Park pale at Marwell, north of Thistle Ridge Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017607

Date first listed: 21-May-1980

Date of most recent amendment: 05-Aug-1992


Ordnance survey map of Park pale at Marwell, north of Thistle Ridge Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Winchester (District Authority)

Parish: Owslebury

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: SU 51172 20586


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 Marwell park pale represents an early example of emparkment. Despite the variable nature of its earthwork remains this is believed to accurately reflect their original size. They survive well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the park developed. Its importance is enhanced by documentary evidence linking the park to royalty of the 13th century and by its close proximity to Marwell Manor, a contemporary moated site, and Fisher's Pond.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The park pale at Marwell includes an earthwork boundary enclosing the medieval deer park which surrounded Marwell Manor. It was constructed as a bank and external ditch, the bank probably supporting a wooden fence and oak trees planted along its length. Such measures strengthened the earthwork ensuring deer were kept in and predators out. The bank and ditch vary in their preservation, the bank standing to a maximum height of 1.5m and varying in width between 3m and 8m. The ditch, which is only visible at ground level in a few places, survives as a buried feature around the majority of the deer park boundary. This section of park pale survives as an upstanding bank 380m in length, up to 10m wide and stands to a maximum height of 1.5m. The external ditch has become completely infilled over the years and is no longer visible. Marwell Park was established by the Bishop of Winchester, Henry de Blois, during the 12th century. An area of approximately 256 hectares around the Bishop's residence was emparked for the management of deer, while a number of fish ponds were also created at the same time. King John is recorded as having hunted at Marwell in 1208-9, and King Henry I in 1246-47. In 1332-33 the park was extended to around 324 hectares at a cost of 37 pounds. The earthworks remained intact until at least the middle of the 17th century. Excluded from the scheduling are all fences and drainage ditches 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.

Legacy System number: 20071

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Jackson, W H, Marwell Manor A Brief Sketch: Early History and Excavations, (1961)
Roberts, E, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Bishop of Winchester's deer parks in Hampshire, 1200-1400, , Vol. 44, (1988)

End of official listing