Stoneham War Shrine     Discovering the Park


North Stoneham Park: its origin and development (1992), by C K Currie


The Deer Park

Deer parks were common features in the medieval landscape. Most of the aristocracy possessed them, many created within a century or so of the Norman Conquest. Not only did the great secular lords aspire to own them, but wealthy churchmen also maintained deer parks, often on a grand scale. The bishops of Winchester were particularly well served, owning parks throughout Hampshire covering over 8,000 acres. Much has been written about the role of deer parks in providing enclosed pasture for deer and other animals, but they also contained rabbit warrens, fishponds and large extents of timber-producing woodland. More recent studies seem to suggest that parks were kept as much as status symbols as for their economic functions (Roberts 1988).

Monastic houses were generally slower to own landscape features for status (Currie 1989), but by the thirteenth century they were acquiring conspicuous luxuries such as parks and fishponds as readily as their secular counterparts. It is in this context that the park at North Stoneham can be seen.