The earliest recorded mention of the lake is 1330, when it was recorded in the Derbyshire Assize Rolls. It was built by the owners of nearby Codnor Castle to house their fresh fish supply and also to run the castle’s corn mill.

In the 16th Century Sir John Zouch, then the owner of Codnor Castle, converted the lake to operate his nearby blast furnaces, which were some of the first in the country.