Ancient Monuments

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Fishery 500m north east of Manor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Shillington, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9869 / 51°59'12"N

Longitude: -0.3913 / 0°23'28"W

OS Eastings: 510563.265038

OS Northings: 233267.127611

OS Grid: TL105332

Mapcode National: GBR H5B.HVC

Mapcode Global: VHFR2.5BG6

Entry Name: Fishery 500m north east of Manor Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 February 1953

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004500

English Heritage Legacy ID: BD 7

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Shillington

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Higham Gobion

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval fishery situated to the north east of the village of Higham Gobion. The monument survives as a small but regular mound surrounded by a slight ditch sitting in the centre of a sub-triangular enclosure. The mound is flat topped, 30m in diameter and up to 3.7m high. The enclosure is defined by a flat topped, linear bank, standing up to 12m wide and rising to 2m above the bottom of the ditch. The bank is cut to the north by a later hollow way. In the south east corner of the enclosure is a series of three fishponds measuring 35m long and 1m deep. It is understood that the interior was once flooded and the central mound would have therefore originally have been a small island which may have been used for bird nesting platforms, or simply for fishing.

NMR TL13SW1; Pastscape Mon No 362575; Bed's HER 404

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.
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.
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 fishery 500m north east of Manor Farm is well preserved, retains a good diversity of features associated with fishponds and has high potential for the preservation of significant archaeological remains, particularly waterlogged deposits. The fishponds will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the social and economic structure of medieval communities.

Source: Historic England

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