Weald Country Park
Weald Country Park is a 700 year-old, [The manor of Weald descended in the barony of Valognes until the 13th century, when the barony was divided among coheirs. ( [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=15716 'North Weald Bassett: Manors', "A History of the County of Essex": Volume 4: Ongar Hundred (1956), pp. 286-290] Accessed: 25 September 2008). South Weald belonged to the Abbey of Waltham Holy Cross, until the
Dissolution of the Monasteries(in this case, 1540). ] 500 acre (2 km²) country parkin South Weald ["Weald" ("walda" in Domesday) denotes forest land; by 1777 there was apparently no woodland left apart from Weald Hall Coppice, which still survived in 1954. ( [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=15715 'North Weald Bassett: Introduction', "A History of the County of Essex": Volume 4: Ongar Hundred (1956), pp. 284-286] Accessed: 25 September 2008] in the borough of Brentwood in the English county of Essex. It is on the north east fringe of Greater London.
The current layout is largely the result of landscaping carried out in the naturalistic manner of
Lancelot “Capability” Brownfor Hugh Smith, lord of the manor from 1732 to 1745. [Hugh Smith was an ancestor of the Earls of Derby.] Weald Hall, parts of which dated to the 16th century. [Sir Anthony Browne bought the manor in 1547 and died at Weald Hall in 1567 ( [https://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63843 'Parishes: South Weald', "A History of the County of Essex": Volume 8 (1983), pp. 74-90.] Accessed 25 September 2008).] In 1752, the estate was sold to Thomas Tower of Iverin Buckinghamshire, a lawyer and MP for Wareham in Dorset. Christopher Tower succeeded as the owner in 1778 and immediately commissioned Robert Adamto design a new dining room. On his death in 1810, his son, Christopher Thomas Tower, succeeded until 1867; he enlarged the estate and enclosed some commons as "waste". Weald Hall, with 800 acres in 1841, was let to farmers in the 19th century ["Victoria County History", "ibid."] sold by another C. T. Tower in 1946, when the estate was broken up though part of the park was retained for the Green Beltof London. Some remnants remain of the Hall, which was demolished in 1950-51 [ Howard Colvin, "A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840", 3rd ed. 1995, "s.v." "Adam, Robert"; some interior fittings were salvged by Crowther of Syon Lodge: a doorcase was installed in the restoration of Tryon Palace, New Bern, North Carolina (John Harris, "Moving Rooms: The Trade in Architectural Salvages" (Yale University Press) 2007, Appendix 3.] due to war damage, in particular some steps leading to what used to be a follyin the park. The 16th century lodge miscalled "Queen Mary's Chapel" because it was locally rumoured to have been used by Queen Mary for quiet prayer and contemplation, which used to be enclosed within Weald Hall's walled kitchen garden, still remains at the edge of the park.
The park is now managed by
Essex County Council.
2012 Olympic Games
The park was due to be the venue for the
mountain bikingevents at the 2012 Summer Olympics. However, following a visit by inspectors from the International Cycling Union, the site was considered insufficiently challenging for international competition and a new venue was sought. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/london_2012/7222807.stm Mountain bike course 'too easy'] , BBC Sport, Friday, 1 February 2008] Hadleigh Castlewas chosen as the replacement venue. [ BBC. (2008-06-06). Look East: [http://www.bbc.co.uk/lookeast/content/articles/2008/06/06/olympics_biking_feature.shtml Biking back on the agenda] . Retrieved 2008-06-10.]
* [http://essex1841.com/South%20Weald%20in%201861.htm History of Weald Park]
* [http://www.essexcc.gov.uk/vip8/ecc/ECCWebsite/dis/guc.jsp?channelOid=14413&guideOid=16906&guideContentOid=20148 Visitor details from Essex County Council]
* [http://www.brentwood-council.gov.uk/index.php?id=29&lid=334&l2id=337&cid=324 Page from Brentwood Borough Council]
* [http://www.brentwood-council.gov.uk/panoramic/weald_park/ Panoramic view]
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