Rabbit warren and four bowl barrows on Stagbury Hill, Furzley Common
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- New Forest (District Authority)
- National Park:
- NEW FOREST
- National Grid Reference:
- SU 28619 16062
Reasons for Designation
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
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally across most of lowland Britain, often occupying prominent locations. The rabbit warren and four bowl barrows on Stagbury Hill, Furzley Common, survive comparatively well despite the hill's later use for an Ordnance Survey triangulation point and some disturbance by modern paths and stock tracks. They can be expected to retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to their construction and use, and the landscape in which they were built. The monument's proximity to additional round barrows on Furzley Common and rabbit warrens of similar type on Half Moon Common demonstrates the importance of the area as a site of Bronze Age ritual activity and later for the medieval or post-medieval breeding and management of rabbits or hares.
The monument includes a rabbit warren of medieval or post-medieval date
containing four bowl barrows of late Neolithic or Bronze Age date prominently
situated within the New Forest on Stagbury Hill, Furzley Common. The rabbit
warren takes up most of the hill, a sandy knoll which rises up to 8m above the
surrounding heath. It forms an oval shaped area of approximately 0.4ha,
enclosed by a shallow ditch, 2m wide, flanked by inner and outer banks, up to
1.3m high. To the south west, where the hill slopes most steeply, the ditch is
replaced by a 2m wide ledge. The location of the warrener's house is indicated
by a rectangular platform, 4.5m by 3.5m, situated within the enclosure at the
south end. Buried structural remains associated with the house and further
buried remains associated with the use of the warren, including drainage
ditches and vermin traps, can be expected to survive within the monument.
For rabbit breeding areas, in place of rabbit buries, the warren makes use of
the four earlier bowl barrows which are located within the enclosure, along
the central spine of the hill. They survive as circular or oval shaped mounds,
ranging from 8m to 17m in diameter and from 0.7m to 1.4m in height. The most
impressive barrow, to the north, includes a surrounding ditch, 3m wide and
0.4m deep, and an outer bank, 3m wide and 0.4m high. Although no longer
visible, quarry ditches may also survive as buried features surrounding the
other mounds, now infilled by their later use. All four barrows have been
disturbed by their use as rabbit buries and the whole monument has been
disturbed by the modern construction and use of an Ordnance Survey
triangulation point and recreational tracks and paths.
The Ordnance Survey triangulation point located on the monument is excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.
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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Crosby, A D, (1998)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing