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R is for Rabbit

Reginald Rabbett (say it in your best Suffolk accent) was a wealthy Suffolk landowner who clearly was proud of his namesake, although in his time they were more likely to be being eaten, or culled as vermin. Shown here is his beautiful coat of arms, complete with rabbits, which adorns a map of his estate in Bramfield (HD2418/94)

The rabbits (or hares?) on the coat of arms are shown in detail.  This map forms part of the Joan Corder collection of East Anglian Heraldic Manuscripts (HD2418) which consists of pedigrees, grants of arms, visitations, heralds’ notebooks and associated material relating mainly to Suffolk but also covering Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk, collected by Miss Joan Corder of Ipswich (1921-2005), together with extensive notes, transcripts and photographs compiled by her, in course of her research.

On the other hand, our Coroner’s inquests collection tells a sorrier tale of rabbits – in two cases they have been cited as being the cause of demise – for a James Reeve (HB10/9/41/26) and a Jacob Clarke (HB10/9/43/4). James appears to have been smothered when his cart, carrying rabbits, upturned and the load landed on him, and Jacob suffocated when a rabbit burrow collapsed whilst he was trying to get at the rabbits. Extracts are shown here of the inquest documents and it is also interesting to see here that there is a list of jurors, and their marks, who were on duty for that case.