Two parks were claimed at Langwith in 1330, both of which can be identified from William Senior's map of 1611. One was Langwith Park [see SMR 12328]; the second was on the east side of Upper Langwith. The map shows that it had already been divided into closes by that time and allotted to twelve different tenants. The largest of these plots was 22 acres tenanted to William Peace. The total acreage of the park was about 60 acres. (1)
The park was one of the chief hunting grounds of medieval England and was to be found in substantial numbers in almost every part of the country. It differed from the other major medieval hunting grounds, the forest and the chase, in its relatively small size and that it was securely enclosed. The hunting park was usually between 100 and 200 acres in size, though some parks were much larger, and took a roughly circular or elliptical form and was enclosed in order to retain the deer, principally fallow and red deer, both for hunting and as a source of fresh meat throughout the year. The enclosure itself normally consisted of a combination of a substantial earth bank topped with a fence of cleft oak stakes, though in some areas where stone was freely available, this was replaced by a stone wall. In some districts, quickset hedge would take the place of the fence and where the topography was suitable, the paling fence alone may serve as a barrier, as would artificial and naturally occurring rivers and streams. The medieval park was owned by the lord of the manor, typically consisting of 'unimproved land' lying beyond the cultivated fields on the edge of the manor, including woodland to provide covert for the deer. Although some Saxon 'deer folds' were in existence (unknown if any were in Derbyshire), the park was essentially a Norman creation as a product for their love of hunting. Traces of medieval parks can be seen today as earth banks, curving hedge-lines marking the line of the former park boundaries, field names and farm names. (2)
Bibliographic reference: Wiltshire, M & Woore, S. 2009. Medieval Parks of Derbyshire. pp 148-149.
Bibliographic reference: Cantor, L. 1983. Medieval Parks of England: a gazetteer.
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Centred SK 5254 6951 (623m by 542m)
SCARCLIFFE, BOLSOVER, DERBYSHIRE
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Feb 8 2021 8:20PM
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