Digithéque, Jean-Pierre Maury

Angleterre


Charte de la forêt.

(6 novembre 1217)
Carta de foresta (original latin).
Charter of the Forest (traduction en anglais).
Charte de la forêt (traduction en français).
    La Magna Carta de 1215 contenait plusieurs articles (44, 47, 48, 53) relatifs au droit de la forêt, mais ces articles furent retirés de la nouvelle version publiée en 1216 et, en 1217, fut publiée, en complément de la Magna Carta, un charte concernant exclusivement la forêt.
    Il convient de préciser que le terme « forêt » ne désigne pas ici les seuls terrains densément boisés que nous appelons ainsi aujourd'hui. La forêt, c'est alors le terrain de chasse des rois normands, puis angevins et de leurs successeurs. Guillaume le Conquérant, infatigable chasseur, avait affirmé ses privilèges sur la forêt royale, mais celle-ci fut progressivement étendue par ses successeurs, jusqu'à ce que Henri II, en 1184
(Assize de Woodstock), décidât que la forêt royale relèverait d'une loi spéciale et non de la loi commune. Henry II, Richard et Jean étendirent démesurément le territoire soumis à ce régime juridique particulier, y incorporant des landes ou des prairies, et même des champs, des villages ou des villes, de telle sorte que la forêt ainsi entendue recouvrait un tiers du royaume.
    Or dans l'Angleterre médiévale, la forêt était nécessaire à beaucoup de gens pour rechercher de la nourriture, du bois de chauffage, ou pour nourrir leurs animaux. L'extension du régime de la forêt devait donc provoquer de multiples conflits, d'autant que les chiens devaient être mutilés préventivement afin de ne pouvoir être utilisés pour la chasse, que les infractions à la loi étaient sévèrement punies, par exemple la capture d'un chevreuil ou d'un cerf était punie de mort, la coupe de bois vert d'une forte amende, et que les officiers du roi ou les titulaires de fiefs se livraient à diverses exactions.

    Alors que la Magna Carta concerne essentiellement les nobles et le clergé, la Charte de la forêt restaure les droits traditionnels des hommes libres, ce qui explique à la fois la faiblesse de sa notoriété et l'ire du roi, qui la déchira en 1227, à sa majorité. La Charte permettait aux hommes libres de jouir de droits tels que panage (pâturages pour leurs porcs), estover (collecte du bois), paissance (pâturage des bovins et ovins), ou tourbage (tourbe utilisée comme combustible). Elle limitait la gravité des sanctions, sous le contrôle de cours spéciales, réunies régulièrement (le tribunal de Quarante-Jours par exemple, art. 8). La peine de mort était supprimée pour ceux qui capturent un chevreuil, remplacée par de fortes amendes ou une peine d'emprisonnement.
   La Charte de la forêt fut publiée à nouveau, avec la Magna Carta de 1225, mais abrogée en 1227. Confirmée et régulièrement violée par le roi, comme la Magna Carta, la Charte de la forêt bénéficia explicitement de la Confirmatio de 1297, par le roi Édouard Ier. Les résultats de l'enquête sur les forêts furent examinés par le Parlement de 1301 et ainsi furent fixées les limites des forêts royales pour les quatre siècles suivants, les terres retranchées formant le purlieu, soumis à un régime intermédiaire. C'est finalement sous le règne de Victoria que les forêts furent progressivement rendues au droit commun et la charte de la forêt fut définitivement abrogée en 1971 (Wild Creatures and Forest Laws Act 1971 (c. 47), s. 1(4), Sch.).

Sources : Le texte original est bien entendu en latin. Un exemplaire du manuscrit de la charte est conservé dans les archives de la cathédrale de Durham et un autre exemplaire au château de Lincoln. 
Le texte latin ci-dessous a été repris de Bémont, Chartes des libertés anglaises, Picard éditeur, 1892, VIII, p. 64-70 (ouvrage numérisé par la BNF et consultable sur Gallica). 
Le texte anglais est repris de Harry Rothwell (éd.), English Historical Documents 1189-1327, vol. 3, 1189-1327, Londres, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1975, n° 24, p. 337-340.

charte de la forêt, 1217, Angleterre


Carta de foresta.

Henricus Dei gratia rex Anglie, dominus Hibernie, dux Normannie, Aquitanie et comes Andegavie, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, prioribus, comitibus, baronibus, justiciariis, forestariis, vicecomitibus, prepositis, ministris, et omnibus ballivis et fidelibus suis, salutem. Sciatis quod, intuitu Dei et pro salute anime nostre et animarum antecessorum et successorum nostrorum, ad exaltacionem Sancte Ecclesie et emendacionem regni nostri, concessimus et hac presenti carta confirmavimus pro nobis et heredibus nostris in perpetuum, de consilio venerabilis patris nostri domini Gualonis tituli sancti Martini presbiteri cardinalis et apostolice sedis legati, domini Walteri Eboracensis archiepiscopi, Willelmi Londoniensis episcopi, et aliorum episcoporum Anglie, et Willelmi Marescalli comitis Penbrocie, rectoris nostri et regni nostri, et aliorum fidelium comitum et baronum nostrorum Anglie, has libertates subscriptas tenendas in regno nostro Anglie, in perpetuum:

1. In primis omnes foreste quas Henricus rex avus noster afforestavit videantur per bonos et legales homines; et, si boscum aliquem alium quam suum dominicum afforestaverit ad dampnum illius cujus boscus fuerit, deafforestentur. Et si boscum suum proprium afforestaverit, remaneat foresta, salva communa de herbagio et aliis in eadem foresta, illis qui eam prius habere consueverunt.

2. Homines qui manent extra forestam non veniant decetero coram justiciariis nostris de foresta per communes summoniciones, nisi sint in placito, vel plegii alicujus vel aliquorum qui attachiati sunt propter forestam.

3. Omnes autem bosci qui fuerunt afforestati per regem Ricardum avunculum nostrum, vel per regem Johannem patrem nostrum usque ad primam coronacionem nostram, statim deafforestentur, nisi fuerit dominicus boscus noster.

4. Archiepiscopi, episcopi, abbates, priores, comites et barones et milites et libere tenentes, qui boscos suos habent in forestis, habeant boscos suos sicut eos habuerunt tempore prime coronacionis predicti regis Henrici avi nostri, ita quod quieti sint in perpetuum de omnibus purpresturis, vastis et assartis factis in illis boscis, post illud tempus usque ad principium secundi anni coronacionis nostre. Et qui de cetero vastum, purpresturam, vel assartum sine licencia nostra in illis fecerint, de vastis et assartis respondeant.

5. Reguardores nostri eant per forestas ad faciendum reguardum sicut fieri consuevit tempore prime coronacionis predicti regis Henrici avi nostri, et non aliter.

6. Inquisicio, vel visus de expeditacione canum existencium in foresta, decetero fiat quando debet fieri reguardum, scilicet de tercio anno in tercium annum; et tunc fiat per visum et testimonium legalium hominum et non aliter. Et ille, cujus canis inventus fuerit tunc non expeditatus, det pro misericordia tres solidos; et de cetero nullus bos capiatur pro expeditacione. Talis autem sit expeditacio per assisam communiter quod tres ortilli abscidantur sine pelota de pede anteriori; nec expeditentur canes de cetero, nisi in locis ubi consueverunt expeditari tempore prime coronacionis regis Henrici avi nostri.

7. Nullus forestarius vel bedellus decetero faciat scotale, vel colligat garbas, vel avenam, vel bladum aliud, vel agnos, vel porcellos, nec aliquam collectam faciant; et per visum et sacramentum duodecim reguardorum quando facient reguardum, tot forestarii ponantur ad forestas custodiendas, quot ad illas custodiendas rationabiliter viderint sufficere.

8. Nullum suanimotum de cetero teneatur in regno nostro nisi ter in anno; videlicet in principio quindecim dierum ante festum Sancti Michaelis, quando agistatores conveniunt ad agistandum dominicos boscos nostros; et circa festum Sancti Martini quando agistatores nostri debent recipere pannagium nostrum; et ad ista duo suanimota conveniant forestarii, viridarii, et agistatores, et nullus alius per districtionem; et tercium suanimotum teneatur in inicio quindecim dierum ante festum Sancti Johannis Baptiste, pro feonacione bestiarum nostrarum; et ad istud suanimotum tenendum convenient forestarii et viridarii et nulli alii per districtionem. Et preterea singulis quadraginta diebus per totum annum conveniant viridarii et forestarii ad videndum attachiamenta de foresta, tam de viridi, quam de venacione, per presentacionem ipsorum forestariorum, et coram ipsis attachiatis. Predicta autem suanimota non teneantur nisi in comitatibus in quibus teneri consueverunt.

9. Unusquisque liber homo agistet boscum suum in foresta pro voluntate sua et habeat pannagium suum. Concedimus eciam quod unusquisque liber homo possit ducere porcos suos per dominicum boscum nostrum, libere et sine inpedimento, ad agistandum eos in boscis suis propriis, vel alibi ubi voluerit. Et si porci alicujus liberi hominis una nocte pernoctaverint in foresta nostra, non inde occasionetur ita quod aliquid de suo perdat.

10. Nullus de cetero amittat vitam vel menbra pro venacione nostra; set, si aliquis captus fuerit et convictus de capcione venacionis, graviter redimatur, si habeat unde redimi possit; et si non habeat unde redimi possit, jaceat in prisona nostra per unum annum et unum diem; et, si post unum annum et unum diem plegios invenire possit, exeat a prisona; sin autem, abjuret regnum Anglie.

11. Quicunque archiepiscopus, episcopus, comes vel baro transierit per forestam nostram, liceat ei capere unam vel duas bestias per visum forestarii, si presens fuerit; sin autem, faciat cornari, ne videatur furtive hoc facere.

12. Unusquisque liber homo decetero sine occasione faciat in bosco suo, vel in terra sua quam habeat in foresta, molendinum, vivarium, stagnum, marleram, fossatum, vel terram arabilem extra cooperatum in terra arabili, ita quod non sit ad nocumentum alicujus vicini.

13. Unusquisque liber homo habeat in boscis suis aereas, ancipitrum et spervariorum et falconum, aquilarum, et de heyrinis et habeat similiter mel quod inventum fuerit in boscis suis.

14. Nullus forestarius de cetero, qui non sit forestarius de feudo reddens nobis firmam pro balliva sua, capiat chiminagium aliquod in balliva sua; forestarius autem de feudo firmam nobis reddens pro balliva sua capiat chiminagium, videlicet pro careta per dimidium annum duos denarios, et per alium dimidium annum duos denarios, et pro equo qui portat sumagium per dimidium annum unum obolum, et per alium dimidium annum obolum, et non nisi de illis qui de extra ballivam suam, tanquam mercatores, veniunt per licenciam suam in ballivam suam ad buscam, meremium, corticem vel carbonem emendum, et alias ducendum ad vendendum ubi voluerint : et de nulla alia careta vel sumagio aliquod chimunagium capiatur : et non capiatur chiminagium nisi in locis illis ubi antiquitus capi solebat et debuit. Illi autem qui portant super dorsum suum buscam, corticem, vel carbonem, ad vendendum, quamvis inde vivant, nullum de cetero dent chiminagium. De boscis autem aliorum nullum detur chiminagium foristariis nostris, preterquam de dominicis bocis nostris.

15. Omnes utlagati pro foresta tantum a tempore regis Henrici avi nostri usque ad primam coronacionem nostram, veniant ad pacem nostram sine inpedimento, et salvos plegios inveniant quod de cetero non forisfaciant nobis de foresta nostra.

16. Nullus castellanus vel alius teneat placita de foresta sive viridi sive de venacione, sed quilibet forestarius de feudo attachiet placita de foresta tam de viridi quam de venacione, et ea presentet viridariis provinciarum et cum irrotulata fuerint et sub sigillis viridariorum inclusa, presententur capitali forestario cum in partes illas venerit ad tenendum placita foreste, et coram eo terminentur.

17. Has autem libertates de forestis concessimus omnibus, salvis archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, prioribus, comitibus, baronibus, militibus et aliis tam personis ecclesiasticis quam secularibus, Templariis et Hospitalariis, libertatibus et liberis consuetudinibus in forestis et extra, in warennis et aliis, quas prius habuerunt. Omnes autem istas consuetudines predictas et libertates, quas concessimus in regno nostro tenendas quantum ad nos pertinet erga nostros, omnes de regno nostro tam clerici quam laici observent quantum ad se pertinet erga suos. Quia vero sigillum nondum habuimus, presentem cartam sigillis venerabilis patris nostri domini Gualonis tituli Sancti Martini presbiteri cardinalis, apostolice sedis legati, et Willelmi Marescalli comitis Penbrok, rectoris nostri et regni nostri, fecimus sigillari. Testibus prenominatis et aliis multis. 

Datum per manus predictorum domini legati et Willelmi Marescalli apud Sanctum Paulum London., sexto die Novembris, anno regni nostri secundo.


Charter of the Forest.

Henry, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy, Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his bailiffs and faithful subjects, greeting. Know that out of reverence for God and for the salvation of our soul and the souls of our ancestors and successors, for the exaltation of holy church and the reform of our realm, we have granted and by this present charter confirmed for us and our heirs for ever, on the advice of our venerable father, the lord Gualo, cardinal priest of St Martin and legate of the apostolic see, of the lord Walter archbishop of York, William bishop of London and the other bishops of England and of William Marshal earl of Pembroke, ruler of us and of our kingdom, and our other faithful earls and barons of England, these liberties written below to be held in our kingdom of England for ever.

(1) In the first place, all the forests which king Henry our grandfather made forest shall be viewed by good and law-worthy men, and if he made forest any wood that was not his demesne to the injury of him whose wood it was, it shall be disafforested. And if he made his own wood forest, it shall remain forest, saving common of pasture and other things in that forest to those who were accustomed to have them previously.

(2) Men who live outside the forest need not henceforth come before our justices of the forest upon a general summons, unless they are impleaded or are sureties for any person or persons who are attached for forest offences.

(3) All woods made forest by king Richard our uncle, or by king John our father, up to the time of our first coronation shall be immediately disafforested unless it be our demesne wood.

(4) Archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights and freeholders who have woods within forests shall have them as they had them at the time of the first coronation of the aforesaid king Henry our grandfather, so that they shall be quit forever in respect of all purprestures, wastes and assarts made in those woods between that time and the beginning of the second year of our coronation. And those who in future make waste, purpresture or assart in them without licence from us shall answer for wastes, purprestures and assarts.

(5) Our regarders shall go through the forests making the regard as it used to be made at the time of the first coronation of the aforesaid king Henry our grandfather, and not otherwise.

(6) The inquest or view of the expeditating of dogs in the forest shall henceforth be made when the regard ought to be made, namely every third year, and then made by the view and testimony of law-worthy men and not otherwise. And he whose dog is then found not expeditated shall give as amercement three shillings, and in future no ox shall be seized for failure to expeditate. The manner, moreover, of expeditating by the assize shall generally be that three claws of the forefoot are to be cut off, but not the ball. Nor shall dogs henceforth be expeditated except in places where it was customary to expeditate them at the time of the first coronation of king Henry our grandfather.

(7) No forester or beadle shall henceforth make scotale or levy sheaves of corn, or oats or other grain or lambs or piglets or make any other levy. And by the view and oath of twelve regarders when they make the regard as many foresters are to be set to keep the forests as shall seem to them reasonably sufficient for keeping them.

(8) No swanimote shall henceforth be held in our kingdom except three times a year, namely a fortnight before the feast of St Michael, when the agisters meet to agist our demesne woods, and about the feast of St Martin, when our agisters ought to receive our pannage-dues; and at these two swanimotes foresters, verderers and agisters shall appear but no one else shall be compelled to do so; and the third swanimote shall be held a fortnight before the feast of St John the Baptist for the fawning of our beasts, and for holding this swanimote foresters and verderers shall come but no others shall be compelled to do so. And in addition every forty days throughout the year the verderers and foresters shall meet to view attachments of the forest both of the vert and of the venison on the presentment of those foresters and with the attached present. The aforesaid swanimotes however shall only be held in counties in which they were wont to be held.

(9) Every free man shall agist his wood in the forest as he wishes and have his pannage. We grant also that every free man can conduct his pigs through our demesne wood freely and without impediment to agist them in his own woods or anywhere else he wishes. And if the pigs of any free man shall spend one night in our forest he shall not on that account be so prosecuted that he loses anything of his own.

(10) No one shall henceforth lose life or limb because of our venison, but if anyone has been arrested and convicted of taking venison he shall be fined heavily if he has the means; and if he has not the means, he shall lie in our prison for a year and a day; and if after a year and a day he can find pledges he may leave prison; but if not, he shall abjure the realm of England.

(11) Any archbishop, bishop, earl or baron whatever who passes through our forest shall be allowed to take one or two beasts under the supervision of the forester, if he is to hand; but if not, let him have the horn blown, lest he seem to be doing it furtively.

(12) Every free man may henceforth without being prosecuted make in his wood or in land he has in the forest a mill, a preserve, a pond, a marl-pit, a ditch, or arable outside the covert in arable land, on condition that it does not harm any neighbour.

(13) Every free man shall have the eyries of hawks, sparrowhawks, falcons, eagles and herons in his woods, and likewise honey found in his woods.

(14) No forester henceforth who is not a forester-in-fee rendering us a farm for his bailiwick may exact any chiminage in his bailiwick; but a forester-in-fee rendering us a farm for his bailiwick may exact chiminage, namely for a cart for half a year 2d and for the other half year 2d, and for a horse with a load for half a year 1/2d and for the other half year 1/2d, and only from those who come from outside his bailiwick as merchants with his permission into his bailiwick to buy wood, timber, bark, or charcoal and take them elsewhere to sell where they wish; and from no other cart or load shall any chiminage be exacted, and chiminage shall only be exacted in places where it used to be exacted of old and ought to have been exacted. Those, on the other hand, who carry wood, bark, or charcoal on their backs for sale, although they get their living by it, shall not in future pay chiminage. In respect of the woods of others no chiminage shall be given to our foresters beyond [that given] in respect of our own woods.

(15) All who from the time of king Henry our grandfather up to our first coronation have been outlawed for a forest offence only shall be released from their outlawry without legal proceedings and shall find reliable pledges that they will not do wrong to us in the future in respect of our forest.

(16) No castellan or other person may hold forest pleas either of the vert or the venison but each forester-in-fee shall attach forest pleas of both the vert and the venison and present them to the verderers of the districts and when they have been enrolled and closed under the seals of the verderers they shall be presented to the head forester when he arrives in those parts to hold forest pleas and be determined before him.

(17) These liberties concerning the forests we have granted to everybody, saving to archibishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights, and other persons, ecclesiastical and secular, Templars and Hospitallers, the liberties and free customs, in forests and outside, in warrens and other things, which they had previously. All these aforesaid customs and liberties which we have granted to be observed in our kingdom as far as it pertains to us towards our men, all of our kingdom, clerks as well as laymen, shall observe as far as it pertains to them towards their men. Because we have not yet a seal we have had the present charter sealed with the seals of our venerable father the lord Gualo cardinal priest of St Martin, legate of the apostolic see, and William Marshal earl of Pembroke, ruler of us and of our kingdom. Witness the aforenamed and many others.
Given by the hands of the aforesaid lord, the legate, and of William Marshal at St Paul’s, London, on the sixth day of November in the second year of our reign.


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