Pinner deer park, Pinner Park Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019135

Date first listed: 09-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Pinner deer park, Pinner Park Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Oct-2018 at 02:33:22.


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

County: Greater London Authority

District: Harrow (London Borough)

National Grid Reference: TQ 12668 90041, TQ 12809 90474, TQ 13122 90962, TQ 13599 90081


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.

Pinner deer park at Pinner Park Farm, still perpetuated in the outline of the modern farming estate, represents a remarkable survival of ancient landscape in an area substantially altered by modern development. Although the original boundary earthwork has been denuded, the three surviving sections of the pale, to the south west, north west and east, reflect the extent of the former park and provide a graphic illustration of the nature and appearance of the original pale. The sections of the bank will retain evidence for the process of construction and the accumulated silts within the ditches will provide conditions suitable for the preservation of artifacts and environmental evidence related to the period of use. The deer park provides insights into the status of its medieval lords, the Archbishops of Canterbury, and their place in the pattern of medieval society and landholding. The use of the double ditch is particularly interesting since it signifies a need not only to contain the stock, but also to prevent unlawful entry into the park, a problem arising perhaps from the population pressures of the 14th century and certainly apparent in the historical documentation.

Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow moving fresh water constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish in order to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. The tradition of constructing fishponds began during the medieval period and reached a peak in the 12th century. They were largely the province of the wealthier sectors of medieval society, and are considered particularly important as a source of information concerning the economy of various classes of medieval settlements and institutions.

The fishpond adjacent to the pale at Pinner Park remains well preserved and represents an important component of the medieval landscape created to enhance the deer park and lodge - not least as the fishpond would have enabled the archbishops and their retinues to comply with the strict dietary requirements of the church. Although now dry, the pond still exhibits many features related to the system of water management, and the silts within the base will retain artefactual and environmental evidence related to its operation.


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


The monument includes three sections of the earthen park pale and a system of artificial ponds and water features related to the medieval deer park at Pinner Park or Hall's Farm within four areas of protection.

Pinner Park Farm, located either side of George V Avenue between Pinner and North Harrow, is a notable open space within the suburban landscape of the London Borough of Harrow, comprising some 81ha (200 acres) crossed by the River Pinn. The boundary of the farm estate is thought to have origins in the demesne woodlands of the Manor of Harrow, the property and exclusive hunting preserve of the Archbishops of Canterbury since the time of the Norman conquest. The earliest clear reference to a formalised deer park covering this area, occurs in a document of 1273-4, which mentions an area of some 250 acres (101ha) surrounded by a bank and double ditch. The line of this park pale is largely perpetuated in the modern farm boundary, although it only remains visible in three areas: alongside the River Pinn near Park View to the north west, to the south west where the River Pinn issues from the park by Moss Close, and to the east where it marks the boundary between the farm estate and the Broadfields Sports Ground. These three sections are included in the scheduling.

The north western section of the park pale extends over a distance of approximately 320m with the bank measuring between 5m and 8m in width and, towards the northern end, some 1.5m in height. The inner ditch is clearly visible, showing evidence of later re-cutting, whilst the outer ditch is largely infilled and represented by a shallow depression some 8m in width. The bank along the eastern section survives over a distance of approximately 250m, averaging 7m in width and 1m in height although somewhat distorted by episodes of comparatively recent dumping. The inner ditch (approximately 3m wide and 1m deep) flanks the bank along the entire section. The outer ditch, however, has been completely infilled, presumably to increase the available land on the Sports Ground side. The south western section (near Moss Close) extends for approximately 200m passing through two sharp deviations in its course which suggest the restrictions imposed by the early development of other land holdings between the park and the medieval village of Pinner. The bank here averages 3m in width and 1m in height with a flattened summit. The two flanking ditches are also visible and are included in the scheduling. The outer ditch has been recut in recent memory to alleviate problems of flooding associated with the River Pinn.

At the northern end of the south western section of the park pale is a clay dam, 50m in length and some 2m high, incorporated within the line of the boundary. The dam served to retain water from the Pinn within a large artificial fishpond (now dry) which tapers to the north east over a distance of some 150m. The pond is flanked to either side by low retaining banks (also clay) and external ditches. The modern course of the River Pinn runs slightly within the southern perimeter of the fishpond, suggesting that the southern ditch formerly served to divert the river around the pond during periods of dredging or repair. The northern ditch is thought to have carried away surface water from the slope above and prevented the pond from becoming silted. The dam is broken by a narrow gap which is thought to have originally housed a sluice gate.

The present farm buildings, which are not included in the scheduling, occupy a relatively elevated position near the centre of the former park. These mainly date from the 19th century although they surround the principal farmhouse house of 1753. An earlier farmhouse, probably built around 1560, stood slightly to the south within the arms of a three sided moat shown on a plan of 1634. This moated site, almost certainly the site of the original lodge within the deer park, has been overlain by later farm buildings and yard surfaces and is also not included in the scheduling. The position of the moated site commands a view to the west which would (prior to the construction of George V Avenue) have encompassed the fishpond and much of the course of the River Pinn. To the north of the Avenue (upstream from the fishpond) the line of the river is flanked by a shallow artificial pond bay, measuring some 150m in length and up to 35m in width. This feature (now normally dry) lies at the base of the slope to the west of the former moated lodge, and is thought to have been created specifically as a watering place for the stock. The regular congregation of deer would have provided an attractive backdrop for social functions at the lodge and assisted in the monitoring and management of the stock.

Deer keeping is known to have been practised in the Harrow and Pinner area before 1273, and it is possible that Pinner deer park may have been established on the Archbishop's demesne lands prior to the first specific mention of this use in 1273. The park remained the property of the See until the manor of Harrow was transferred to the King by Archbishop Cranmer in 1546. Many records survive from the period of episcopal ownership, including writs against persons damaging the park during the voidance of the See in 1314 and following the Archbishop's death in the Peasant's Revolt of 1381. In 1349 Bartolemew de Burgherssh was granted keepership of the park during a further voidance of the See, to ensure that neither deer nor trees (the second valuable commodity of the park) were removed. Specific keepers are recorded between 1348 and 1547. These persons, or their deputies, had the task of managing the stock (recorded as 137 deer in 1490), administering the sale of timber and regulating pannage (swine herding). In the 15th century the park appears to have shifted towards a money economy with tenants paying rents for the use of its resources. Accounts for 1544 show the park leased out at 20 pounds per annum. In 1986 a survey of the surviving hedgerows flanking the boundary bank found that they were probably established in the late medieval period, perhaps in the early years of the Tudor dynasty, replacing paling fences required to contain the deer and therefore signifying the changing nature of the parkland.

Following the transfer of the manor in 1546, Henry VIII granted the estate to Sir Edward North. In 1630 the park was sold to the Hutchinson family. A map was made of the holding in 1634 which, in addition to depicting the division of the park into fields and the development of a mixed farming regime, also demonstrates a remarkable similarity between the extent of the present farm and the former parkland boundary. The Ewer family feature as the principal tenants throughout the remainder of the 17th century. In 1687 the estate was bought by Sir Edward Waldo and it was sold again in 1731 to St Thomas's Hospital. The hospital retained the property for the next two centuries, allowing the railway to cross the north eastern corner of the estate in the 1830s and leasing the farmland to a succession of tenants. In 1930 the County and Parish Councils purchased the farm to safeguard the open space which was otherwise destined for development as a residential area. The tenancy was retained by the Hall family (who had farmed the estate since World War I) and, with the exception of the construction of George V Avenue shortly before World War II, the farm remains substantially unaffected by modern development.

All fences, gates and modern garden features are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 29448

Legacy System: RSM


Currie, C. K., Pinner Park Farm, 1986, Unpublished survey
Currie, C. K., Pinner Park Farm, 1986, Unpublished survey
Golland, J, Pinner Park, 1985, Unpublished local history report

End of official listing