We think of the Wild rabbit in Brittain as very much an indigenous animal: but it isn't. William the Conqueror never had rabbit pie here. It was introduced into East Anglia from the Mediterranean area in the 12th century, The animal served two purposes - for its fur and for meat. At first, however, the fur and the meat went to the feudal landlord the manorial tenants who killed stray rabbits faced presentation in the manor court. Rabbit warrens were cultivated by the lords, usually on dry soil such as heathland; some even had warren lodges, where warreners could keep a look-out for predators. No such lodges appear to have survived locally but the presence of manorial warrens may be noted in place names, e.g. Alcester Warren Farm and Sambourne Warren. These are places on the higher and drier ground.
Summer 1990 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1991