The last big game in England
This story is not about Cricket, though some reading the headline may have been baited into thinking it so. No, it is about the days when England was an island without name, giving host to Stone Age humans from the Upper Paleolithic period before the arrival of Angles who came much later in the 5th and 6th centuries.
The island had an isthmus at one time that permitted wild animals the opportunity to walk across the channel from mainland Europe to make home in the lush and varied regions of what is now England.
I know for a fact that my people left Africa 60,000 years ago, navigating through the Middle East before hiking through what is now the Czech Republic before donning hats with horns and conquering Wales. We were a lost tribe.
Upon arrival in England we learned to beware of the animals there that included native bears and lynx, wolves and badgers. When cold and hungry enough, we would hunt and kill them for meat and clothing, including footwear. Supply of wild beasts was sufficient including many gentile animals such as deer, rabbit, birds.
“There is archaeological evidence for brown bears in Britain during the mesolithic and neolithic periods, being hunted then by man for both meat and fur.”
As our tribes grew and more people found their way, fellow humans became more determined to conquer their natural environment.
“Some sources suggest that bears continued to exist in scattered wildwood and forest remnants in Scotland until the Roman period, with Caledonian Bears being sent to Rome for arena fighting.”
Archeologists haven’t declared a time when native bears became extinct, but it was likely before the Anglo-Saxon influx probably in Elizabethan times. At that point, wild animals were imported for sport entertainment as the English had become as civilized as the Romans.
Large indigenous predators were wiped out long before the wolves and lynx. Some believe the lynx are still lurking about and killing deer such as in Woodschester.
Check this out: Silent Fields: The long decline of a nation's wildlife: Amazon.co.uk: Roger Lovegrove: Books
“Man has never accepted that nature can be left to look after itself without his intervention.”
Tudor monarchs – Henry VII and Elizabeth I assumed national importance the legacy of which has persisted through to the present day.
“We would then divide it (vermin) into three classes.
First – those that do nothing but harm, e.g., Crow, Magpie, Sparrowhawk, Stoat, Weasel, Cat, Polecat, Rat.
Second – those that does little harm and some good and is killed to keep numbers down, e.g Jay, Jackadaw, Kesteral, Hedgehog
Third – those that destroy a certain amount of game but afford good sport themselves, e.g., Fox, Badger, Pergerine, Buzzard, Harrier, Raven, Owls”
Badminton Library of Sports and Pastime, 1886”