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Historic England Research Records

Spofforth Park

Hob Uid: 53076
Location :
North Yorkshire
Harrogate
Follifoot, Kearby with Netherby, Kirkby Overblow, Sicklinghall, Spofforth with Stockeld
Grid Ref : SE3487049770
Summary : The hunting park of Spofforth Castle was first mentioned in 1577 and mapped in about 1600 and 1608. It may have been created in about 1559 when Henry Percy restored the Castle, but the absence of broad ridge and furrow and boundary patterns characteristic of medieval strip fields within the area of the park suggest that it may have been enclosed as early as the 13th century, when the castle was the principal residence of the Percy family. The park pale was ultimately 11.1kms (c.8) miles long and enclosed some 790ha (1952 acres); this perimeter is half a mile shorter than the figure given in the 1577 survey, but the area is 716 acres larger, which implies that the 1577 survey may be open to re-interpretation. Much of the perimeter can be traced on the ground as an earthwork, its condition variable, as well as through patterns of historic and current field boundaries. The overall plan hints that this eventual extent may have resulted from an expansion towards Haggs Road on the north.
More information : [Name: SE 3487 4977] Spofforth Park [T.I.] (1)

According to a survey of 1577 Spofforth Park proper covered 1,236 acres. The outwoods covered an additional 1,132 acres ... The Park was surrounded by a pale about eight and a half miles in perimeter. A further pale separated the Park from the outwoods. The line of the ring pale can be distinguished most easily in the section between the north west corner of the old vivary and Haggs Road, where a low hedge now crowns a high bank. Other less clearly marked stretches are to be found near the south end of Whins Lane leading to Sicklinghall. [Boundary of park is depicted on a roller map of the Manor of Spofforth dated 1767 at Petworth House illustrated in manuscripts.] (2-3)

The boundary of Spofforth Park is well defined throughout. Most of the boundary consists of modern field fences set upon a slight earthen mound which appears to be the remains of the park pale. Between SE 3442 4820 and SE 3499 4829 the pale can clearly be seen consisting of a well spread earthen bank approximately 0.4 m. high. Onthe extreme east the boundary is defined by Toad Hole Beck and no artificial pale can be seen. A 25" survey of the extant portion has been made. (4)

No change to OS depiction. (5)

Condition unchanged. Survey of extant section, 13.2.61 (Source 4) checked. (Only the section from SE 34374823 eastward to SE 54994832 was perambulated as this was the only surveyable portion in 1961) The park boundary here is much as described by authority 4, that is a predominantly earthen bank averaging 0.4m high and 4.5m wide. The western end is much reduced by weathering and ploughing and in some places is barely discernable, whilst the eastern section along the S edge of Addlethorpe Wood is overgrown by coniferous trees and undergrowth. Where best preserved at SE 34904824 it is some 0.7m high and up to 5m wide. The bank is too reduced to show any traces of accompanying ditches although the eastern end is bounded by a stream on its S side.
Published Survey 1:2500 revised. (6)

In October 2010, English Heritage's Archaeological Survey and Investigation team carried out a rapid examination of Spofforth Castle and its environs to inform revision of the presentation of the property, which is maintained by English Heritage as a 'free site' (7). The only direct product of this investigation was the revision of the relevant AMIE records.

The hunting park of Spofforth Castle was first mentioned in 1577 and mapped in c.1600 and 1608. It may have been created c. 1559 when Henry Percy restored the Castle, but the absence of broad ridge and furrow and boundary patterns characteristic of medieval strip fields within the area of the park suggest that it may have been enclosed as early as the 13th century, when the castle was the principal residence of the Percy family. The park pale was ultimately 11.1kms (c.8) miles long and enclosed some 790ha (1952 acres); this perimeter is half a mile shorter than the figure given in the 1577 survey, but the area is 716 acres larger, which implies that the 1577 survey may be open to re-interpretation. Much of the perimeter can be traced on the ground as an earthwork, its condition variable, as well as through patterns of historic and current field boundaries. The overall plan hints that this eventual extent may have resulted from an expansion towards Haggs Road on the north. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1956.
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Source Number : 2
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Some Yorkshire Estates of the Percies 1 Ch 2 81-82 1955 (illus)(EJ Fisher)(MSS in Harrogate Library)
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Source Number : 3
Source : Some account of English deer parks with notes on the management of deer
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Page(s) : 18
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RL 13-FEB-61
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 RWE 01-JUL-63
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F3 ISS 27-NOV-86
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : English Heritage: Level 1 field observation on Spofforth Castle and its environs 26-OCT-2010
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Monument Types:
Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 34 NW 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1569737
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 34 NW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1961-02-13
End Date : 1961-02-13
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 34 NW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1963-07-01
End Date : 1963-07-01
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 34 NW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1986-11-27
End Date : 1986-11-27