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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

60: Charter

Charter of free warren with the great seal of England, granted to Roger de Pilkington by Edward I Food production and sourcing in early modern Europe were ultimately based on who had access to what and when. Long before 1500, hunting for wild game in England was a privilege granted by the monarch to favoured subjects. In this rare charter of free warren dated 10 June 1291, Edward I grants the nobleman Roger de Pilkington and his heirs the right to hunt – or to ‘free warren’ – on his demesne lands. This deed is beautifully illustrated with hunting imagery: a crossbowman and various wild animals including a kingfisher, boar, wild cat, and deer. It also includes a cow and sheep, representing livestock, and a peacock.

Norham (Northumberland), June 1291

Given by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum (MS 46-1980)

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