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.
Hunting lodges were often the most prestigious and impressive building in
a park. They were used for entertaining and for accommodation as well as a
centre for hunting. In some cases they may have served as the main
residence for an absentee park owner when in residence. Thus, some hunting
lodges were equipped with a wide range of domestic facilities.
The medieval royal hunting lodge known as John of Gaunt's Castle,
immediately north west of Haverah Park Top survives well and significant
evidence of the domestic arrangements within the lodge will be preserved.
It served as a royal residence when the king was hunting in the forest and
as an administrative centre when the royal party was within the park. The
lodge will contain important information about the workings of royal and
high status buildings as well as the nature and development of deer parks.
The monument includes the standing ruins, earthworks and buried remains of
a royal hunting lodge known as John of Gaunt's Castle. The monument is
situated on a spur of land projecting north into the valley now occupied
by the Beaver Dyke reservoirs.
The monument was a royal hunting lodge for the medieval park of Haverah
lying within the Forest of Knaresborough. It would serve as a royal
residence and administrative centre when the king was hunting in the
forest. The first reference to the lodge was in 1333 when substantial
repairs were carried out to what was an already established building.
Haverah Park was created in the late 12th century and the lodge may date
to this time. The 1333 repairs also included the construction of a moat.
The lodge was in the king's hands until 1372 when it was acquired by John
The hunting lodge took the form of a stone tower standing on a square-
shaped platform surrounded by a moat with a large outer bank. The tower no
longer stands, but the foundations for it survive as prominent earthworks.
Records from 1333 show that the building had a chapel, a hall and a
queen's chamber and was roofed with lead. Remains of a shallow ditch 2m
wide, surround the base of the tower. At the southern edge of the platform
are the remains of a gatehouse. This was a stone structure built across
the north end of a causeway spanning the moat. Two sections of masonry
from the gatehouse still survive up to 3m high.
The moat surrounding the platform is 4m wide and 2m deep. The east and
west outer banks are substantial, measuring 12m in width with steep sides
up to 2m high. At the north there is only a low outer bank grading into
the natural fall of the land. At the south side there is a wide flat
topped bank with a short slope to the rear. The inner faces of the moat
were revetted with stone, one section of which is exposed within the south
east angle of the moat.
At the south east of the outer bank two stone chambers have been built
into the slope. One of these still has an arched roof surviving and both
have the remains of a narrow access chute at the north end. These are
interpreted as being for storage of root crops, game or possibly ice and
are associated with the now semi-ruined post-medieval farm complex built
adjacent to the monument.
The post-medieval stone walls above ground level are excluded from the
scheduling, although the footings and the ground beneath them are
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.