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Duck decoy at Abbotsbury Swannery, 630m SSW of Horsepool 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: Duck decoy at Abbotsbury Swannery, 630m SSW of Horsepool Farm

List entry Number: 1015695

Location

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

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Abbotsbury

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 11-Jul-1997

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: 29046

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

Decoy ponds are artificially created or modified pools of water onto which wildfowl were lured to be trapped and killed for food and for feathers. They consist of a central pool off which lead a number of curving arms or ditches, known as pipes. Nets were constructed over the narrowing ends of these pipes towards which the birds were lured by the decoyman and his dog. Screens were erected along the sides of the pipes with carefully placed gaps so that the dog would be visible to the birds only when his appearance would lead the birds towards the nets at the ends of the pipes. Once at the ends the nets would be dropped and the decoyman was able to wring the birds' necks. The tradition of constructing such ponds appears to have begun in the medieval period, with the simplest designs indicating an early date. The more familiar decoy pond, however, is said to have originated in Holland and to have been introduced into England in the 17th century. The word `decoy' is said to derive from the Dutch `eendenkooi' meaning `duck cage'. Their greatest popularity came in the 18th and 19th centuries when large numbers were built, with a small number continuing in use until World War II. The ideal size for a decoy pond was between 1ha and 5ha with a depth of water of not more than a metre. The number of pipes varies from one to more than five, often arranged in symmetrical patterns around the central pool. Although once common features of lowland England (being particularly associated with the east and south east coasts), modern drainage has modified or destroyed all but a few examples. Most examples which survive in a near-complete state of preservation will be considered of national importance and worthy of protection.

The decoy at Abbotsbury Swannery, 630m SSW of Horsepool Farm, is well preserved and, as it lies within a natural marsh, will contain high quality archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a three-pipe duck decoy situated on level marshy ground to the north of Chesil Beach and to the south of Abbotsbury. The central pool of the decoy is waterlogged and roughly 57m square. The pool is served by three inlets or `pipes' which are located in the north western, north eastern and south eastern corners respectively. The pipes all remain waterlain and vary in size from 1.5m to 5m in width and from 15m to 50m in length. The north western and north eastern examples formed the principle pipes of the pool. The decoy is recorded in documents dating from 1655-56 and is shown on a Tithe Map of 1845. Excluded from the scheduling are all nets and supporting posts associated with the decoy pipes, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Selected Sources

Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 8

National Grid Reference: SY 57600 84036

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 - 1015695 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 15-Dec-2017 at 08:19:06.

End of official listing