This article appeared in the Autumn 1977 (Issue #49) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Book Review -- The Jutish Forest --
by K P Witney (Published by The Athlone Press, price £10).
Reviewing a study of the Weald of Kent from 450 AD to 1380 AD which took the author twenty-five years to research and write, is a daunting task, particularly as the subject epitomizes the term 'Dark Ages'!
Mr Witney through progressive historical and geographical analysis, throws a great deal of light onto this little known period of Kentish History.
Commencing with the Sub-Roman period, when large tracts of the weald were primeval forest, the book traces the Jutish occupation of the area and the development of the early administrative divisions using extant documents, local place names and landscape evidence. Later Saxon and Medieval periods are covered ending in the 14th Century when civil unrest and Black Death brought further social and geographical changes that are recognizable to us 600 years later.
Like most works covering this period, the writings of earlier authors are subjected to detail comparison which makes Mr Witney's study difficult to absorb on one reading, however, later chapters covering Dens and Drove routes are fascinating.
Recommended; but the price may limit its sale to Central Libraries and wealthy students and cast a shadow over this useful book. (339 pages of which 153 are appendices, with 26 maps).