Gore decoy 760m south east of Lauriston Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019149

Date first listed: 16-Dec-1999


Ordnance survey map of Gore decoy 760m south east of Lauriston Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 19:27:15.


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

County: Essex

District: Maldon (District Authority)

Parish: Tolleshunt D'arcy

National Grid Reference: TL 92589 08223


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 comparatively large decoy pond 760m south east Lauriston Farm, known as Gore Decoy, is a fine mid-18th century example, in a good state of preservation. Once numerous, there are now only a small number of Essex decoys surviving. Of the 19 or so known to have been in use along the shores of the Blackwater estuary during the late 18th through to the mid- to late 19th century, only two survive in good condition. The decoy's pond, banks and pipes survive well enabling us to envisage how it operated. Decoys were very important features of the Essex marshland landscape and made a significant contribution to the marshland economy during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.


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


The monument includes a decoy pond located in an area of grazing marsh near the northern shore of the Blackwater Estuary, some 760m south east of Lauriston Farm and immediately adjacent to the sea wall, on the other side of which are the Gore Saltings. The major components of the decoy survive in good condition. These include a large, rather irregular, although roughly square, central pond with eight ditches or pipes radiating, one from each corner, with the others in between. The pond is water-filled. Towards its centre is an earthern platform which may have supported a decoy hut used for storage. An earthwork bank surrounds the pond, some 1m-2m high on the south western and north eastern sides. The pipes can be traced on the ground as earthworks and also show clearly on aerial photographs taken in 1993 and 1996; the pipe coming off the north eastern corner survives particularly well and is partly water-filled. The decoy is one of at least 19 known to have existed in the Blackwater Estuary during the 18th and 19th centuries. Cartographic evidence gives an early date of construction for the monument, appearing on a map of 1768. Documentary sources show that in 1886 the decoy was known as Tollesbury Gore Decoy, and that at that time it had been worked within living memory, although not for many years. All wooden walkways, fences and other modern features are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 32409

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Glegg, W E, 'Vol XXVII Essex Naturalist' in The Duck Decoys of Essex, , Vol. 27-part7, (1943), 191-225
1:10 000, Ingle, C, TL90NW, (1995)
ERO B831, Harvie's Farm Sale Catalogue, (1813)
Gramolt, David William, The Coastal Marshland of East Essex, 1960, Thesis MA Degree, Univ. of London
Rogers, P, 485/6, (1993)
Strachan, D, CP/95/31/11, (1995)
Strachan, D, CP/96/CO/2/2-3, (1996)
Title: Bowen Map Source Date: 1768 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Record Office
Tyler, S, MPP2/1-14; MPP3/1-4, (1998)
Tyler, S, Site Inspection Notes, (1998)

End of official listing