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Why is it called "Three Hagges" Woodmeadow?

Old maps
The close perusal of the fascinating old maps of Escrick Park Estate, some of which date back to 1600, reveals a number of plots bearing variations on the word hag, including Rickall Hagge, Child Haggs, and Helm Hag. As is common with many northern dialect words, in all these forms the word indicates the old Scandinavian presence in the locality, which is no surprise considering the much celebrated Viking presence in this part of Yorkshire.

Hagg has several meanings. In Old Norse, it means a portion of a wood marked off for cutting, and a hag wood is one fitted for having a regular cutting of trees in it, thus suggesting the ancient practice of coppicing, which fits our intention to manage our hazels by coppicing.


As hag, or hagi, the word also means a pasture or enclosure, so that fits nicely with the inclusion of grassy glades in our planting scheme.

We also discovered that hag is equivalent to the haw in hawthorn, and in Swedish, hagg is the name for blackthorn – both species included in the mix in Three Hagges Woodmeadow.

Perhaps most commonly it denotes a cut stand of holly.


The resonances of the modern word hag, referring to an ugly old crone, was most likely a corruption of the original meaning of the word: it was once a magic word for soothsayer, which came to be applied to the village wise women who, in this case, are the three hags that set out to create Three Hagges Woodmeadow.