Chorley Old Hall moated site and four fishponds


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.

Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
Alderley Edge
National Grid Reference:
SJ 83712 78048, SJ 83735 78001, SJ 83758 78116

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.

Chorley Old Hall is the oldest inhabited country house in Cheshire. The monument has never been excavated and the moated site and fishponds survive particularly well. The island will contain evidence of the buildings which formerly occupied it and the waterlogged fishponds and moat will preserve organic material.


The monument is the medieval moated site of Chorley Old Hall, the oldest inhabited country house in Cheshire. It includes an island measuring c.70m x 54m that contains Chorley Old Hall and numerous low earthworks. Surrounding the island is a waterlogged moat averaging 12m wide x 1.3m deep to the water level. At the northwestern corner, however, the moat's width has been increased to c.30m and there are two small ornamental islands. A recently improved outlet channel connects with a stream to the west. Access to the island is by a two arched sandstone bridge across the northern arm. An outer bank, 9-11m wide x 0.4m high, flanks the eastern arm and the eastern half of the northern arm. South of the moat is a set of waterlogged fishponds. The westernmost is of sub-rectangular form measuring c.9m x 8m. It connects via a short channel to an L-shaped pond that is fed from a stream by a recently improved inlet channel entering at its southwestern corner. This pond measures c.40m north-south x 30m east-west. A recently improved outlet channel issues from its northwestern corner to flow over an ornamental waterfall and enter the moat at the southwestern corner. A third fishpond, c.16m x 12m, lies to the east and connects with the L-shaped pond via a short channel. Further to the south is a dry fishpond c.17m x 6.5m x 0.8m deep that possesses an outlet channel into a stream on its south side. Chorley Old Hall was constructed c.1330 by Robert de Chorley. By 1523 the Davenports owned the house and during the mid 16th century constructed a half-timbered house adjoining the existing building's northwestern corner. Ownership passed to the Stanleys in the early 17th century who undertook alterations c.1640 and constructed the bridge. The two houses were joined by a brick link in the late 18th/early 19th century. In 1915 the house was fully restored and further renovations occurred in 1975. Chorley Old Hall is a Listed Building Grade I. The bridge is a Listed Building Grade II. Chorley Old Hall, all service pipes, all flagged and cobbled areas, all walls and fences, the bridge, garages, greenhouse, shed and the two ornamental islands are all excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath all these features is included. All recently modified inlet and outlet channels are also excluded from the scheduling.

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
De Figueiredo, P, Treuherz, J, Cheshire Country Houses, (1988)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1989)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Moated Sites Research Group Record Card, (1973)
Mr Brindle (Site owner), To Robinson, K.D. MPPFW, (1991)
SJ87 NW7, Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Record Card, (1964)


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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