Coal lying under the sea below low-water mark belongs to the crown, and can only be worked upon payment of royalties, even when it is approached from shafts sunk upon land in private ownership. In the Forest of Dean, which is the property of the crown as a royal forest,there are certain curious rights held by a portion of the inhabitants known as the Free Miners of the Forest, who are entitled to mine for coal and iron ore, under leases, known as gales, granted by the principal agent or gaveller representing the crown, in tracts not otherwise occupied.
The term survives in the Forest of Dean, for leases granted to the "free miners" of the forest, granted by the "gaveller" or agent of the crown, and the term is also applied to the royalty paid to the crown, and to the area mined.
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