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Parkland

Parkland now means a recreational space or ornamental feature but originally it just meant an enclosed field reserved for use by the occupant. Chewton Mendip is near the top of the Mendip Hills so the or farm land is divided between steep hillside , valleys and relatively flat open land. The land is very stony so there were probably small enclosures since the beginning of agriculture. The soil is thin in many areas and bedrock protrudes in some relatively flat land in the village so there may have been two kinds of ‘parkland’ in Chewton Mendip, types A and B.
 A. Hunting/Pleasure Parks
Some parts of the Mendip Hills were a royal hunting reserve known as a ‘forest’ since Saxon times until the late 13th century which may have included some trees but the key issues were that only the King and his guests could hunt there and the land was unfenced. Originally the hunting forest would have included wild boar but they are usually called deer parks. The main part of the village was owned by a succession of monastic orders which may have provided hunting to their guests but are more likely to have created an area of seclusion which may have been closer to the modern concept of a large garden.
 Some of the evidence to support the theory there were deer parks in Chewton Mendip is the retention of various words that may have meant ‘gate’ next to the ‘park’, most significantly variations on the word ‘yate’. Mead describes a field that closely resembled the original meaning of a park or lawn, i.e. a meadow. Paddock and croft or close all suggest enclosed pastures. Whilst there were a large number of fields which included these words in their names which are well documented, some of them cannot be accurately identified but may have formed part of the ‘parkland’.
 B. Lawns and Parks 
Lawn is one of the few Celtic words used in the English language which originally meant grassland so the parkland may have been pasture that was reserved for a privilege minority whilst the ‘common people’ had to make do with the less favourable land. This type of parkland is closer to the modern concept of an agricultural field, they may have been used to graze domesticated animals such as cows for milk production or to grow hay or other crops. The field names used in 18th century give a clue to the crops that used to be grown and some fields still bear the name of the medieval common field. Furthermore, some farmland was renamed ‘parks’ land in the 20th century. The proximity of ‘pounds’ near to the parks suggest some of them were used for grazing because stray animals were impounded in the pound. There were two or three ‘pounds’ in Chewton Mendip.
A major problem is that the  1766 map is almost illegible so the 1794 map . Another problem is most of the early maps only show the Waldegrave and Hippisley land. No map showing the Kingsmill holdings in Chewton Mendip has yet been found but list of land sold at various time are available from the Hampshire archives. The 1839 tithe map.
Another issue is the lack of resident nobility of either the ecclesiastical or lay variety in Chewton Mendip. The documentary evidence suggests the monks had a farm on the site of Chewton Priory but the last known resident lord of the temporal manor, Sir William Bonville, was executed and 1461 and it seems likely that any hunting or pleasure parks that family held were returned to general farming after Sir William was killed. There was a review of deer parks as part of the preparation for defending against the Spanish Armada in 1588 and there was no park identified in Chewton Mendip.   The Waldegrave family owned most of the farmland of Chewton Mendip but only owned a small part of the centre of the village until the Victorian era. They held long term leases on some parkland owned by the Kingsmill family in the 18th century and they later bought Chewton Priory and Chewton House.
The general assumption is that the gentry took up fox hunting after their deer parks fell into disrepair during the Civil War which may have applied to some of the parks held by the Hippisley family. However, the names of the parks are very confusing and do not identify either the owner or occupant. Some names of properties ad features from the 17th century are still used today long after the eponymous family left the village. One possibility for park owning family is the Mogg family who lived in Chewton Mendip in the 17th century. They were still paying rates for Barrow Farm in the 18th century. Barrow Farm is between Chew Hill and Kingshill on the edge of the northern parkland which stretched to Moggs Parks in Hollowmarsh near Farrigton Gurney.
The last issue in this context is the lack of consistency in the orientation, style and numbering systems used in the maps so a cell system based on the system used in a spread sheet is used to identify the approximate location of the fields. Cell A1 represents the top left hand corner, or extreme South West, and F3 is the bottom right hand corner based on the 1794 Waldegrave map.
The following table is based on the names used c1766 based on the Waldegrave estate map of that date (DD\WG/MAP/2) and other material, typically Kingsmill records held in the Hampshire archives which are identified by the ‘H’ prefix to the reference.

 

Adams’ Park Adam’s Parks was the name given to the field next to the 18th century Chewton Priory (Mr Jenkins House) according to Hampshire archive record 19M61/914. Adams’ Parks still belonged to the Kingsmill family in 1766 but the Waldegraves held a long lease on it. Anthony Stocker bought a sub-lease on it c1764 and the previous occupants were the York (e) family. C2
Bendle’s Bendle/Bendals farm was based in Eakers Hill (cell B2) but Bendles parks were part of York’s Parks in Hollowmarsh F1
Cholwell The Moggs family were based in Farrington Gurney and Cameley/Temple Cloud and lived in Cholwell House for a period. Cholwell was also the name of part of York’s Parks in Hollowmarsh. F1
Croft Mead Croft Mead was part of the land occupied by George Roberts in 1785 when the Kingsmills offered it for sale. (H:19M61/4175). Crofts Mead may have been the ‘Long Croft’ in Hollowmarsh in 1839 but ‘croft’ was included in over 20 field names distributed throughout the parish in 1839.  F1
Hill’s Park Hills is derived from a family name and Hills Parks was in Hollowmarsh and was part of York’s Parks in 1766.  F1
Hollow marsh This is physically closer to Farrington Gurney and may have been deer park or hay meadow. Hollow Marsh was sometimes known as Holly Marsh but there may also have been a Holly Marsh in Emborough which was part of the ‘Parsonage’ of Chewton Mendip.F1I6. E2
Inmead Inmead is part of what is now called Chewton Plain between Ston Easton  and Chewton Mendip (  Chew Down ) but Inmead probably covered a much larger area in 1766.  E2
Lyes Lyes was sometimes linked with Park Batches and with Inmead which may have formed a contiguous block of ‘parkland’ reaching from Hollowmarsh to Chew Down.  E1
Mead Park It is believed Mead Park was part of the glebe lands of Chewton Mendip and therefore owned by the Kingsmills. Mead Park was mentioned in the 1785 sale of Kingsmill land (H:19M61/4175) and in Moggs Parks so it may have been in Hollowmarsh. C3
Moggs’ Park These were in Hollowmarsh next to York’s Park ad comprised of Hills Park, Stub Park, Mead Park and The Coppice. The last ‘park’ suggests a mixed usage because a coppice was woodland that was harvested on a regular basis. F1
Paradise An area on the Emborough boundary may hav been a small park of some kind. D3
Park Batches Park Batches probably connected Inmead/Lyes with Hollow Marsh. They belonged to Kingsmills but may have been offered for sale in 1785. E2
Park Lawn The Hippisleys owned most of Ston Easton and Emborough and held leases on large parts of the eastern part of Chewton Mendip but this refers to parkland near their home in Ston Easton Park.  F3
Phelp’s Parks Phelp’s Parks comprising of five pieces of ground called Cheswells and five pieces of ground called South Park which could have been anywhere. However, Cheswells was marked on the 1840 map which was on Chewton Plain on the west of the main road at the top of Kingshill. Cheswell may have been a corruption of Cholwell or Chesle who were a Huguenot family. The associated ‘gate’ may have been Yeap Croft  E2
Purnell’s Parks The Purnell family held land in several parts of the village but the Hunt family were the leaseholders of Purnel’s Farm in the main part of Chewton Mendip in 1766. Anthony Stocker took out a mortgage for Purnell’s Parks in 1779 (H: 41M89/313) when it included South Park so it is assumed that Purnell’s Parks was close to Phelp’s Parks.  E2
Priory Park A modern farm map complied by the current occupiers use the name ‘Priory’ for land on the east side of the site of Chewton Priory. The modern ‘Priory Park’ was called Acridge in 1766.  C2
Robinsons This was part of York’s parks in 1766. The Robins/Robinson family may have lived in Ston Easton. F1
Stub Park This was part of Moggs park in 1766. F1
South Park It is believed South Park was part of Phelps’ and Purnell’s Parks. F1
Tuckers This was part of York’s Parks in 1766.  F1
York’s Parks The Yorke family probably lived in Wells but held leases on several properties throughout the village. There was an unrelated family called York who were residents of Chewton Mendip. Yorks’s Parks were in Hollowmarsh and consisted of Cholwell, Robinsons,Tuckers, Hills, Bendles and ‘The Paddock’ in 1766..  F1
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