Pillow mound 145m south east of Eastington Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016915

Date first listed: 17-May-2000

Map

Ordnance survey map of Pillow mound 145m south east of Eastington Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Oct-2018 at 14:37:22.

Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Worth Matravers

National Grid Reference: SY 98407 77699

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 merit protection.

The pillow mound 145m south east of Eastington Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a pillow mound, aligned east-west, situated on a natural terrace of a south-facing slope, overlooking Seacombe Bottom. The monument has a mound composed of earth and gravel, with maximum dimensions of 18m in length, 6m in width and about 1m in height. To the north, east and west, the mound is flanked by a quarry ditch which survives as an earthwork 1.5m wide. To the south, the pillow mound is situated close to the edge of a steep natural slope and the ditch does not extend into this area. Two other features to the north west have been described as pillow mounds, but are actually terraces cut into the base of the slope. Although the associated disturbance appears to have attracted considerable burrowing by rabbits, it is not certain that this was their original purpose. These terraces are of an uncertain date and function. They are not considered to be of national importance and are therefore not included in the scheduling.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 33164

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 415

End of official listing