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HER Number:MDV12616
Name:Fishponds at Dunkeswell Abbey

Summary

The earthwork remains of the medieval fishponds of Dunkeswell Abbey are depicted here on historic mapping and are visible as a series of earthwork banked features on aerial photographs of 1947 onwards, to the west of Little Musgrove Farm.

Location

Grid Reference:ST 139 106
Map Sheet:ST11SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDunkeswell
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishDUNKESWELL

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 188985
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST11SW/3/9
  • Old SAM County Ref: 228
  • Old SAM Ref: 24841
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: ST11SW1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Fish Ponds' shown on 19th century map.


Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1974, RAF/CPE/UK/1974 RP 3296-97 11-APR-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356127.

The fish ponds are visible as a series of earthwork banked features.


Ministry of Works, 1948, Dunkeswell Abbey (Schedule Document). SDV345801.

Ther are three fish ponds in the neighbourhood of Dunkeswell Abbey. Other details: Monument 228.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1962 - 1975, ST11SW1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV136072.

Fish ponds at Dunkeswell Abbey are now dry and restored to pasture.


Weddell, P. J., 1986, Dunkeswell (Report - Assessment). SDV123603.

The fishponds still in good condition, the earthworks surviving to well over 1 metre high in places.


Timms, S. C., 1986, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV129243.

Earthworks also visible in field to north-east across road.


Simpson, S. J. + Noble, S., 1992, Blackdown Hills Survey (Report - Survey). SDV129058.

At the south corner of the west pond there is a gap in the earthworks which may have been a sluice for letting in water from the fast flowing stream running along the south side of the ponds. If there was a further pond to the west it doesn't appear to have been of the same rectangular shape. There is a steep slope at the position of the former field boundary on the same alignment as the north sides of the ponds. Earthworks to north east on sketch. Other details: Archive.


Unknown, 1992, Untitled Source, BH4, BH22 (Photograph). SDV129065.

Other details: Two Slides.


Gibbons, P., 1993, 134673 (Un-published). SDV123660.

Fishponds situated on west side of the hamlet, some 100 metres from the Abbey gatehouse, in a small east-west valley. They consist of a rectangular area of well preserved and now dry earthworks circa 170 metres by 70 metres overall size, the main elements of which are two substantial parallel dams. The extent to which the ponds were created by excavation rather than deposition is difficult to determine. Both pond bays become deeper towards the dams and have inlet channels in their south west corners. The ponds are separated from the stream to the south by an embankment up to 1.8 metres in height. This section of the stream appears to have been diverted and canalised, being about 1.5 metres lower than the land to the south and also significantly lower than the inlet channels. The dams and the banks of the stream can be expected to contain the buried remains of sluice-gates for controlling the water in the ponds, and there is a high probability of the area containing waterlogged deposits. Other details: MPP/134674.


Department of National Heritage, 1994, Dunkeswell Abbey (Schedule Document). SDV345802.

The fishponds are situated on the west side of the hamlet, some 100 metres from Dunkeswell Abbey gatehouse, in a small east-west valley that contains a stream flowing east to the Madford. They include a rectangular area of well preserved, now dry, earthworks of some 170 metres by 70 metres overall, the main elements of which are two substantial parallel dams. Both pond bays become deeper towards the dams and have inlet channels in their south west corners. The ponds are separated from the stream to the south by an embankment up to 1.8m in height. This section of the stream appears to have been diverted and canalised, being about 1.5m lower than the land to the south and also significantly lower than the inlet channels. The dams and the banks of the stream can be expected to contain the buried remains of sluice-gates for controlling the water in the ponds and there is a high probability of the area containing waterlogged deposits. The western pond is about 80 metrers by 55 metres internally, being retained on its west and north sides by flat-topped embankments, about 8 metres in width at its base and 1.5 metres maximum height. The dam forming the east side is some 10 metres wide at its base and over 2 metres high, cut by a central channel of some 2.2 metres width that has evidently been widened for farm vehicles. The eastern pond is about 60 metres square internally and is at a slightly lower level. Its north side is terraced into the hill slope by up to 1 metre. The dam forming its east side is a more complex structure which may have been altered in more recent times. It too contains a channel, to the south of centre, through which the stream now runs. North of the channel the dam is about 1.5 metres high, its northernmost part and east side being obscured beneath the lane. South of the channel, the dam forms a substantial rounded mound of some 2.5 metres in height, which has the stream flowing along its western, inner side. Earlier this century the stream ran around the east side of the dam and down the west side of the lane, which forded the stream where it turned to flow east Other details: Monument 24841.


Gray, T., 1995, The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources, 92 (Monograph). SDV671.


Hunt, A., 2000, An Earthwork Survey of Dunkeswell Abbey, 215-226 (Article in Serial). SDV136064.

An earthwork survey undertaken in 2000 confirmed evidence regarding the location of banks and features relating to the pond. Another pond or part of a water management system may have existed across the road at ST140-107-.


National Monument Record, 2007, NMR 24533, NMR 24533/09 25-JAN-2007 (Aerial Photograph). SDV359677.

The fish ponds are visible as a series of earthwork banked features. Map object partly based on this source.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 188985 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV129070.

Earthworks of at least two fishponds belonging to Dunkeswell Abbey (1201-1539). The ponds are now dry and have been restored to pasture. The water was retained by a pond bay across the eastern end of each pond. A gap in the centre of each bay probably marks the former position of a sluice gate. Bounding the west side of the western pond is a narrow strip of land and a road. Both are raised considerably above the general ground level, suggesting that they represent another pond bay and the former existence of a third fishpond to the west.


Bluesky International, 2016, LiDAR DTM data (0.5m resolution) Blackdown Hills and East Devon AONBs: 3 transects, LIDAR ST1310; ST1410 Bluesky International DTM 05-MAY-2016 (Cartographic). SDV359714.

The fish ponds are visible as a series of earthwork banked features. Map object partly based on this source.


Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

Earthworks shown as 'Fish Ponds' on modern mapping. Map object partly based on this Source.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2016-2018, The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV359463.

The medieval fishponds of Dunkeswell Abbey are visible as a series of earthwork banked features on aerial photographs of 1947 onwards, to the west of Little Musgrove Farm. The earthworks of the two adjacent fishponds occupy an area of approximately 1.13 hectares of fairly level land, to the west of Dunkeswell Abbey. The larger, western pond measures approximately 76m in length by 50m in width internally, whilst that to the east approximately 55m in length by 55m in width. The two ponds are separated by substantial earthwork embankments of a dam, approximately 15m in width, and cut by a central channel approximately 2m in width. The internal areas of each of these ponds appear visible as a levelled area and are defined on all sides by substantial outer banks. The fish ponds are clearly visible on aerial photographs made available to the survey, although are partly obscured by tree cover of field boundaries which largely define the extent of the earthworks here. As such, the earthworks have been predominately transcribed using digital images derived from DTM lidar data captured in 2016. The earthworks are also depicted on the Ordnance Survey 2016 MasterMap.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV123603Report - Assessment: Weddell, P. J.. 1986. Dunkeswell. Devon Religious Houses Survey. 11. A4 Stapled.
SDV123660Un-published: Gibbons, P.. 1993. 134673. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Unknown.
SDV129058Report - Survey: Simpson, S. J. + Noble, S.. 1992. Blackdown Hills Survey. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. A4 Unbound.
SDV129065Photograph: Unknown. 1992. Photograph (Paper). BH4, BH22.
SDV129070National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 188985. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV129243Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 1986.
SDV136064Article in Serial: Hunt, A.. 2000. An Earthwork Survey of Dunkeswell Abbey. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 58. Paperback Volume. 215-226.
SDV136072Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962 - 1975. ST11SW1. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV345801Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1948. Dunkeswell Abbey. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV345802Schedule Document: Department of National Heritage. 1994. Dunkeswell Abbey. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV356127Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1974. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1974 RP 3296-97 11-APR-1947.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359463Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2016-2018. The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:2
SDV359677Aerial Photograph: National Monument Record. 2007. NMR 24533. National Monument Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR 24533/09 25-JAN-2007.
SDV359714Cartographic: Bluesky International. 2016. LiDAR DTM data (0.5m resolution) Blackdown Hills and East Devon AONBs: 3 transects. Not applicable. Digital. LIDAR ST1310; ST1410 Bluesky International DTM 05-MAY-2016.
SDV671Monograph: Gray, T.. 1995. The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources. The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources. Paperback Volume. 92.

Associated Monuments

MDV1890Part of: Dunkeswell Abbey (Monument)
MDV1892Related to: Dunkeswell Abbey, Bells (Find Spot)
MDV30305Related to: Abbey Church at Dunkeswell Abbey (Monument)
MDV12618Related to: Cloisters at Dunkeswell Abbey (Monument)
MDV1891Related to: COAT OF ARMS in the Parish of Dunkeswell (Monument)
MDV44192Related to: Dunkeswell Abbey, Building (Monument)
MDV63464Related to: Dunkeswell Abbey, Garden (Monument)
MDV1893Related to: Dunkeswell Abbey, Grave (Monument)
MDV13990Related to: Dunkeswell Abbey, Tile (Find Spot)
MDV30306Related to: East Range at Dunkeswell Abbey (Monument)
MDV12617Related to: Gatehouse at Dunkeswell Abbey (Building)
MDV30304Related to: Rough Grey Pond (Monument)
MDV30307Related to: South Range at Dunkeswell Abbey (Monument)
MDV12615Related to: West Range at Dunkeswell Abbey (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7508 - The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme (NMP) project (Ref: ACD1228)

Date Last Edited:Mar 20 2018 1:03PM