THE BOOK OF DUCK DECOYS.
| Latchington Decoy.-In Bowen's Map of Essex, 1760, wherein four Decoys are indicated, one is placed on the south bank of the Blackwater, on the west side of Latchington Creek, some 2 miles W. of Steeple, and a mile E. of Mundon.|
Having now described the nine Decoys that exist or existed south of the Blackwater River, we will cross over to the northern shore of that estuary, commencing near Maldon and taking the Decoys seriatim from west to east. They are ten in number, and the first to deal with are those at Goldhanger.
Goldhanger (1), on the north shore of the Blackwater, a mile SW. of Goldhanger, and 2½ miles E. of Maldon. This old Decoy is within 150 paces of the shore, and a ¼ mile S. of Gardener's Farm House, near Cobb's, Jehu's, and Brand's Farms.
It had five pipes.
Goldhanger (2). Half a mile SE. of Goldhanger, on the verge of the shore, was another Decoy. It was placed N. of Goldhanger Creek, on the point of land that divides the creek running up to Goldhanger and that going to Joyce's Farm House. This Decoy is 1¼ miles E. of the last described, and was a very fine one with eight pipes.
Both of these pools are in Goldhanger parish, and were worked within the recollection of an old gunner still living, aged 79, and known to Colonel Russell, the well-known wildfowl shooter, to whom, together with Dr. Laver of Colchester, I am greatly indebted for their researches anent Essex Decoys. Of the first-mentioned of these Decoys the traces may be still seen. It is situated on Cobb's Farm, the property of the Rev. Coope Arnold, of Hertford House, Coventry, and now in the occupation of Mr. Frederick Wakelin, and covers some 16 or 17 acres of marsh, surrounded by trees. It used to be worked by Cooper of Goldhanger until within the last 15 years. One of these Decoys was formerly a Pochard pond, but when the lead of these birds dropped off it was made into a Duck Decoy.
Folkard, in his "Wildfowler," page 96, writing in 1875, in allusion to the Essex "Pochard Ponds," says, "that on one or two occasions within present memory the capture of Pochards, or Dunbirds as they are locally called, has been so great at ONE drop or pull of the net that a waggon and four horses were required to remove them; and he adds that these birds have been known to resort in flights so numerous as apparently to cover every available space of water in the pond, and that 500 to 600 Pochards at one rise of the net was in those days considered quite a moderate capture."