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Letter: Guildford is a Long Way From Windsor Great Park

Published on: 22 May, 2020
Updated on: 22 May, 2020

From Sheila Newton

In response to: Stag Hill By Name and Now Stag Hill By Nature

I always understood that Stag Hill, Park Barn and adjacent areas were part of the deer park that was associated with Guildford Castle.

It’s a long way from Windsor Great Park.

It’s nice to know that there is still wildlife in the area since so much land has been built over. The hospital and research park are built where there were ponds. As a child, I remember going to them and finding frog spawn and newts.

Former curator of Guildford Museum, Matthew Alexander has kindly responded: “Windsor Great Park was actually only a part of the medieval Forest of Windsor. “Forest” now means a wooded landscape; then it meant a royal hunting reserve. They were introduced by William the Conqueror for deer hunting.

Guildford Park was added to the Forest by King Henry II in 1154. Thereafter the Forest stretched from Windsor down to the Hog’s Back and the River Wey at Guildford. At first, royal hunting parties would have stayed at Guildford Castle when they wished to hunt the deer in Guildford Park.

When the Castle was allowed to fall into disrepair in the later 14th century, the huntsmen stayed at the moated manor house in the Park, demolished around 1600. The final link to the Park was broken when James I sold the Castle in 1610.”

Editor’s note: Our thanks to Sheila Newton and Matthew Alexander for pointing out the error in our article. “Windsor Great Park” has now been replaced by “Forest of Windsor”.

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