Ancient Monuments

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Park pale at Marwell, north of Thistle Ridge Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Owslebury, Hampshire

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Latitude: 50.9824 / 50°58'56"N

Longitude: -1.2725 / 1°16'20"W

OS Eastings: 451166.030371

OS Northings: 120585.132637

OS Grid: SU511205

Mapcode National: GBR 872.9E8

Mapcode Global: FRA 867J.02P

Entry Name: Park pale at Marwell, north of Thistle Ridge Farm

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1980

Last Amended: 5 August 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017607

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20071

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Owslebury

Built-Up Area: Marwell

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Owslebury St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The park pale at Marwell includes an earthwork boundary enclosing the medieval
deer park which surrounded Marwell Manor. It was constructed as a bank and
external ditch, the bank probably supporting a wooden fence and oak trees
planted along its length. Such measures strengthened the earthwork ensuring
deer were kept in and predators out. The bank and ditch vary in their
preservation, the bank standing to a maximum height of 1.5m and varying in
width between 3m and 8m. The ditch, which is only visible at ground level in
a few places, survives as a buried feature around the majority of the deer
park boundary.
This section of park pale survives as an upstanding bank 380m in length, up to
10m wide and stands to a maximum height of 1.5m. The external ditch has
become completely infilled over the years and is no longer visible.
Marwell Park was established by the Bishop of Winchester, Henry de Blois,
during the 12th century. An area of approximately 256 hectares around the
Bishop's residence was emparked for the management of deer, while a number of
fish ponds were also created at the same time. King John is recorded as
having hunted at Marwell in 1208-9, and King Henry I in 1246-47. In 1332-33
the park was extended to around 324 hectares at a cost of 37 pounds. The
earthworks remained intact until at least the middle of the 17th century.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fences and drainage ditches 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 Marwell park pale represents an early example of emparkment. Despite the
variable nature of its earthwork remains this is believed to accurately
reflect their original size. They survive well and will contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in
which the park developed. Its importance is enhanced by documentary evidence
linking the park to royalty of the 13th century and by its close proximity to
Marwell Manor, a contemporary moated site, and Fisher's Pond.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jackson, W H, Marwell Manor A Brief Sketch: Early History and Excavations, (1961)
Roberts, E, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Bishop of Winchester's deer parks in Hampshire, 1200-1400, , Vol. 44, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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