Whilst there was a licence to empark deer granted to the owners of the estate in 1268, the earliest reference to the Deer Park is described by Evelyn Shirley in his book Deer and Deer Parks published in 1867 as follows: “Within the ancient forest now called the Vale of Blackmore or Blakemore, is Stock, where William de Cantilupe is recognised as the possessor of a park in the thirty-second of Henry III*. This appears to be the oldest existing park in the county; it is an enclosure of 116 acres, with a herd of 70 fallow-deer”. *Cal. Pat. Rolls p.22
The Deer Park Today
The deer in the park are a mixture of common deer and menil fallow.
There are around 120 adults and about 30 fawns are born in June each year. The females (Does) only have one fawn each year.
The males are called Bucks and their antlers fall off each year and re-grow in the spring. By the summer they are fully formed and hardened off ready for the rut. This happens during October when the older bucks form their own territories within the park.
The deer numbers are managed during the winter.
In the1892 book by Whitiker it is described as follows
Stock Gaylard Park
Owner, Mrs Charlotte Yeatman
Acreage, 78 acres 3 roods, and 22 perches
Fence, iron park fencing
Water supply, natural
Number of fallow deer, about 70
Average weight of bucks, 90 lbs
Average weight of does, 60 lbs
A very picturesque park, with fine old oak and elm trees in it
From the above one might assume that the Deer Park is indeed old, but finding more evidence of it is proving elusive.
None of the maps that have been looked at from Christopher Saxton’s 1575 map through to R Rowe of 1843 show a park of Stock Gaylard.
Whilst some of the maps showed other parks around the county it is probable that these, as in the R Rowe map of 1813, only showed those described as Seats of the Nobility and Gentry.
The 1808-9 and 1811 Ordnance Survey maps both show a parkland setting, as does Greenwood in 1826, but the first Ordnance Survey map we have that describes it as Stock Gaylard Park is in the 1886 6” map.
The 1815, the Estate map describes it as The Park and in the survey that goes with it The Park and Church Ground are measured as two distinct items.
In the early 1960’s, L M Cantor and J D Wilson, wrote a series for the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club titled The Mediaeval Deer Parks of Dorset. Despite writing about and recording 45 deer parks, there is not a single mention of Stock Gaylard.
Stock Gaylard Estate Office, Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 2BG
Tel: 01963 23511