Ongar Park Pale north west of Collier's Hatch


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Epping Forest (District Authority)
Stanford Rivers
Epping Forest (District Authority)
Stapleford Tawney
Epping Forest (District Authority)
Theydon Mount
National Grid Reference:
TL 49797 02470

Reasons for Designation

Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house, castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features, including hunting lodges (often moated), a park-keeper's house, rabbit warrens, fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch. Although a small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, it was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the majority being constructed. The peak period for the laying-out of parks, between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility. From the 15th century onwards few parks were constructed and by the end of the 17th century the deer park in its original form had largely disappeared. The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown but probably exceeded 3000. Many of these survive today, although often altered to a greater or lesser degree. They were established in virtually every county in England, but are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home Counties. Deer parks were a long-lived and widespread monument type. Today they serve to illustrate an important aspect of the activities of medieval nobility and still exert a powerful influence on the pattern of the modern landscape. Where a deer park survives well and is well-documented or associated with other significant remains, its principal features are normally identified as nationally important.

The Park Pale north west of Collier's Hatch survives particularly well as an upstanding earthwork bank with partly buried ditches. The bank, buried landsurface and ditch fills contain artefactual and environmental information relating to the construction and use of the park pale, and thus of the deer park as a whole. Ongar Park is a particularly early, and a well documented, example of an English deer park and is the earliest known park in Essex.


The monument includes a length of park pale bounding the south western part of Ongar Park, a medieval deer park. It includes a length of boundary bank with internal and external ditches c.820m long. The bank survives to a height of 1m-1.5m high and is between 5m and 6m wide with a rounded profile. The inner ditch has become infilled over the years and now survives as a partly buried feature 2m-3m wide and up to 0.5m deep, although in some places it is only visible as a slight depression. An outer ditch of the same width as the inner runs alongside the bank and is up to 1m deep. In places it has been recut and reused as a later field drainage ditch. The park has been dated by documentary evidence to the Anglo Saxon period. It was mentioned in a will of 1045 and is one of 36 examples of parks known from throughout the country in Domesday Book of 1086. In the 13th century the park was transformed into the manor of Ongar Park, which resulted in the retention of the majority of the park's medieval boundaries up to the present day in field boundaries. The length included in the present scheduling represents a sample of the total length of the pale and includes some of the best preserved earthworks. The park covered an area of c.500ha, and was sub-rectangular in shape with rounded corners. All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduled area although the ground beneath these is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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