From Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - modern translation: But one thing I would ask of you, do not be offended: since you are lord of the land yonder in which I have stayed with you with honour – may the Being who holds up the heavens and sits on high reward you for it – what is your true name? – and that is all.’ ‘That I shall tell you truly,’ said the other then: ‘I am called Bertilak de Hautdesert in this land'.
It is assumed that Hautdesert was the name of the castle in 'ȝonder londe', where Bertilak was lord. It is more likely in the middle ages that Bertilak would take the name of the area he was originally from (see Castles and constables, below). Bertilak has a topographical name, he is Bertilak de Hautdesert or Bertilak of High-forest, "a forest ful dep". Haut: French, meaning high, and desert: Cistercian/biblical term for forest, which is explained in, "The associations of the forest in the Gawain poem with the Biblical desert or wilderness".
Bertilak takes his name from the rough uplands of Leek Frith. Hautdesert, as Flosche, Knot and The Knar, is one of the poets topographical references to places in the high moorlands of Cheshire and Staffordshire, High forest near Ludchurch.
HIGH FOREST - (a) A method of growing timber without coppicing; dense areas of mature woodland referred to by foresters as high forest. High forest is 'over-vert' by some called 'haut-bois', from the French, which signifies high trees/wood. High forest was also grown as shelter for beasts of the forest, such as deer and wild boar, as: Viride, Vert or Green. Whatever grows in the forest, and bears boughs and leaves for the covering and shelter of the deer. Either Over-vert, Haut-bois, high-wood, Timber trees: or Nether-vert, Sou-bois, Under-wood.