Our Medieval Fishpond

A Medieval Fishpond in Broadway

In our grounds is a medieval fishpond. The rectangular pond has a traditional puddle clay lining and is fed by a nearby source of spring water from the Cotswold escarpment. Overflow water from the fishpond flows via a smaller pond in to Bunchers Brook, the stream at the bottom of our grounds. Further downstream, Bunchers Brook joins the River Avon at Evesham.

The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England began during the medieval period. At that time our grounds, and surrounding fields along West End, were owned by Pershore Abbey. The Abbey was a wealthy landowner owning many farms and hundred of acres across the Vale of Evesham. In 1320, nearby Abbots Grange was built as the summer residence for the Abbot. The fishpond in our grounds would have been used for breeding and storing fish for the Abbot’s kitchen and is likely to have been stocked with tench, bream, perch or roach. Neighbouring fields were also once cultivated by medieval ridge and furrow to provide food for the monastic grange. The remains of the features associated with ridge and furrow cultivation can still be seen in the surrounding fields today.

1933: A Fire Fighting Display at the Fishpond

Over the years the fishpond has served as a water source for the surrounding farmland. In 1933, when the Manor and farm was owned by Austin R. Williams, a demonstration of Broadway’s new fire fighting equipment was held with the fishpond providing a source of water for the demonstration. Earlier that year Broadway Fire Brigade had become part of a new fire authority which was set up jointly by the Evesham and the Pershore Rural District Councils. The joint brigade was formed following concerns about the poor standard of fire protection in the village and surrounding area. Despite many subsequent changes in the Fire Service, Broadway still has its own fire station located on Keytes Lane off the High Street.

The Fishpond today: A Sustainable Habitat

Today sheep and horses graze the fields surrounding our holiday cottages and the fishpond provides a tranquil spot for our guests to enjoy. The pond is a natural environment and provides a sustainable habitat for our pet Indian runner ducks, wild ducks, coots and moorhens. The relatively still waters of the pond are also a great breeding ground in the spring for frogs and toads. We have tried to reintroduce fish to the pond but a predatory Grey heron is a frequent visitor and can often be seen perched stock-still on the banks of the pond waiting to strike.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Manor Cottages