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The Reins medieval deer park boundary within Park Ends and Oaktree Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Bishop Burton, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.8539 / 53°51'14"N

Longitude: -0.5052 / 0°30'18"W

OS Eastings: 498420.3235

OS Northings: 440778.3821

OS Grid: SE984407

Mapcode National: GBR SRXW.D6

Mapcode Global: WHGF3.6DNC

Entry Name: The Reins medieval deer park boundary within Park Ends and Oaktree Wood

Scheduled Date: 25 June 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019864

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34699

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Bishop Burton

Built-Up Area: Bishop Burton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Bishop Burton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the earthwork and associated buried remains of part of
the boundary of a medieval deer park. This park formed part of the manor of
Bishop Burton which belonged to the Archbishop of York until 1542. The
monument lies to the west and north of Bishop Burton College within Park Ends
and Oaktree Wood.
Bishop Burton is believed to have been the residence of Earl Puch in the 8th
century and is thought to have been one of 12 East Riding manors given to the
Bishopric of York by Athelstan who was king from 924-939. The Domesday Book of
1087 records that the manor was held from the Archbishop of York by the canons
of St John's College, Beverley. By the late 12th century and into the 13th
century, Bishop Burton was frequently visited by the Archbishop. The first
known documentary reference to the deer park was in 1323 when a break in and
theft of deer was noted. A survey of the manor in 1388 specifically mentioned
the park's ditch and also referred to the felling of oaks within the park. At
this time, summer pasturing for cattle within the park was said to be worth
`46 shillings 8 pence yearly clear besides the sustenance for the game'. A
pasture called New Park was also mentioned. However, the manor house was
described as ruinous and is believed to have fallen into disuse. In 1542, the
Archbishop's manors of Bishop Burton, Beverley and Skidby were surrendered to
the Crown. Bishop Burton then passed through several peoples' hands by lease
or grant until it was sold to Sir William Gee in 1603, in whose family it
remained until 1780. It is not known when deer ceased to be kept in the park,
although its boundary was known as Keeper's Walk in the mid-16th century. By
the 19th century this boundary was known as The Reins.
The monument forms the northern edge of the original deer park which is
believed to have originally extended south eastwards to the northern side of
Bishop Burton village, now marked by the York Road. The boundary typically
survives as a broad flat-topped bank some 7m wide and between 1m and 1.5m
high. On its outside, the far side from the college buildings, there is a
partly infilled ditch up to 4m wide and 0.5m deep, whilst on the inside there
are traces of a shallower ditch 2m-3m wide which is mainly infilled so that it
is now typically no more than 0.2m deep. Other deer parks in the region are
believed to have been defined by fence-topped banks with no deliberately
constructed ditches. Elsewhere in the country, parks were often defined by
deer leaps: banks with deep inner ditches designed to allow wild deer to jump
into the park, but not to leave. The park boundary at Bishop Burton is not
like this, with its main ditch on the outside. In fact the profile of the bank
is not symmetrical either, with a steep outer and gentle inner face. This
suggests that it was functionally very different to a normal deer leap and
that the deep outer ditch and steep sided bank was designed to deter poachers.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all modern
fences, styles and gates; the modern structures forming horse jumps across the
monument and all road and path surfaces along with associated modern
timberwork; however the ground beneath all of these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 Reins medieval deer park boundary within Park Ends and Oaktree Wood is
well documented and it also retains the best surviving boundary earthworks in
the East Riding. The park's association with the Archbishops of York adds to
the monument's importance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Neave, S, Medieval Parks of East Yorkshire, (1991), 22
Letter from Susan Neave, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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