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Hunters and PoachersA Social and Cultural History of Unlawful Hunting in England 1485-1640$
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Roger B. Manning

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203247

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203247.001.0001

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The Game Laws

The Game Laws

(p.57) 3 The Game Laws
Hunters and Poachers


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the passage of game laws in medieval England. The original assumption in the enactment of game law was that husbandsmen and artificers used hunting parties as a cover for conspiracies to rise against their lords; thus, the right to hunt must be denied to those without sufficient estates as a means of preserving public order. The emphasis in game legislation and enforcement later shifted to an assertion of the royal prerogative and aristocratic privilege. The chapter explains that during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, further enactment of game legislation and the attempt to assert possession of deer and game went hand-in-hand with the expanding doctrine of the absolute and unqualified rights of private property.

Keywords:   game laws, medieval England, husbandsmen, artificers, public order, royal prerogative, aristocratic privilege, private property, property rights

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