Possible rabbit warren, The Cunnery, Stoneleigh Abbey
The site of a possible medieval rabbit warren was indicated through a field name on 16th century mapping. No trace of this feature was identified through archaeological evaluation carried out on this site ahead of housing development.
1 The field name ‘Cunneyore?’ shown on Goodwin’s map of 1597, ‘Conery’ on Wilkes plan of 1749 and ‘Cunnery Close’ on Baker’s map of 1766 suggests that this field may be the site of a rabbit warren, presumably belonging to the monastery. In the middle ages rabbits were farmed for their meat and fur which were highly valued. The rabbits were housed in artificial warrens consisting of low earth mounds with stone built burrows (sometimes called pillow mounds). The 1597 Goodwin estate map also shows a schematic building in the north east part of this field which might be a warren lodge.
2 Evaluation was carried out over this site in 1993. It recorded only agricultural features dating to the medieval period, with no traces encountered of any warren. It is possible that the warren structures lay to the west and were destroyed in the construction of the farm buildings there. If the warren was medieval it presumably lay to the north part of the site, as the southern extent was under cultivation. It is also possible that the field name derives from a post medieval, natural warren in some part of the area.