One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
plural nounusually common/right of estovers
The right to take wood from land one does not own, especially land of which one is the tenant or lessee.‘they exercised their rights of common and estovers of dead and dry wood in the forest’
- ‘In High Wood the ancient tenants had common of estovers, for which each paid annually with a hen or one shilling in lieu.’
- ‘The profit of estovers is the right to take wood for use as fuel or for domestic or agricultural purposes.’
- ‘The only right not abolished was the right of estovers - the right to collect dead wood.’
Late 15th century: plural of Anglo-Norman French estover, noun use of a verb meaning ‘be necessary’, based on Latin est opus ‘it is necessary’.
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