Stoneham War Shrine     Discovering the Park


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


The Deer Park: origins

In 1329 a royal licence granted free warren to the Abbot of Hyde in his manor of North Stoneham (Charter Rolls 3 Edward III, m. 16). 'Free warren' enabled a lord to hunt lesser game anywhere within his manor. In 1334 a deer park is first mentioned when an oyer and terminer is issued against certain miscreants who broke into the abbot's park at North Stoneham and stole his deer (Patent Rolls 1330-34, 583).

Little is known about the medieval park, and it is possible that its lack of mention until after the Dissolution of the monasteries indicates that it was a small park of minor importance. This is supported by references to it in the sixteenth century.

In 1545 the manor of North Stoneham passed to the Wriothesley earls of Southampton (HRO 5M53/230). This family was the greatest landowner of the age in Hampshire, controlling their extensive estates from their newly constructed mansion at Titchfield. They were largely absentee landlords at Stoneham, letting the estate, including the demesne lands, to tenants. A rental of 1546-47 records the lands and tenants of the manor.

Here it recorded that William Veyre and his son, Giles manage the estate for the Wriothesleys, holding court for them 'in the hall called The Parlour'. Pasture lands called 'Le Parke' and 'Le Lawnys' are leased to John Knolls [sic], the tenant of Chickenhall Farm, at an annual rent of 40 shillings (HRO 5M53/764). The area known as 'le lawnys' survived until 1818 when it is recorded as field number 262, covering 45 acres, to the south of the trackway extending from the Common to Stoneham Lane. It does not appear to have been incorporated into the post-medieval park until 1818.

Confirmation that the medieval park was relatively small in area is given in a document of 1599 transferring the manor to Thomas Fleming. Here the park is recorded as leased to Henry Knowles, comprising 80 acres of 'arable land, pasture and wood-ground ...' (HRO 5M53/441).