The Forest of Dean.

Bygone Days

   Bygone Days.

Forest of Dean History
Civil War - Sir John Wyntour.

Although betrothed to the Infanta Maria Anna of Spain, the engagement was broken off and prince Charles, the future King of England, married princess Henrietta Maria of France instead. A special dispensation for the wedding was required from the Pope as this was the first marriage of a Catholic princess to a Protestant prince - International politics at work! Their marriage was motivated by the political necessity of forging a relationship between England and France against the threat of the rising strength of Spain !
Henrietta Maria, now Charles' wife, however was a devout catholic - so much so that she had refused to be married by an English Bishop and, once married, did not attend Charles' Church of England coronation - seen as deliberately divisive actions by the Protestant portion England.
Her secretary was Sir John Wyntour, who had a house and business interests in the Forest of Dean. He, also, was a devout catholic, in a position of great power and over the years he was able to increase his holdings in the Forest - not always to its' short-term benefit.
Between them, Henrietta Maria and Sir John Wyntour, raised funds and arms for the King in return for the promise to remove the Recusant's Bill. This was a punitive act of parliament aimed at catholics who did not attend Church of England services.
With a family history of pro-Catholic intrigue (the Wyntours were involved in the Gunpowder Plot) and with the French Connection available they spent a lot of time and effort raising money, material and potential (Foreign) armies for the King.
Before the Civil War the Forest contained 105,537 trees - After the Civil War there were only 200 trees fit for navy timber. The King had granted the Forest to Sir John Wyntour for £10,000, and an annual fee farm rent of £2,000. The profits from stripping the Forest had mainly gone to the Catholic cause.

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