The Abbot's Fish House and fishponds


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. 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 - 1008018.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2021 at 18:54:47.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Mendip (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 45743 41728

Reasons for Designation

The Abbot's Fish House is an unusual and rare survival. The earthwork remains of the associated fishponds and their connecting drains and gullies also survive well and the riverside location provides conditions suitable for the preservation of organic and environmental remains. Historical documentation, both for the monument and for Glastonbury Abbey with which it is associated, combined with the archaeological and environmental evidence, provide an important insight into this aspect of the medieval monastic economy.


The monument includes the Abbot's Fish House and associated fishponds and drainage gullies, all situated on level ground immediately south of the River Brue in the area of Somerset Levels and on the bank of a former lake known as the Meare Pool. The Fish House, which is a Grade I Listed Building, is a medieval stone building of rectangular plan which originally comprised two storeys. It measures 12.4m long by 6.6m wide and is believed to have been the home and work place of the chief fisherman of nearby Glastonbury Abbey. The ground floor has three rooms, the central room being the largest. Access at this level is provided to the central room from the south west side of the building and into the northern room from the north west side. The upper storey was destroyed by fire in the 19th century. This level had two rooms, with access provided by a staircase on the south west side of the building. Surrounding the Fish House and surviving as earthwork features are a series of rectilinear fishponds, c.20m-30m long by 5m wide, combined with the network of drains and gullies which interconnect. Although the earthworks become less distinct on the west side of the field, features are still visible, the higher ground possibly having supported ancillary buildings and fields. The development of this site is closely connected with that of nearby Glastonbury Abbey. The Fish House itself is believed to have been constructed in 1322-1335 with the purpose of supplying fish to the abbey. The ponds may, however, be earlier than this; the Domesday Survey of 1086, for example, records the presence of three fisheries and ten fishermen at Meare. All field walls and fences are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Blake, J, 'Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology Society' in Notes on the History of Meare , (1902), 38-44
Blake, J, 'Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology Society' in Notes on the History of Meare , (1902), 41
Turner, C J, 'Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology Society' in Excursion To Meare, , Vol. 26, (1880), 60-62
Warre, F , 'Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology Society' in Abbots' Fish House Meare, , Vol. 9, (1859), 32
Plan of fishponds, Leach, PJ, Earthworks at Meare, (1984)


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].