Winstanley moated site and five fishponds


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wigan (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 54237 03495, SD 54389 03618

Reasons for Designation

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

Despite some disturbance to the island by tree roots and partial cleaning and infilling of the moat, Winstanley moated site and its associated fishponds survive well. Evidence of the original buildings will exist upon the island and the waterlogged moat and fishponds will contain organic material.


The monument is Winstanley moated site and five associated fishponds. It is divided into two separate areas. The moated site includes a rectangular island measuring c.50m by 40m that is surrounded on three sides by a waterlogged moat up to 15m wide and 1m deep to the water level. The moat's southern arm is dry and has been partially infilled. There is an inlet channel at the moat's north-western corner and an outlet channel at the north-eastern corner. Flanking the waterlogged moat is an outer bank up to 10m wide and 1m high. Access to the island is by a causeway on the western arm. To the north-east of the moat, in Workshop Wood, is a series of five waterlogged fishponds. These are believed to be contemporary with the moated site. In 1212 the extensive manor of Billinge and Winstanley had been divided into three. One manor was held by Adam de Billinge and two subordinate manors were held by Simon and Roger de Winstanley. The Winstanleys remained at the moated site until the late 16th century when a new building, the present Winstanley Hall, was completed 400m to the south. All fences, fence posts, and a timber shed on the island are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
SMR No. 4659/2/0, Gt Manchester SMR, Moat in Winstanley Park, (1990)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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