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PARC LE BREOS, MEDIEVAL DEER-PARK

Site Details



NPRN 300001

Map Reference SS59SW

Grid Reference SS537900

Unitary (Local) Authority Swansea

Old County Glamorgan

Community Ilston

Type of Site DEER PARK

Broad Class AGRICULTURE AND SUBSISTENCE

Period Medieval

Site Description The deer-park of the de Braose lords of Gower. Its perimeter is visible, both on the map and on the ground, as an oval measuring 10.8 km (6.7 miles) in circumference; overall 4.1 km (E-W) by 2.9 km (2.5 miles by 1.8 miles), assuming that the river through Ilston Cwm formed the south-east boundary. The circuit survives in various forms: bank and ditch system, wall-bank, scarp edge and natural features. The enclosed area of some 800 hectares (2000 acres) is now mainly farmland with about 500 acres of woodland concentrated in a limestone gorge.
The park was established in the 1220s by John de Braose but was partially disparked later in the thirteenth century when a demesne farm, or grange, was created out of its east half. This included an open field system around what is now the village of Lunnon. While the grange became subdivided into farm holdings from the mid-fourteenth century onwards, the west half of the park, which contained the woodland, retained park status until the mid-sixteenth century when, with the exception of the woods, it was enclosed and divided into three farms, later sub-divided before reverting to a three-farm lay-out.
Fourteenth century sources refer to land uses of deer husbandry, agistment and pannage, with sales of wild honey, ferns and dead wood. Wood management, for which there is field evidence, was also practised. Place-name evidence suggests early rabbit warrening.

David Leighton, RCAHMW, 15 July, 2009

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