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Fishpond complex, 260m east of Castle Farm

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Fishpond complex, 260m east of Castle Farm

List entry Number: 1007719

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: Warwick

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Kenilworth

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 27-Oct-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 19-May-1994

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 21556

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A fishpond is an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. They may be dug into the ground, embanked above ground level, or formed by placing a dam across a narrow valley. Groups of up to twelve ponds variously arranged in a single line or in a cluster and joined by leats have been recorded. The ponds may be of the same size or of several different sizes with each pond being stocked with different species or ages of fish. The size of the pond was related to function, with large ponds thought to have had a storage capability whilst smaller, shallower ponds were used for fish cultivation and breeding. Fishponds were maintained by a water management system which included inlet and outlet channels carrying water from a river or stream, a series of sluices set into the bottom of the dam and along the channels and leats, and an overflow leat which controlled fluctuations in water flow and prevented flooding. Buildings for use by fishermen or for the storage of equipment, and islands possibly used for fishing, wildfowl management or as shallow spawning areas, are also recorded. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England began during the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century. They were largely built by the wealthy sectors of society with monastic institutions and royal residences often having large and complex fishponds. The difficulties of obtaining fresh meat in the winter and the value placed on fish in terms of its protein content and as a status food may have been factors which favoured the development of fishponds and which made them so valuable. The practice of constructing fishponds declined after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century although in some areas it continued into the 17th century. Most fishponds fell out of use during the post-medieval period although some were re-used as ornamental features in 19th and early 20th century landscape parks or gardens, or as watercress beds. Documentary sources provide a wealth of information about the way fishponds were stocked and managed. The main species of fish kept were eel, tench, pickerel, bream, perch, and roach. Large quantities of fish could be supplied at a time. Once a year, probably in the spring, ponds were drained and cleared. Fishponds are widely scattered throughout England and extend into Scotland and Wales. The majority are found in central, eastern and southern parts and in areas with heavy clay soils. Fewer fishponds are found in coastal areas and parts of the country rich in natural lakes and streams where other sources of fresh fish were available. Although 17th century manuals suggest that areas of waste ground were suitable for fishponds, in practice it appears that most fishponds were located close to villages, manors or monasteries or within parks so that a watch could be kept on them to prevent poaching. Although approximately 2000 examples are recorded nationally, this is thought to be only a small proportion of those in existence in medieval times. Despite being relatively common, fishponds are important for their associations with other classes of medieval monument and in providing evidence of site economy.

The fishpond complex, 260m east of Castle Farm survives well and is unencumbered by modern development. The waterlogged ponds will retain important archaeological and organic deposits providing evidence for the date of the site's construction and for the duration of its use. The close proximity and direct association of the complex with Kenilworth Castle is reflected in the scale and sophistication of these ponds.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument is situated approximately 260m east of Castle Farm within the town of Kenilworth and includes a set of fishponds. The fishponds have been built adjacent to small tributary of the Finham Brook in a field known from map evidence as the 'Pondyards'. The stream channel marks the eastern boundary to the site. The complex of 14 individual ponds are visible as shallow, rectangular depressions laid out symmetrically to form a tight group. There are two distinct sizes of ponds within the complex; 12 ponds measure approximately 22m by 8m, and the two ponds which define the site's western boundary measure 58m by 9m. A number of the fishponds have been partly infilled but survive as buried features beneath the ground surface and are included in the scheduling. Although the north west pond is now partly situated beneath a private garden, the extent of this pond is known from early Ordnance Survey maps. The northern ponds are seasonally waterlogged. The south west ponds are most clearly visible as earthworks and are up to 0.5m deep. The ponds are inter-connected by narrow channels, several of which remain visible, and a number of sluices would have originally controlled the water supply within each individual pond. A shallow, dry ditch running west-east to the south of the fishpond complex, is thought to have been an original inlet channel. This feature also defines the southern extent of the complex. The outlet channel is thought to have been located in the north east part of the site. The site was originally associated with Kenilworth Castle and was part of the Castle's estates. All fence posts on the site are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Fish, J, Kenilworth, (1962)
Other
Title: Source Date: 1925 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SP 28286 71843

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1007719 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 17-Oct-2017 at 02:17:47.

End of official listing