When it appeared in 1217, Charter of the Forest – Carta de Foresta – was the first official act to extend essential protections of Magna Carta to English commoners against abuse by the aristocracy. Under this charter, access to royal forests was one of many new rights acquired by the people. It was revolutionary in impact, and struggles to maintain those rights have reinforced the rule of law for centuries. Today, forests remain critical sources of habitat, autonomy, products, and employment, and are essential to combating our planet’s environmental crises.
The Lincoln Charter of the Forest Conference
On September 22-24, 2017, the Lincoln Record Society hosted an international conference addressing Charter of the Forest. Leading experts presented on the Charter, its history, and its modern-day implications, and participants had the option to attend a conference dinner, view one of only two surviving originals of the Charter, and take part in an escorted visit to Sherwood Forest. Click here to learn more.
Magna Carta Connection
Charter of the Forest is one of the world's first pieces of environmental and natural resources legislation. Issued in 1217 as both an offshoot and complement to Magna Carta, it incorporates three chapters from Magna Carta in addition to several additional chapters, for a total of seventeen. While Magna Carta is better known today, both documents were of immense significance at the time and both remain key rule of law statements. In fact, " Magna" Carta was so named simply because it was written on a larger piece of parchment than Charter of the Forest.