Marton moated monastic grange, three fishponds, connecting channels and base of stone cross


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


Ordnance survey map of Marton moated monastic grange, three fishponds, connecting channels and base of stone cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
Whitegate and Marton
National Grid Reference:
SJ 62275 67539, SJ 62339 67680, SJ 62443 67646

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.

Marton moated monastic grange survives well and is largely unencumbered by modern development. Limited excavation on the island and in the moat has revealed that, despite construction of the Tudor manor house, considerable evidence of the spatial arrangement of the monastic grange survives, together with artefactual remains and well preserved organic material. Further archaeological evidence relating to the activities which occurred at the moated grange will survive. Additionally, earthworks associated with the fishery recorded in documents of 1284 survive well and organic material will be preserved within the waterlogged deposits.


The monument is Marton moated monastic grange together with three fishponds, connecting channels, and the base of a stone cross. The remains are located within three separate constraint areas. The site includes a rectangular island measuring some 68m by 37m that is surrounded by a largely stone-lined waterlogged moat 6m - 18m wide and 1.5m deep. Access to the island is by a brick and sandstone bridge across the moat's eastern arm. Two brick pillars stand on the island flanking the entrance and a brick wall runs along the island's northeastern edge. A partially waterlogged outlet channel 2m wide and 1.3m deep issues from the moat's northeastern corner and runs in a northeasterly direction for some 110m before turning northwest to run for a further 105m. This channel is cut into two sections by a disused railway embankment. A partially waterlogged channel 1.5m - 3m wide and 1.3m deep issues from the moat's northern arm a little west of centre, and runs in a northerly direction for some 90m where it connects with a boggy fishpond measuring some 26m by 9m and 1m deep. A second drain runs parallel and connects the southeastern corner of the pond with a dry fishpond some 12m square located close to the moat's northwestern arm. A short distance to the east of the boggy pond is a dry fishpond measuring some 15m by 13m that partly underlies a railway embankment. The sandstone base of a cross carved from a 60cm cube of stone is set into ground adjacent to the entrance drive to Marton Hall. Marton was a monastic grange belonging to the Cistercian Vale Royal Abbey. Records for Marton Grange began about 1220, the probable date of Ranulph de Merton's entitlement to the land. A quitclaim of 1284 mentions a fishery at the site. At the end of the 13th century the manor of Merton passed to Vale Royal Abbey. In 1539 the Abbey lands were confiscated by Henry VIII and granted to Thomas Holdcroft, who sold them to the Mainwaring family. A Tudor manor house was built on the island and at the end of the 16th century the moat was enlarged. The estate passed through several owners and the manor house was eventually demolished in 1848 when a new hall was built a short distance southeast of the island. Limited excavations on the island and within the moat revealed drainage ditches and internal division of the island, pottery of 14th - 16th century associated with the grange, good preservation of organic material, and substantial remains of the Tudor manor house. All fences, hedges, the brick and sandstone bridge and a brick outhouse on the island are excluded from the scheduling. The ground beneath all 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
Douglas, J, The Abbey Square Sketch Book, (1872)
Pagination 26-9, Curzon, J B, Marton SJ 621675, (1974)
SMR No. 762/1/3, Cheshire SMR, Marton 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

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