, on the market day,,,, between the hours of eleven and two of the clock.' In addition the Act refers to, 'divers woods, underwoods, copices [that] have been heretofore, and lately set on fire, or burnt, to the great discouragement of planting,' and hence, 'such malicious setting on fire, burning, or causing to be burnt, shall be and is hereby declared and made a felony, and the offenders shall suffer and be liable to all penalties and forfeitures.'

    Obviously the destruction of trees and woodland was taken extremely seriously - and rightly so... perhaps we should replicate such severity with some of the vandals who destroy trees needlessly today. One might start in a certain city in south Yorkshire!

    Thought you might enjoy a bit of detailed examination of the superb royal coat of arms and the elaborate capital letter woodcuts.


Archie Miles photography

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