This is so common a place name that it occurs eight times on
the tithe map of a single parish in Kent, namely, Rolvenden and five times
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the accepted
"FORESTALL, sub. — — — 2. Something situated in front; esp. the
space in front of a farm house, or the way leading to it. dialect
1661." This meaning is more or less closely echoed by other
It is however a word of which the precise meaning seems to
have changed with the passage of years.
It appears in the A.S. Dict. (Bosworth & Toiler)
only in reference to the crime of forestalling, i.e., of assault, which
suggests that the Forestall had rather a bad name.
In 1197 a fine includes "FORESTALLUM QUOD EST ANTE
PORTAM CURIE" (the forestall which is before the door of the Court), C.K.,
Another fine, of 1236, gives a hint of its nature in the words
"in pastura de FORESTAL ante magnam portam curie de
BEREFRESTON"(in pasture of the forestall before the great gate of the
Court of Barfreston).
To some the word "stall" may call to mind a theatre but not
very long ago it would have seemed to indicate a cattle-stall and,
perhaps, particularly a horse-stall. Its basic meaning is undoubtedly,
"a standing place ". To cut short a tedious story, for which
detailed support might be impossible to obtain, we can say at once that
the forestall of a manor house was the rough pasture on which the horses
of visitors could be tethered or let out while their owners were
Behind the forestall there was often a "HOMESTALL"
suitable for the children’s pony and the valued mount of the Lord of
For chapmen and tenants of the manor the lesser amenity of
the forestall would suffice.
From an early date houses were built not on but around the
forestall and may well have been those of bailiffs, stewards, and the
like. Now and again a smithy might appear, to the great advantage of
visitors, and the Church and Rectory were both likely to be approached
via the manor forestall. In 1213 we meet with Baldwin de FORSTALLE
(Register of St. Gregory) and Symon de LA FORESTALLE lived at Chartham
about the same time (Register E. Christ Church). In fact,