On Christmas day, 1802, Needwood Chase, a glorious relic of ancient times, older than the existing institutions of the kingdom, older than English history, was disafforested. It was followed by a scene of the most melancholy spoiliation. There was a wholesale devastation of the small creatures that had lived for ages amongst its broadly-growing trees, its thickets and underwood. Birds flew bewildered from their nests as the ancient timber fell before the axe; fires destroyed the luxuriant growth of plants and shrubs. No wonder that Dr. Darwin of Lichfield, the Rev. Thomas Gisborne, and Mr. Francis Noel Mundy, living respectively at the lodges of Yoxall and Ealand, in the Forest, published laments over the fall of Needwood, descriptive of the change from sylvan beauty and grandeur to woeful devastation.