Hay-a-Park Web Site|
In this section we have tried to concentrate on the history of the park itself. The town of Knaresborough deserves and indeed does have an immense quantity of books written on it's history. Do visit Knaresborough Online and investigate their history page links.
Hay-a-Park has been known in the past as "Park del Haye", "La Haye", "Hay Park" and "Hey Park".
The earliest references to Hay-a-Park we have found are from a book called "Knaresburgh and its Rulers" by William Wheater (1907) who suggests its name is derived from the Anglo Saxon Haeg (an enclosure) and was;
"a convenience of the royal inmates of the castle for the daily gallops. King Edward granted the manor of Knaresburgh to Peter de Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, by charter dated at York 16th August 1311; reciting that the earl and his heirs shall freely enjoy the honour and manor with the parks of La Haye, Bilton and Heywra. .......as the King enjoined by word of mouth, to repair the mills of the castle, the enclosures of the parks and to maintain the iron mine there, as was want. This order is from the information of Edmund de Maulay".
We have found numerous references in several local history books to poaching in Hay-a-Park (and for some strange reason members of the local clergy appear to be the main culprits!!!) William Wheater continues in his book;
..."It's proximity was often detrimental to its security. Old women and lazy men hastily seeking for firewood, were apt to pull down its hedges and palings. The parsons, too, with occasionally a Monk of Fountains, or a Canon of Bolton, broke the locks of the park gates and invaded it with their rynnyng-hondes. The timber snatchers were another species of marauders. In 1333 Walter Brenhand, the hand-burner, who branded felons, and lived at the High Street-Park Lane corner, was fined 2 shillings for wood taken from Haya; William Slingsby de Skreuyn is fined for "dry" wood taken in Haya"
rynnyng-hondes =running hounds
Skreuyn = Scriven
The author suggests; "poaching had grown into a deadly science, .......Who the poachers were learn from the Sheriff's Turn before Sir William Haryngton, Seneschal, on 6th May, 1422 - Henry Waryner, foreman, says Thomas Boksten, chaplin, Goldesburgh, on the vigil of the Purification, broke into the Park del Haye with dogs, killed and took away two does. With the men Hanlath Mauleverer, chevalier, in the feast of Pentecost, he also broke into that Park with two dogs and killed a preket. John de Bekwith, younger, and John Thorpe, yeoman, on Thursday before the Purification broke the Park del Haye by night, slew and took away two does; Robert Walker of Knaresburgh, walker-fuller of Knaresborough Mills - on Christmas Eve poached with John Brennand's dogs. Robert Percy's dogs slew a doe on Thursday before Easter. ..........That most inveterate poacher, the Vicar of Knaresburgh, has hare hounds. The times he broke the palings of Haye Park need not be recounted. John Strensall, vicar of Pannal, was his equal".
preket = a two year old buck
On 20th July, 1331: the castle, Honour and parks at Knaresborough then passed on to Queen Philippa to whom the following orders relate, again quoted from Wheater's book;
......."20th July, 1331 .......grant for life to Queen Philippa as dower, in recompense of a fishery in the Ouse, value £7 6s 8d, and part of the Castles and Honours of Knaresburgh and Pontefract, recovered from her by advice of Parliament after having been assigned as dower, and of the herbage of the parks of Bilton, La Haye and Haiwra, and the little park beneath the castle, held as value of £50, but with her consent taken to support the King's stud".
Another reference is made to Hay-a-Park being used as a Royal stud and to finance the work at Windsor Castle, the author quotes;
"1360-61; the King assigned Master John de Barton and Thomas del Bothe to all his horses and stud in the parks of Brustewick, Knaresburgh, La Haye and Haywra, ten of the best mares there in any park where they may have been for the better feeding, and sold by the testimony of Henry de Ingleby and Richard de Ravensere sending the money to William de Wykeham supervisor of the works of the King's Castle of Windsor, towards the expense of those works".
There are several references in Wheater's book to the timber at Hay-a-Park being used to repair and maintain the castle at Knaresborough. One of the quotes is as follows;
"According to the schedule of work done by John Brennand repairing the castle in 1407, much timber has been used in the buildings. He makes good, defects within the great stable there, and "the mangeors and hekes; to new covering that stable with thackbord". The drawbridge has remained in use for much of the 15th century, but had then become worn. In 1407 repairs were done to it; four carpenters were five days making a new "pec" at "castle-gate" and within the castle; their wages amounting to 8s 4d. One cart was carrying "plaunches" and other timber from Hay Park to the castle for that work".
Remains of the East Gate|
William Wheater made reference to the famous English historian Leland and his comments on his journey in this area around 1538;
"Leland's journey was southwards from Aldburgh.. Gnaresburg is three or four miles from Aldburgh, partly by pasture and corn and some wood. I left a park (Haya) on the left a mile on I came to Knaresburgh. There be two parks besides this (Bilton and Haverah) that longeth to Knaresburgh all be meetely well wooded".
We found further references to Hay-a-Park in the book entitled "Goldsborough The Church and The Hall" by W A Atkinson 1922, who describes the area as a,
"fertile tract of flat land, now known as Hay Park. The name, which is still sometimes spelled "Hay-a-", is probably from the Anglo-Saxon word "Hege" meaning a hedge or enclosure. The tract was at one time a demesne park, some 12,000 acres or more in extent, belonging to the Crown. so late as the time of the Civil War there was but one house upon it, the keeper's lodge, and in still earlier times it was the scene of many poaching affrays. It was subsequently granted out to private owners, and divided into farms. In the reign of Queen Anne it was part of the estate of Lady Hewley, widow of Sir John Hewley, who from 1676 to 1678 represented the City of York in Parliament. Lady Hewley conveyed this and other estates to trustees, who were to apply the rents to charitable and pious uses".
Another book, "Nidderdale and the Garden of the Nidd A Yorkshire Rhineland", by Harry Speight 1894 gives a similar description of Hay-a-Park and makes a reference to the protection of deer in the Royal Park;
"At the time of the Civil War there was but one house, the keeper's lodge, standing within it. After the war the whole domain was grated out, divided into farms and cultivated. A singular action for destruction of deer in this royal preserve was brought against Sir John Robinson vicar of Knaresborough, and others, in the 20th year of Henry VIII. The indictment sets forth that George Goldsburgh, keeper of Hay Park, in the King's name should suffer no manner of warrant to be served, nor allow any deer to be hunted, delivered or killed in the said park for the space of three years, which years at the the time of this action had not expired".
Red Deer and Fallow Deer
stills from video taken within the modern day enclosed park of Studley Royal, Ripon.
Our famous local historian, Hargrove, also mentions deer in Hay-a-Park within his book, "The History of the Castle, Town and Forest of Knaresborough" (fourth edition) 1789;
"Hay Park or Hey Park (i.e. the Enclosed Park. It is supposed was enclosed for the purpose of producing hay for the support of the deer in the Forest of Knaresborough during the winter season. Notwithstanding these animals thrive best on healthy grounds, where they browse on various herbs more suited to their taste than common grass; yet in the winter months, when those herbs languish, and the cold affects their bodies, they naturally retire to warmer places, where it was usual to have a stock of hay laid up for their support. The hay grown here was probably carried and formed into ricks in those places to which the deer, at the proper season of the year, would naturally find their way from the most distant parts of the forest. This park was long since divided into farms, the rents of which were left by Lady Hewley to be supplied to certain pious uses, in different parts of the kingdom".
In Hargrove's fifth edition of "The History of Knaresborough with Harrogate 1798, he makes reference to the ownership of the land once possessed by the Crown;
"Hay-Park. Containing about 1200 acres; (we not that in W A Atkinson's book he quotes the areas as 12,000 acres) which was granted by the crown to an ancestor of the late Lord Bingley, and afterwards came into the possession of Sir John Hewley, knt. some time time member of parliament for the city of York. In 1641 the Keeper's Lodge was the only house in the park; after that period, it was gradually divided into farms, cleared and cultivated. Sir John Hewley died in the year 1697, and his lady did, by indenture, dated 12th and 13th January, 1704, convey this estate to seven trustees, who were to apply the annual rents thereof to certain pious uses".