Two fishponds associated with Quarr Abbey at Puckers Copse, Newnham


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014729

Date first listed: 07-Dec-1995


Ordnance survey map of Two fishponds associated with Quarr Abbey at Puckers Copse, Newnham
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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 - 1014729 .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 18-Jan-2019 at 03:14:37.


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

District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ryde

National Grid Reference: SZ 56640 92015


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 at Pucker's Copse survive well and will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the fishponds and the landscape in which they were constructed. This is one of only very few medieval fishpond sites known to survive on the Isle of Wight, and is part of a wider complex of contemporary features associated with Quarr Abbey, including mills, salt water fish ponds and monastic granges.


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


The monument includes two adjoining fishponds situated on an east facing slope and associated with the nearby monastery at Quarr. They are aligned north-south with a common dam between them, and a leat entering at the junction between the ponds. Each fishpond has an earthwork bank enclosing a depression from which material was quarried during its construction. The northern pond, which is roughly rectangular in shape, still retains water. It is the smaller of the two and measures c.80m north-south and c.42m east-west at its widest point. The southern pond, which is pear-shaped, is now dry. This pond measures c.150m north-south at its maximum extent and c.95m east-west at its widest point. There are additional associated earthworks on the west side of the northern pond, and at the junction of the two ponds; a leat joins the ponds at a common point on their east side. This leat runs south parallel with the southern pond on its east side, and travels northwards to open into the east side of the precinct of the medieval abbey of Quarr. The leat was made in order to fill the higher northern pond, and then, by a series of sluices, the lower southern pond. A stone wall was discovered within the last ten years during digging at the junction of the two ponds on their west side.

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: 22035

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hockey, S F, Quarr Abbey and its Lands 1132-1631, (1970), 49
Hockey, S F, Quarr Abbey and its Lands 1132-1631, (1970), 50

End of official listing