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Historical background 1067 - 1793
 
The present Estate can trace its origins back to the Royal Park attached to the Castle. In 1067 William the Conqueror ordered the building of a Royal Castle on the then barren outcrop of rock on what was to become the eastern edge of The Park. It was first enclosed in the 11th Century by a palisade set on a bank with a ditch, designed to allow wild deer to enter but not leave. We know from the royal records that it was regularly stocked with deer brought from Sherwood Forest and later also by rabbits (brought from France in 1244). For four centuries the Castle was to be the principal Royal Residence in the Midlands. Whilst here, the king would have hunted the deer in The Park. In 1447, the former chapel of S. Mary de la Roche (which still survives in part on the southern boundary) was converted into a hunting lodge.


Badder & Peat 1744

At various times the kings also created smaller enclosed gardens within the Park (there are references to the King’s or Queen’s Gardens), and there was also a substantial fishpond. However, by the reign of Elizabeth 1 the Castle had been effectively abandoned and it and the Park fell into decay. They were both eventually sold in 1623 to the Earl of Rutland.
After the Civil War, the old medieval castle was slighted in 1651, and the ruins were later purchased by William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle. Between 1674 and 1679 he erected his new Ducal Palace in the Italianate Classical style, which he called "Nottingham Castle." The work was actually completed by his son, who died in 1711 without male issue, and so the title died out. However, his nephew and heir, Thomas Pelham Hollies, was subsequently recreated the 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1714 (and under-Lyne in 1756, whilst Prime Minister.)

In 1768 he was succeeded by his nephew, the 2nd Duke, and not long thereafter the Ducal Palace was effectively abandoned, the last great ball being held there in 1776. This was undoubtedly due to the increased industrialisation of the Town, whose chimneys poured out smoke at the same level as the Castle’s eastern terrace. The Duke’s loss was the townspeople’s gain. The ever increasing population effectively took over the abandoned Park, using it as common land, for walking and other recreational activities and to graze their cattle. An area near the Castle was also used for allotment gardens. In 1793 the first building was erected in the Park on a 4 acre plot of land in the north western corner, it was a new cavalry barracks. It would soon prove to be useful in suppressing the unruly townspeople.


W.Stretton 1804 -7
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