Stoneham War Shrine     Discovering the Park


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


The Deer Park: conclusions

The boundaries of the earliest deer park at North Stoneham can now be traced. These can be shown to follow prominent local features, both existing naturally, in the form of streams and valley sides, and man-made, such as the old track from North Stoneham Common to Stoneham Lane. This latter feature shows that the park was made to fit into a pre-existing landscape of some considerable antiquity. Routeways dating from at least the middle Saxon period can be traced linking Stoneham Common with the town of Hamwic, and with the 'west landing place' on the Itchen (probably near Chickenhall Farm and North Stoneham Farms). Close association of these latter settlements with two known sites of Roman buildings may suggest even longer continuity.

After a period of possible neglect in the sixteenth century when the park was let to tenants for stock-pasturing, it was considerably expanded as a setting for a major country residence. A substantial mansion belonging to the Flemings existed from at least 1638, and it is possible the larger park dates from this period. It is not until 1736 that the first evidence is recorded of this greater extent, although a number of additions can be traced between this date and 1846, when the park reached its maximum extent.

Discrepancies between the area of the park depicted on maps between 1759 and 1846 seem to be explained by a confusion of definitions. Some maps seem to depict only that part of the park designated for deer, whilst others include all that area laid out as an ornamental landscape. A number of surveys seem to suggest that areas of the park fulfilled different functions. The area known as the Avenue, to the north of both houses, seems to have been exclusively an ornamental landscape. That area to the south and west of the houses, incorporating the medieval park, was designated a deer park. Finally the area in the far west beyond a gated internal boundary was probably used for timber production, with the deer only being allowed to roam here when the trees were sufficiently grown.