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3.22. Of woods and marishes. Chap. 22.

Of woods and marishes. Chap. 22.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _IT should séeme by ancientGreat abun|dance of wood sometime in England. records, and the testimonie of sundrie authors, that the whole countries of Lhoegres and Cambria, now England and Wales, haue sometimes béene verie well replenished with great woods & groues, although at this time the said commoditie be not a little decaied in both, and in such wise that a man EEBO page image 212 shall oft ride ten or twentie miles in ech of them, and find verie little or rather none at all, except it be néere vnto townes, gentlemens houses, & villages, where the inhabitants haue planted a few elmes, okes, hasels, or ashes about their dwellings for their defense from the rough winds, and keeping of the stormie weather from annoiance of the same. This scarsitie at the first grew (as it is thought) either by the industrie of man, for maintenance of tillage (as we vnderstand the like to be doone of late by the Spaniards in the west Indies, where they fired whole woods of verie great compasse therby to come by ground whereon to sow their graines) or else tho|rough the couetousnesse of such, as in preferring of pasture for their shéepe and greater cattell, doo make small account of firebote and timber: or finallie by the crueltie of the enimies, whereof we haue sundrie examples declared in our histories. Howbeit where the rocks and quarrie grounds are, I take the swart of the earth to be so thin, that no tree of anie great|nesse, other than shrubs and bushes, is able to grow or prosper long therein for want of sufficient moi|sture wherewith to feed them with fresh humour, or at the leastwise of mould, to shrowd, staie vpright, and cherish the same in the blustering winters wea|ther, till they may grow vnto anie greatnesse, and spread or yéeld their rootes downe right into the soile about them: and this either is or may be one other cause, wherefore some places are naturallie void of wood. But to procéed. Although I must needs con|fesse that there is good store of great wood or timber here and there, euen now in some places of England, yet in our daies it is far vnlike to that plentie, which our ancestors haue séene heretofore, when statelie building was lesse in vse. For albeit that there were then greater number of mesuages and mansions almost in euery place; yet were their frames so slight and slender, that one meane dwelling house in our time is able to counteruaile verie manie of them, if you consider the present charge with the plentie of timber that we bestow vpon them. In times past men were contented to dwell in houses, builded of sallow, willow, plumtree, hardbeame, and elme, so that the vse of oke was in maner dedicated wholie vnto churches, religious houses, princes palaces, no|blemens lodgings, & nauigation: but now all these are reiected, and nothing but oke anie whit regarded. And yet sée the change, for when our houses were buil|ded of willow, then had we oken men; but now that our houses are come to be made of oke, our men are not onlie become willow, but a great manie through Persian delicacie crept in among vs altogither of straw,Desire of much wealth and ease aba|teth manhood, & ouerthrow|eth a manlie courage. which is a sore alteration. In those the courage of the owner was a sufficient defense to kéepe the house in safetie, but now the assurance of the timber, double doores, lockes and bolts must defend the man from robbing. Now haue we manie chimnies and yet our tenderlings complaine of rheumes, catarhs and poses. Then had we none but reredosses, and our heads did neuer ake. For as the smoke in those daies was supposed to be a sufficient hardning for the tim|ber of the house; so it was reputed a far better medi|cine to kéepe the goodman and his familie from the quacke or pose, wherewith as then verie few were oft acquainted.

Of the curiousnesse of these piles I speake not, sith our workemen are growne generallie to such an excellencie of deuise in the frames now made, that they far passe the finest of the old. And such is their husbandrie in dealing with their timber, that the same stuffe which in time past was reiected as croo|ked, vnprofitable, and to no vse but the fire, dooth now come in the fronts and best part of the worke. Wher|by the common saieng is likewise in these daies ve|rified in our mansion houses, which earst was said onelie of the timber for ships, that no oke can grow so crooked but it falleth out to some vse, & that neces|sarie in the nauie. It is a world to sée moreouer how diuerse men being bent to building, and hauing a de|lectable veine in spending of their goods by that trade, doo dailie imagine new deuises of their owne to guide their workemen withall, and those more cu|rious and excellent alwaies than the former. In the procéeding also of their workes, how they set vp, how they pull downe, how they inlarge, how they re|streine, how they ad to, how they take from, whereby their heads are neuer idle, their purses neuer shut, nor their bookes of account neuer made perfect.

Destruunt, aedificant, mutant quadrata rotundis
saith the poet. So that if a man should well consider of all the od crotchets in such a builders braine, he would thinke his head to haue euen inough of those affaires onelie, & therefore iudge that he should not well be able to deale in anie other. But such com|monlie are our workemasters, that they haue beside this veine afore mentioned, either great charge of merchandizes, little lesse businesse in the common|wealth, or finallie no small dealings otherwise inci|dent vnto them, wherby gaine ariseth, and some trou|ble oft among withall. Which causeth me to wonder not a little how they can plaie the parts so well of so manie sundrie men, whereas diuerse other of grea|ter forecast in apparance can seldome shift well or thriue in anie one of them. But to our purpose.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 We haue manie woods, forrests, and parks, which cherish trées abundantlie, although in the woodland countries there is almost no hedge that hath not some store of the greatest sort, beside infinit num|bers of hedgerowes, groues, and springs, that are mainteined of purpose for the building and prouision of such owners as doo possesse the same. Howbeit as euerie soile dooth not beare all kinds of wood, so there is not anie wood, parke, hedgerow, groue, or forrest, that is not mixed with diuerse, as oke, ash, hasell, hawthorne, birch, béech, hardbeame, hull, sorfe, quic|ken aspe, poplers, wild cherie, and such like, wherof oke hath alwaies the preheminence, as most méet for building and the nauie, whervnto it is reserued. This tree bringeth foorth also a profitable kind of mast, whereby such as dwell néere vnto the aforesaid pla|ces doo cherish and bring vp innumerable heards of swine. In time of plentie of this mast, our red and fallow déere will not let to participat thereof with our hogs, more than our nete: yea our common pultrie also if they may come vnto them. But as this abundance dooth prooue verie pernicious vnto the first, so these egs which these latter doo bring foorth (be|side blackenesse in color and bitternesse of tast) haue not seldome beene found to bréed diuerse diseases vn|to such persons as haue eaten of the same.The like haue I séene where hens doo féed vpon the ten|der blades of garlike. I might ad in like sort the profit insuing by the barke of this wood, whereof our tanners haue great vse in dres|sing of leather, and which they buie yearelie in Maie by the fadame, as I haue oft séene: but it shall not néed at this time to enter into anie such discourse, on|lie this I wis [...] that [...]ur sole and vpper leathering may haue their due time, and not be hasted on by ex|traordinarie slights, as with ash, barke, &c. Whereby as I grant that it sé [...]meth outwardlie to be verie thicke & well doone: so if you respect the sadnes ther|of, it dooth prooue in the end to be verie hollow & not able to hold out water. Neuerthelesse we haue good lawes for redresse of this enormitie, but it cõmeth to passe in these as in the execution of most penall sta|tutes. For the gaines to be gotten by the same being giuen to one or two hungrie and vnthriftie persons, they make a shew of great reformation at the first, & for a litle while, till [...]hey find that following of sute EEBO page image 213 in law against the offendors is somwhat too charge|able and tedious. This therefore perceiued, they giue ouer the law, and fall to the admission of gifts and re|wards to winke at things past, and when they haue once gone ouer their ground with this kind of til|lage, then doo they tender licences, and offer large dispensations vnto him that shall aske the same, thereby to doo what him listeth in his trade for an yearelie pension, whereby the bribour now groweth to some certeine reuenues, & the tanner to so great li|bertie that his lether is much worse than before. But is not this a mockerie of our lawes, & manifest illu|sion of the good subiect whom they thus pill & poll? Of all oke growing in England the parke oke is the sof|test, and far more spalt and brickle than the hedge oke. And of all in Essex, that growing in Bardfield parke is the finest for ioiners craft: for oftentimes haue I seene of their workes made of that oke so fine and faire, as most of the wainescot that is brought hi|ther out of Danske, for our wainescot is not made in England. Yet diuerse haue assaied to deale without okes to that end, but not with so good successe as they haue hoped, bicause the ab or iuice will not so soone be remoued and cleane drawne out, which some at|tribute to want of time in the salt water. Neuerthe|lesse in building, so well the hedge as the parke oke go all one waie, and neuer so much hath beene spent in a hundred years before, as is in ten yeare of our time; for euerie man almost is a builder, and he that hath bought any small parcell of ground, be it neuer so little, will not be quiet till he haue pulled downe the old house (if anie were there standing) and set vp a new after his owne deuise. But wherevnto will this curiositie come?

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Of elme we haue great store in euerie high waie and elsewhere, yet haue I not séene thereof anie to|gither in woods or forrests, but where they haue béene first planted and then suffered to spread at their owne willes. Yet haue I knowen great woods of béech and hasell in manie places, especiallie in Barke|shire, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire, where they are greatlie cherished, & conuerted to sundrie v|ses by such as dwell about them. Of all the elms that euer I saw, those in the south side of Douer court, in Essex néere Harwich are the most notable, for they grow (I meane) in crooked maner, that they are al|most apt for nothing else but nauie timber, great or|dinance, and béetels: and such thereto is their natu|rall qualitie, that being vsed in the said behalfe, they continue longer, and more long than anie the like trées in whatsoeuer parcell else of this land, without cuphar, shaking, or cleauing, as I find.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Ash commeth vp euerie where of it selfe, and with euerie kind of wood. And as we haue verie great plentie and no lesse vse of these in our husbandrie, so are we not without the plane, the vgh, the sorfe, the chestnut, the line, the blacke cherrie, and such like. And although that we inioy them not in so great plentie now in most places, as in times past, or the other afore remembred: yet haue we sufficient of them all for our necessarie turnes and vses, especial|lie of vgh; as may be séene betwixt Rotheram and Sheffield, and some stéeds of Kent also, as I haue béene informed.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The firre, frankincense, and pine, we doo not alto|gither want, especiallie the firre, whereof we haue some store in Chatleie moore in Darbishire, Shrop|shire, Andernesse, and a mosse néere Manchester, not far from Leircesters house: although that in time past not onelie all Lancastershire, but a great part of the coast betwéene Chester and the Solme were well stored. As for the frankincense and pine, they haue béene planted onelie in colleges and cloisters, by the cleargie and religious heretofore. Wherefore (in mine opinion) we may rather saie that we want them altogither: for except they grew naturallie, and not by force, I sée no cause whie they should be accounted for parcell of our commodities. We haue also the aspe, whereof our fletchers make their ar|rowes. The seuerall kinds of poplars of our turners haue great vse for bolles, treies, troughs, dishes, &c. Also the alder, whose barke is not vnprofitable to die blacke withall, and therfore much vsed by our coun|trie wiues in colouring their knit hosen. I might here take occasion to speake of the great sales yéere|lie made of wood, whereby an infinit quantitie hath bin destroied within these few yéers: but I giue ouer to trauell in this behalfe. Howbeit thus much I dare affirme, that if woods go so fast to decaie in the next hundred yeere of Grace, as they haue doone and are like to doo in this, sometimes for increase of sheep|walks, and some maintenance of prodigalitie and pompe (for I haue knowne a well burnished gen|tleman This gen|tleman caught such an heate with this sore loade that he was faine to go to Rome for physicke, yet it could not saue his life, but hée must néeds die home|wards. that hath borne threescore at once in one paire of galigascons to shew his strength and braue|rie) it is to be feared that the fennie bote, broome, turffe, gall, heath, firze, brakes, whinnes, ling, dies, hassacks, flags, straw, sedge, réed, rush, and also sea|cole will be good merchandize euen in the citie of London, wherevnto some of then euen now haue gotten readie passage, and taken vp their innes in the greatest merchants parlours. A man would thinke that our laws were able inough to make suf|ficient prouision for the redresse of this error & enor|mitie likelie to insue. But such is the nature of our countriemen, that as manie laws are made, so they will kéepe none; or if they be vrged to make answer, they will rather séeke some crooked construction of them to the increase of their priuat gaine, than yéeld themselues to be guided by the same for a common wealth and profit to their countrie. So that in the end whatsoeuer the law saith we will haue our willes, whereby the wholesome ordinances of the prince are contemned, the trauell of the nobilitie & councellors as it were derided, the common wealth impoueri|shed, & a few onelie inriched by this peruerse dealing. Thus manie thousand persons doo suffer hinderance by this their lewd behauior. Hereby the wholesome laws of the prince are oft defrauded, and the good meaning magistrate in consultation about the com|mon wealth vtterlie neglected. I would wish that I might liue no longer than to sée foure things in this land reformed, that is: the want of discipline in the church: the couetous dealing of most of our mer|chants in the preferment of the commodities of o|ther countries, and hinderance of their owne: the holding of faires and markets vpon the sundaie to be abolished and referred to the wednesdaies: and that euerie man, in whatsoeuer part of the champaine soile enioieth fortie acres of land, and vpwards, after that rate, either by frée deed, copie hold, or fee farme, might plant one acre of word, or sowe the same with oke mast, hasell, béech, and sufficient prouision be made that it may be cherished and kept. But I feare me that I should then liue too long, and so long, that I should either be wearie of the world, or the world of me; and yet they are not such things but they may easilie be brought to passe.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Certes euerie small occasion in my time is e|nough to cut downe a great wood, and euerie trifle sufficeth to laie infinit acres of corne ground vnto pasture. As for the taking downe of houses, a small fine will beare out a great manie. Would to God we might once take example of the Romans, who in restreint of superfluous grasing, made an exact li|mitation, how manie head of cattell ech estate might kéepe, and what numbers of acres should suffice for that and other purposes. Neither was wood euer EEBO page image 214 better cherished or mansion houses mainteined, than by their lawes and statutes. Such also was their care in the maintenance of nauigation, that it was a great part of the charge of their consuls, yéerelie to view and looke vnto the hilles whereon great timber did grow, least their vnnecessarie faults for the sa|tisfaction of the priuat owner, and his couetous mind might prooue a preiudice vnto the common wealth, in the hinderance of sufficient stuffe for the furniture of their nauie. Certes the like hereof is yet obserued in Uenice. Read also I praie you what Suetonius writeth of the consulship of Bibulus and Cesar. As for the wood that Ancus Martius dedica|ted toward the maintenance of the common nauie, I passe it ouer, as hauing elsewhere remembred it vnto another end. But what doo I meane to speake of these, sith my purpose is onlie to talke of our owne woods? Well, take this then for a finall conclusion in woods, that beside some countries are alreadie driuen to sell their wood by the pound, which is an hea|uie report: within these fortie yéeres we shall haue little great timber growing aboue fortie yéeres old; for it is commonlie seene that those yoong staddles which we leaue standing at one & twentie yéeres fall, are vsuallie at the next sale cut downe without any danger of the statute, and serue for fire bote, if it please the owner to burne them.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Marises and fennie bogges we haue many in Eng|land,Marises and tennes. though not now so many as some of the old Ro|man writers doo specifie, but more in Wales, if you haue respect vnto the seuerall quantities of the coun|tries. Howbeit as they are verie profitable in the summer halfe of the yeere, so are a number of them which lie lowe and néere to great riuers, to small commoditie in the winter part, as common experi|ence dooth teach. Yet this I find of manie moores, that in times past they haue béene harder ground, and sundrie of them well replenished with great woods, that now are void of bushes. And for example hereof, we may sée the triall (beside the roots that are dailie found in the déeps of Monmouth, where turfe is dig|ged, also in Wales, Aburgauennie, and Merioneth) in sundrie parts of Lancashire, where great store of firre hath growen in times past, as I said, and the people go vnto this daie into their fens and marises with long spits, which they dash here and there vp to the verie cronge into the ground. In which practise, (a thing commonlie doone in winter) if they happen to smite vpon anie firre trées which lie there at their whole lengths, or other blocks, they note the place, and about haruest time, when the ground is at the driest, they come againe and get them vp, and after|ward carieng them home, applie them to their vses. The like doo they in Shropshire with the like, which hath beene felled in old time, within 7 miles of Sa|lop. Some of them foolishlie suppose the same to haue lien there since Noies floud: and other more fond than the rest, imagine them to grow euen in the pla|ces where they find them, without all consideration that in times pat, the most part, if not all Lhoegres and Cambria was generallie replenished with wood, which being felled or ouerthrowne vpon sundrie oc|casions, was left lieng in some places still on the ground, and in processe of time became to be quite ouergrowne with earth and moulds, which moulds wanting their due sadnesse, are now turned into moorie plots. Wherby it commeth to passe also, that great plentie of water commeth betwéene the new loose swart and the old hard earth, that being drawen awaie by ditching and dreanes (a thing soone doone if our countrie-men were painfull in that behalfe) might soone leaue a drie soile to the great lucre and aduantage of the owner. We find in our histories, that Lincolne was somtime builded by Lud brother to Cassibelan, who called it Cair Ludcoit, of the great store of woods that inuironed the same: but now the commoditie is vtterlie decaied there, so that if Lud were aliue againe, he would not call it his citie in the wood, but rather his towne in the plaines: for the wood (as I heare) is wasted altogither about the same. The hilles called the Peke were in like sort named Mennith and Orcoit, that is, the wooddie hilles and forrests. But how much wood is now to be séene in those places, let him that hath béene there testifie, if he list; for I heare of no such store there as hath béene in time past by those that trauell that waie. And thus much of woods and marises, and so far as I can deale with the same.

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