Public Parks and their history is a particular interest currently. Current research on the parks of Hull and recent publication (see Publications) on the Evolution of Baysgarth Park, Barton on Humber link to this interest. As with other studies of elements in the landscape, the objective is not just to discover facts on one example but also to set a template (or at least themes) by which comparisons can be made with other examples.
Parks have not always been public, far from it. Medieval parks were hunting parks, large areas of open wooded land reserved for the hunting exploits of the baronial landowner and/or his high status guests. For example immediately north of Beverley (or at least Molescroft) was once the hunting park of the Earls of Northumberland riding-out from their moated castle site at Leconfield mostly to hunt deer but also ‘lesser game’. Henry VIII stayed and hunted here while on his Northern Progress of 1541 (reference my power-point presentation ‘Henry VIII’s Northern Progress, 1541, with reference to East Yorks. and north Lincs.). South of Beverley was the hunting park of the priors of Beverley Minster, this merging to ‘Cottingham Parks’, the hunting park of the lords of the manor of Cottingham. The above picture shows Beverley Minster, just visible centre left, viewed across the once area of Beverley Parks, this spanning the dip slope of this section of the Yorkshire Wolds.
Dr. Susan Neave researched and wrote a book on the Medieval Hunting Parks of East Yorkshire.
By the 17th century such areas were being given over to agricultural purposes within the parish.
In the 18th century ‘parkland’, that is the manipulation of the landscape around a private stately home in order to create an ideal landscape, visible from the house, which complied with the principles of landscape architects of the day, remained private to all but the landowner and their guests.
To be continued.