Halsall medieval rectory


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.

West Lancashire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 37177 10510

Reasons for Designation

A medieval rectory was the official residence of a clergyman or rector who was the cleric in charge of a parish, college, religious house or congregation. The main components of a medieval rectory included domestic ranges, some of which may have been grouped around a courtyard and may have contained offices and guest rooms, ancillary outbuildings for agricultural use and storage, a precinct wall and a gatehouse. Foundation dates and sequences of occupation are usually established through documentary sources, stylistic dating of worked stone or other archaeological techniques. Medieval rectories contribute to our understanding of the organisation of the medieval church. Their buildings often include decoration and details which assist analysis and study of changes in church architecture. All surviving examples retaining significant medieval remains may be identified as nationally important. Halsall medieval rectory remains unencumbered by modern development and contains upstanding 14th/15th-century and later masonry. Further remains of the original buildings and structures referred to in 16th and 17th century documentary sources will survive below ground.


The monument is Halsall medieval rectory (priest's house) located c.230m north-north-east of St Cuthbert's Church. It is also known as Halsall Abbey or Halsall Priory. The monument includes a wall of yellow sandstone, 17m long, pierced by doors and windows and standing to a maximum height of nearly 5m. This surviving walling indicates a substantial structure of 14th/15th-century date that is thought to have been arranged around three or four sides of a courtyard. Documentary sources indicate that in the 16th and 17th centuries it contained a considerable number of rooms including a hall, parlours and chambers and, possibly, a gatehouse. A group of buildings also lay to the east while the Tithe Map of 1843 shows further structures to the north and west. A plinth course on the north face of the upstanding walling indicates that it was originally an exterior wall. Short projections at each end of the north face are contemporary with the wall and are evidence for larger projections shown on the Tithe Map. A break in the plinth course, together with repairs, indicates that there was another projecting wall running north. Original doorways at either end of the wall display 15th-century architectural details while a third doorway in the eastern part of the wall was a later addition. There is a window close to the west door, a second window survived until the late 19th/early 20th century and there is evidence of a third window close to the east door. Immediately to the south of the east door, springing from an arch suggests an opening in the east wall possibly originally giving access to outbuildings. Footings for another structure survive a short distance to the south-west and photographs of the site taken between 1890-1920 indicate the presence of one, or possibly two, doorways of a turret. Repairs and rebuilding occurred in the late 17th/early 18th centuries and the rectory was largely demolished in the mid-19th century. The upstanding building remains are listed Grade II. All walls and fences, 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.


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

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Books and journals
Lewis, J , 'Liverpool University Archaeology Newsletter' in Halsall Rectory, , Vol. 2, (1986), 9-10
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Letter to O.J.Weaver of HBMC, Lewis, J, Halsall Rectory, Halsall, Lancashire, (1986)
SMR No 33, Lancs SMR, Halsall Rectory or Priory, (1992)


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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