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DOMESDAY BOOK

The Domesday book is a particularly important document as regards the New Forest. Not only is the first reasonably comprehensive account of the region but it also specifies what was considered to be the forest area at that time, only a few years after the New Forest was created by William I.

At the time, the matter became very 'political' as Anglo-Saxon scribes (possibly the earliest 'spin doctors') used the issue to berate the newcomers with their fanciful tales of wholesale destruction and forced removal of inhabitants. Whilst more modern writers have derided these accusations, there is no doubt that the creation of a hunting area led to the elimination of the very small amount of arable within the forest and the expulsion of the few settlers. More importantly it led to a reorganisation and rationalisation of the scattered landholdings of the area within the Large bounds of the New Forest.