13 JANUARY 1906, Page 24


The Royal Forests of England. By J. Charles Cox, LL.D. (Methuen and Co. 7s. 6d. net.)—This book is manifestly, from beginning to end, the work of an expert. Possibly it is even too faithful to the title of the series to which it belongs, "The Antiquary's Books." The general reader may find himself over- whelmed with the mass of detail. The plan followed has been to give some preliminary account of forests in general—the Courts which were concerned with them, the officials, the game—the domesticated animals, the hunting, and the trees, and then to take the various forests geographically. (This might advantageously have been illustrated by a map.) The only part of England which was without forest—not necessarily, it must be remembered, a wooded region—was a section of East Anglia. A line drawn from the Humber to the head-waters of the Stour would include a great part of it, especially if it were extended so as to take in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and Middlesex. Essex, which was almost entirely under forest law, is the great exception in this respect. In the West we find Cornwall without forest, and Monmouth (which was practically Welsh). This gives us an idea of the vast extent of the subject with which Dr. Cox has dealt. His book concerns a very large part of the life of mediaeval England, and any one who will take the pains to study it carefully will find himself amply repaid.