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Stop Easton Park

EASTON PARK ASSETS

By Stop Easton Park
Thursday, March 1, 2018

EASTON PARK ASSETS

Easton Park can boast an incredibly rich history dating back over 700 years with many legendary greats from both the past and present having stepped on our fertile soil. We have an abundance of natural wildlife, precious ancient woodland, landscaped ponds & lakes, an elaborate grade II listed garden, a Norman grade I listed church and a protected Conservation Area, securely designating it as a place of special historical interest. This exceptional English heritage should be saved for future generations at all costs. Our aim over the next couple of months, is to highlight our countryside's unique identity and what we could potentially lose if this 10,000 housing development goes ahead. It seems fitting that our first article is about Easton Park.

The Easton Lodge Estate and Deer Park

 

Easton Park Deer Park

EASTON PARK (Great Park) In 1302 Matthew de Loveyn acquired a licence for two parks in Little Easton. Parks were prestigious and to own two suggested high status for the owner. It was first mapped in 1594 by Ralph Agas of Stoke-by-Nayland following the grant of the lands to Sir Henry Maynard in 1588 by Elizabeth 1. In the late 1600's, his son William laid out a formal park in the 'patte d'oie' style (3-5 straight paths from a central point), with avenues radiating out from Easton Lodge as shown above in the 1756 engraving by P.C Canot.

The Park remained in substantially the same form for 700 years until WWII, when the entire estate was requisitioned by the War Office and 10,000 trees were blown up and bulldozed to make way for an airfield. It was used by United States Army Air Force 386th Bomb Group (The Crusaders), and was the first UK airfield visited by General Eisenhower in April 1944. They remained for just nine months before being moved ahead following the D Day landings of June 1944. The airfield became a vehicle storage base. Up to 34,000 vehicles were parked here at one time. In 1950, the army left and The War Ministry handed back the house and land to the owners but the house had been trashed so it was pulled down in 1951 and no one thought to replace the trees. JM Hunter in an article for Essex Archaeology & History described this destruction as “the saddest loss to the historic environment of Essex” during the war.

1500 acres of woodland, farmland and part of the gardens remained in the family until 2004 when the whole estate was sold to Land Securities Group plc.

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