Assignment 1 HSTR220A
Birrell, Jean. “Who Poached the King’s Deer? A Study in Thirteenth Century Crime,”
Jean Birrell’s “Who Poached the King’s Deer? A Study in Thirteenth Century Crime” narrates the illegal hunting of forests which were supposed to be under the protection of English monarchs from a period of approximately mid thirteenth century to fifteenth century England. The study covers forest laws enacted by monarchs after the Norman invasion, the difference between ‘respectable’ poachers and peasants looking to feed themselves, the way in which such poachers were punished, and the impact of events relating to poaching and forest laws during the period of study. However, Birrell’s seems to believe that Norman…
These punishments began as incarceration until a fine was paid or deposits for good behaviour for serious offences. These punishments evolved into cash fines only, with these fines being weighed against the offender’s ability to pay them.
Birrell concludes her paper by assessing the impact of poaching and forest laws in England. She recounts that protected forest land shrank in the century following its inception. She states that the royal claim to deer was replaced by a private claim to deer on the part of the lords, who claimed the deer in their land for themselves.
In her paper “Who Poached the Kings Deer? A Study in Thirteenth Century Crime” Jean Birrell brings the reader to thirteenth century England, when forest laws were created by Norman monarchs. Birrell analyzes the impact of poaching and illegal felling of trees in vert protected by the king. She elaborates on the difference between ‘respectable’ hunters and peasants. Furthermore, she assesses the fiscal punishment given to poachers. However, Birrell was incorrect to assert that Norman invasion began forest laws in England because Anglo-Saxton kings had punishments in their laws to deal with poachers….