Medieval Crime and Social Control

By Barbara A. Hanawalt; David Wallace | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Slaughter and Romance
Hunting Reserves in Late Medieval England

William Perry Marvin

Among discursively defined and contested spaces in medieval rural England, hunting reserves long figured as foci of significant material and ideological investment. William of Normandy must be credited with having imported this once Frankish institution into England in the form of royal forests, a policy that was to have a significant impact on English constitutional history.1 Of comparable cultural moment was how this institution of reserves set a precedent for varied imitation. The next centuries saw a gradual proliferation of privately chartered hunting grounds (parks and zones defined by free chase and free warren), to the extent that by the fourteenth century hunting reserves had become a ubiquitous and characteristic feature of the English countryside.2 Requiring specialized personnel and maintenance, hunting reserves were costly. The cull of venison produced a highly esteemed supplement to table fare, but this alone did not balance the economic investment. Subsidiary material gains came from timber, grazing, and some agricultural use, whereas it was elite sport that afforded the cultural advantages. A potent symbol of the high social status of those who owned them, these reserved spaces figured as wooded arenas in which the high and low nobility might stage their pursuit of the rigorous delights of medieval hunting. The ability to exercise ritual violence in the scope of exclusive franchise, and chiefly for purposes of entertainment, became a significant matter of honor. In the words of Thorstein Veblen, this honor was tantamount to a “high office of slaughter, [which] as an expression of the slayer's prepotence, casts a glamour of worth over every act of slaughter and over all the tools and accessories of the act.”3 Because of the premium placed on symbolic violence in these sporting sanctuaries, medieval hunting reserves were notoriously vulnerable to trespass.4 This essay addresses representations of violence in these spaces by examining how medieval hunting was textualized in discourses of law and romance.

We can visualize a broad spectrum of factors relating to problems of “social control” in hunting reserves. The secular ritual of the hunt, whose historical development was closely associated with the formal segregation of hunting space,5 required a self-reflexive discipline in the hunter to accommodate its elaborate regimen. Careful attention to speech and gesture showed the hunter's knowledge of the complex codification of

-224-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Medieval Crime and Social Control
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 264

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.