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Monument record MDR4430 - Bretby Park, Bretby

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

(SK 3022) Bretby Park, an 'ancient' deer park. (1) Documentary evidence shows that it existed in 1330 and in 1712 it was described as 'a very large park, well-wooded, watered and stored with several sorts of deer and exotic beasts; there are several fine avenues of trees to the house'. (2) Bretby Park is referred to as 'parcus de Bretteby' in 1330. (3) The old Bretby Hall, pulled down in the 18th century, had been 'surrounded with gardens, disposed after the plan of Versailles, in the old grand style, with terraces, statues and fountains'. (4) Ordnance Survey map evidence shows Bretby Park, sometimes on earlier maps as 'Deer Park', with a chain of fish ponds (sometimes named as such) depicted in the centre of the park. By c. 1970 maps show the previously emparked area as a mix of enclosed fields and wooded parkland. Enclosed areas are largely pasture with mature trees; only at the south west has land been turned over to arable cultivation. (5) Bretby Park has been included on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of special historic interest. Earthworks surviving from extensive gardens of late 17th/early 18th century date set within surrounding parkland. (6) Deer remained in the park until the early 20th century when 200 fallow were recorded, less than half the 450 that had been recorded in the early 19th century. (7) A well-known area of parkland with good public access surrounds Bretby Hall to the south-east of Bretby village. The original capital messuage however is represented by the earthworks on the site of Bretby Castle close to the church, originally a chapel at ease for Repton. Here the Segraves were allowed to crenellate and fortify their manor house in 1300 giving it a castle like appearance. The park had been created before this but its position is not known. Certainly it would have been smaller than the 450 acre park noted in the 19th century. This probably represents the enlargement of the park allowed to Phillip Stanhope in 1610, following his rebuilding of the Hall in 1596 using stone from the Castle on a new site within the park and away from the village. Deer remained in the park until the early 20th century when 200 fallow were recorded, less than half the 450 that had been recorded in the early 19th century. The new park and house were developed to become one of the showcases of Europe modelled on the formal style at Versailles and slight traces of this former glory are still visible but much overgrown. Interesting features survive in the area around the park: great trees, a strange mound and an interesting track that was the trial racecourse, known as the Gallop, constructed for the 6th earl who died in 1866. This might follow the line of the earlier pale. All these features are worthy of further investigation and recording. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Shirley, E. 1867. English Deer and Deer Parks. 174.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Whitaker, J. 1892. Deer Parks & Paddocks of England. p. 39.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Cameron, K. 1959. The Place-Names of Derbyshire, Part III. English Place-Name Society, Vol. XXIX.. p. 624.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Britten, J & Brayley, E. 1802. Beauties of England and Wales. Vol. III. p. 398.
  • <5> Index: RCHME. 1995. New National Forest Survey:922911. 922911. pp. 1079-80.
  • <6> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 1998. Bretby Hall. Registered Historic Park and Garden description.. GD2723.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Wiltshire, M & Woore, S. 2009. Medieval Parks of Derbyshire. pp. 46-7.



Grid reference Centred SK 30 22 (2310m by 2041m) Approximate

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Record last edited

Feb 27 2024 3:52PM

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