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Rabbit (Oryctolagus Cuniculus)
A long-eared burrowing mammal, belonging to the leporidae family. They were introduced to this country in the 11th century from France, where they had been reared in monasteries, since being introduced by the Romans. The same controlled farming methods were applied here, originally on Lundy Island and the Scillies; but towards the end of the 12th century they were established on the mainland.
Needless to say, escapes were frequent and wild colonies soon established.
They became an important food item for country dwellers during the Middle Ages, so much so that in 1529 and again in 1551 Henry V111 introduced a close season during which time they could breed.
They were known as "coneys" until well into the 17th century, the term rabbit then only applying to animals of less than a year old.
Rabbit are now available all the year, and may be farmed or wild. See our Recipe Section