A major contribution to debates about the origins of the Civil War, this study of English forests and hunting from the late sixteenth century to the early 1640s explores their significance in the symbolism and effective power of royalty and the nobility in early modern England. Blending social, cultural and political history, Dan Beaver examines the interrelationships among four local communities to explain the violent political conflicts in the forests in the years leading up to the civil war. Adopting a micro-historical approach, the book explores how local politics became bound up with national political and ideological divisions. The author argues that, from the early seventeenth century, a politics of land use in forests and other hunting reserves involved its participants in a sophisticated political discourse, touching on the principles of law and justice, the authority of the crown and the nature of a commonwealth.
1. Introduction: hunting, violence, and the origins of the English Revolution; 2. Blood, sacrifice, and order: meanings of the forest and hunt in culture, politics, and society; 3. Honor, property, and the symbolism of the hunt in Stowe, 1590-1642; 4. Ancient liberties and the politics of the Commonweal in Waltham forest, 1608-1642; 5. Royal honor, Great Parks, and the commonweal in Windsor forest, 1603-1642; 6. Venison and the politics of honor in Corse Lawn Chase, 1620-1642; 7. Conclusion: royal symbols, forest politics, and popular politics in Early Modern England.
Daniel Beaver is Associate Professor at the Department of History, Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Parish Communities and Religious Conflict in the Vale of Gloucester, 1590-1690 (1998).
Reviews for Hunting and the Politics of Violence before the English Civil War
'Hunting and the Politics of Violence looks likely to earn a place on postgraduate reading lists and prompt further research. Readers will look at the royal forests with a heightened awareness of their distinct law, culture, and experience, as well as an increased awareness of the significant place that hunting continued to play in visions of English society.' James Robertson, H-Law