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Warrening enclosure on Shortgate Hill, 480m south west of Coomb Slack Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Hackness, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2879 / 54°17'16"N

Longitude: -0.5335 / 0°32'0"W

OS Eastings: 495557.934686

OS Northings: 489025.307225

OS Grid: SE955890

Mapcode National: GBR SLQV.9N

Mapcode Global: WHGBY.SH44

Entry Name: Warrening enclosure on Shortgate Hill, 480m south west of Coomb Slack Farm

Scheduled Date: 4 August 1933

Last Amended: 10 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017153

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33736

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Hackness

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Hackness with Harwood Dale

Church of England Diocese: York

Details

The monument includes an embanked enclosure situated on level ground
overlooking the steep sided stream valley of Coomb Slack, towards the northern
scarp edge of the Tabular Hills.
The enclosure is approximately square in plan with rounded corners, and the
interior measures up to 10m across. It is defined by a continuous earthen bank
which is up to 2.5m wide and 0.3m high. The bank has a straight and
well defined edge on the inside of the enclosure. There are no features
visible within the interior. The enclosure is interpreted as a feature related
to post-medieval warrening activities.
The monument lies in an area in which there are extensive remains of
post-medieval warrening, as well as a dense concentration of prehistoric
monuments, including burials, settlement and land division.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A warren is an area of land set aside for the breeding and management of
rabbits or hares in order to provide a constant supply of fresh meat and
skins. Although the hare is an indigenous species, the tradition of warren
construction and use dates from the 12th century, following the introduction
of rabbits into England from the continent. Warrens usually contain a number
of purpose-built breeding places known as pillow mounds or rabbit buries,
which were intended to centralise the colony and make catching the animals
easier, whether using nets, ferrets or dogs. The mounds vary in design
although rarely exceeding 0.7m in height. Earlier monuments such as burial
mounds, boundary features and mottes were sometimes reused as breeding places.
The mounds are usually surrounded by ditches and contain underlying channels
or are situated on sloping ground to facilitate drainage. The interior of the
mound may also contain nesting places constructed of stone slabs or cut into
the underlying subsoil or bedrock.
A typical warren may contain between one and forty pillow mounds or rabbit
buries and occupy an area up to c.600ha. Many warrens were enclosed by a bank,
hedge or wall intended to contain and protect the stock. Other features
associated with the warren include vermin traps (usually a dead-fall mechanism
within a small tunnel), and more rarely traps for the warren stock (known in
Yorkshire as `types') which could contain the animals unharmed and allow for
selective culling. Larger warrens might include living quarters for the
warrener who kept charge of the site, sometimes surrounded by an enclosed
garden and outbuildings.
Early warrens were mostly associated with the higher levels of society;
however, they gradually spread in popularity so that by the 16th and 17th
centuries they were a common feature on most manors and estates throughout the
country. Warrens continued in use until fairly recent times, finally declining
in the face of 19th and 20th century changes in agricultural practice, and the
onset of myxomatosis. Warrens are found in all parts of England, the earliest
examples lying in the southern part of the country. Approximately 1,000 -
2,000 examples are known nationally with concentrations in upland areas, on
heathland and in coastal zones. The profits from a successfully managed warren
could, however, be considerable and many areas in lowland England were set
aside for warrens at the expense of agricultural land. Although relatively
common, warrens are important for their associations with other classes of
monument, including various forms of settlement, deer parks, field systems and
fishponds. They may also provide evidence of the economy of both secular and
ecclesiastical estates. All well preserved medieval examples are considered
worthy of protection. A sample of well preserved sites of later date will also
merit protection.

Despite some recent disturbance, the warrening enclosure 480m south west of
Coomb Slack Farm survives well and will preserve evidence for its original
form and the nature of its use. It is different from the majority of warrening
enclosures found within the nearby farm warrens and is thought to be earlier
in date. As an unusual example from the area, this enclosure will provide
additional information about the diversity of warrening activities on the
Tabular Hills.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Lee, G E, Wykeham Archaeological Survey, (1991)
Harris, A, Spratt, D A, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Rabbit Warrens of the Tabular Hills, North Yorkshire, , Vol. 63, (1991), 177-206
Stead, I M, 'Antiquaries Journal' in A Distinctive Form Of La Tene Barrow In Eastern Yorkshire, , Vol. 41, (1961), 44-62
Other
Lee, G E, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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