Extincting Wolves in England & Wales

This is from Sports and Pastimes of he People of England, published in 1801. My previous post listed a lot of animals of the hunt, but wolves were absent, apparently because they were already hunted to extinction.

It is generally admitted that Edgar gave up the fine of gold and silver imposed by his uncle Athelstan, upon Constantine the king of Wales, and claimed in its stead the annual production of 300 wolves’ skins; because, say the historians, the extensive woodlands and coverts, abounding at that time in Britain, afforded shelter for the wolves, which were exceedingly numerous, and especially in the districts bordering Wales. By this prudent expedient, add they, in less than 4 years the whole island was cleared from these ferocious animals, without putting his subjects to the least expense; but, if this record be taken in its full latitude, and the supposition established, that the wolves were totally exterminated in Britain during the reign of Edgar, more will certainly be admitted than is consistent with the truth…

The words of William of Malmsbury… “Edgar imposed a tribute upon the King of Wales exacting 300 wolves yearly. This tribute continued to be paid for three years, but ceased upon the fourth because … it was said that he could not find any more; that is, in Wales, for it can hardly be supposed that he was permitted to hunt them out of his own dominions.

In the tenth year of William I. Robert de Imfraville, knight, held the lordship &cx. of Riddlesdale, in the country of Northumberland, by service of defending that part of the country from enemies and “wolves”. Also, in the 43rd year of Edward III, Thomas Engaine held lands in Pitchley, in the country of Northampton, by service of finding at his own cost certain dogs for the destruction of wolves, foxes &c. in the counties of Northampton, Rutland, Oxford, Essex, and Buckingham. As late as the 11th year of Henry VI Sir Robert Plimpton held one borate of land, by service of winding a horn, and chasing or frighting wolves in the forest of Shirewood.

I find his account interesting as there is no mention of Scotland, where they are now planning to reintroduce them.

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