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Latitude: 51.2694 / 51°16'9"N
Longitude: -2.11 / 2°6'36"W
OS Eastings: 392419.909
OS Northings: 152253.1464
OS Grid: ST924522
Mapcode National: GBR 2VV.7CV
Mapcode Global: VH97B.CCW7
Entry Name: Rabbit warren 580m and 660m south east of Fitzroy Farm
Scheduled Date: 11 February 2000
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1017301
English Heritage Legacy ID: 31700
Civil Parish: Bratton
Built-Up Area: Bratton
Traditional County: Wiltshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire
Church of England Parish: Edington and Imber
Church of England Diocese: Salisbury
The monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes a medieval
rabbit warren comprising two pillow mounds situated on the south east facing
slope of Luccombe Bottom, a small dry valley below Picquet Hill on the
northern edge of Salisbury Plain.
The pillow mounds are both rectangular with their long axes orientated south
west to north east. The mound to the east is on the steepest section of the
slope. It is 27.7m long, 10.6m wide and 0.3m high and surrounded by a ditch
2.2m wide and 0.1m deep. The pillow mound to the west is on a flatter shelf
150m to the south west. The mound is 27.4m long, 10.3m wide and 0.75m high. It
is surrounded by a ditch 3.5m wide and 0.3m deep.
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
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
The pillow mounds 580m and 660m south east of Fitzroy Farm are well preserved
components of a medieval rabbit warren on the south facing slope of Luccombe
Bottom and provide an important insight into the medieval economy in this
area. They will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to
the monument and to the medieval landscape in this area.
Source: Historic England
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