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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 s 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 and 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 Derbyshirethe 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. This was the exclusive preserve of the lords of the manor, and then as now contained but few dwellings.
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. 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, inappears to have been part of the park.
This pattern of boundaries has been noted many times in connection with medieval parks and may pinpoint the original position of the park pale. Medieval Parks of England: a gazetteer. A History of Shirland and Higham, Derbyshire. Medieval Parks of Derbyshire.
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Shirland Golf & Squash Club