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Viking Law Thing Discovery in Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest Presented by Stuart C. Reddish Photographs by Lynda Mallett The Friends of Thynghowe A report on an important archaeological site in the heart of Sherwood Forest, The Viking Thynghowe.


The Importance of Discovery Using an original 1816 Warsop Lordship Boundary Perambulation Document we have rediscovered a lost local heritage. Included in this document is reference to the ancient custom of assembly on Hanger Hill (Thynghowe) and forms the basis of our intangible cultural heritage research. The document also records traditions and customs, boundary trees and stones, the names of members of the community. The site of Birklands Forest (Viking Birchlands) contains many other archaeological features from an ancient landscape.


The Importance of Recording Archaeology The tangible heritage in the Forest of Birklands includes a possible Bronze Age burial mound, a Saxon Moot with Viking Assembly (Thynghowe), Forest and parish boundary marker stones, a 13th century chantry, a 19th century water meadows scheme, centuries of woodland management features and World War II archaeology. Each feature is plotted and recorded bringing together a better understanding of the forest. All the initial survey work was undertaken by local volunteers. Many boundary features were discovered in the undergrowth.


The Importance of Boundaries There appears to be two types of boundaries in the forest landscape. The first is the Parish and Lordship boundary that also serves as an ancient trackway. The second is a much older boundary system of forest boundaries. The picture is of the Budby South Forest Stone. On Thynghowe there is the Birklands Forest Stone which appears to have once been a 'finger' stone and two Parish boundary stones. Research into Assembly sites often suggest a link to one or more boundaries and the proximity of track ways. Access to water, grazing and wood were also important.


The Importance of Documents Researching the written archives provides information to support the physical archaeological evidence and provide new knowledge. There are Sherwood Forest Books which were used by the custodians of the Royal Hunting Forest that date back to the 13th Century and sometimes record events that predate that. The book shown contains the oldest written reference to Thynghowe around 1251. Ducal Estate Records are also of great assistance in discovering features in the landscape as are more recent Ministry of Defence Records and Aerial Photography.


The Importance of the Danelaw The Danelaw had influence on the village and field names of the area of Sherwood. Thynghowe would have been part of that community. Ivor the Boneless Battle at Nottingham 846; Settlement & reoccupation 877 – 918 The Five Boroughs or Shires: Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and Rutland Earl of Mercia 941, King Olaf of York; King Edmund recovered the Five Boroughs in 942 Swein Forkbeard from 1013 became King of England, Denmark and Norway


The Importance of Maps We are fortunate to have discovered maps containing details showing the significance of the site both as Thynghowe and more recently as Hanger Hill. The map shown of Nottinghamshire in the 14th century from the archives of the Duke of Rutland clearly shows the King's deer parks and Thynghowe. Giving Thynghowe more status than nearby villages which are not recorded. Thynghowe Assarts are clearly shown on 17th century estate maps. There was then a renaming on maps to Hanger Hill, but still, it was recorded in preference to nearby village names.


The Importance of the Forest The name ‘Sherwood’ was first recorded in 958AD when it was called Sciryuda, meaning ‘the woodland belonging to the shire’. It became a Royal hunting Forest after the Norman invasion of 1066. It was popular with many Norman kings, particularly King John and Edward I. The ruins of King John’s hunting lodge can still be seen at the village of Kings Clipstone only 3 miles from Thynghowe. Various Royal Forest Surveys have recorded landscape places and features. The 1606 -1609 survey, shown left, clearly shows Thynghowe, The Birklands Forest Stone and the Lordship Boundary as it still is today.


The Importance of Professional Involvement During our research we have drawn upon professional involvement including experts in landscape archaeology at local universities and English Heritage. We work closely with the Forestry Commission who manage the Forest on behalf of the Welbeck Estate. We also include wildlife experts in the overall site management Thynghowe, as a result of our research, is now included on the English Heritage National Monuments Record. We are now collecting more evidence to ensure that it becomes protected as a Scheduled Monument.


The Importance for the Community The Friends of Thynghowe was formed from three Nottinghamshire local history societies in Clipstone, Edwinstowe and Warsop to investigate the heritage of the Forest of Birklands area and the site of Thynghowe. We hold an annual public walk using the 1816 Perambulation of the Manor of Warsop. In winter months regular surveying walks are undertaken in the Forest. We have participated in the HLF funded Woodland Heritage Champions Project, and created a trail through Birklands with an interpretation leaflet.


The Importance of Preserving Heritage We aim to preserve our heritage by keeping alive the stories of Birklands amongst local people, through walks, talks and events. The digitised and archived documents are made accessible in various media; which include website, social media, and published materials. Our future plans involve topographical and magnetometry surveys with the potential of a full LiDAR survey in 2012. This project will involve as many members of the community as possible in the process of discovering more about their Viking and wider cultural heritage.


The Importance for the Future Funding in place for a topographical Survey of Thynghowe Collaboration with University College London Landscapes of Governance Study Bid submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund Website: thynghowe.org.uk Website: sherwoodforest.info Email Contact: stuart@piro.co.uk


Thynghowe Viking Assembly Sherwood Forest