Ancient Monuments

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Lion Point decoy 810m south east of Cockett Wick Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Golf Green, Essex

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Latitude: 51.7774 / 51°46'38"N

Longitude: 1.0999 / 1°5'59"E

OS Eastings: 613941.065847

OS Northings: 213291.882532

OS Grid: TM139132

Mapcode National: GBR TR3.GX5

Mapcode Global: VHLD4.0LTB

Entry Name: Lion Point decoy 810m south east of Cockett Wick Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016864

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32412

County: Essex

Electoral Ward/Division: Golf Green

Built-Up Area: Jaywick

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Clacton St James

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes an elongated decoy known as Lion Point Decoy, designed
for trapping pochard, located some 810m south east of Cockett Wick Farm and
500m inland from the beach at Lion Point.
The decoy takes the shape of a rectanglar pond, some 100m by 25m, with a
single curving arm at its north western corner and enclosed by a rectangular
ditch. The pond is dug approximately 1m below ground level and contains a
small amount of water. The water-filled enclosing ditch is linked to the decoy
by a single drain connecting their south eastern sides. The long sides of the
decoy between the pond and enclosing ditch are flanked by substantial banks
some 2m high, probably formed from the upcast of the pond and used to conceal
the decoymen during operation.
Not worked within living memory, the decoy is thought to have been constructed
around 1860, and appears on an Ordnance Survey 6 inch map by 1874.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

There was a second and completely different kind of decoy, which was designed
for capturing pochards. The pochard is a diving bird, so were rarely caught in
pipes because they did not rise when the decoyman appeared. They were instead
caught by means of nets fixed to long poles which were weighted down. When the
pochards took off into the wind at dusk, or were disturbed by the discharge of
a gun, the poles and nets were released so they sprang upright. The pochards
hit the net, fell into pens or trenches at the bottom, and were secured.

The decoy 810m south east of Cockett Wick Farm, known as Lion Point Decoy, is
a rare example of a rectangular pochard pond, dating from the mid-19th century
and surviving in good condition.

The history of pochard ponds is more obscure than that of ordinary decoys;
there may well have been a number of them within the Essex marshland as
documentary evidence suggests that they were as productive as the more usual
type and would therefore have made a significant contribution to the marshland
economy during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Although we know of several
other decoys in Essex which could be furnished with nets on poles to catch
pochards, this is the only known surviving example of a specialised pochard

Source: Historic England


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 NMR Plot, Ingle, C, TM11SW, (1996)
Gramolt, D.W, The Coastal Marshland of East Essex, 1960, Thesis submitted for M.A., London
Strachan, D, CP/96/73/15, (1996)
Title: Ordnance Survey Map
Source Date: 1874

Tyler, S, MPP3/9-14, (1998)
Tyler, S, Notes on site visit to Lion Point Decy, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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