Title ID 4614Collection ID601
TitleNetting the Moat
DateFebruary 1966
CollectionEddie Morris (Eastbourne Angling Club)
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionActuality/Factual
ThemeRural Life Public Services Transport
KeywordsAnimals Castles Labour Bridges Motor Vehicles Film Making
LocalHerstmonceux Hailsham
RegionalEast Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionEddie Morris
CameraEddie Morris
NarratorEddie Morris
ParticipantsSir Richard Van Der Riet-Woolley, [Astronomer Royal, 1956-1971]
FormatColour Sound
Duration20 min. 5 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Scenes filmed with narration by Eddie Morris at Herstmonceux Castle, (Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux)as members of the Compleat Angler Fishing Club of Eastbourne transfer small bream and roach from the moat, aided by the Sussex River Authority.


A main title moves into views of Herstmonceux Castle, gardens and moat. Music plays. An expanse of snowdrops illustrates a tranquil scene; 'now isn't that a pretty little picture,' says the narrator, Eddie Morris. Nets are laid out by the castle moat, sixty yards long, by members of the Compleat Angler Fishing Club of Eastbourne. Lead weights are spaced along one rope, and cork on the other. The Sussex River Authority lorry driver, Fred, prepared oxygen tanks to oxygenate the water the fish will be transported in once caught. A stop net keeps the fish in one part of the moat. Neil Baker, the River Authority Bailiff is on hand to make sure diseased fish are not transported to other areas. The net is lowered from the bridge but is caught on something under the water. Gordon attempts to free the net but the water is too deep. Instead, a young man is lowered from the bridge to investigate and finds a motorcycle in the moat. The bike is pulled up out of the water and out onto the bank next to the moat. 'Anybody wanna buy a bike,' he asks, 'there's still petrol in the tank!' The drag net is positioned and pulled in. Sound recorded at the time of filming is played over the footage. The fish appear as the nets are pulled up and are transferred into dustbins. The narrator explains that the anglers are looking to take out small Bream and Roach, leaving the Carp, which will grow bigger without the small fish, in the moat. The small fish, which must be taken to Horsebridge, are transferred from the dustbins to the oxygenated tanks on the lorry.

The lorry drives off, leaving the anglers to their tea and sandwiches. One man, the film-maker Eddie Morris [?] is seen with a cine camera round his neck, drinking tea from a flask. Canadian Geese are seen on the water. The anglers must complete the same procedure on the other side of the bridge. Views of Herstmonceux Castle from below, looking up to the tower, where another films with a cine camera, follow. This footage shows the anglers working, as seen from an elevated position. The new Isaac Newton Telescope, is under construction at the top of the hill at Herstmonceux Observatory, seen in the distance. Sir Richard Van Der Riet Woolley, Astronomer Royal working at The Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux at the time, is seen, looking at a Rainbow Trout. Brown Trout are also brought out of the moat, which will be transferred to more suitable waters. 'The lads are really slogging their guts out,' says the narrator, 'I'm being serious now.' The anglers are seen bringing metal dustbins full of water and fish to the lorry during 'back breaking work'. The net is rinsed before it is loaded onto a stretcher and carried away. The Sussex River Authority lorry takes the fish to Waller's Haven on the Pevensey Marshes, their new home. 'Time well spent!' remarks the narrator. The camera follows the truck up the hill [Halley's Road] towards the Equatorial Group of Telescopes at the top of the hill briefly revealing the Group as the vehicle climbs the hill. The End.


Netting the Moat (1966)

Contextual information

River Authorities controlled land drainage, fisheries and river pollution in rivers, streams and inland waters between 1965 and 1973. Created after the 1963 Water Resources Act, the twenty seven authorities, under local authority, took over from existing river boards. The Sussex River Authority took up the responsibility for areas previously covered by both the East Sussex River Board and the West Sussex River Board. River Authorities were abolished in 1973 under the Water Act of the same year. Southern Water was one of ten authorities set up under state control and based on river catchments, serving Hampshire, Isle of Wight East and West Sussex and Kent. The UK's water industry was privitised in 1989, and Southern Water Services Ltd was bought and sold by several companies over the next two decades.

The Compleat Angler Fishing Club of Eastbourne merged with Hailsham Angling Associateion in 1997, forming the Southdown Angling Association. The club controls six still waters and stretches of the River Cuckmere, Wallers Haven and Pevensey Haven.

Astronomer Royal, Woolley, seen looking at the rainbow trout in the film, was responsible for the 98-inch Isaac Newton Telescope at Herstmonceux. The telescope, opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1967 and seen under construction in the film, was the largest in Western Europe.

Related resources


Southdown Angling Association

See website for news and details of waters under their control, calender, rules and regulations.

The Angling Trust

The Angling Trust is the single organisation to represent all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in England.