Piggeries, Pottery Fakeries and Parliamentary  Trickeries - A Strange History of Peasholm Park. 

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The Manor of Northstead is a former Medieval  Estate  in North Yorkshire. The Manor House no longer exists and it's ruins lie bellow Peasholm Park (see photo). This ruin is still essential to the running of Parliament.  

The ancient title of the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead is still an active seat in parliament and used since the 18th century as a 'sinecure post'. It is  a post that has no responsibilities which given to dignitaries who have been 'disqualified' from parliament  rather than allowing them to resign, as Members of Parliament sitting in the House of Commons are forbidden to resign.The current Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead is David Milliband. Past dignitaries include Gerry Adams and  Robert Kilroy Silk. 

During the English Civil War people living in Scarborough were allowed to take shelter at Peasholm by Sir Richard Cholmeley who owned the Manor during the siege of Scarborough Castle. The Manor House fell into disrepair after the Civil War and then occupied by Sir Richard Cholmeley's shepherds until the Manor House finally collapsed in the 1800's. A 'sinecure post' is also known as a 'Shepherding Post', the Crown Stewart Bailiff still has a moral role towards the 'souls of Northstead Manor'. 

In the early 1900's the area had become  known as Tuckers fields which were a muddy depression of piggeries and allotments around a barren mound known as Peasholm Hill. It had very little trees but had becks running down towards Peasholm Gap to meet the sea from Columbus Ravine and Wilsons Wood (Peasholm Glen).

Harry W Smith, one of the best civil engineers in the country had impressed the borough with his new parks on South Cliff and was given the task of developing land on the Northside. The park marked the first venture across the ancient town boundaries. Harry W Smith decided to make gardens as an 'Oriental flavoured paradise', which were pretty cool for a small town in the 1900's. He bought sculptures (small pagodas, a Buddha and the two tigers are still in the park) from a Mr Colonel Twentyman, who also had Oriental  and 'authentic' Italian gardens in Kirby Misperton, now Flamingo Land. Mr Colonel  Twentyman had wanted authentic oriental gardens for his home in the Village of Kirby Misperton and had imported skilled Chinese craftsmen to help him achieve his design. It was these skilled craftsmen who sculpted the statues still in Peasholm. 

Harry W Smith had made his decision to base the gardens in Scarborough on the popular Thomas Minton Willow Pottery Design (see photo) and the story in the design is featured in the layout of the park. (Look up the story of the willow pattern on the internet). Unfortunately, Thomas Minton had altered the original pattern and added features to his design which didn't appear on the original imported Chinese plates he had been influenced by. He added a bridge and trees the which influenced Harry W Smith to add a bridge and trees to the park. The story of the willow pattern was invented to help sell more plates in London and is English and not Chinese in origin. 

Peasholm means  'watery meadow where the green peas are grown' , but I suspect that the name Peasholm was taken from Peasholme Green in York due to the links and professional friendships Harry W Smith had at the time. 

Coincidentally according to the legend of the Willow Design, the lovers were the killed in the pagoda which was then set on fire by the Mandarins assassins. The gods looked favourably upon the lovers and transformed them into birds. Some of the out buildings in the park were originally aviaries for oriental birds. Peasholm Pagoda has even been set on fire on more than one occasion.  The end of the Willow Story reads, 'Forever are flying together Across my Willow Ware Plate'. The Naval Battle is the Battle of the River Plate. :) 

Peasholm Park is one of the top ten public parks in the UK. 

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Pods & Peas