Roundhay Park



Roundhay Park

hosted by

Oakwood Church Leeds



Home Walk Around The Clock

The Gipton Wood side of Oakwood Boundary Road marks the boundary of the Norman hunting park from which we get the name ‘Roundhay’


‘Lerundeheia’ is more than 900 years old. The name is first mentioned in a charter of 1153 whereby Henry de Lacy granted those lands next to Roundhay to the Abbott of Kirkstall Abbey along with valuable grazing rights


It derives its name from the circular ‘hay’ or ‘round enclosure’ created at the end of the 11th century on lands granted by William the Conqueror to Ilbert de Lacy as a hunting park for members of William’s Norman aristocracy


It was one of around 2000 hunting parks the Normans enjoyed and part of Ilbert’s reward for his loyalty in helping William carry out the ‘Harrying of the North’, brutally crushing the Anglo-Scandinavian revolt of 1069


Lerundeheia’s perimeter ditch and bank was 6 miles around. A

surviving section of ditch near Kirkstall Abbey’s Roundhay Grange is twenty feet wide and ten feet deep. The bank was fenced with vertical pales of oak. Construction was a massive undertaking, estimated to have required moving 250,000 tons of earth and cutting thousands of trees. (One can speculate how Ilbert commanded the labour needed.)


In time the Round Hay’s ancient boundary became a Parish boundary, Parliamentary boundary and boundary with Leeds which achieved City status on 13 Feb 1893. The independent Township of Roundhay was finally swallowed up by the Leeds extension scheme in 1912


The outer boundary of the Round Hay is still present in land boundaries around Roundhay today. For instance, you can see this evidenced by an unexpected kink in Gledhow Lane as it crosses the ancient hunting park boundary road near its junction with St Catherines Walk


In medieval times and extensive iron ore and coal fields were discovered beneath Seacroft and the southern half of Roundhay. After the Norman Conquest the monks of Kirkstall organised the lucrative business of mining and smelting using the woodlands of Seacroft to produce the charcoal necessary for smelting. It was a environmentally damaging business and the area of the east bank of the Wyke Beck below Easterly Road was known as Cinder Hills because of the slag still to be found there. The metal was then taken to a forge for hammering into saleable tools and goods at Foundry Mill by Foundry Lane. When the monks fell into massive debt following a devastating disease affecting their sheep the mineral rights reverted to control by the de Lacy family


By the 1400s accessible ore and raw materials were beginning to run out and the park formed part of the royal estates largely devoted to forestry. A tenant started to denude it of trees…


By 1625 Charles I, short of money, gave Roundhay to the Corporation of London to settle debts and by 1779 it was in the hands of Lord Stourton. By 1797 the estate now relatively isolated, denuded, enclosed and largely given over to arable and pastoral farming was offered for sale


In 1803 it was finally sold for £58,000 to Quakers Samuel Elam a speculator (whose business subsequently failed) and Thomas Nicholson who wanted to build himself a country estate


The rest of the story including the purchase of Roundhay Park for the people of Leeds and the subsequent development of Roundhay and Oakwood as we know them today is admirably told in the many books and articles linked from this page

Notes


Articles


Oak Leaves ODHS


Part Five - Christmas 2004

Roundhay and the Domesday Survey of 1086

PDF 0.2 Mb

by Peter Kelley


Part One - Spring 2001

Ownership of Roundhay Manor and Park

PDF 0.1 Mb

by Peter Kelley


Part One - Spring 2001

The Life and Family of Thomas Nicholson of Roundhay Park

PDF 0.6 Mb

by Neville Hurworth


Part Nine - Autumn 2009

The Third Lake and Other ‘Fish Ponds’ at Roundhay Park

PDF 0.6 Mb

by Neville Hurworth


Part Seven - Autumn 2007

Cobble-Stone Buildings in Roundhay Park

PDF 0.5 Mb

by Murray Mitchell


Part Ten - Autumn 2010

A Very Public Row between Colonel Campbell

and Thomas Nicholson. Important Historical

Information in the Leeds Mercury of 1811

PDF 0.6 Mb

by Neville Hurworth


Part Eleven - Spring 2012

Where was William Nicholson Nicholson's House (where he shot his Uncle's Gamekeeper)?

PDF 0.4 Mb

by Neville Hurworth


Part Twelve - Autumn 2012

The Roundhay Almshouses

PDF 0.2 Mb

by Anne Wilkinson


Part Twelve - Autumn 2012

Thomas Nicholson (1830-1860) and

 how Roundhay Park was nearly lost

 before Leeds Corporation could buy it

PDF 0.1 Mb

by Neville Hurworth


Part Thirteen - Autumn 2013

About Rhodes Tudor and Albert Henry Nicholson, two remarkable sons of William Nicholson Nicholson of Roundhay Park

PDF 0.1 Mb

by Neville Hurworth


Part Four - Spring 2003

Parcmont

PDF 0.1 Mb

by Joan Newiss


Part Twelve - Autumn 2012

Sale of Surplus Land from the Roundhay Park Estate. The Pursuit of 'a Park for Nothing'

PDF 0.9 Mb

by Neville Hurworth


Part Twelve - Autumn 2012

Henry Marles and the Roman Lamp he

found in the Gorge at Roundhay Park

PDF 0.1 Mb

by Peter Marles


Part One - Spring 2001

Getting to the Park

PDF 0.2 Mb

by Geoff Hall


Part Eight - Autumn 2008

Travels With Mary Gordon

PDF 0.1 Mb

by Hilary Dyson


Part Four - Spring 2003

Roundhay Park Bicentenary

PDF 0.1 Mb

by Neville Hurworth

More Local History Oakwood Clock

Oakwood Church Leeds

Download


1840s Map - Roundhay PDF 1.1 Mb

Courtesy of Barwick-in-Elmet Historical Society


Links


Roundhay St John Church

 

Roundhay St John’s School


Trams


The Friends of Roundhay Park


Mary Gordon Trust


References


An Illustrated History of Roundhay Park

by Stephen Burt

Published 2000,  ISBN 0-9539745-0-2

Leeds Library Catalogue


Contact


history@oakwoodchurch.info