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Fishponds 350m north of Scrivelsby Court

A Scheduled Monument in Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.1796 / 53°10'46"N

Longitude: -0.1013 / 0°6'4"W

OS Eastings: 526989.590419

OS Northings: 366402.45329

OS Grid: TF269664

Mapcode National: GBR JSV.R71

Mapcode Global: WHHKQ.FB0T

Entry Name: Fishponds 350m north of Scrivelsby Court

Scheduled Date: 16 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017390

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30216

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Scrivelsby

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Scrivelsby St Benedict

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the remains of a fishpond complex and associated water
control features in Scrivelsby Park.

The monument is located 350m north of Scrivelsby Court on the southern bank of
Scrivelsby Beck and includes earthworks representing a sub-rectangular pond
defined by an external bank approximately 5m in width and up to 1m in height.
The bank encloses an area approximately 35m by 20m within the centre of which
is a small island up to 1m in height and approximately 20m by 10m. These
features are considered to represent the remains of a fishpond of a type
utilized in the medieval and post-medieval period, probably for carp. A small
brick structure approximately 2m square situated on the south eastern corner
of the external bank defining the pond covers a brick-lined water storage
tank, itself fed via a land drain running southwards up the hill towards
Scrivelsby Court. A linear depression up to 3m in width and 0.6m in depth
which abuts the eastern side of the embanked pond and runs from it on a NNW-
ESE axis for a distance of approximately 45m to a sub-circular depression is
considered to represent a drainage or water control channel linking the two
features. The sub-circular depression measures up to 18m north to south and
16m east to west and is approximately 0.7m in depth. A linear feature up to
4.5m in width and 0.5m in depth which runs into the SSW side of the sub-
circular depression is considered to be the remains of a water channel in the
form of an inlet leat. A rectilinear depression defined on its southern side
by a linear bank up to 1.5m in width and 0.5m in height runs into the south
eastern side of the sub-circular depression. The rectilinear feature is a
maximum of 0.6m in depth and measures approximately 30m north west-south east
and 16m north to south. These features are considered to represent the remains
of adjoining ponds, which together with the two water channels and the large
embanked pond, comprise a complex series of water control features.

Documentary sources indicate that there was already a house existing on the
site of Scrivelsby Court - itself largely demolished in 1955 - when the
property passed to the Dymoke family by marriage in the 14th century. The
location of the monument within the parkland surrounding the Court and the
recorded history of the site are considered to suggest that the ponds are
contemporary with Scrivelsby Court.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A fishpond is an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater
constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to
provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. They may be dug into the
ground, embanked above ground level, or formed by placing a dam across a
narrow valley. 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.
Fishponds were maintained by a water management system which included inlet
and outlet channels carrying water from a river or stream, a series of sluices
set into the bottom of the dam and along the channels and leats, and an
overflow leat which controlled fluctuations in water flow and prevented
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. The difficulties of obtaining fresh
meat in the winter and the value placed on fish in terms of its protein
content and as a status food may have been factors which favoured the
development of fishponds and which made them so valuable. The practice of
constructing fishponds declined after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in
the 16th century although in some areas it continued into the 17th century.
Most fishponds fell out of use during the post-medieval period although some
were re-used as ornamental features in 19th and early 20th century landscape
parks or gardens, or as watercress beds.
Documentary sources provide a wealth of information about the way fishponds
were stocked and managed. The main species of fish kept were eel, tench,
pickerel, bream, perch, and roach. Large quantities of fish could be supplied
at a time. Once a year, probably in the spring, ponds were drained and
Fishponds are widely scattered throughout England and extend into Scotland and
Wales. The majority are found in central, eastern and southern parts and in
areas with heavy clay soils. Fewer fishponds are found in coastal areas and
parts of the country rich in natural lakes and streams where other sources of
fresh fish were available. Although 17th century manuals suggest that areas of
waste ground were suitable for fishponds, in practice it appears that most
fishponds were located close to villages, manors or monasteries or within
parks so that a watch could be kept on them to prevent poaching. 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 remains of the fishponds associated with Scrivelsby Court survive
particularly well in the form of a series of substantial earthworks. The
monument has not been subject to significant disturbance with the result that
the preservation of archaeological deposits will be good. In addition the
waterlogged nature of the banked pond indicates that organic remains will
survive well. As a result of the survival of historical documentation relating
to the site, the remains are quite well understood and preserve valuable
information about the development and utilization of a fishpond complex of
this type in relation to a high status manorial site.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
White, A J, 'Archaeology in Lincolnshire and South Humberside, 1978' in Archaeology in Lincolnshire and South Humberside, 1978, , Vol. Vol 14, (1979)
RCHME, NMR Complete Listing: SK 91 NE 34,
RCHME, NMR Complete Listing: TF 26 NE 12,

Source: Historic England

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