It is not true that wolves were extirpated from the island in the reign of Edgar. The tradition is based upon the words of William of Malmesbury (bk. ii. ch. viii.), who says that the tribute paid by the King of Wales, consisting of 300 wolves, ceased after the third year, because “nullum se ulterius posse invenire professus ” (because he could find no more—i.e. in Wales); but in the tenth year of William I. we find that Robert de Umfraville, knight, held his lordship of Riddlesdale in Northumberland by service of defending that part of the kingdom from “wolves.” In the forty-third year of Edward III. Thomas Engarne held lands in Pitchley, Northamptonshire, by service of finding dogs at his own cost for the destruction of “wolves” and foxes. Even in the eleventh year of Henry VI. Sir Robert Plumpton held one bovate of land in the county of Notts by service of “frighting the wolves” in Shirewood Forest.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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