Medieval Rabbits Maimed, Killed And Tortured Humans And Dogs

Many years ago, I owned a share in a racing greyhound. Before one race (in Wimbledon, London), the trainer came over to me and the rest of the consortium and said one word: “Rabbits!” The hound had tasted rabbit. The theory went that now he’d eaten one – and liked it – come the race Princey would try that bit harder to catch that motorised bunny. But what if the dog was petrified of rabbits and hares?

The British Library’s Royal MS 10 E iv, aka the Smithfield Decretals, is a late fourteenth-century law book containing many illuminations including an image of rabbits trying a captured hound for crimes unspecified.



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Did the hound escape? Was he innocent? Find out what happened to Fido later on.

In the meanhile, get a load of the rabbit in Pontifical of Guillaume Durand, Avignon, produced before 1390:


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And there’s the Ormesby Psalter (Bodleian Library MS. Douce 366), “a psalter, a collection of Psalms meant for contemplative reading”:


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Terrifying stuff. And it gets worse. The armed rabbits have allies. Like the snails:


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Fido was hanged from the neck until dead. He was then, most likely, soaked in gravy and canned.


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Monty Python were right – rabbits are natural born killers:



Spotter: Dangerous Minds