A fishpond is one or more artifically created pools of slow-moving fresh water constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding, and/or storing fish. As such, fishponds were a very valuable resources. Water enters and leaves ponds by means of a series of channels and leats, the flow of water being controlled by one or more sluices and overflow channels. Fishponds may be dug into the ground, embanked above ground level, or formed by placing a dam across a narrow valley. The ponds themselves occur in a variety of shapes, the most common being a triangular or rectangular outline.


Fishpond at Grange Farm, QuaintonThe tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England appears to have begun during the medieval period, with the impetus coming from the monastic institutions. The difficulties of obtaining fresh meat in winter may have been one of the factors which favoured the development of fishponds and which made them so valuable. The 12th century was probably the high-point of fish farming in England. After the Dissolution the practice declined, although in some areas it was still taken seriously in the 17th century. Most fishponds had fallen out of use in terms of their original function by the mid 18th century.


17th century manuals suggest areas of waste ground were ideal, but in practice it appears that most fishponds were located close to villages, manors or monasteries, presumably so that a watch could be kept on them. Indeed, there are fishponds attached to almost every manor in Buckinghamshire, such as Delaford Manor in Iver or Leckhampstead manors.