St Andrew's medieval hospital and limekiln, Denhall
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SJ 30180 74657
Reasons for Designation
A medieval hospital is a group of buildings housing a religious or secular
institution which provided spiritual and medical care. The idea for such
institutions originated in the Anglo-Saxon period although the first definite
foundations were created by Anglo-Norman bishops and queens in the
11th century. Documentary sources indicate that by the mid 16th century there
were around 800 hospitals. A further 300 are also thought to have existed but
had fallen out of use by this date. Half of the hospitals were suppressed by
1539 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Some smaller institutions
survived until 1547 when they were dissolved by Edward VI. Many of these
smaller hospitals survived as almshouses, some up to the present day. Despite
the large number of hospitals known from documentary sources to have existed,
generally only the larger religious ones have been exactly located. Few
hospitals retain upstanding remains and very few have been examined by
excavation. In view of these factors all positively identified hospitals
retaining significant medieval remains will be identified as nationally
The site of St Andrew's medieval hospital remains unencumbered by modern development and retains earthworks associated with the buildings and precinct wall of the complex. Additionally the silts of the waterlogged pond will contain organic deposits possibly including traces of the plants grown and used for medication during medieval times.
The monument is the medieval hospital of St Andrew, located in Chapel Field
at Denhall and founded c.1231-4 for the help of the poor, shipwrecked, and
travellers to and from Ireland. It is situated at the foot of a west-facing
slope a short distance above the shoreline of the River Dee and includes
earthwork remains of the ruined buildings of the hospital complex and precinct
wall. The earthworks of a limekiln occupy a position on top of a low cliff on
the east side of the hospital.
The earthworks of the hospital, which are about 0.5m high, include ruins of a
linear building measuring 30m by 10m which stood against the precinct wall on
the western side of the site. This wall retains sandstone masonry standing up
to 1m high and still forms the western boundary of the present field. At the
northern end of the building near to the wall a bank 4m wide and 35m long runs
in a north easterly direction towards a rectangular earthwork interpreted as
the remains of a building measuring approximately 14m by 10m. North of the
bank there are other slight earthworks of an indeterminate nature. Adjacent to
the north east corner of the rectangular building is a low mound c.5m in
diameter. A short length of bank leads from the south east corner of this
building to the more northerly of two parallel gullies which lead down to a
large waterlogged pond fed by a stream from the south east. The pond's outlet
is crossed by an old path represented by a shallow depression leading from the
linear building and running in a southerly direction for 30m to the present
field boundary. East of the pond are slight earthworks and south of the pond
is a second pond, now dry, with an outlet channel running north towards the
outlet from the waterlogged pond. On the top of an old natural cliff-line to
the east of all these features and immediately south of the pond's inlet
channel is a low circular mound up to 4m in diameter and 0.5m high. Also on
top of the old cliff-line, and located close to the northern end of the field,
is the site of the medieval chapel from which the field takes its name.
Although no surface evidence of the chapel is visible its location is marked
on 1:2500 Ordnance Survey maps and buried remains will survive beneath the
present ground surface. Running along the top of the old cliff-line are
fragmentary remains of a low bank up to 3m wide interpreted as the eastern
boundary of the hospital and the remains of a post-medieval limekiln. This
limekiln is visible as a bank about 2m wide and 0.7m high which forms a circle
about 5m in diameter.
The hospital was built by Alexander Stavensby, bishop of Coventry and
Lichfield, adjacent to the harbour at Denhall. With the silting of the River
Dee at Chester, which by the late 14th century was inaccessible to sea-going
ships, Denhall's importance as a harbour increased, only to decline when it
too became choked with silt. In 1496 the hospital was united with St John's
Hospital, Lichfield, on the grounds that it was too impoverished to continue
independently. The buildings remained occupied until 1711, being used
initially as the parsonage house of Burton church and latterly as the home of
the masters of St John's. In 1738 the remains of the hospital buildings, then
in a ruinous state, were demolished, apart from one outlying building which
had been converted into a barn.
All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground
beneath them 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:
Books and journals
Longley, D, The Victoria History of the County of Cheshire, (1980), 184-6
Zaruk, J, Contour Survey of Chapel Field, Denhall, (1983), 44
Zarek, J, 'CAB' in Contour Survey of Chapel Field, Denton, , Vol. 9, (1983), 37-48
SMR NO. 10/1, Cheshire SMR, St Andrew's Hospital, Denton; Chapel Field, Denton, (1992)
Title: Ordnance Survey sheet SJ3074 1:2500 Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
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