Morley's Hall moated site


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


Ordnance survey map of Morley's Hall moated site
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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:
SJ 68964 99267

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.

Morley's Hall moated site survives well and remains a good example of the site of a medieval moated mansion house. Evidence of earlier buildings will exist on the island and beneath the present house. Additionally organic material will be preserved within the waterlogged moat.


The monument is Morley's Hall moated site. It includes a slightly raised sub-rectangular island measuring 46m by 34m upon which the early 19th century Morley's Hall stands. The island is surrounded by a spring-fed waterlogged moat 12-15m wide and 3m deep with an inlet at the north-eastern corner and an outlet at the south-eastern corner. The moat widens at the south-eastern corner into a `Cheshire Bulge' - traditionally considered to be a watering place for dairy cattle. Access to the island is by a late medieval brick and sandstone bridge that replaced an earlier timber drawbridge. The Morley family were living here by 1303. At the time of Henry VII (1485-1509) the hall passed to the Leyland family. John Leland visited in 1540 and described the hall as a timber building on a stone foundation, and surrounded by a moat. The hall passed by marriage to the Tyldesleys in 1564. In 1641 the Benedictine monk Ambrose Barlow was arrested here and martyred at Lancaster. The house was sold to the Leghs in 1755 before passing to the Wilkinsons. It was largely rebuilt in 1804 although it retains much timber- framing of the earlier buildings. Morley's Hall is a Listed Building Grade II*. Morley's Hall, all outbuildings, service pipes, fences, paths and the access drive and cobbled area in front of the house, 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 5 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
Croston, J, 'The Old Halls of Lancashire & Cheshire' in Morley's Hall, ()
Tindall, A S, 'Country Houses of Greater Manchester' in The Moated House, (1985)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1989)
SMR No. 4064/1/0, Gt Manchester SMR, Morley's Hall, (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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