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Monument record MDR4679 - Lady Park or Little Belper Park, Belper

Type and Period (7)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site
  • World Heritage Site Buffer Zone

Full Description

Lady or Little Belper Park was established by the reign of Edward I and remained as a park until the 17th century. (1) Expenses of the reeve of Belper for 1327-8 included £9 worth of lead for a water conduit in the park and a sum of money for making a wall round the pond there. In 1540 a description of Belper Park noted that part of it adjoined 'Beaureper town', and that it was a mile in compass and ‘standith all by Birche’. In 1560 the park was described as being ‘very slenderly set with old birch and some hazel of 50 years’ growth and 4 dottard oakes’ as well as having one large old oak in the middle of the park, called the Raven Oak, and some small oaks in the park boundary. Otherwise 'the rest of the said Park is overgrown with small thorns and briars for tynsell’. (2) By 1600 the park was being farmed and contained no deer at all. (3) A mansion at Beaurepaire is mentioned in 1296, owned by Edmund, Earl of Lancaster. Lysons suggests that it was built as a hunting lodge. (4) Foundation walls adjoin the Manor Farm House in the coppice [SK 3510 4733] and silver coins of Edward I and Stephen have been found here. (5) The west boundary of the park is marked by hedges and fences, the rest being covered by modern development. No remains of an ancient pale were seen. Minor grassed-over foundations and a terraced building platform at SK 3515 4736 probably represents the site of the hunting seat noted by Lysons. No early architecture was seen in the adjacent Manor Farm. (6) SK 3510 4734 Manor Farm (named on map). SK 3525 4725 The Park (named on map). (7) A topographic survey of a surviving section of the bank and ditch around the former medieval deer park was carried out in August 2006. The earthwork was found to survive for a length of over 100m and to a maximum height of 3.5m above the adjacent internal ditch. (8) In 2006 a historic landscape survey of the remaining area of the park was carried out by both professional archaeologists and local community volunteers. The project included research, survey, excavation and building recording. Elements of the medieval park landscape that were investigated included surviving sections of bank associated with the park pale, a probable fishpond and associated mill leat, and areas of holly-rich ancient woodland. The deer park appears to have lapsed during the 16th century and in the early post-medieval period a complex of fields and drystone walls developed within the former park, while areas of woodland were managed by coppicing and exploited for charcoal and white-coal production. Although part of the former deer park has been developed for housing, what remains represents an important survival of a medieval and early post-medieval landscape. (9) A fluxgate gradiometry survey was undertaken by Archaeological Services Durham University on behalf of ARCUS in 2006/7 as part of the Belper Parks Historic Landscape Survey. Possible ridge and furrow was noted towards the northern extent of the park, but no other features of potential archaeological significance were identified. (10) The outline of the park can still be seen in the modern road layout, footpaths and green spaces. Several ruined walls and rubble linear features were identified during survey in 2008, mostly dating from the time of enclosure, some following lengths of the park pale, others representing subdivisions of the park. Road names such as Parkside and Park Road preserve the memory of the area's heritage. The park pale was identified at SK 3511 4700 where a wooded bridleway follows the western boundary of the park. On the eastern side of the bridleway is a moss covered tumbled wall set on a tree lined bank, to the west there is a bank but no wall. The original boundary is Medieval but the wall is an 18th or 19th century enclosure boundary. 18th or 19th century enclosure divisions were also identified within the park with an enclosure boundary cutting east to west across the park from SK 3511 4692 to SK 3546 4688. The boundary is unevenly preserved across the park, but is evident as a bank with moss covered masonry where the boundary wall has disintegrated. At the western end the corner is well preserved up to 6 courses of stone but quickly deteriorates to 2/3 courses. (11) Belper Park is remarkable for its survival into the 21st century within an urban setting. The one mile circuit of its pale can mostly be followed on public footpaths. The manor was part of the de Ferrers holding that came to Edmund earl of Lancaster but was not recorded as a park at Edmund's death in 1296. It does, however, appear in account rolls in 1313-4 and in the Quo Warranto in 1330. Sometimes known as Little or Lady Park, this possibly suggests a place of recreation and enjoyment for the nobility. When surveyed in 1560 one tree, the ravell oak, got special mention as having a large top for building timber. This is echoed today in Raven Oak Road, adjacent to the pale. The proximity of the manor house and associated buildings, which acted as the administrative centre for Duffield Frith, gave this park added importance. It was probably used as a living larder where deer could be killed and venison salted and stored for gifts and use as required. By 1563 there were no deer left in the park but the entity was let out and farmed until the 20th century. Local authority housing then encroached within the park and Park House, possibly on the site of a parker's lodge, was demolished. (12)

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1905. 'Forestry', Victoria County History, Derbyshire, Volume 1. p. 414.
  • <2> Article in serial: Strutt, F & Cox, J. 1903. 'Duffield Forest in the sixteenth century', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 25. p. 194.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1905. The Royal Forests of England.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J C. 1877. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. III. p. 142.
  • <5> Article in serial: Derry, T. R.. 1890. 'Some notes on Old Belper and Old Belper books', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 12, pp 1-23.
  • <6> Personal Observation: F1 BHS 22-SEP-66.
  • <7> Map: OS 6" 1888.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Kincey, M (Birmingham Archaeology). 2006. Former Parks School, Bargate Road, Belper, Derbyshire. Topographical Survey.. HER Doc. No. 1153.
  • <9> Unpublished document: ARCUS. 2007. The Belper Parks Project, Belper, Derbyshire.
  • <10> Unpublished document: ARCUS. 2007. Belper Parks Historic Landscape Survey, Belper, Derbyshire: geophysical surveys.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Jurecki, K (ARCUS). 2008. Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Landscape Project: Cromford and Belper Survey Transects. Level 1 Survey.. B4/4, B4/5, Fig. 32, Fig. 33.
  • <12> Bibliographic reference: Wiltshire, M & Woore, S. 2009. Medieval Parks of Derbyshire. pp. 34-5.



Grid reference Centred SK 3534 4701 (649m by 840m)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

  • EDR2751
  • EDR1319
  • EDR1734
  • EDR2372
  • EDR2647

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Record last edited

Mar 15 2020 9:35AM

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