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The Lays fishponds, 265m south east of Dennington Hall

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: The Lays fishponds, 265m south east of Dennington Hall

List entry Number: 1011333

Location

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

County: Suffolk

District: Suffolk Coastal

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Dennington

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 09-Nov-1993

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 21305

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 fishponds south east of Dennington Hall survive well and will retain important archaeological information. The associated earthworks are well preserved and evidence concerning the construction and use of the ponds will be contained in the dam and sluice. Soils buried beneath the dam will also preserve evidence of land use in the area prior to the construction of the ponds. Organic material and environmental evidence relating to the later use of the ponds will be contained in water-logged deposits in the southern pond.

History

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

Details

The monument includes two fishponds and associated earthworks, situated south east of the moated site of Dennington Hall and in a line north-south on a gradual, south-facing slope. The northern pond is water-filled and of reversed `L' shape, approximately 1.5m deep and with overall dimensions of 92m north-south by 65m east-west. To the south of this is an earthen dam approximately 6m in width and 1m - 1.5m in height above prevailing ground level, which separates it from a sub-rectangular pond with maximum dimensions of 63m east-west by 45m north-south. The ponds are fed by a stream which enters the northern end of the long arm of the `L' and were connected by a sluice, the remains of which survive at the western end of the dam. The overflow from the southern pond enters the lower course of the stream through an outlet in the south side.

The boundary of an enclosure relating to the ponds is marked by a hedgerow which runs parallel to them on the east side, and this boundary, together with the area measuring approximately 10m wide, between it and the ponds, is included in the scheduling.

The modern fencing around the ponds is excluded from the scheduling.

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

Other
cited in NAR, Tithe Map, Dennington, (1840)
Rous, R C, (1992)

National Grid Reference: TM 29287 68520

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.
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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 - 1011333 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 23-Nov-2017 at 02:42:14.

End of official listing