Site of Old Madeley Manor: a moated site with late 16th century house, gardens and a watermill
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1009769
Date first listed: 02-Feb-1962
Date of most recent amendment: 08-Feb-1995
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Newcastle-under-Lyme (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SJ 77361 42368
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
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 Madeley Manor is a well-preserved example of a manorial site with a moated manor house enclosure, associated garden enclosure, water management system and the earthwork remains of a mill site. The site will retain structural and artefactual evidence for both the original manor house known to have existed here since before 1348 and for the late 16th century Renaissance house which superseded it. Documentary records survive for the Renaissance house. Organic material will be preserved in the waterfilled moat ditches and within the seasonally waterlogged garden ponds. The late 16th/17th century garden earthworks not only provide evidence for the layout and setting of Old Madeley Manor, but they also reflect the trends of garden design during this period. In particular, the less common water garden to the west of the moated enclosure reflects the late 16th and 17th century emphasis on formal, ornamental gardens and provide evidence of the wealth and social status of the occupants of Old Madeley Manor. The watermill site at Madeley survives in a good condition and derives its importance from its close association to the manor site. The location of the watermill, adjacent to Old Madeley Manor, illustrates well the influence and control exercised by the aristocracy on manorial watermills.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument is situated approximately 400m south of Manor Farm, Madeley in
the valley of the River Lea which was canalised in the first quarter of the
19th century. It includes the earthwork and buried remains of a moated site
and the standing earthwork and buried remains of a late 16th or early 17th
century house with its associated garden earthworks. The monument also
includes parts of an associated water management system, the earthwork remains
of a watermill and a series of hollow ways.
Occupation of the site is known from at least the early 14th century when a
licence to crenellate the manor at Madeley was granted to Ralph, Lord Stafford
in 1348. The moated site has been constructed to the south of the River Lea
and has external dimensions of approximately 90m east-west and 100m north-
south. It is defined on its north and west sides by an L-shaped waterfilled
moat; the north arm measures 85m in length and the west arm is 68m. Both arms
average 18m in width. The east side of the moated site is defined by a slope
which decreases in height towards the south as the natural topography rises.
On this eastern side the platform stood above a large pool (now drained) which
was formed behind a dam, set across the valley which is now represented by the
causeway below the modern Madeley Road. The platform is now defined along its
south side by a scarp running east-west. It is probable that there was
originally a waterfilled ditch in this location. Access onto the moated
island was originally from the north. A broad bank, 13m wide, is visible
forming a causeway across the valley bottom, running north-south, but
askew to the orientation of the moat. A low earthen mound at the south end of
the causeway corresponds to a raised area on the north side of the central
part of the moat and these features are thought to have acted as bridging
points across the River Lea (which flows parallel to the north moat arm) and
across the moat itself to give access to the centre of the moated island. The
causeway is also believed to have functioned as a retaining bank for a large
pool to the west. The height of the causeway indicates that the pond could
have only held a sheet of water, but the visual effect as the house was
approached from the north would have been quite dramatic.
Slight earthworks and a length of standing masonry in the west part of the
moated island indicate the location of the 14th century manor house. The
standing masonry has been constructed of ashlar blocks of Red Sandstone and
includes part of the springing of an external round-headed doorway with
portcullis groove and chamfered arch at its north end. This fragment of
standing masonry is Listed Grade II and is included in the scheduling. It is
thought to be the remains of the west external wall and gateway of the
original stone-built house. By 1422-3 this site was referred to as the `Old
Madeley Manor' and it is thought that the house had fallen into disrepair by
In 1540 the manor of Madeley was sold to Thomas Offley, who became the Mayor
of London in 1556, and a second house was built at the site during the late
16th or early 17th century. An illustration of this house by Plot in 1686
indicates that the main body of the house was of ornamental timber-framed
construction, of three storeys with large mullioned windows and the upper
storey entirely contained within the roof space. The east part of the house
was built of ashlar blocks and was very different in its construction from the
main body. It is thought that this east wing was in fact the original manor
house which was reused and incorporated within the design of the late 16th
century house. The social standing of the Offley family during the 16th and
17th centuries is reflected by the apparent splendour of their country seat at
Madeley. In 1679 John Offley married Anne Crewe, heiress to the Crewe estate.
The subsequent move to Crewe Hall led to the abandonment of the manor house at
Madeley which fell into decay and was largely demolished in 1749.
The original causewayed approach to the house was eventually superseded as the
principal means of access to the manor by a more substantial causeway to the
east. This later causeway, up to 1.2m high, runs to the north east corner of
the moated enclosure and continues along the line of the east boundary to the
enclosure. Immediately to the south of the house, within the original moated
island, are the earthwork remains of a formal garden. This garden is shown on
Plot's illustration and is, therefore, known to have included principal
walkways around the sides and through the centre which were connected by a
series of semicircular paths. The principal walkways survive as low scarps
and define an enclosure of 28m north-south and 45m east-west. The sandstone
foundations of a small building remain visible to the west of this garden and
south west of the house. These foundations are likely to be the remains of an
ancillary building of timber-framed construction which is shown on Plot's
To the west of the moated island is a series of features believed to form the
remains of a formal Renaissance water garden. This area is similar in plan to
the moated island and measures approximately 100m square. The north side of
the garden is defined by a walkway which runs east-west and also continues
eastwards along the north arm of the moat. The walkway has a relatively level
surface and measures 160m long and averages 6m in width. The east and south
sides of the garden are also defined by walkways, the east runs parallel to
the west moat arm and is similar in height to the north walkway; a maximum
height of 1.3m. The west side of the water garden is defined by a north-south
stream channel and it is unclear if this channel is the original west boundary
to the garden. Parallel to the east and south walkways are a series of
rectangular, steep-sided ponds, two on the east side and two on the south.
These seasonally waterlogged ponds are, in turn, bounded on their north and
west sides by two further raised walkways, which are connected by causeways
between the ponds. The walkways surround a series of sub-rectangular
platforms which formed the nucleus of the garden. These platforms are defined
by a series of channels which would have originally carried water.
At the south west corner of the site are the earthwork remains of two small
ponds, both now dry, which would have originally supplied and regulated the
water supply to the water garden to the north. The west side of the south pond
has been infilled and its south extent has been destroyed by later activity.
The second pond is situated immediately to the south of the water garden and
its position, which coincides with the north-south alignment of the garden's
ornamental ponds, suggests that this pond also formed part of the garden
The south boundary to the site is defined by a parallel bank and ditch running
in an east-west direction at the base of the south side of the valley. These
features also delimit the south sides of the moated and garden enclosures.
There is a considerable reduction in the height of these earthworks near to
the present Manor Road and the road itself cuts across the earthworks. On the
east side of the road the ditch re-emerges, runs alongside an area of
earthworks and building platforms and then continues into the present course
of the River Lea. The topographical position of the bank and ditch indicate
that at one stage the ditch carried water. Its greater depth as it continued
eastwards would have increased the flow of water as it approached the
earthworks on the east side of the Manor Road. These building platforms are
considered to be the remains of a former watermill site with the ditch serving
as a leat providing the water power for the water-wheel. The bank and ditch
are thought to have had a second function as part of a park pale defining the
north boundary of Madeley Great Park which dates from at least the late 13th
Immediately to the north of the bank and ditch and to the east of the moated
enclosure, in the base of the valley, are a series of scarps which define a
number of rectangular enclosures. These earthworks are thought to form part of
a First World War prisoner-of-war camp which occupied the area and are
included in the scheduling.
To the north of the later causeway, on the north side of the valley, there is
a series of hollow ways. A hollow way heading towards Manor Farm is thought to
be post 18th century in date and contemporary with the establishment of the
farm. It cuts a series of parallel lynchets which run east-west along the
hillslope. One of these lynchets steepens and turns at right angles to create
a building platform. The building that was originally situated here is thought
to have been an integral part of the manor house estate.
All fence posts, telegraph poles and the surface of the road are excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features, 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: 13473
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Cantor, L M, Moore, J S, The Medieval Parks of the Earls of Stafford at Madeley, (1963), 37
Plot, R, The Natural History of Staffordshire, (1686)
RCHME, , Old Madeley Manor, (1686), 19
RCHME, , Old Madeley Manor, (1993), 11
RCHME, , Old Madeley Manor, (1993), 1
RCHME, , Old Madeley Manor, (1993), 13
RCHME, , Old Madeley Manor, (1993), 16
Clewes, FH, 'Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club' in Bartomley, Heighley & Old Madeley Manor, , Vol. 84, (1950), 120
Stocker, D.A., (1993)
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