Middleton moated monastic grange, eight fishponds and connecting channels


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


Ordnance survey map of Middleton moated monastic grange, eight fishponds and connecting channels
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009847 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Sep-2019 at 21:13:54.


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 55597 77030, SJ 55723 77040, SJ 55726 77151, SJ 55798 77046

Reasons for Designation

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange. Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands. On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as nationally important.

Despite being located in a woodland context Middleton monastic grange survives well. Its earthworks remain well preserved and the monument is unencumbered by modern development. The site will therefore contain considerable evidence of its original form and the activities which occurred on the enclosed island. Limited excavation at the site found dressed stone remains and further evidence of the monastic grange and subsequent Middleton Hall will exist. An unusual aspect of this monument is its large number of associated waterlogged fishponds which will retain organic material in their sediments. The scale of the moated site and number and complexity of the associated fishponds confirm that this was a grange of considerable importance to its founding monastery.


The monument is Middleton medieval monastic moated grange together with eight fishponds and connecting channels. It is divided into four separate constraint areas. The site includes an island measuring some 64m by 54m that is surrounded by a dry moat up to 12m wide and 2.5m deep. An outer bank 8m wide and 1m high flanks the moat's southern arm. The southwest quadrant of the island has been separated from the remainder by a dry ditch up to 8m wide and 2.5m deep. In `The Coppice', to the east of the moat, lie eight fishponds and connecting channels. At the northeastern end of `The Coppice' are a set of three irregularly-shaped waterlogged ponds measuring, from north to south, some 65m by 37m, 67m by 35m, and 24m by 16m. At the southeastern end of `The Coppice' there is a second set of three ponds measuring, from north to south, 20m by 6m, 43m by 12m, and l7m by 11m. The northerly and central of these ponds remains waterlogged, the southerly pond is dry. Situated between these ponds and the moat are a further two waterlogged ponds, each measuring some 16m by 8m, with an outlet channel issuing from the westerly. The site is considered to be the Mid-Eston referred to in Domesday and known to have belonged to St Werburgh's Church in Chester. The site was confirmed to Norton Priory by John Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and Halton c.1236. A chapel is known to have existed at Middleton with a priest provided by Norton Priory. After the Dissolution the chapel is thought to have continued in use and the island occupied by Middleton Hall. Limited excavation in the moat in 1920 revealed stone octagonal pillars for supporting a timber bridge. All field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling as is the corrugated metal sheeting placed across the narrowest part of the northernmost fishpond. The ground beneath these features, however, 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
Talbot, H, Plan of Aston Moat, (1985)
JHEB, , 'Cheshire Sheaf' in Cheshire Sheaf, , Vol. 17, (1920)
Ormerod, G, 'History of Cheshire' in History of Cheshire, , Vol. 3, (1882)
Richards, R, 'Lancs And Chesh Arch Soc' in Trans Lancs And Chesh Arch Soc, , Vol. 102, (1950)
Dennison, E, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1987)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
SMR No. 932/1/1, Cheshire SMR, Middleton Grange, (1988)


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].