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Warrening enclosure 1.08km north east of High Paper Mill Farm

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2539 / 54°15'13"N

Longitude: -0.6808 / 0°40'50"W

OS Eastings: 486042.045723

OS Northings: 485045.087646

OS Grid: SE860850

Mapcode National: GBR RMP7.DW

Mapcode Global: WHGC2.JB0R

Entry Name: Warrening enclosure 1.08km north east of High Paper Mill Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020679

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34615

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Thornton-le-Dale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The monument includes a walled warrening enclosure situated towards the
top of a steep southerly facing slope, in a small clearing in a mature
conifer plantation 70m to the north of a forestry track, towards the
southern fringe of the Tabular Hills.
The enclosure, orientated north east to south west and measuring 6.9m by
4.8m, has dry stone walls 0.5m thick and 0.6m high. Towards the north
eastern end of the enclosure is a rabbit type or trap. The type,
consisting of a circular stone-lined flared pit, measures 1.3m across its
top and is 0.7m deep. The enclosure is thought to have been part of the
extensive Whitecliffe Rigg Warren, which extended north east to south west
along Whitecliffe Rigg and then across to Pexton Moor. The earliest record
of the warren dates from 1786, whereby the extent of the warren is given
as 1800 acres (728ha). The warren is thought to have continued in use
until the end of the 19th century.

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.

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 warrens in Wykeham Forest, the farm and
extensive warrens in Dalby form nationally rare survivals of the range of
post-medieval warrening remains. This warrening enclosure 1.08km north
east of High Paper Mill Farm, is thought to date from the 18th to 19th
century. It is one of the best preserved examples in the area. It will
provide important information on the size, nature, management and
development of 17th to 19th century warrens.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
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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