The name is probably derived from Haie, a hedge or enclosure, and wra or roe, the roebuck - that is, the park or enclosure of the roebuck. If this etymology be not satisfactory, we give a more popular one, well known to the dwellers in the park, and which they learned from their fore-elders, as follows - When John of Gaunt was lord of the Forest of Knaresborough, a cripple, borne on crutches, of the name of Haverah, petitioned the kind-hearted prince to give him a piece of land, from which he might contrive to obtain a subsistence, who at once granted his bequest in the following charter-like terms‑
" I, John o' Gaunt,
Do give and do grant
To thee Haverah,
As much of my ground
As thou canst hop round
On a long summer day.
The stout hearted cripple selected the longest day in the year (St. Barnabas) for his exploit, commencing with sunrise and keeping hopping all day until evening, when just as the sun was setting, he had completed the circuit of the park within such a short distance, that he threw his crutches over the intervening space, to the point whence he had started, and by so doing gained the land, which ever since has borne his name.
THIS was formerly one of the royal parks of the Forest of Knaresborough, and is now an extra parochial district, situate about two miles to the west of Harrogate. At what time it was first enclosed we have no direct information. Along with the Honour of Knaresborough, it was granted by King Henry II. to William de Stutevill, in the year 1177, who appears to have dispossessed the men of Killinghall of a right of pasture which they claimed therein; which seems to indicate that the park at that time was of recent formation. On their complaint, or petition, King Henry III issued a mandate, dated December 3rd, 1227, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, commanding him, by good and lawful men of the soke of Knaresborough and Boroughbridge, who may best know, and are willing to speak the truth, to diligently enquire if William de Stutevill dispossessed the men of Killinghall of his own will, and whether the said pasture was in his lordship ; and also whether the aforesaid men ought to have pasture therein. And, if it appear that the said William dispossessed these men solely of his own will, and that the said men have right of pasture therein, then he is to make seizure of the aforesaid pasture, for the above named men.
We infer from the above that the park was formed by William de Stutevill, soon after his acquisition of the honour, and that a part of the land he enclosed had been previously grazed over by the cattle of the men of Killinghall - the common of which adjoined it on the north and east; and it was only when the star of the Stutevills had declined almost to its setting, that the deprived herdsmen petitioned for relief, which it is evident they did not obtain.
During the reign of Edward III., this park is frequently mentioned in royal grants and patents. At that time this, and the other parks belonging to the forest, were set apart for the purpose of breeding and grazing horses for the king's use, and a nobleman was appointed supervisor of the same.
In 1333, the king issued a mandate to the sheriff of Yorkshire, commanding him to repair the hedges, ditches, and pales of the parks in the Forest of Knaresborough, which were broken in such manner that the king's horses escaped therefrom, and were lost.
In the following year William de Nusom was appointed keeper of the king's horses beyond Trent, and especial mention is made of those in the parks of Haywray, Bilton, and Hay. Soon afterwards Edmund de Thedmersh was appointed his colleague.
In 1342, the king appointed his valet, Roger de Normanvill, custodian of the "equoi, jumentui, pullanui, and equicii" of his majesty in the aforesaid parks.
In 1349, John de Barton received the like appointment, with an allowance of ten marks per annum for his services.
In 1357, Thomas del Bothe was appointed to the same office, in place of Roger de Normanvill. In 1359, the conqueror of Cressy issued a mandate to John de Barton and Thomas del Bothe, commanding them to select ten of the best draught horses (jumentui) in the parks of Haywra and Bilton, by the testimony of Henry de Ingilby and Richard de Ravensere, and sell the same, and forward the money to William de Wykeham, supervisor of the king's works at the castle of Windsor, to be expended on the said works. In the following year is a roll or receipt stating that the same has been done.
In 1371, Haywra, along with the Honour of Knaresborough, was granted by the king to his fourth son, John, Duke of Lancaster; and long continued an appanage of that duchy, to which it yet nominally belongs.
The park now appears to have been devoted more to the grazing of deer than horses, as in 1439, when Sir William Plumpton was seneschal and master forester of the Honour and Forest of Knaresborough, there were one hundred and sixty head of wild deer in the park, which had been viewed by Thomas Beckwith, Ralph Beckwith, John Beckwith, and others. Thomas de Thorp and Thomas Brigg at that time were the park keepers.
In 1490, David Griffith, one of the council of Thomas, Earl of Derby, held this park, and sub-let the same to Sir Robert Plumpton, for a yearly rent of £8; and the same David Griffith certified, October 5th, 1490, that he received of Gefferay Townley, servant to Sir Robert Plumpton, £9, for his fee of Hawwarrey Park."
On the 26th of August, 1490, a lease was made between David-app-Griffith of the one party, and Sir Robert Plumpton of the other, whereby the office of keeper of the park of Haverey, with the herbage, pannage, &c., were granted for a term of six years to the latter, at a rent of £8, yearly, to commence from Lady-day next coming; Sir Richard Langton, and Sir John Langton, clerk, being sureties in £20, for the performance of the covenants on the part of the said Sir Robert Plumpton.
Some time previous to the year 1490, the park had been held by Sir Randolph Pigot, of Clotherholme, near Ripon, as he says in that year, in a letter addressed to Sir Robert Plumpton, "I payd my palassis of Averey Park, during the time I occupied xxxs discharging one of the palas to the King's Grace."
In 1551 (6th Edward VI.), Thomas Skayffe was keeper of Haverah Park, and the fortress therein, and was plaintiff in a suit in the duchy court against Henry Atkinson and others for trespass and breach of fences, in Haverah Park and Rigton.
In the 7th Elizabeth (1564), William Fleetwood, sergeant of the duchy, was plaintiff in a suit against Ellis Markham, concerning "herbage and pannage, deer and game, destruction of the trees, and building of cottages in Haverah Park."
During some part of the reign of Elizabeth the park appears to have been divided, and held by at least two parties; as, in the year 1589, we find Roger Darnbrooke, in right of Jervis Markham and William Knolles, plaintiff in a suit in the duchy court against William Redshaw, claiming a moiety, the east part of Havray Park and goods and chattels therein.
All disputes respecting ownership came to an end in the reign of King Charles II., for that monarch granted to Sir William Ingilby, Bart., of Ripley Castle, the whole of the park, with all the rights thereto belonging; and since that time it has been held uninterruptedly by the same family - Sir Henry John Ingilby, Bart., being the present owner.
The park is of an oval form, the longer axis being about two and three-quarters miles in length, and the shorter about one and a half miles, and comprises an area of 2,245 acres, divided into thirteen farms; all the houses standing singly; these are generally good; most of them modern, though one or two of them may probably have been built during the reign of the second Charles. There is no church, chapel, or place of public worship within the district; some of the inhabitants bury their dead at Hampsthwaite; some at Pannal; either place being four miles distant. No line of public road passes through this secluded domain, but the cartway - deep and dirty - winds through it from farmstead to farmstead; and even this and the few footpaths, which necessity or convenience have made across it, are guarded, so that no stranger can enter without stating who he is, where he is going, and what he intends to do; and if the answers are not satisfactory, he is unceremoniously turned back. The motives for such conduct we cannot divine, unless it be to preserve the primitive virtues of the inhabitants from contamination by contact with the outward world.
A shallow valley, running nearly east and west, divides it into two parts, down which a rivulet flows, bearing the name of Oakbeck, which rises at the top, and receives continual accessions as it descends from runnels on either side. The native woods yet cling to the sides of the valley; and here and there may be seen a few oaks—aged and time-worn, remnants of the original forest. The other trees are hazel, birch, and alder ; the ash is not abundant; the holly and white thorn are in profusion, and often form magnificent masses. In some places, near the sides of the brook, the woods are a tangled brake - wild as when the roebuck roamed the dell, and the shaft of the roving outlaw struck the royal deer, on the sides of the valley. Two large patches of woodland, partly artificial, on the southern side of the brook, bear the names of High and Low Boarholes, from being the traditional haunts of that animal. A long, narrow plantation of firs runs outside the northern boundary of the park, and in some measure shelters it from the north and east winds.
Close to the most westerly farm-house, and very near the boundary of the park, are the very slender remains of the ancient peel or tower, called John o' Gaunt's Castle. When and by whom built we cannot state with certainty, though it is very probable that it was erected during the latter part of the reign of Edward I. King Edward II., in the seventeenth year of his reign (A.D. 1323), abode here for some days. From an itinerary of his, given in the first volume of the Collectanea Archaeoligica, it appears that he was at Kirkby Malzeard from the 20th to the 22nd of September; at Haura and Rammesgill on the 23rd; at Bewerle, in Nidderdale, and Dacre on the 24th ; at Haywra on the 25th and 26th; and at Skergill and Hawray on the 27th; all in the same year. If the castlet was not built at that time, where was the king lodged?
This royal visit is also mentioned by Mr. Hunter, in his tract on Robin Hood, who endeavours to identify with this progress that famous hero of the green wood, from which it is made to appear that he had been exercising his woodcraft upon the royal deer in this forest. Remote, lonely, and insignificant as the place now appears, we can truly say, when standing on its ruins and looking on the landscape around, that King Edward more than five hundred years ago gazed upon the same bills and valleys as we do now - standing on the same ground on which we now stand.
The earliest document in which we have seen this fortlet mentioned is in 1334, when King Edward III. gave the superintendence of the fortalicii Regis Heywra, and the works then carrying on there, to Edmund de Thedmersh, for which service he was to receive the sum of ten marks annually. He appears to have been custodian until 1349, when the same king committed the care of the said fortalice to John de Barton, who had a like salary of ten marks yearly; he had also the care of the king's horses, bred and grazed in the parks north of Trent.
When complete, the castle has evidently been nothing more or less than a forest lodge, for the residence of the park-keeper and his assistant forest rangers; strong enough to repel the attacks of any band of freebooters, or outlaws, which might harbour in the forest, but of no importance whatever in a military point of view.
The site is of a square form, surrounded by a moat, some parts of which yet contain water; the north and southern sides of the area within the moat, are about forty yards in length; the west side thirty-three, and the east thirty-seven yards. The building has not occupied the whole of this inner area, but has stood about ten feet from the sides. Nothing but the foundations are left, with the exception of a fragment on the southern side, which has apparently projected from the main wall, and formed the entrance or gateway; this piece is of a square form, about six yards in length by three in breadth, and in one part about five yards in height. The masonry is of the commonest kind; the stones being such as are found in the neighbourhood - untouched by the chisel, except near the sides of doorways and windows, or rather loopholes. In the centre of the area is a circular depression, where the well has been for supplying the garrison with water. The situation is high and commanding -overlooking the country east, west, and north, to a considerable distance; towards the south the ground quickly rises to above the level of the castle, so that it had no advantage for defence on that side. No relics of importance have been found on digging about the foundations. The popular story is that the castle was battered down by the cannon of Oliver Cromwell, from near a farm-house on the northern side of the valley - which needs no confutation. The narrow valley below, on the northern side, at some period has been formed into a pond of considerable size, by throwing a dam across it; portions of which yet remain. It has evidently always been of a marshy nature, and impracticable as a road for any purpose whatever. A hollow place below the dam bears the name of Beaverholes, and the stream which runs through it is called the Beaverdike. Was this place, in olden times, the haunt of the beaver, as well as the boar, as it is generally admitted that the beaver inhabited this island in Saxon times? The head of this valley forms the watershed: the streams to the eastward flow to the Nidd, while those on the west find their way into the Washburn.
Near the south-western extremity of the park, and about three-quarters of a mile southward of John o' Gaunt's Castle, is a large earthwork, or series of earthworks, called by the country people Pippin Castle, where, they say, was once a chapel and burial ground to John o' Gaunt's Castle. A burial place it has undoubtedly been, and that long before a stone was laid of the now ruined peel. It is situate on the western side of a narrow rugged valley, or rather at the junction of two shallow valleys, and consists of three large earthen mounds, adjoining each other. The largest of these is not remarkable for its height, nor the depth of the trench around it, and is probably a great deal of it the natural hill, assisted in the form and elevation by art; it is of an oval form, tapering to points at the longer axis, and measures eighty yards in that direction, by about forty yards, in the widest part, in another. The middle mound is very remarkable from the flat area on its summit, which does not appear to have ever been otherwise than as it is at present; it is also of an oval form, thirty yards across in one direction, by eighteen in the other; on the north side the ascent is composed of broken terraces, and fronts the valley; the trench around the other portion is at least fifteen feet deep, and upwards of ten wide, near the bottom, The smallest mound is close to the last - a barrow of the common conical form, about fifteen yards in diameter at the base, with a cuplike cavity in the centre of the top. The trench from which it has been thrown is equally deep with that of the last mentioned. A few stunted thorns grow upon the last, and gorse bushes on the others; the sides are pierced by the burrows of numerous rabbits, which rear their young within those ancient receptacles of the dead. How extraordinary it is to find such works of man in such a silent solitude as this! In this wild uncultured spot, where rarely at present a human being is seen, and where a human dwelling cannot be discerned nearer than at a mile's distance; at a period beyond the earliest records of our history, hundreds of anxious beings must have laboured in the formation of these mounds, and a numerous tribe must have resided in the neighbourhood, to render such funeral monuments necessary or possible; for we can say, without fear of successful contradiction, here are deposited
" The patriarchs of the infant world,
The powerful of the earth;
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre."
On the opposite side of the valley to these tumuli, on a piece of rugged, uncultivated ground, the very remarkable phenomenon of an aerial army was witnessed on the 28th of June, 1812, by Anthony Jackson and Martin Turner, two farmers resident in the park, while attending to their cattle on the evening of that day. They saw at some distance what appeared to be a large body of armed men in white uniform; in the centre of which was a person of commanding aspect, dressed in scarlet. After performing various evolutions, the whole body began to move forward in perfect order towards the summit of the hill, passing the two terrified spectators crouched among the heather at the distance of one hundred yards. No sooner had this first body, which extended four deep over an enclosure of thirty acres, attained the hill, than a second body, far more numerous than the former, dressed in a uniform of a dark colour, appeared and marched after the first to the top of the hill, where they both joined, and passing down the opposite slope, disappeared; when a column of thick mist overspread the ground where they had been seen. The time from the first appearance of this strange phenomenon to the clearing away of the mist was about five minutes, as near as the spectators could judge, though they were not in a "proper mood of mind" for forming correct estimates of time or numbers. They were men of undoubted veracity, and utterly incapable of fabricating such a story. We never could learn that any similar appearances, due to skyey influences, have been since seen on the same ground. As this appearance took place during the Luddite disturbances, might not a number of those men be practising military evolutions amongst the West Riding hills, and their forms, defined upon a body of cloud, again be mirrored here? It is admitted on all hands that this class of phenomena are produced by optical refraction and reflection.
On the southern side of this district, near the farm called Haverah Park Lodge, is a reservoir belonging to the Harrogate Waterworks Company, formed in 1866-7, covering about seven acres, and capable of containing twenty millions of gallons. The water is of excellent quality - being, as it were, filtered through the millstone-grit rock. Almost close to this reservoir is a fine group of rocks, among which are a Druidical idol and altar, yet complete. These, taken in connection with the tumuli at Pippin Castle, and the British dwellings called "The Bank," in Norwood, form an interesting study for the antiquary,
A festive meeting of the male population of the park takes place at some one of the farm-houses once a year; when a plenteous dinner is provided, and the appendages thereto are all that the heart of a sturdy English yeoman can desire; for the dwellers in the park generally are neither poor nor deficient in hospitality. One peculiarity of this social gathering is, that no ladies are permitted to partake of it - only one or two to wait upon "those proud lords of creation " while they sit at meat. This meeting, which bears the name of Haverah Park Feast, generally takes place on the 25th of March; and probably had its origin in some remote period when the park keepers and foresters assembled together, and
"Revelled as merrily and well
As those that sat in lordly selle."
The population of this district is slightly on the increase : in 1801, it was 71; in 1831, 96; and in 1861, 100. The valuation to the income tax, in 1858, was £1,323; and to the county rate, in 1866, £1,297.