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Beckley Lower Park

In the civil parish of Beckley And Stowood.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP57711197
Latitude 51.80345° Longitude -1.16432°

Beckley Lower Park has been described as a probable Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

Moated enclosures with stronger defensive works, Beckley
At Lower Park Farm, in this parish, is a double-moated enclosure of a regular rectangular form, in which stands the farm-house. Of the outer moat the north-west, south-west, and north-east sides remain, and enclose an area 200 ft. square. The fourth side has probably been destroyed by the farm buildings. In the centre of this are the remains of two sides of a second ditch, the sides of which are parallel to those of the outer. The two which remain are the north-east and south-east, and they appear to be the remains of an inner enclosure 100 ft. square. In view of the suggested ancient origin of some of these moated enclosures, it is, perhaps, worth while to draw attention to the fact that the compass bearings of the sides of this work correspond to those of the ancient rectangular earthworks of this county, and to those of Stratton Audley Castle (q. v. under class 'F'), while its position in regard to the Roman Way is the same relatively as Stratton Audley. A Roman villa was situated on the south-west between this site and the Way. (VCH 1907)

Beckley. The 'hunting lodge' on the site of the modern Lower Park Farm (identified on OS 6" 1900) (now Beckley Park) was first mentioned in 1347 when it was being repaired. In 1375, it was rebuilt for Edward III, and it is recorded that the lodge had a great hall surrounded by a ditch, a mound, and an outer moat. He strengthened the hall with four stone buttresses built up from the ditch, and had the whole lodge ringed with a third ditch and mound. The remains of the hall, buttresses and the three moats can be seen today. The medieval lodge was probably ruinous when acquired by Sir John Williams in Edward VI's reign, and the existing red-brick house which must have been built by 1600, is probably his work. It has the normal arrangement of hall, parlour, buttery and kitchen, but the three massive towers on the north side are an unusual architechtural feature. Grade 1. (VCH 1957; HKW)
The present house built c 1540 in the triple moated site. (Aston, 1973; Med.Arch. 1973)
Centred SP57731198. The triple moats are situated in low-lying ground and fed from the south by a small stream; the original entrance to the Lodge was probably on the south-west side. The inner waterfilled moat encloses an area 35.0m (north-west/south-east) by 25.0m and is complete save for most of the south-west arm which was probably infilled when the 16th century house was constructed. The interior is now an ornamental garden and there are no traces of the lodge.
Between the inner and middle moat there is a grassed interspace from 10.0m to 15.0m wide (except on the north-east side). The majority of the south-east arm of the middle, waterfilled, moat has been effaced and covered by farm buildings. The south angle has evidently been reconstructed since it is not shown on the OS. 25" CS1. The outer and middle moats are contiguous and the former, now dry, is not as deep as its partners. The south-east side of this outer moat is also infilled although its course can be vaguely detected in the overgrown orchard.
The mound shown at SP 57731203 on Aston's plan is most probably dredged silt and that at SP 57681195 is bank clearance.
'Beckley Park' (name verified) is an outstanding five-bay Tudor house, brick built with extensive diaper work and three, three-storey 'wings' at the rear, a central and two outer 'stunted' wings giving the house an 'E' plan. The chimneys and front porch have been rebuilt. (Field Investigators Comments F1 MJF 09-JUN-76) (PastScape)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 31/07/2016 00:53:06

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