Ancient Monuments

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Park Pale, Ruislip

A Scheduled Monument in Northwood Hills, Hillingdon

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Latitude: 51.5889 / 51°35'20"N

Longitude: -0.4204 / 0°25'13"W

OS Eastings: 509523.925

OS Northings: 188963.7782

OS Grid: TQ095889

Mapcode National: GBR 3K.DPS

Mapcode Global: VHFSZ.NBL9

Entry Name: Park Pale, Ruislip

Scheduled Date: 28 February 2006

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021402

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30902

County: Hillingdon

Electoral Ward/Division: Northwood Hills

Built-Up Area: Hillingdon

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Martin Ruislip

Church of England Diocese: London


The monument includes a continuous section of park pale and ditch which form
the surviving northern side of Ruislip Park. The section is roughly 1.5km
long and at the eastern end runs into a section of later medieval earthwork.
Ruislip Park was mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 as a 'Park for
Woodland Beasts' and is one of only two such Parks in Middlesex mentioned in
the survey, the other being Old Park, Enfield. Pinner Deer Park, which is
also a scheduled ancient monument, is first recorded in 1273.
The Park originally enclosed an area of about 340 acres immediately to the
north of St Martin's church at the junction of the roads now known as Bury
Street and Eastcote Road. It was oval in plan and the River Pinn crossed it
from west to east. About half of the original Park is still open space,
partly in Park Wood and the remainder along the edge of the River Pinn. About
two thirds of the original park boundary pale have been lost under modern
development but this section from just north of Broadwood Avenue in the west
through Park Wood survives as a clearly visible earthwork of varying height.
The earthwork consists of a substantial earthen bank about 1 metre high and
up to 4 metres wide with a ditch towards the outside (north). Although the
ditch is partially infilled and water filled in places, it measures between
3m and 6m wide where visible. Although there are a number of sections where
the bank has been levelled and where original entrances may once have stood,
the buried remains of the ditch and the terminal ends will survive so that
the entire surviving section is of archaeological importance. The park pale
is known to have been repaled, ie. re-fenced, in 1436 by the then owners
King's College. This shows a continued use of the park for containing deer
and other animals four hundred years after it was originally built.
The Park is believed by some to have been established by the Anglo-Saxon
Manor of Wlward Wit at the time of Edward the Confessor, and to be associated
with an Anglo-Saxon manor which was possibly on the site of the later motte
and bailey (also a scheduled ancient monument).

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 Park Pale, Ruislip despite only representing about a third of the
original circuit, survives as a clearly visible earthwork and is associated
with other monuments of the Saxon and Norman period. It is known to be one of
only two such Parks mentioned in Middlesex in the Domesday survey and as such
is a rare and important historical site. Its archaeological survival along
this section will provide the potential for further evidence of the early
development of such Parks prior to the Norman Conquest and of the
construction methods used. In addition, later records record the date of
repaling and such opportunities to link documentary and archaeological events
are uncommon. The site lies in public open space and the earthwork is valued
for its historical importance by the local community.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bowlt, E, The Manor of Ruislip, (1989)
Braun, H, 'Transactions' in Earliest Ruislip, , Vol. 1934, (1934)

Source: Historic England

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