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Park pale to the north, west and south west of Hursley Park

A Scheduled Monument in Ampfield, Hampshire

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Latitude: 51.0145 / 51°0'52"N

Longitude: -1.4128 / 1°24'46"W

OS Eastings: 441286.1905

OS Northings: 124066.0235

OS Grid: SU412240

Mapcode National: GBR 755.9MC

Mapcode Global: FRA 76XF.KF2

Entry Name: Park pale to the north, west and south west of Hursley Park

Scheduled Date: 25 March 1975

Last Amended: 7 August 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019124

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34132

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Ampfield

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Hursley All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The monument, which falls into six areas of protection, includes six sections
of a park pale which partly surrounds Merdon Inner Park and Out Park, a double
enclosure deer park of medieval date situated immediately south of Merdon
Castle, and to the north, west and south west of Hursley Park. Merdon Castle,
situated about 1km to the north of Hursley Park, is the subject of a separate
scheduling. The two enclosures share a common section of pale in Ampfield
Wood, to the east of Little Fir Hill. The larger Inner Park extends from here
to the north and east and forms a pear-shaped area of approximately 250ha. The
Out Park extends to the west and forms a roughly rectangular area of
approximately 100ha.
The pale survives in sections up to 1.2km in length. It is of a similar form
around both enclosures and includes a bank flanked by shallow ditches on both
sides. In general, it is more substantial around the Inner Park, where the
bank is up to 8m wide and 1.8m high, and the ditches reach 5m in width. The
Out Park pale, which is known as Portland Bank along its southern section, is
up to 6m wide and 1m high. For both enclosures, the inner ditch is more
consistently present, while the outer ditch appears to be a discontinuous
quarry feature associated with the construction of the bank. The monument has
been disturbed in places by its subsequent use as a boundary bank. More
recently it has been cut in numerous places by tracks, drains, roads, and
other features associated with modern farming and forestry operations.
Documentary evidence indicates that both enclosures are contemporary features
and that the pale was constructed during the 12th century by the Bishop of
Winchester, possibly Henry de Blois, after Merdon Castle was converted to a
bishop's palace. It remained in use as a deer park boundary until at least the
end of the 16th century. At that time the Out Park was reserved as
`wood-pasture' while the Inner Park was compartmented into coppice, meadow,
`laund' or grazing pasture, rabbit warren and fishponds. The fishponds
survive, but are not included in the scheduling. Two additional sections of
pale which extend between Hursley Park and Hursley village, to the east, are
heavily disturbed in parts by modern boundary walls and private gardens and
are therefore not included in the scheduling.
The fences, gates, stiles and drains situated on the monument, and the surface
of the tracks that cross the monument, are all excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features 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 to the north, west and south west of Hursley Park survives well
despite some later disturbance and can be expected to retain archaeological
remains relating to the monument's construction and subsequent use. The pale
is well documented; its 12th century association with the Bishop of
Winchester's palace at Merdon Castle provides a detailed insight into
episcopal hunting practices at the time and demonstrates the early leadership
of the Bishop in imparkment in Hampshire. The monument can also be expected to
retain environmental evidence which, supplemented by extensive documentary
evidence from the Bishopric pipe rolls, can be used to reconstruct the
original landscape and the management practices associated with the use of the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Crawford, O G S, Archaeology In The Field, (1953), 194-5
Hughes, M, 'Landscape Archaeology' in Hampshire castles, , Vol. 11, (1989), 36
Roberts, E, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Bishop of Winchester's deer parks in Hampshire, 1200-1400, , Vol. 44, (1988), 67-86

Source: Historic England

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