Remnant of Medieval Woodland
1 There are tantalising references to the wood of the bishops of Worcester from c.1170, but never in enough detail to explain the relationship between the wood, the square league of silva recorded in Domesday Book, recorded assarts, and the significance of the minor place-name Grove.
The bishops wood was mentioned inccidentally in a survey of c.1170. The oxherds were to bring timber for their ploughs from the wood with the bishops wagon and oxen. A tenant held a croft under the wood. The bishop had a reeve and woodward. In surveys of c.1290 and 1299 there was a park. From the reference to an enclosed wood called the park I 1353, it seems that the wood had been emparked. From the late fifteenth-century survey of the manor of Fulbrook to the north it can be deduced that the park adjoined Fulbrook in the area of the present Hampton Wood. The park disappeared between 1549 and 1557. At some point before 1736, and the possibly in the medieval period, former former arable land with ridge and furrow characteristic of ploughing in the medieval period was added to the Wood. That area is surrounded on three sides by a wood bank which is well preserved in parts. There is evidence to suggest that three fields called Wood Hills on the estate map of 1736 were once wooded; in 197 Grove Field Farm included ‘Hampton Wood hill grounds’ and in the 1680s there are referances to grazing “the old wood”. In 1736 and as late as 1846 the Wood was just over seventy acres in extent; the present area is about twenty-seven acres. Despite imparkment, the name Hampton Wode appeared in a manorial court role in 1453.
The minor place name Grava (modern Grove) was recorded in a list of the bishop’s knights’ fees which was compiled between 1096 and 1112. It appeared as la grave in the survey of c.1170 and persisted throughout the later medieval and modern periods, surviving in Grove Farm, which is immediately south of the present Hampton Wood. It is reasonable to assume that a place-name which was well established by c.1100 originated in the early medieval period, when it must have taken its name from a nearby grove.