Game Act 1671

(362 words)

Historical Context Note

The Game Laws were founded on the principle established by William the Conqueror that all game belonged to the king, even when it was on the land of another landowner. This gross act of usurpation of the people’s source of crucial foods led to harsh and unpopular laws, particularly under Henry II (r. 1154-1189) and Richard I (r. 1189-1199) under whom taking of deer was punished by blinding and castration. The severity of he Forest Laws was to a degree moderated by the Forest Charter of 1217 which reserved the beasts of the forest – red, roe and fallow deer and wild boar – to royal hunts but left pheasants and hares to the common people.

Following the Black Death and the Peasant’s Revolt in 1389, the Forest Charter was l…

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Clark, Robert. "Game Act 1671". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 August 2009
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]