Erik Grigg, Lecturer in History at Bishop Grosseteste University, gave an illustrated on-line talk on 28 April about Charters of the Forest, one copy of which, dating from 1217, is held at Lincoln Castle.
Royal Forests were protected areas in the early Middle Ages under the control of the Crown. At one time these forests, which embraced woodland, moorland and also open uncultivated areas, along with the associated chases, covered 25% of England.
Forests were the natural habitats for game animals and birds, and hunting was an important activity, but the woodland areas were also a significant resource for everyone, not only as a source of timber but as valuable grazing and pannage for swine and sheep.
The Charters of the Forest, which became codified in parallel with the Magna Carta, reduced the size of forest areas and eased the restrictions on their use by the general population.
Some of the principles - and even some of the functions - set out in the charters remained in place until the late 20th century. Many of the todayís National Parks and AONBs have developed from the original Royal Forests.