Bretters Farm moated site and two fishponds
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1009350
Date first listed: 11-Jun-1991
Date of most recent amendment: 30-Nov-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Chorley (District Authority)
Parish: Heath Charnock
National Grid Reference: SD 59919 15409
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.
'Old Hall' moated site at Bretters Farm survives well, its earthworks being particularly evident. The monument is unencumbered by modern development and, as shown by previous limited trenching and de-turfing, retains considerable archaeological evidence of the medieval buildings which originally occupied the site. Additionally the waterlogged moat and pond will contain organic materials.
The monument is the moated site known as 'Old Hall' lying some 30m north of
Bretters Farm. The site includes a grassy island measuring 48m x 38m upon
which the medieval manor house stood. The island is surrounded by a partly
waterlogged moat 15m average width and up to 3m deep with an outlet channel
issuing from the north western corner. Access to the island is by a causeway
across the southern arm. Adjacent to the western arm is a triangular
waterlogged pond 18m north-south by 24m east-west and connected to the moat
by a short channel. Adjacent to the northern arm is a sub-circular waterlogged
fishpond 14m diameter also connected to the moat by a short channel. There is
an outer bank 3m wide and up to 0.2m high adjacent to the moat's eastern
The medieval manor of Heath Charnock is recorded in documents from the 13th
century onwards and was in the possession of the Ferrers family and
subsequently other notable Lancastrian families. Limited excavation on the
island has revealed finds ranging in date from the 12th to the 18th centuries,
the most significant being pottery fragments of 12/13th century date. Recent
de-turfing of the island exposed significant structural foundations just below
the present ground surface.
All field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath them 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.
Legacy System number: 13482
Legacy System: RSM
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1989)
Dennison, E, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1987)
Nieke, Dr M, (1990)
SMR No. 889, Lancashire SMR, Bretters Farm, (1986)
To Robinson, K.D. MPPFW, Iles, P. (SMR Officer), Bretters Farm, (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