Sources for Meare Fish House

The following lists provide a summary of the main sources for our knowledge and understanding of the Fish House at Meare.

Drawn floor plan of the Fish House made in 1826

Sketch plan of the ground floor by the architect and antiquarian JC Buckler, dated 1826
© British Library Board, Add MS 36435, fol 111

Primary Written Sources (Unpublished)

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

  • MSS X.II 12.1f (lease, 1607)


Bodleian Library, Oxford

  • Bodleian MS Rolls 19 [Pollard and Moyle’s Survey of Glastonbury]
  • Bodleian MS Somerset Rolls 10 [18th-century transcript of the above]
  • Bodleian MS Rawl B.182 [paper transcript of Peter Langtoft’s Chronicle, including survey of c 1540]


British Library

  • BL Egerton MS 3034, 1517 [terrier of Abbot Beere]
  • BL Egerton MS 3321 [terrier of Abbot Monington, 1355]
  • BL Add MS 17450, fol 85 [survey of 1235]


Longleat House

  • Longleat MS 11272 [account for 1300–01]
  • Longleat MS 11273 [account for 1300–01]
  • Longleat MS 11216 [account for 1312–13]
  • Longleat MS 10754 [cook’s account, 1529–30]


The National Archives

  • TNA E 315/420 fols 41 and 74 [survey of the manor of Meare, c 1540]
  • TNA WORK 14/566 [memoranda and correspondence prior to and associated with guardianship]
  • TNA WORK 14/2602 [re repairs of 1912]


Trinity College, Cambridge

  • MS R 5.16 [re the works of Abbot Monington, 1342–75]


Wells, Dean and Chapter Archive

  • DC/CF 2/1 [Wells Cartulary] 


Primary Written Sources (Published)

Adam of Domerham, Historia de Rebus Gestis Glastoniensibus, ed T Hearne, 2 vols (Oxford, 1727)

Dugdale, W, Monasticon Anglicanum, ed J Caley, H Ellis and B Bandinel, 6 vols (London, 1817–30)

Elton, CJ (ed), Rentalia et Custumaria Michaelis de Ambresbury, 1235–1252 et Rogeri de Ford, 1252–61, Abbatum Monasterii Beatae Mariae Glastoniae (London, 1891) [accessed 23 July 2012]

John of Glastonbury, Cronica sive Antiquitates Glastoniensis Ecclesie, ed J Carley (Woodbridge, 1985)

Stacy, NE (ed), Surveys of the Estates of Glastonbury Abbey c 1135–1201, Records of Social and Economic History, new series, 33 (Oxford, 2001)

Watkin, A, The Great Chartulary of Glastonbury, 3 vols, Somerset Record Society (Frome, 1947–56) 

Historic black and white photograph showing the exterior of the Fish House in 1854 with two gentlemen in top hats investigating

Photograph of 1854 by the soldier-photographer Linnaeus Tripe (1822–1902), showing the deteriorating condition of the building at the time
© Private Collection

Visual Sources

British Library

  • JC Buckler, pencil drawing of the ‘Fisherman’s Hut’ from the south-east, dated 30 March 1826, Add MS 36439, fol 259
  • JC Buckler, plans of the Fish House, Add MS 36435, fols 99 and 111 (see above)


Historic England Archive, Swindon


Meare, Private Collection

  • Linnaeus Tripe, 1854, photograph of the Fish House from the south-east (see above)


Somerset Record Office, Taunton

  • JC Buckler, 1828, sepia view of the Fish House from the south-east (worked up from BL Add MS 36439, fol 259, above)


Somerset Record Office Taunton: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society

  • H St George Gray, 27 June 1911, photograph, external view of the Fish House [glass negative, box 491]
  • H St George Gray, 27 June 1911, photograph, internal view of the Fish House [glass negative, box 491]


Published Drawing

  • A Nesbitt, 1850s, View of the large upper room, engraved by JH Le Keux, published in Parker, JH, Domestic Architecture of the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1853), facing p 300 [accessed 23 July 2012]

Secondary Sources


Abrams, L, Anglo-Saxon Glastonbury: Church and Endowment (Woodbridge, 1996)

Aston, M (ed), Fish, Fisheries and Fishponds in Medieval England, British Archaeological Reports, British Series, 182, 2 vols (Oxford, 1988)

Bird, WH and Baildon, WP, Calendar of Manuscripts of the Dean and Chapter of Wells, 2 vols (London, 1907–14)

Blair, J, ‘Hall and chamber: English domestic planning 1000–1250’, in G Meirion-Jones and M Jones, Manorial Domestic Buildings in England and Northern France, Society of Antiquaries of London, Occasional Volume 15 (London, 1993), 1–21

Bond, CJ, ‘Monastic fisheries’, in Aston, op cit, 69–112

Bond, CJ, Monastic Landscapes (Stroud, 2004)

Carley, J, Glastonbury Abbey: The Holy House at the Head of the Moors Adventurous (Woodbridge, 1988)

Collinson, J, The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset, 3 vols (Bath, 1791), vol 1

Dyer, C, ‘The consumption of fresh-water fish in medieval England’, in Aston, op cit, 27–35

Emery, A, The Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 3 vols (Cambridge, 1996–2006)

Gray, H St G, ‘Excavations at Glastonbury Lake Village’, Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, 48 (1902), 102–21

Gray, H St G, ‘The Abbot’s Fish House, Meare’, Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, 72 (1926), xl–xlvii

Impey, E, ‘A house for fish or men? The structure, function and significance of the Fish House at Meare, Somerset’, English Heritage Historical Review, 4 (2009), 23–35 [subscription required; accessed 7 March 2015]

Impey, E, The Monastic Retreat in Medieval England (forthcoming)

Nesbitt, A, ‘On the Manor House, Meare, Somersetshire’, Archaeological Journal, 1 (1853), 130–40

Pantin, WA, ‘Medieval priests’ houses in south-west England’, Medieval Archaeology, 1 (1957), 118–46 [accessed 23 July 2012]

Pantin, WA, ‘Chantry priests’ houses and other medieval lodgings’, Medieval Archaeology, 3 (1959), 216–58 [accessed 23 July 2012]

Parker, JH, Domestic Architecture of the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1853; 2nd edn 1882) [accessed 23 July 2012]

Pearson, S, The Medieval Houses of Kent: An Historical Analysis (London, 1994)

Penoyre, J, Traditional Houses of Somerset (Tiverton, 2005)

Phelps, W, The History and Antiquities of Somersetshire, 4 vols (London, 1836–9)

Rippon, S, ‘Making the most of a bad situation? Glastonbury Abbey, Meare, and the medieval exploitation of wetland resources in the Somerset Levels’, Medieval Archaeology, 58 (2004), 91–130 [accessed 23 July 2012]

Scott Holmes, T, ‘Benedictine houses: the abbey of Glastonbury’, in Victoria County History: Somerset, vol 2, ed W Page (London, 1911), 82–99 [accessed 23 July 2012]

Siraut, M, ‘Meare’, in Victoria County History: Somerset, vol 9, ed RW Dunning (London, 2006), 120–41 [accessed 23 July 2012]

 Williams, M, The Draining of the Somerset Levels (Cambridge, 1970)

Wood, ME, Thirteenth-Century Domestic Architecture in England (London, 1950; reprinted 1974)

Wood, ME, The English Medieval House (London, 1964)



A copy of most of the reports listed below should be held by the relevant local Historic Environment Record (sometimes referred to as the Sites and Monuments Record). Many of these can be searched via the Heritage Gateway website.

Bridge, MC, ‘Tree-ring analysis of timbers from Meare Fish House, Porters Hatch, Meare, Somerset ’, CfA Reports 102/2002, unpublished report, English Heritage (2002)

Bridge, MC ‘Tree-ring analysis of timbers from Meare Manor Farmhouse, St Mary’s Road, Meare, Somerset’, CfA Reports 103/2002, unpublished report, English Heritage (2002)

Evans, C, ‘Report on the conservation of the Abbot’s Fish House at Meare, Somerset’, unpublished report, English Heritage (2002)

Rodwell, K, ‘The Manor House, Meare, Glastonbury: Report on archaeological observations during investigation works’, typescript (2002)

Sampson, J, ‘The Abbots’ Fish House, Meare, Somerset: report on the archaeological survey of the standing fabric …’, prepared for Caröe and Partners on behalf of English Heritage (2003)







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