Documents from William Meavy's time are littered with court cases regarding the ownership of land, land that men like William considered theirs by right, such as the 1202 grant of land of Walter Meavy by Robert de Nonant to the Priory of Plympton. However, this was not the only problem landowners were facing. Affecting land up and down the country was the new Forest Laws that had been implemented by King John, which directly affected Walter’s grandson William. The Norman system - the aim to repopulate and cultivate the moors and heaths of Devon, that saw farming families like the Meavy’s granted extra land, was undermined by John’s new law. It prohibited the right of landowners to enclose land and pasture their stock, it reduced families access to food and fuel and restricted the growth of the manor, putting a stranglehold on the opportunity to climb the feudal ladder.
This continued to cause problem for landowners well into the reign of Henry III, however by 1242 landowner were granted permission (on a payment of 5000 marks paid into the royal treasury) to continue with deforestation.
While I continue my research here is my Meavy ancestors story so far: