The 'Boke of St Albans' is an old English text, which is the earliest example of color printing in England, was printed in the town of St Albans in 1486. It's author is unknown. The book is interesting as it details the subjects of:
Elizabethan Hunting - The Animals which were the prey
The 'Boke of St Albans' provides a list of the animals hunted in England as follows:
- The Stag - Usually hunted with aid of dogs and bows and arrows, in order to stay out of range of the horns. Suitable as the prey for 'Bow and Stable' Hunting
- The Deer, Hart or Roebuck - Usually hunted with aid of dogs and bows and arrows. Suitable as the prey for 'Bow and Stable' Hunting
- Boar - Usually hunted with the aid of dogs and with very long spears, in order to stay away from the tusks. Suitable as the prey for 'At Force' Hunting
- Foxes - Usually hunted by chasing them with dogs and letting the dogs tear the fox apart. Foxes are rarely hunted as food. Suitable as the prey for 'Bow and Stable' Hunting
- Rabbits - Usually hunted by sending trained dogs or ferrets down the burrow
- Otters - Usually hunted with dogs. Hunted for sport not food
- Game birds (geese, ducks, pheasant, partridge, grouse etc.) - usually hunted with dogs to chase them into taking off, then with bow and arrow to bring them down, and dogs (again) to fetch the corpses back. Suitable as the prey for 'Bow and Stable' Hunting
Elizabethan Hunting Laws
Sumptuary laws (the Forest Law) related to gaming and hunting. The Forests of England were normally owned by the reigning monarch. In Elizabethan times there were an estimated sixty nine royal forests. Only the monarch or his servants hunted in the forests. Permission to hunt in forests could also be gained by the granting of a royal licence. The animals subject to the forest law were the Red deer, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer and the wild Boar. The commoners had the right to hunt any beast over common land unless such right had been restricted by some special royal grant.
Punishments for breaking Elizabethan Hunting Laws
The strict Forest Laws reserved rights of hunting to the ruling class were hated and resented by the lower classes. Peasants accused of poaching were liable to hanging, castration, blinding or being sewn into a deerskin and then hunted down by ferocious dogs.