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 important.

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

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