Map of Location
Earliest documentary evidence
1300 A charter granted for a ‘cunicularium’ CUL EDR [7/15/1/2HD1180/221]
Evidence of ditch 1333 Three Lakenheath men had grazing for their animals ‘in fossata de la conegar’ in 1333.[CUL EDC/7/15/11 Box 1/9.]
1649 Terrier ‘the lower furlong next the warren under the Bank one piece abutting upon Berryway north.[NCUACS 38.6.92/C.12 Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives]’
1384/5 4 500 rabbits culled) on the 930 hectares. 78% to markets.[Sussams Breckland Archaeological Survey 1998]
1520s warren leased and part of rent was 240 rabbits to Ely Priory each year with income of £250 from the 20 000 + sold at 4d per head.
In 1390, 6 boards were purchased to make a trap for ‘vermyne’[
Bailey 254 and CUL EDC7/15/I/13]’
1853 Tithe Map Award
Main lodge .1870s had a shelter belt of Oak, Larch, Scots and Austrian Pines planted along inside edge of an enclosure of 4 acres.
[WSROB FL517/1/16 and HD/964/1-9, WSROB FL517/3/30]
Other documentary evidence
By 1304, a warrener was employed who was paid 30s 4d a year. Post-Dissolution, it was held by the Dean and Chapter of Ely and sold to Duleep Singh in 1872 for £8000 and then to the Iveaghs in 1894.. Its boundaries were determined by the parish boundaries with Wangford, Elveden and Eriswell and also by the edge of the common meadows and fields of Lakenheath settlement.
This warren has been extensively surveyed and researched by Gigi Crompton and Christopher Taylor.
Charter for ‘cunicularium’ 1300
Evidence of ditch 1333 Three Lakenheath men had grazing for their animals ‘in fossata de la conegar’ in 1333. 1365 Wooden watchtower (Sussams ).
1384/5 4 500 rabbits culled) on the 930 hectares. 78% to markets.
In 1390, 6 boards were purchased to make a trap for ‘vermyne’ .
Leases of 1561 and 1662 mention ‘the closes upon the coney warren’. Crompton records that each 13-15 acres with low banks 20-30ft wide.
1649 Terrier ‘the lower furlong next the warren under the Bank one piece abutting upon Berryway north…… .there is three small lodges standing in and upon the conneynger for the warreners…… to support and relieve the said coneys in the time of winter with hay and all other necessary feedings ……. the lessee sufficiently to store, nourish and diligently conserve the coneys’. (Crompton).
1830s Grotto Lodge was built as a shooting lodge and surrounded by a plantation
Plans of Warren 1835, 1872, 1878
Tithe Map Award 1853
Sales Particulars Lakenheath Hall Estate 1837
Main lodge .1870s had a shelter belt of Oak, Larch, Scots and Austrian Pines planted along inside edge of an enclosure of 4 acres. ( ?? Gigi Crompton 24) 1872 The warrenhouse was repaired and extended and ‘takes in the old garden’
1835 and 1881 OS Maps show trapping banks in the north-west corner.
1840s gravel removed for roads- Maidscross Hill.
In 1920s, one man spent every Saturday morning inspecting the banks from the Elveden boundary to Caudle Head.
Crompton and Taylor Article on Earthwork Enclosures
Springs at Caudle Head feed stream which was Anglo-Saxon boundary between Lakenheath and Eriswell; watering place for sheep on warren.
[NCUACS 38.6.92/C.12 Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives]
There were sheep walks on the warren; grazing rights for the ‘Herd of Great Cattle’ and common rights over herbage. 6 sheepwalks with right of grazing over warren – and sheep fertilised arable at night.
During the First World War, Prisoners of War held at the camp at Beck Row cultivated the east end of the warren, growing oats for the Army’s horses. Ploughing was with horses and mules; remains of the furrows, set widely apart, can be seen on the ground and in aerial photographs
1649 terrier mentions ‘three small lodges’ and they are named ‘there are three small lodges standing in and upon the conneynger for the warreners’
Central lodge TL75228075 SMR SF9066 is marked on Hodskinson’s 1783 Map
Marked as such on OS 1905 Map in the north-west corner
1835 and 1881 OS Maps show trapping banks in the north-west corner.
Number of Gates
Gates shown on 1835 map as (from south-west corner clockwise) Bury Gate; Undley Gate; Sand Pit Gate; Dead Lime Pit Gate; Wangford Gate; Lodge Gate; Cordal Head Gate. [WSROB E3/18/12]i
Will of Thomas Phipp 28 February 1854 [PROB 11/2186]
Leases of 1561 and 1662 mention ‘the closes upon the coney warren’’
Leases of 1561 and 1662 mention ‘the closes upon the coney warren’ to support and relieve the said coneys in the time of winter with hay and all other necessary feedings ……. the lessee sufficiently to store, nourish and diligently conserve the coneys’.[NCUACS 38.6.92/C.12 Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives]
Cromton records that each 13-15 acres with low banks 20-30ft wide. Says ‘some indication of medieval ploughing’.[Crompton G and Taylor C 1971 Earthwork Enclosures on Lakenheath Warren. West Suffolk Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 32 (2) 113-120]
1872 The warrenhouse was repaired and extended and ‘takes in the old garden’[Crompton G 1972 History of Lakenheath Warren : an historical study for ecologists Report for the Nature Conservancy Council]
Extensive survival of perimeter banks.
Single=Y, double=Y, triple=Y, quadruple=Y
The approximate length, height and width of each section of visible bank by number marked on map.
Section 1 South-east corner of warren is very hummocky ground. One lower bank 6m wide x 0.2 m high. Grass with a few single trees.
Section 2 Two parallel banks of Eriswell Warren abut Lakenheath Warren and make a ‘dead triangle’.
Section 3 Inner one peters out at ‘3’ and outer one curves round and continues.
Section 4 Inside main boundary bank are three lower and indistinct banks running in parallel from the curve of the boundary bank to copse about 200m away. Main boundary bank tracable through copse but then lost in arable field.
Section 5 TL79102 78816 (ie other side of arable field) bank is 12 m wide x 0.6m high and runs along edge of field then meets plantation where this section of bank ends – at TL78938 78432.
Further along the presumed boundary line there is an area of open grassland and here is a short section with c100 year-old pines on it – bank 0.6m wide and 0.5m high.
Section 6 Northern boundary double banks inner one 7.5m wide x 0.5m high; outer 5.5m wide x 0.25m high. Area of pits – sand and gravel extraction ?
Section 7 Double banks Lakenheath Warren side, slightly lower than at ‘6’. One bank Wangford side (ie to north of track between warrens) 7m wide x 0.5m high. Track width 25m.
Section 8 Lakenheath double banks closer together c 4/5m apart.
Section 9Double banks 3m apart
Section 10 Double banks lower 6m wide x0.3m high and 23m apart..
Section 11Two banks .Outer one each 5m wide x 0.5 high; then flat area of 5m then inner bank 9m wide x 0.75m high.
Section 12 Not clear whether three banks here or continuation of two and flat area as above. TL76334 81464
Section 13 South side of warren – track makes a right-angled bend to left and then right – ids this a zigzag where there was a gate – gate documented on 17th C map. Dense gorse which may obscure a complex of small banks (not easy to see or investigate
Section 14 South side warren where abuts Eriswell – single bank 6m wide x 0.5m high.
Section 15 Western boundary – some sections of bank survive against boundary fence of USAF Lakenheath. Width may have been truncated by fencing and Base construction – survives as c4m x 0.8m high.
All banks grass-covered – very little bracken or heather.
Discernible internal banks.
Four enclosures at TL776801; TL763801; TL759814 and Tl753801, each approximately 11 -13 acres. (Noted by Gigi Crompton)
Estimated area of the enclosure…11 to 13 acres, which is square.
Chalk and brick 19th century for main lodge. No traces found at other documented lodge sites.