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Part of a warrening enclosure 470m south east of High Rigg Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Thornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2847 / 54°17'4"N

Longitude: -0.6689 / 0°40'8"W

OS Eastings: 486750.249315

OS Northings: 488491.096733

OS Grid: SE867884

Mapcode National: GBR RLRW.ZT

Mapcode Global: WHGBW.PKNM

Entry Name: Part of a warrening enclosure 470m south east of High Rigg Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020677

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34605

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Thornton-le-Dale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes parts of the southern and western sides of a
warrening enclosure situated on level ground overlooking Seive Dale, in a
mature beech and conifer plantation towards the southern fringe of the
Tabular Hills. The monument also includes two rabbit types or traps built
into the southern side of the warrening enclosure.
The southern side of the enclosure includes a 140m stretch of earthen
bank, 2.5m wide, surmounted by a dry stone wall up to 0.2m high, except
where the bank and wall are interupted by an entranceway 4m wide, 70m from
the north eastern corner of the enclosure. Built into the northern aspect
of the bank are two rabbit types. The first is located approximately 20m
from the eastern end of the bank. It consists of a cylindrical stone-lined
pit, 1.5m in diameter and 0.75m deep. The second type is located in the
south western angle of the enclosure. It consists of a cylindrical
stone-lined pit, 2.5m wide and 0.5m deep. The bottom of the type is
obscured by rubble and dead wood. The western side of the enclosure
includes a 30m stretch of 2.5m wide earthen bank surmounted by a dry stone
wall up to 0.2m high.
The monument represents a surviving part of High Rigg Farm Warren. This
farm warren enclosed a sub-rectangular area measuring 1.3km east to west
and 650m north to south. The warren, described as having been lately
erected in 1866, included a cottage, barn, granary, cart house, stable and
a foldyard with open sheds; the site of these buildings is today occupied
by the present High Rigg Farm. Warrening at High Rigg Farm is thought to
have continued until the end of the 19th century.

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.

Most traces of post-medieval warrening have been swept away by later
land-use changes. Today those remains in Dalby and the adjacent forests
are virtually all that are known to survive in north eastern England.
Together with surviving farm warren features in Wykeham Forest, the farm
and extensive warrens in Dalby form nationally rare survivals of the range
of post-medieval warrening remains.
Despite the apparent destruction of the rest of the High Rigg Farm Warren
enclosure, the remaining parts retain some important features; notably the
surviving enclosure bank and dry stone walling, entranceway and two
well-preserved rabbit types. It will provide important information on the
size, nature, management and development of 17th to 19th century warrens.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dalby Forest Survey, (1996)
Dalby Forest Survey, (1996)
Dalby Forest Survey, (1996)
Harris, A, Spratt, D A, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Rabbit Warrens of the Tabular Hills, North Yorkshire, (1991), 177-206

Source: Historic England

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