Landscape of Kings
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Extensively illustrated with colour and black and white images, this book tells Clarendon's story, from the Neolithic through to the present day. It focuses in particular on the palace and deer park's medieval heyday. Soon after the Norman conquest, Clarendon in Wiltshire became the country retreat of the kings and queens of England. Clarendon was large enough to host up to 2000 people, but it also had intimate suites for private life: royalty could govern and relax, whilst indulging their passion for hunting. Here in 1164 Henry II confronted Thomas Becket, and it was here that the Plantagenets sustained their grandest palace outside London and the largest deer park in the kingdom. The visitor to the park today will find this medieval landscape still recognisable and more or less intact. Yet until comparatively recently, it remained secret and undiscovered.
This impecably-researched and very readable history draws on multiple sources to bring the past of this great royal landscape to life. The park is rich in Prehistoric remains, but it is the historic period which excites archaeological attention. The authors explore Saxon Clarendon and chart the Norman creation of the deer park and the building of the palace. They also cover the centuries since the Restoration: in 1660 Clarendon became a private country estate that came to express Protestant, Tory and military values.