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Bedale Park


Bedale Park retains many of the landscape features from the work carried out in the late 18th and 19th centuries by the Pierse family. However the formal garden created by Henry Pierse I in the 1730s and shown on a map of circa 1772, was removed about 1783-4 to make way for a lawn and the start of a more informal style. Pierse’s garden with its statues and topiary would have been in a similar ‘Italianate’ style to the one created at Chiswick House by Lord Burlington. The major reshaping of the landscape from 1780 onwards reflected the current fashion made popular by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and other professional improvers. No specific designer has been found for the work at Bedale but it is of note that Adam Mickle II, the landscape designer, rented Rand House on the estate from about 1792. He is known to have made some changes to the grounds immediately adjacent to Rand House but so far no evidence has been found of his involvement elsewhere at Bedale Hall. The park reached its maximum extent at the end of the 19th century.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Bedale Park lies at the northwest end of the town of Bedale, 11.5km (7 miles) southwest of Northallerton. At its maximum extent, the park covered 87 hectares (215 acres). The northern boundary runs northwest along the Crakehall road on the south side of Rand Grange to the cross roads at the Crakehall to Well road (SE 249889) then south as far as the former Lancaster Road at SE 249886. It then runs southeast along this former road to Keeper's Cottage at SE 256883, then along Green Lane to Burrill Road (SE 259879). The boundary then runs northeast to the rear of houses fronting Wycar, before running northwest towards the Lodge and Gate House behind Bedale Hall (this is the park at its fullest extent).

Bedale Hall and Park lies at about 45 metres AOD on an elevated plateau with views to the north towards Bedale Beck and the rolling countryside beyond. Bedale stands at the northern limit of the Southern Magnesian Limestone Character Area 30, with the Pennine fringe to the west and the Vale of Mowbray to the east. The underlying geology is Permian limestone (Cadeby Formation), overlaid with alluvium and glacial deposits of clays, sand and gravel. Most of the park, largely converted to a golf course, lies on slightly acid loamy and clayey soils with impeded drainage. The northern area around Rand Grange has freely draining slightly acidic loamy soils.

Bedale Hall marks the northern edge of the town, with the park bounding the northwest edge of Bedale. The ha-ha at the edge of the public park is edged with fairly dense tree and shrub cover, restricting views westwards. The line of the ha-ha running south from Rand Grange marks the western edge of the park proper, with The Gallop beyond. The western area of this former grassland is now in arable cultivation, but most is pasture, retaining earthworks of open fields of medieval ridge and furrow. From the lane towards Snape and Well, plantations and groups of trees close views eastwards towards the park. Beyond lies Bedale golf course, which has re-arranged the landscape, but still retains earthworks, particularly of former medieval ridge and furrow. Beyond the parkland in the wider setting to the north, are large areas of woodland.

Entrances and Approaches

Hird stated that in 1836 there were four lodges as follows:

  • Grand Entrance Lodge
    This was presumably the building at the present entrance to Bedale Golf Club which was demolished in June 2016. In 1836 it was occupied by John Gilbank, coachman. Adjacent are two fine wrought iron gates: a single carriage gate and a foot gate. This entrance accessed the park within the ha-ha and faced the main elevation of the Hall. To the west from this entrance, ran a walk or drive to Rand House, known as the Rand Walk.
  • Fishpond Lodge
    The fishpond lay at the northwest corner of the park, close to the Newton-le-Willows road and presumably the lodge took its name from this feature. In 1836, it was occupied by Mark Linskill, gamekeeper. It is shown as Sandwith Lodge on OS maps of 1895 and later maps. There is no drive or path into the park shown on these maps from this lodge, which has been demolished and replaced by a bungalow c. 1970s, retaining the name Sandwith Lodge.
  • West Lodge
    This is the present Keeper’s Cottage and stands at the west end of Long Walk. In 1836 it was occupied by Thomas Wake, farmer.
  • South Lodge or Porter Lodge [Listed Grade II] and Gatehouse [Listed Grade II]
    The South Lodge controlled the entrance from Wycar into the stable yard and the service end of the Hall and had a pair of tall gates (now removed) made by Robert Naitby in 1785 (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/35).
    The small square plan gatehouse abuts the boundary wall and Hird describes it as ‘the summer house at the garden end (of the Lodge), with steps up to it.’ (Lewis 1975, v.551). He describes the Rapers’ garden at the Lodge as being very fine, with a yew hedge and two pillars topped with white painted vases. The summer house and Lodge were occupied by the Misses Raper and after the death of Caroline Raper in December 1809, Henry Peirse made the summer house into a dwelling for Mrs Dayd.

Town entrance: In the late eighteenth century Wycar presented an unimpressive approach to the town and the Hall. In 1810 Henry Peirse had the old Poor House taken down and new plantations made alongside Burrill Road as improvements (Lewis 1975 n.385). Hird noted that the late Henry Peirse and Miss Peirse ‘had done away with twelve dwelling houses in Wicar’ (ibid., n.194). These improvements continued with new houses being built in 1894 along Wycar.

Long Walk or Terrace Walk: This ran westwards from the stables to the present Keepers Cottage, along part of the course of the old Lancaster road. Between 1772 and 1786, the Lancaster road was closed and part of it converted to Long Walk. In June 1786 Cuthbert Scaife & Co were paid £1-14-6 ‘for coach road’, while in July 1786, Cuthbert Scaife and Robert Hudson were paid £1-4-9 for ‘forming new road’ (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/35).

The map of c.1786 shows the road closed off into the Market Place and the easternmost end of Long Walk in existence (NYCRO ZM1). The 1838 Tithe Apportionment names it as ‘Terrace Walk’ (NYCRO T.). It has an avenue of lime trees (mostly replacement planting). For part of its length along its northern edge abutting the golf course, there is a stretch of cobbled retaining wall, a metre or so high.

There is a nineteenth century reference to ‘an avenue of fine old walnut trees’, which could refer to the Long Walk, although no walnut trees have been noted at the site (Post Office 1872, 96).

Rand Walk: Hird states that ‘In the year 1810, Mr. Peirse made [a] new road to the east of the Rand house. He also took the Rand beck by a tunnel under the lane, and the footpath which went over three fields by the lane side to the Rand he did away, and laid the old lane to his enclosures. And at the same time he built the wall by the road side, and made the foot path’ (Lewis 1975, n.468). This new road appears to begin about 400m west of Sandwith Lodge, where the old Lancaster road joined it, running eastwards beyond Rand Beck possibly as far as the Grand Entrance Lodge and beyond to where the road bends round the church. The Tithe Map (1838) shows plantation and shelter belts along the boundary with the old road to the east of Rand House. The 1856 OS map shows a tree belt along the full length of the old road each side of Rand House; the 1956 OS shows Rand Walk annotated only to the east of Rand House, with isolated trees shown to the west.

Green Lane: After the death of Miss Raper in December 1809, Henry Peirse made a new lane from Burrill Lane to Tansey Hill fieldgate, with a branching road to Sandwith Lane. This lane gave access to Keepers Cottage (Lewis 1975, n.385).

Principal Building(s)

Bedale Hall [Listed Grade I as a large house] c. 1735, was extended in the later eighteenth century, possibly by John Foss of Richmond, who in January 1788 was paid £20 for ‘plans &c as pr bill’ (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/35). The main elevation faces north towards the park, while the rear faces south down the Market Place.

Amen House [Listed Grade II with walls, Fives Court, Store and yard] is a group of buildings, dating to c.1735, designed as a landscape feature fronting onto the park and probably formed the formal entrance from the stable yard to the park and the training ground (The Gallop) to the west of Rand Grange.

The Icehouse [Listed Grade II] lies to the west of the Hall at SE 263 883. It is built of red brick and rubble, with a shallow brick dome under an earth mound within a conifer plantation. It was in use by early 1772 (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/35). In January 1810, 15 men were paid 2s each for filling the icehouse (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/55). The entrance was altered, probably by the Army during World War II, when a concrete apron and trap door were formed at the edge of the mound. This alteration was removed when the icehouse was cleared of debris and the steps excavated in the early 1990s.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

The garden created by Henry Pierse I around 1730 was enclosed by a high wall. With its topiary and statues, it reflected the style of gardening inspired by Italian garden style made popular by the Earl of Burlington at Chiswick. Apart from Hird’s description, we have no further details of its layout as it is not depicted on the existing maps. The eastern brick wall of the former walled garden still stands opposite the church and the only evidence remaining above ground. The ground level on the west side has been raised and the wall is buttressed at intervals along the road side. By 1902, an informal garden of flower beds within the lawn existed on the west side of the Hall (Private collection, postcard c. 1906). The line of the ha-ha is clearly visible on modern maps and on the ground. Although this is much infilled and damaged, stretches of the cobbled revetment can still be seen.

Kitchen Garden

The first kitchen garden was the walled enclosure shown on the c1772 map to the north of the Hall and documented by Hird. The second walled garden, about 250 m southwest of the Hall, appears first on the 1786 map as a rectangular enclosure of two acres. This map does not show any internal features, although a path is shown running around the outside of each wall (NYCRO ZM1). An undated early nineteenth century map shows the walled garden with a small rectangular area at the centre containing a building and a further building on the inside of the south wall (NYCRO ZM 14).

The 1857 OS 6” map shows the garden divided into six compartments, with a line of three buildings near the centre (glasshouses) and four small buildings along the inside of the southwestern wall, as well as a large building (glasshouse) in the centre. A row of trees is shown bordering the north and south sides of the garden and a triangular area of ground to the southwest with trees, possibly an orchard. By 1892 the OS 25” map shows an additional glasshouse to the line of three, which has been altered again by 1911.


Restricted by the town to the east, Bedale Park was laid out to the west of the hall. The first phase of the development of the parkland was in the 1790s, when the second ha-ha was built to enclose the two areas known as ‘Pottermires’ and ‘Fish Pond Pasture’. The southern section of parkland between the Long Walk and Green Lane was added before 1890. Bedale golf course, founded in 1894, was laid out extending south from Rand House to Rand Beck. An area to the southwest called ‘The ‘Gallop’ was added by 1890, with ‘Gallop Gate’ bridging Rand Beck (Figure 6). A strip of parkland was added bordering the south of Pond Wood by 1911.

In 1954, the A684 was diverted to cut through the eastern edge of the park close to the Hall, resulting in the loss of the wall closing off views of the Hall from the Market Place and the loss of trees and shrubbery (Reynolds 2001, 10-11).

Since 1971, the golf course was extended southwards in the parkland between Long Walk towards Green Lane and Burrill Road, although the tree clumps survive as part of the new golf course landscaping. The earlier part of the golf course north of Rand Beck has reverted back to pasture.

First shown on the 1838 tithe map and named Pond Wood on the 1857 6” OS Map. Keepers Wood lies south of the area of parkland known as ‘The Gallop’ and has two watercourses flowing through it into Rand Beck. First named on 1895 6” OS map, lying on the northern fringes of the parkland Paradise Wood forms the southern part of a larger wood, Langthorn Wood, which Hird states was made (planted) in 1791 (Lewis 1975, n.473) but is divided by the later construction of the Hawes (currently Wensleydale) railway line.

The 1838 tithe map and 1857 6” OS map show narrow plantations, forming shelter belts enclosing the parkland and kitchen garden. The northern section starts opposite the Church and follows the road that is now the A684, passing along the line of the former road, which ran on the south side of Rand Grange and blocking views to it.

The southern shelter belt ran from south of the walled garden along the Firby-Crakehall Road and Green Lane (built 1810) to Keeper's Cottage. From here a narrow belt runs east to join Lady Walk.

Hambleton District Council Planning Department

  • Planning Application 2/91/11/285 (microfiche)

Hull History Centre (HHC)

  • U DDCA/14/4 Award of John Wastell esq., and James Danby gent. in dispute between Richard Stapleton of Carleton esq., and John Peirse of Beedall and his son Richard Bryan Stapilton's Farm, close called ‘Pottamyers’, 31 Mar 1655
  • U DDCA/14/12 Agreement between Thomas Stapleton of Carlton Hall and Ann widow of Henry Peirse of Bedale and guardian of their son Henry for an exchange of lands in Bedale and Aiskew, 20 Nov 1764
  • U DDCA/15/65 Lease. Dame Elizabeth Stapylton to Henry Peirse esq, site of the ancient manor house, 27 Oct 1731
  • U DDCA/15/91 Lease. Thomas Stapleton of Carleton to Ann Peirse widow, 3 Dec 1764
  • U DDCA/32/2 Answer of John Peirse to Bill in Chancery of John Nicolson and others. Title to estate in Bedale, 1645
  • U DDCA/32/4 Bill in Chancery, Answers and Informations in John and Richard Peirse vs. Miles and Thomas Stapleton. Estate in Bedale c.1596, 1653
  • U DDCA2/5/3 Lease for lives: at £5 rent: for £60: Richard and Myles Stapilton esqs. and Ellyn Stapilton widow, mother of Richard Stapilton, all of Carlton to John Peirse citizen and alderman of London and his son Richard Peirse esq. Site of the ancient manor house with buildings belonging thereto (2r. 22p)…in Beedall and Fearby and called Bryan Stapiltons Farm, 4 Aug 1654
  • U DDCA2/5/4 Agreement between Miles Stapleton and John and Richard Peirse, all as DDCA2/5/3. Miles, Richard and Ellyn Stapleton to grant them a lease of the site of the manor house (as DDCA2/5/3) as it is walled in, and ground called Cherry Hill adjoining the wall, for 21 years from expiration of existing lease (as DDCA2/5/3?) at 20s. rent. John and Richard Peirse to spend £150 on building a house to adjoin their house called the Bolt, to be surrendered to Miles Stapleton at end of the two leases, 7 Jun 1656

Northallerton Reference Library

  • Francis Frith Photoarchive: Bedale 1860-1970 (microfiche)

North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO)

  • T Tithe Map for Bedale, 1838
  • ZBA 13/4/35 Estate Account Books: Brewing, Building at the Mansion House, Buildings for tenants in Bedale etc, 1781- 1791
  • ZBA 13/4/36 Estate Account Books: Brewing, Building at the Mansion House, Buildings for tenants in Bedale etc, 1792-1801.
  • ZBA 13/4/37 Estate Account Books: Brewing, Building at the Mansion House, Buildings for tenants in Bedale etc, 1802- 1807.
  • ZBA 13/4/38 Estate Account Books: Brewing, Building at the Mansion House, Buildings for tenants in Bedale etc, 1805-1808.
  • ZBA 13/4/55 Labour account books, 1810-1820.
  • ZBA 13/7/2 An account for repairs to the house at Bedale from John Whiting to Henry Peirse, June-October 1767
  • ZBA 26/1/1 A Survey of Rand Grange Lordship.... for John Peirse Esq., 1634
  • ZBA 26/1/3 A Plan of the Manors of Bedale & Ascough belonging to Thos. Stapleton & Henry Peirse Esquires, c.1772
  • ZBA 26/1/5 Rand, Crakehall & parts of Bedale & Aiskew, annotated Dec 1830
  • ZBA 26/1/6 Map of Bedale, Aiskew, Rand and Firby, 1851
  • ZM1 Map of Bedale & Aiskew, c.1786
  • ZM1 Map of Bedale & Aiskew, early 19th century

Private Collection

  • Postcard of Bedale Hall showing south and west front including formal garden, c1906


  • Royal MS. 18. D.III f.61 Map of Yorkshire by Christopher Saxton, 1577
  • Ordnance Survey 6” Edition, surveyed 1853-4, published 1857
  • Ordnance Survey 6” Edition, surveyed 1890-1, published 1895
  • Ordnance Survey 6” Edition, revised 1911, published 1919
  • Ordnance Survey 6” Edition, revised 1930-45, published 1956
  • Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Edition, published 1978

Estate Owners

11th - 15th Century

At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, the lord of the manor was Bodin, the tenant in chief being Count Alan of Brittany. The family that became known as ‘Fitz Alan’ or ‘Fitzalan’ held the manor by the 12th century as a Brian, son of Alan of Bedale, was granted free warren in his lands outside royal forests on 1 June 1200 (McCall 1904, 23). The manor of Bedale was divided in 1317 after the death of Brian Fitzalan in 1306 between his two daughters. His elder daughter, Mathilda or Agnes, married Gilbert de Stapleton, whose descendants owned land in Bedale until the late 19th century.

Fitzalan’s younger daughter, Katherine, married Sir John Grey (d1359) and this share of the manor then went through a succession of families. Sir John’s grandson, Robert (d1388), was survived only by his daughter who had married John, Lord Deyncourt (d1407). Their daughter, Alice, wife of William, Lord Lovel, inherited the estate, which was held by the Lovel family until 1487 when Francis had his estates sequestered by the state. The lands at Bedale were then bestowed on Simon Digby, whose descendants sold it to John Jackson of Cowling. Jackson’s son in turn sold it to Richard Theakston in 1594.

16th - 17th Century

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Peirse family acquired land in Bedale, in particular John Peirse (1593-1658), who had become a gentleman of the household of Charles I (HHC U DDCA/32/2 & U DDCA/32/4). Henry Peirse I inherited the estates from his grandfather, Richard, in 1708 and made Bedale Hall his seat from about 1716. His son, also Henry, was a minor on his father’s death in 1759. Henry II had three daughters, one of whom, Mary Ann, inherited the estate in 1824. Her nephew, Henry William Beresford, succeeded her in 1850 and took the additional name of Peirse. Henry’s son, Henry Monson Beresford-Peirse, was a minor when his father died in 1859 and he was the last member of the Peirse family to live permanently at Bedale Hall.

From around 1905 to the late 1930s, the estate was let out to tenants. Following the death of Sir Henry Bernard de la Poer Beresford-Peirse (4th Baronet) in 1949, the Hall and parkland attached to it were sold the following year to Bedale Rural District Council for use as offices. The Hall and public park passed to Hambleton District Council in 1973, the Hall housing the Planning and Technical Departments. In September 1986, Hambleton DC vacated the Hall, management of which subsequently passed to the Bedale Hall Trust. The Beresford-Peirse family retained the walled garden and in 1956 a new house, Bedale Manor, was built for them designed by Basil Spence.

Key owners responsible for major developments of the designed landscape and dates of their involvement:

  • Henry Peirse I b1692 (1716-1759)
  • Henry Peirse II b1754 (c1772-1824)
  • Henry William Beresford-Peirse b1820 (1850-1859)
  • Sir Henry Monson de la Poer Beresford-Pierse 3rd Bt b1850 (c1868-1905)

Early history of the site

13th Century

There is documentary evidence that there was a park in the manor of Bedale in the 13th century. Brian Fitzalan (grandson of Brian, son of Alan) was summoned in 1279/80 to answer what right he had to claim a park at Bedale and free warren without licence from the king. He said that his grandfather had several woods in the manor and had enclosed them (McCall 1904, 80). Saxton’s map of 1577 shows ‘Bedall’ with woodland in the surrounding landscape particularly to the southwest. To the south there is an enclosed park ‘Thorprow’ (Thorp Perrow). By 1897 the remnants of the woodland to the southwest are recorded in the place-name ‘Bedale Wood’. So far no research has confirmed evidence on the ground for an enclosed deer park at Bedale.

However the tithe map of 1838 (NYCRO T) shows a group of six small fields named variously ‘Lodge Ground’ or ‘Lodge Pasture’ south of Bedale, on the west side of Firby Road at SE 267871. To the south of these, in the township of Firby, are fields called ‘Lunds’, an open space in a wood. Terms such as ‘lodge’ and ‘lunds’ may therefore indicate the location of the medieval park and may be the property later referred to as ‘Brian Stapleton’s farm’:

Lease. Thomas Stapleton of Carleton to Ann Peirse widow. 34ac. 2r. 24p., Stapleton Moor, cottage in West Row and close (part of Lords Lane Closes) in Bedale; and Lunds Part in Firby (boundaries specified. Formerly known as Bryan Stapletons Farm). (HHC U DDCA/15/91, 3 Dec 1764)

Brian Fitzalan was reputed to have a castle at Bedale, although it is suggested that it was a hunting lodge (NYCC HER MNY 15611). Robert) Hird states ‘as to where the castle stood, tradition with the old inhabitants of the town, when I was a boy, said that the castle stood in Mr. Peirse's garden (which he ploughed up and made the lawn of)’ (Lewis 1975, n.73). After the manor of Bedale was split in the early 14th century, it is possible that there were two manor houses. Surviving deeds ( accessed 20 February 2017; HHC U DDCA2/5/3; HHC U DDCA/14/4; HHC U DDCA2/5/4; HHC U DDCA/15/65; HHC U DDCA/14/12) provide us with some detail. One is named ‘Heygh Hall’ and other place-names for their location are ‘Cherry Hill’, ‘Bryan Stapleton’s Farm’ and ‘Pottamyres’, but identifying these sites in the modern landscape is problematic.

Chronological history of the designed landscape

18th Century

When Henry Peirse I made Bedale Hall his seat about 1716, he inherited a house possibly dating from the late 17th century. Around 1730, he began to modernise the building and added the ballroom by infilling between the two wings. He also laid out a garden with pools and statues (Lewis 1975, xii). The plan of 1772 (NYCRO ZBA 26/1/3) shows a rectangular enclosure, presumably the garden, to the north of the Hall, abutting the Crakehall road to the east and north, with an irregular boundary to the west.

Hird provides some descriptive verse on the garden, with its ‘Basins of water here and there...Statues that were white and fair’ (ibid v.117b). Individual statues were named ‘Billy Pisser, in a grove... Caesar and a statue of a black figure, as well as two other statues’ (ibid, vs 118-119b). Hird describes the statue of Caesar in some detail: ‘The noble statue of Julius Caesar stood on a handsome pedestal about two feet high, his face looking to the great room door (i.e. the door into the ballroom), his back to the North, where passengers had a fine view of the figure through the iron gate by the road side. He was dressed in the Roman Costume, his head was adorned with a tiara of laurel, his left hand upon his side and the elbow square, the right arm extended and the left holding a roll of parchment.’ (ibid, n.333) The Caesar statue appears to have survived in situ until at least 1828 (Shaw n.d).

Hird gives an account of a visit to ‘Peirse old garden... to buy stuff’ in 1774 (Lewis 1975, v.106b). This is the original garden lying north of the Hall. With his sister, they entered through the large white doors which faced towards the town and into the garden with its ‘pretty flowers and fine yew trees’ (ibid, 1975 v.108b). These doors comprised a pair of timber doors hung on pillars, each pillar topped by a ‘neat white vase’ (ibid, v.161b), adorned with grape and pine fruit and foliage (ibid v.162b).

They were served by John Jones, the gardener and were able to walk around the garden, where ‘Within the walls, we did observe, all the fine flowers out’ (ibid, v.111b). These are noted in detail in the verse that follows:

Primroses used for edging, red and white thrift; the pretty button; London Pride, lillies and sunflowers, hollyhocks, tulips; Auriculas, carnations, pink, marigolds, peonies, everlasting peas, southern wood. Fine roses, sweetbriars, rosemary and evergreens. (ibid, v.112b).

Along the north wall of the garden (i.e. facing south) were trained vines, apricot and peach (ibid, v.120b); along the west wall were pears and cherries, with plums on the east wall (ibid, v.122b).

The original garden wall on the east ‘was in a line parallel with the churchyard, built of common stone and high for the fruit trees. It was blown down and the late James Pearson of Bedale built the present brick wall and the wall of the sunk fence which parts the lawn from the pasture’ (ibid, n.73).

We also have evidence of parkland being laid out. On the c. 1772 Plan (NYCRO ZBA 26/1/3), a small group of trees is shown along the north boundary next to Rand Beck, later named Jubilee Clump. There is also what appears to be a rectangular (fish?) pond in a field west of Rand Grange. This area was called ‘Fish Pond Pasture’ in the tithe award. There is also documentary evidence of an icehouse before 1772, when the gardener was paid ‘for filling the ice house’ early that year (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/35).

18th - 19th Century

Henry II enlarged the house and created the framework of the park, with the ha-ha, perimeter shelter belts and walks, together with the new walled kitchen garden. Around 1780, he closed off the road to the west (Lancaster road), which ran under an arch next to the Hall, by extending the brick wall on the east of the Hall, blocking access from the Market Place. The map of c.1786 shows that work on converting the old Lancaster road to ‘The Long Walk’ (described as the ‘Terrace Walk’ in the Tithe Apportionment of 1838) had begun at its east end nearest the Hall, while a shelter belt along the northern boundary of the park had been put in (NYCRO ZM1). The group of trees next to Rand Beck had a small building within it and the fishpond is still evident.

By 1784, work on the ‘New Lawn’ and the ha-ha (sunk fence) had begun, to divide the park fronting the Hall from the 42 acre pasture beyond, called ‘Backsides’. The Estate Account Book for 1781-91 showed payments to labourers in 1784 for ‘moving earth in the New Lawn’, for ‘finishing the Lawn’ and for ‘digging a part of sunk fence’. James Mann was paid 6s 6d per rood for digging ‘11 rood of sunk fence’ (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/35). In April 1787, labourers Richard Almond and co were paid for more work at the sunk fence, while John Maslom was paid for ‘stones for ditto’. In July 1787, James Pearson was paid ‘for sunk fence’, while Robert Naitby was paid for ‘making gates’; these are possibly the fine iron gates at the entrance to the golf course (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/35). The c.1786 map (NYCRO ZM1) shows the old garden fronting the Hall has been removed and a new garden, with a ha-ha to the west, formed.

By January 1785, construction of the garden wall of the kitchen garden was well advanced, as payment was made for carriage of coping stones to it. The Hot House and Vine House were built the same year, with chimneys added to the ‘Garden Houses’ (greenhouses). Robert Naitby was paid for roofing and rafters at the Peach Houses (NYCRO ZBA 13/4/35) in 1786.

From about 1790, Henry Peirse began to improve the southern approach to the Hall along Wycar and Burrell road, with the planting of shelter belts, followed by the widening of the road at Wycar and the demolition of the poorhouse in 1810 (Lewis 1975, n.385).

Adam Mickle II (c1747-1811), the landscape designer, moved to Rand Grange after the death of John Wray in 1780 according to Hird (Lewis 1795, n.481). Hird must have been mistaken in his recollection as Mickle was still recorded as living in Helperby on the 2 June 1787, when he took on the apprentice, Matthew Todd, as a ‘planner’. The baptism of his last child, John, on 6 February 1792 in Helperby would suggest he did not occupy Rand Grange until after this.

Mickle however did make alterations to the landscape immediately around the Grange. He removed the hedge from the south of the house and put a low ha-ha there. He also put a short low wall ranged with the house, close by the highway side (ibid, vs.669-670b), with a wood to screen the house, removed in 1837/8 (ibid, n.483).

The ha-ha extending from the south of Rand Grange to the west end of the Long Walk possibly dates from the late eighteenth century. To the west of it the tenanted fields were taken in hand to enlarge the gallops for racehorse training (ibid, v.620b).

The Crakehall to Bedale road was diverted to the north side of Rand House (now Grange) around 1810 and a tunnel for the Rand Beck was built under the lane together with a new roadside wall. The old road was thus taken into the park and later planted up as Rand Walk (ibid, n.468). A new road on the north side of Burrell Lane running north west to Tansy Hill was made at the same time (ibid, n.385 & n.468).


The area between The Long Walk and Burrell Lane lay in a number of tenanted closes until after 1772. By 1838 they were part of the estate belonging to Miss Mary Ann Peirse (NYCRO T.1838). By 1853-4, the conversion of this area to parkland was under way and tree clumps had been planted in the parkland west of the Hall, between the ha-ha and Rand Beck. By 1891, all of the closes south of Long Walk were converted to parkland, with tree clumps planted. The road from Keeper’s Cottage to the Crakehall-Firby road was removed after 1853 and trees were planted along this new carriage drive.

The Rand Pastures west of Rand Beck (annotated ‘The Gallop’ on Figure 6) extending west to Sandwith Lodge were incorporated into the parkland between 1838 and 1853. Bedale Golf Club was founded in 1894 and a course was laid out on parkland and farmland (Rand Pastures) south of Crakehall Road.

During the First World War, the Hall was used as a military hospital and in the Second World War it was requisitioned for use by the army. Army huts were built in the park, along the Long Walk and two Nissen huts can be seen from the road at Rand Grange. The army left in 1948 and squatters moved into the Hall for two years (Reynolds 2001, 10-11). The Hall was sold to Bedale Rural District Council in 1950, for use as Council Offices, with the parkland fronting the house becoming a public park. In 1954, the sharp bend in the road north of the Church was bypassed and a cut-off made through the park, once more opening the Hall to public view.

The Golf Club relocated to Burrill Road in 1921 but returned to Bedale Park in 1967, with an extension south in 1992 (Bedale Golf Club n.d.). With the return of the Golf Club, the lodge north west of the Hall was used as a clubhouse and the tree clumps shown on the 1857 and 1892 maps were incorporated into the landscaping of the golf course. Extensive new tree planting has greatly altered the character and appearance of this part of the former park. The area of former golf course northwest of Rand Beck has reverted back to pasture, but still retains mature trees.

In the late 1980s, a mounded area was formed with play equipment towards the eastern boundary. During the 2000s, a bandstand was built between the hall and the play area with a skate park beyond. A large cedar tree, damaged by lightning, was removed around the time the play mound was built. The Hall and parts of its former gardens are included within Bedale Conservation Area.

Features & Designations


  • Reference: Not on Historic England Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest
Key Information

Civil Parish





  • Tony Robinson, Report Writer, Yorkshire Gardens Trust