Monument record MDR5869 - Shirland Park (site of), Shirland

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Shirland medieval park was owned by Henry de Grey. 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. (1) The area to the south-east of Shirland manor house comprised Shirland park (to which reference is made as early as c. 1208 and which is still so recorded on modern large-scale maps), which extended to the bottom of Park Lane and as far as the Alfreton Brook (which formed the boundary with the manors of Alfreton and South Wingfield on the south). This was the exclusive preserve of the lords of the manor, and then (as now) contained but few dwellings. (2) Shirland Park, lying to the south-east of the village, was probably created by the Grey family, who had come into the manor by 1195-6. A golf course now occupies some of the area of the medieval park and consequently, whilst the open space has been preserved, landscaping has unfortunately destroyed much field evidence. However, a long continuous boundary shown on the 1st ed. 6" map leads to a well-preserved, banked hedge-line on the western boundary, which runs towards the manor house. A similar bank continues across Park Lane to swing south of Shirland Church and head towards Dob Lane Farm, carrying a species-rich hedge containing many crab apple trees. The map shows a large area of Coneygree that, in 1688, appears to have been part of the park. It is interesting to note that in the east the parish boundary between Shirland & Higham and Blackwell is to the east of Morton Brook and does not use it as a marker until north of the park when it 'jinks' across to follow it again. This pattern of boundaries has been noted many times in connection with medieval parks and may pinpoint the original position of the park pale. (3)

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cantor, L. 1983. Medieval Parks of England: a gazetteer.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Turbutt, G. 1977. A History of Shirland and Higham, Derbyshire. p 15.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Wiltshire, M & Woore, S. 2009. Medieval Parks of Derbyshire. pp 154-155.



Grid reference Centred SK 409 577 (2120m by 1854m) Centre

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Record last edited

Nov 29 2022 4:47PM

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