This richly illustrated book tells the story of Clarendon in Wiltshire, from the Neolithic through to the present
Soon after the Norman conquest, a particular place in Wiltshire became the country retreat of the kings and queens of England. Clarendon was large enough for business meetings of up to 2000 people, but it also had intimate suites for private life: Royalty could govern and relax, while indulging their passion for hunting. Here in 1164 Henry II confronted Thomas Becket and frames the “Constitutions of Clarendon”; here the Plantagenets sustained their grandest palace outside London and the largest deer park in the kingdom. The visitor to the park today will find this medieval landscape still recognizable and more or less intact. Yet until recently, it remained secret and undiscovered.
In this book Tom Beaumont-James and Christopher Gerrard tell the story of this great royal landscape from the Neolithic through to the present. The park is rich in Prehistoric remains, but unusually , it is the historic period, which excites the creates archaeological attention. The authors explore Saxon Clarendon and chart the Norman creation of the deer park and the building of the palace. They bring the royal hunt to life – a time when royalty and their guests hunted fallow deer in the park, when gyrfalcons sought prey from high above and kings and queens dispensed bounty to huntsmen, who brought cranes and wolves killed in the nearby royal marshes and forest. In 1660 Clarendon passed to Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, chronicler of the English Civil War. After that the landscape subsequently went through a further transformation, into a private county estate and an expression of Protestant, Tory and military values.