Parks were prominent and, indeed, controversial features of the medieval countryside, but they have been unevenly studied and remain only partly understood. Stephen Mileson provides the first full-length study of the subject, examining parks across the country and throughout the Middle Ages in their full social, economic, jurisdictional, and landscape context.
The first half of the book investigates the purpose of these royal and aristocratic reserves, which have been variously claimed as hunting grounds, economic assets, landscape settings for residences, and status symbols. An emphasis on the aristocratic passion for the chase as the key motivation for park-making provides an important challenge to more recent views and allows for a deeper appreciation of the connection between park-making and the expression of power and lordship.
The second part of the book examines the impact of park creation on wider society, from the king and aristocracy to peasants and townsmen. Instead of the traditional emphasis on the importance of royal regulation, greater attention is paid to the effects of lordly park-making on other members of the landed elite and ordinary people. These widespread enclosures interfered with customary uses of woodland and waste, hunting practices, roads and farming; not surprisingly, they could become a focus for aristocratic feud, popular protest and furtive resistance.
Combining historical, archaeological, and landscape evidence this ground-breaking study provides fresh insight into contemporary values and how they helped to shape the medieval landscape.
...the seminal work on the subject for future generations and a milestone in medieval scholarship. Reviews in History A clear, well documented synthesis with a wealth of primary material. Northern History This is a seminal work. It familiarises those new to the subject with previous approaches and theories, questions past assumptions, comes to novel conclusions and points the way forward. Southern History Society [an] excellent treatment of the medieval park. Susan Kilby, Rural History a thoughtful, reflective and intellectual first book which is a considerable credit to its author Tom Beaumont Jones, Medieval Archaeology [Mileson] makes good use of topographical evidence in particular (the book has some excellent maps); but its bedrock is written evidence, both documentary and literary, and its strength is that it makes a major contribution to integrating the study of parks into the wider perspective of English medieval social history. David Rollason, English Historical Review
Series: Medieval History and Archaeology
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 232
Published: 1st October 2009
Dimensions (cm): 25.3 x 17.6 x 1.74
Weight (kg): 0.625