Deer parks were prominent features in the Suffolk landscape from the medieval period onward. They occupied hundreds of acres of enclosed woodland and pasture but were also symbolic features signalling the status, power and control of their owners in both the landscape and in society. This study of parks opens a window onto the past, partly by re-imagining past landscapes, and partly by observing people. At one end of the social spectrum we can see park-keepers dealing with their yearly round of maintenance and management; we discover local poachers bent on taking venison and politically driven gangs inflicting damage on property with intent. At the other end, we catch glimpses of the aristocracy and religiosi enclosing land, indulging in hunting, entertaining friends, dispensing largesse and feasting on venison. Overall the subject is wide-ranging, drawing on evidence from the landscape and from a rich archive of documentary sources. The book provides a valuable resource for both enthusiasts and academics to take the study even further.

Rosemary Hoppitt studied geography and archaeology at the University of Birmingham which fuelled an interest in medieval settlement, particularly moated sites. Alongside a career teaching Geography, this interest was maintained as she began to investigate Suffolk moats associated with parks; over time the parks became the focus of the study which developed into a PhD presented in 1992 at the University of East Anglia. Research has been on-going since then. In this book she investigates and offers explanations for the patterns and processes of imparking across the county with detailed analyses of over fifty of the county’s one hundred and thirty parks that have existed between 1086 and 1602.

Contents List and Introductory Chapter

Click here to view a pdf of the contents list and the Introduction.

To Purchase the Book

The book can be purchased via the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Website:


Any significant errors spotted since publication are listed in the errata below (with apologies – no one is perfect):

Date addedPage(s)ChapterError (click on page number for a pdf of the corrected page)
20/9/201888Woolpit Park (Bury St Edmunds) has been omitted from the map Figure 8.1
20/9/20286GazetteerSaxtead Parks: Bradleyhagh, Newhagh and Oldfrith have incorrect date; correct date of first record is 1286 in all three