Site of Fishponds at Wishaw Hall Farm

Description of this historic site

The site of several fishponds which were used for breeding and storing fish. They date to the Medieval period and were located to the east and south east of Wishaw Hall Farm.

Notes about this historic site

1 Part of an extensive series of fishponds to the E and SE of Wishaw Hall Farm. At least three fishponds may be represented. Leat features may run off the pond network. Later, Bond postulated that a square shallow pond on the site might provide a shallow water habitat for ducks. He considered that the earthworks most closely resembled fishponds at Washford, Redditch on the Warwickshire-Worcestershire border, a parish that coincidentally also contained land that had been owned by the Kinghts Templar.
3 Filled in in 1973.
4 In c1973 all that remained was an L-shaped hollow of the (?) moat. This was filled in by the farmer.
5 Evaluation undertaken: the 13th century pottery recovered from the primary fills of the fishpond and the moat suggest the two are contemporary. Environmental fills from the pond contained large quantities of mollusc shells from a species of snail that lives in stagnant water. The fill also contained remains of fresh water shell fish. Unopened oyster shells suggested that the ponds were being used to store oysters.
6 Several elements relating to the fishponds, including the L-shaped pond/moat, were uncovered: a series of water channels supplying the ponds and nearby 2 wooden stakes and a plank, a “stew” (distribution/storage pond) sited next to the possible moat and a fragment of timber that may have been part of a timber frontage or a sluice, and several other ponds or stews, one of which had timbers that may have sported nets to keep herons and other predators at bay.
7 The site of the earthwork complex at Wishaw, was subject to excavation and recording during consturction of the M6 toll. The fishpond complex was recorded; the valley pond (growing pond and reservoir), dams, a rearing pond and subsidary channel. The fish pond system was abandoned in the 14th century, representing a design that is very much as it was laid out. A hitherto unrecorded medieval building foundation was recorded on the site, potnetially as the house of the fish-keeper. It is postlated that the fishpond complex may be associated with a medieval centre of some importance at Wishaw Hall Farm, possibly associated with the Knight’s Templar. It appears to have been in use for a relatively short period of time, spanning the mid-13th-early 14th centuries when the Knight’s Templar were at their most successful; it is likely that its subsequent abandonment was a result of a lack of labour and funds to run it effectively. There is discussion of the complex in context of medieval fishponds in North Warwickshire. Also features pottery reports and specialist environmental reports.

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