Warrening enclosure on Shortgate Hill, 480m south west of Coomb Slack Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017153

Date first listed: 04-Aug-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jan-2000


Ordnance survey map of Warrening enclosure on Shortgate Hill, 480m south west of Coomb Slack Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 05:21:48.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Hutton Buscel


National Grid Reference: SE 95558 89025


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.

Despite some recent disturbance, the warrening enclosure 480m south west of Coomb Slack Farm survives well and will preserve evidence for its original form and the nature of its use. It is different from the majority of warrening enclosures found within the nearby farm warrens and is thought to be earlier in date. As an unusual example from the area, this enclosure will provide additional information about the diversity of warrening activities on the Tabular Hills.


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


The monument includes an embanked enclosure situated on level ground overlooking the steep sided stream valley of Coomb Slack, towards the northern scarp edge of the Tabular Hills. The enclosure is approximately square in plan with rounded corners, and the interior measures up to 10m across. It is defined by a continuous earthen bank which is up to 2.5m wide and 0.3m high. The bank has a straight and well defined edge on the inside of the enclosure. There are no features visible within the interior. The enclosure is interpreted as a feature related to post-medieval warrening activities. The monument lies in an area in which there are extensive remains of post-medieval warrening, as well as a dense concentration of prehistoric monuments, including burials, settlement and land division.

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: 33736

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Lee, G E, Wykeham Archaeological Survey, (1991)
Harris, A, Spratt, D A, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Rabbit Warrens of the Tabular Hills, North Yorkshire, , Vol. 63, (1991), 177-206
Stead, I M, 'Antiquaries Journal' in A Distinctive Form Of La Tene Barrow In Eastern Yorkshire, , Vol. 41, (1961), 44-62
Lee, G E, (1999)

End of official listing