Monument record LKH 174 - Lakenheath Rabbit Warren

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Area of Lakenheath rabbit warren in existance by 1300, continuous use into the post-medieval period, defined by single and multiple banks segments, single (occasionally double or greater) earthwork banks running around the existing (eastern & southern) parts of Lakenheath Warren. Multiple banks on NE side (adjoining Wangford Warren - see WNG 025).


Grid reference Centred TL 77 80 (6932m by 3307m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TL78SE


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

1995 Survey: Single (occasionally double or greater) earthwork banks running around the existing (eastern & southern) parts of Lakenheath Warren. Multiple banks on NE side. Route follows the parish boundary for the most part. On the northern [north-eastern] edge of the Warren it runs to the south of the track (formerly `Lakenheath Road'), almost in parallel with the boundary bank for Wangford Warren (WNG 025). Mapped by OS on present 1:10,000 map as a solid line in some parts, such as at the eastern and north-eastern sides. Dimensions vary along the route, although it is never much more than c.1.5m wide and 70cm high (S1).

In existance by 1300, owned by the Prior and Convent of Ely Abbey. Post Dissolution it was held by the Dean and Chapter of Ely and sold to Duleep Singh for £8,000 in 1872 and then to the Iveagh Family in 1894 (S2)

The 1835 map of the Warren shows the full extent, with the present USAF airbase now occupying the western part. Formerly, the western boundary continued round Maidscross Hill.

Gigi Crompton gives a full acount of the later history of this medieval warren held formerly by the Abbey of Ely (R1). Turner also recollects warrening during the early C20 as well as upkeep of the banks (R2).

Jan 2009: small area of NE edge of Lakenheath Warren surveyed for warrens survey - at least 4 banks identified along and to SW of parish boundary (ie, in Lakenheath) and one or possibly two more to NE on Wangford side. See parish file (S3).

The track created by the parallel boundary banks of Lakenheath and Wangford warren was part of the route from Lakenheath to Elveden and was used as a droveway to take sheep to the lamb sales at Elveden. At Lakenheath, the border area lay along the Wangford boundary and appears to have been cultivated during the Napoleonic Wars (S10).

2010: The Breckland Society's survey of The Warrens of Breckland identified the rabbit warren perimeter and lodges. Perimeter banks on the north, east and south are clearly discernible. The western section of the warren is now under RAF Lakenheath, but banks are still traceable in the area of Maids' Cross Hill. There are sections of four parallel banks on the eastern perimeter and double banks on the northern perimeter. Various gates are marked on an 1835 map. Trapping banks are marked on OS maps in the north-west corner. The boundaries were determined by the parish boundaries with Wangford, Elveden and Eriswell and also by the edge of the common meadows and fields. Manorial accounts list a payment for making "a ditch around the new warren at the head of the village". During WW1 prisoners of war were held at the camp at Beck Row and cultivated the east end of the warren, growing oats for the army's horses. There are four enclosures with low surround banks on the warren which may have been for the cultivation of fodder for the rabbits (See LKH 063-066). Three lodges are mentioned in 1649 Terrier (See LKH 115 for the main Lodge, LKH 143, LKH 221). The warren is now owned by Elveden Estate and RAF Lakenheath (S2)

Feb 2013: vertical image on Bing Maps shows circa 100m length of bank between TL 7910 8029 (W) and TL 7923 8024 (E) to be formed by a group of 5 dentate alignment changes, each having circa 10m sides and being circa 10m apart (open to N) (S4). Function unknown but clearly contemporary with the remainder of the bank/s.

January 2017. 'Brecks from Above' and Breckland National Mapping Programme.
The eastern part of Lakenheath Warren boundaries have been mapped from aerial photographs (S5-S9). The earthwork and former structures relating to the Second World War bomb store and military training on the warren has been recorded under LKN 386. Earthworks of uncertain date and archaeological significance, although possibly relating to warrening activity, have been recorded under LKH 385.
S. Horlock (Norfolk Historic Environment Service), 24th January 2018.

See LKH 063-066 for internal enclosures
See LKH 329 for evidence of extant boundary bank identified during evaluation.
See LKH 115, LKH 143 and LKH 221 for warrener's lodges .
See LKH 349 for possible barrow underlying one of the warren banks.

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <S1> Suffolk County Historic Environment Record: Sussams, K.. 1995. Brecks Survey. SAU, Sussams K, Brecks Survey, February 1995.
  • <R1> Bibliographic reference: Crompton, G.. 1972. The History of Lakenheath Warren. Crompton G, The History of Lakenheath Warren (NCC), 1972.
  • <R2> Bibliographic reference: Turner, T. W.. 1954. Memoirs of a Gamekeeper: Elveden 1868-1954. Turner T W, Memoirs of a Gamekeeper: Elveden 1868-1953, 1954.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: The Breckland Society. 2010. The Warrens of Breckland: A Survey by The Breckland Society. p.25 and p.42.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Pendleton, C.. Jan 2009. Wangford Warren Transect Site Report.
  • <S4> Machine readable data file: Website. Bing Map (as viewed 25/2/2013).
  • <S5> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/58/2688 F22 0209-0210 25-JAN-1959 (HEA Original Print).
  • <S6> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. OS/71216 V 167-168 14-MAY-1971 (HEA Original Print).
  • <S7> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. OS/76129 V 340-341 02-JUL-1976 (HEA Original Print).
  • <S8> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. OS/89407 V 183-184 05-SEP-1989 (HEA Original Print).
  • <S9> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. EARTH.GOOGLE.COM 19-MAR-2003 ACCESSED 24-JAN-2018 (Digital).
  • <S10> Unpublished document: Mason, A.. 2009. The Archaeology of the Warrens of Thetford Forest.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (9)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

May 8 2018 12:47PM

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