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Birds Nest Lodge, Leicester

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
New Parks

In the civil parish of Leicester.
In the historic county of Leicestershire.
Modern Authority of Leicester; City of.
1974 county of Leicestershire.
Medieval County of Leicestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK55280589
Latitude 52.64804° Longitude -1.18464°

Birds Nest Lodge, Leicester has been described as a certain Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The rectangular moat, measuring 100m x 80m, was filled in during the 1940's. It now survives as a very shallow ditch on the northern arm, 10.0m wide, and 0.5m deep, and as a cropmark for the remaining arms. Fifteen meters to the east of the moat, earthwork banks c. 0.5m high and 30.0m long represent the site of a fishpond associated with the moat. The lodge known locally as 'Birds Nest Lodge' that occupied the island is first mentioned in 1362, but was rebuilt with a moat in 1378. A drawbridge was added in 1526. (Scheduling report). A hunting lodge extant in the reign of Edward III and still in good repair in 1523. (HKW). (PastScape)

The moated lodge known as Birds Nest Lodge was the centre of the former Leicester Frith Deerpark. The lodge is believed to have been the principal hunting lodge for the Leicester Forest in which the Earls of Leicester (subsequently Earls, then Dukes of Lancaster) held the rights to 'vert and venison'. The earliest references to a park being created from the forest date from 1297 and it was much reduced in size in 1526 to create 'New Parks'. The lodge was first mentioned in 1362 and was rebuilt with a moat in 1378. The names of the workmen are recorded as Robert Hod, Adam Gryst, William Redford and Robert Ireland, and they repaired the roof with 1500 Swithland slates. Extensive documentary information survives, recording the construction, management and repair of the site. In connection with the reorganisation of the Park in 1526 there is reference to 'scouring the moat' and the construction of a drawbridge. A survey of 1560 describes seven bays on the south side, eight on the west, three on the east, and nine on the north. There was a hall of three bays, stairs beyond this, and two bays over the porters ward. There are also references to the lodge having seven chimneys in all.
The fish pond(s) lie to the SE of the moated platform and appear on the 1st edition OS map of 1888. Topographic survey suggests there may be two ponds, and or other water management features within the copse/play area adjacent to the moat.
Trial trenching at a nearby house revealed no archaeological finds or features. (Leicester City Council Heritage Data)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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