Thursday, December 20, 2012

The penalty of poaching the King’s deer
The Fine of the White Hart

King Henry III coming to hunt in a forest (since called White Hart) in Dorsetshire, took several deer.  Finding a most beautiful and goodly white hart there he spared it: but afterwards a gentleman of the County called Thomas de Lynd, with others in his company, took and killed this white hart.   For which the King put a fine on him and the whole County, called the White Hart Silver.  [Henry Curzon, The universal library or compleat summary of science (1712), 1:352]

The fine was still being paid into the Exchequer at the time of Elizabeth I. 

BLACKMOOR-VALE, the valley of the Cale river, on the mutual border of Somerset and Dorset; south south-eastward from Wincanton toward Sturminster. It is flanked by hill ranges, often 4 miles asunder; and has a rich, tenacious, marshy soil, notable as pasture land, and for the vigorous growth of oaks. It was originally called White Hart forest, from an incident in a hunt by Henry III.   Source: A vision of Britain through time; online at:

Last decade of the 14th century (ca. 1395-1399) England or France
The Wilton Diptych reverse - the White Hart
London, National Gallery

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