Ancient Monuments

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Ongar Park Pale north west of Collier's Hatch

A Scheduled Monument in Stapleford Tawney, Essex

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Latitude: 51.701 / 51°42'3"N

Longitude: 0.1663 / 0°9'58"E

OS Eastings: 549796.985

OS Northings: 202470.0945

OS Grid: TL497024

Mapcode National: GBR MGW.6VZ

Mapcode Global: VHHMM.THRW

Entry Name: Ongar Park Pale north west of Collier's Hatch

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014143

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24889

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Stapleford Tawney

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Stanford Rivers St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a length of park pale bounding the south western part of
Ongar Park, a medieval deer park.
It includes a length of boundary bank with internal and external ditches
c.820m long. The bank survives to a height of 1m-1.5m high and is between 5m
and 6m wide with a rounded profile. The inner ditch has become infilled over
the years and now survives as a partly buried feature 2m-3m wide and up to
0.5m deep, although in some places it is only visible as a slight depression.
An outer ditch of the same width as the inner runs alongside the bank and is
up to 1m deep. In places it has been recut and reused as a later field
drainage ditch.
The park has been dated by documentary evidence to the Anglo Saxon period. It
was mentioned in a will of 1045 and is one of 36 examples of parks known from
throughout the country in Domesday Book of 1086. In the 13th century the park
was transformed into the manor of Ongar Park, which resulted in the retention
of the majority of the park's medieval boundaries up to the present day in
field boundaries. The length included in the present scheduling represents a
sample of the total length of the pale and includes some of the best preserved
earthworks. The park covered an area of c.500ha, and was sub-rectangular in
shape with rounded corners.
All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduled area although the
ground beneath these is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for
the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally
located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house,
castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually
comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of
cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features,
including hunting lodges (often moated), a park-keeper's house, rabbit
warrens, fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a
park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch.
Although a small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon
period, it was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the
majority being constructed. The peak period for the laying-out of parks,
between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity
amongst the nobility. From the 15th century onwards few parks were constructed
and by the end of the 17th century the deer park in its original form had
largely disappeared. The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown
but probably exceeded 3000. Many of these survive today, although often
altered to a greater or lesser degree. They were established in virtually
every county in England, but are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home
Counties. Deer parks were a long-lived and widespread monument type. Today
they serve to illustrate an important aspect of the activities of medieval
nobility and still exert a powerful influence on the pattern of the modern
landscape. Where a deer park survives well and is well-documented or
associated with other significant remains, its principal features are normally
identified as nationally important.

The Park Pale north west of Collier's Hatch survives particularly well as an
upstanding earthwork bank with partly buried ditches. The bank, buried
landsurface and ditch fills contain artefactual and environmental information
relating to the construction and use of the park pale, and thus of the deer
park as a whole. Ongar Park is a particularly early, and a well documented,
example of an English deer park and is the earliest known park in Essex.

Source: Historic England

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