11c depiction of English village

Contributed by Henry Aubrey-Fletcher

11c depiction of English village

A cartulary dated 1444 was produced for Edmund Rede of Boarstall in Buckinghamshire. We are descendants of Edmund. Within the cartualry is bound what is understood to be the oldest surviving depiction of an English village.

It tells the story of Nigel the Forester of Bernewode. A great wild boar was terrorising the inhabitants of the forest. Legend has it that the boar was slain by Nigel and the head presented to Edward the Confessor, who hunted in the forest. The map illustrates the event, as well as the boar's head being presented to the King by Nigel, we can see the King holding a horn on a sling that he presents to Nigel, "a great black horn mounted with silver gilded, which was the first charter of office of the forest of Bernewode and was given by the King to one Nigel" One of the earliest "Tenurial horns".

The cartulary is looked after by the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies (Record Office). It is rarely displayed in public due to its antiquity and the need to preserve the extraordinay detail and colour of the 11c. map. The horn itself is also looked after by the centre.

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