Stoke Park Woods

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HCC Site ID. 1180

Parish: Bishopstoke
Designations: SINC Area: n/k
Access: Public Access Ownership: Forestry Commission

In 1242, a license was granted for the Bishop of Winchester to enclose land at Bishopstoke – Stoke Park (Cantor 1982, Roberts 1988). Roberts shows the probable extent of the park, which included Stoke Park Wood. He notes it occupied a site of about 600 acres (c243 ha) located in the north corner of the Bishopstoke Parish and 1 mile west of the palace at Marwell. He also notes that there were various forms of parkland management other than, or in conjunction with, having deer on the site, and mentions that: there was a field of oats at Bishopstoke Park in 1246-47; rabbits from the ‘coney garth’ at Cunniger Hill the area north west of the wood; and a vineyard on the site in 1477-78. This last date saw extensive work on the park lodge at Bishopstoke (Roberts 1988, pp 75 & 81). This would suggest that the land designated for housing was certainly part of the deer park.
The 17th century was a period during which timber became a valuable resource, not least because it was required by the navy to build ships. Thompson noted ‘that all timber was in demand for building, and there had been a particular stimulus to ship-building in Hampshire during the 1690s which had increased the value of good oak timber. The Bishop and his Steward looked to timber for a ready source of increased revenue.’ (Thompson 1977, p .130). This was probably a period during which many trees were felled.
Information to Eastleigh Borough 2018
Cantor, L., 1982, English Medieval Landscape, London.
Roberts, E., 1988, The Bishop of Winchester’s Deer Parks in Hampshire, 1200-1400, Proc. Hampshire Field Club Archaeology Soc. 44, pp. 67-86.
Thompson, E P, 1977, The Origin of the Black Act, Peregrine Books, Norwich

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