Ancient Monuments

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Decoy pond 350m south of Aslackby Decoy Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Pointon and Sempringham, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.8626 / 52°51'45"N

Longitude: -0.307 / 0°18'25"W

OS Eastings: 514074.309545

OS Northings: 330803.353634

OS Grid: TF140308

Mapcode National: GBR GTT.F7C

Mapcode Global: WHHM5.892S

Entry Name: Decoy pond 350m south of Aslackby Decoy Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016472

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31614

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Pointon and Sempringham

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Aslackby St James

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the buried remains of a post-medieval decoy pond located
350m south of Aslackby Decoy Farm, on Aslackby Fen.
The monument is situated on flat land covering an area approximately 200m by
200m. The decoy pond, associated features and surrounding enclosure are
clearly visible as a series of cropmarks (areas of differential plant/crop
growth showing buried remains) on aerial photographs. The decoy includes an
octagonal double ditched enclosure around a star-shaped pond measuring
approximately 80m in width. Eight channels, representing pipes, curve outward,
in a clockwise direction, from the angles of the pond. Each pipe narrows as it
curves away from the pond and tapers to a point. A series of banks lay within
the enclosure, together with ditches or channels which formerly supplied water
to the decoy.

The decoy is the only surviving one of five formerly located on adjacent fens,
lying within a radius of 1km to 2km, during the 19th century.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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 remains of the decoy pond 350m south of Aslackby Decoy Farm survive well
as a series of buried deposits. The pond, pipes, and enclosure ditch will
preserve evidence for construction and use of the decoy. Waterlogging of the
deposits will preserve evidence of environmental remains, such as seeds,
pollen, or timber, providing information on the use of the decoy and the local

The survival of this decoy is rare as it is the only one out of a group of
five formerly located within a small area; as such it will preserve valuable
evidence of the inter-relationship of decoys as components of the post-
medieval landscape.

Source: Historic England


Cambridge University Collection, AII 82, (1963)
Pickering, J, 2330/24, (1983)
Title: Aslackby cum Graby and Millthorpe Tithe Award and plan: H455
Source Date: 1846

Source: Historic England

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