Darley Hall moated site


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


Ordnance survey map of Darley Hall moated site
© 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.
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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)
Little Budworth
National Grid Reference:
SJ 60725 64271

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.

Despite infilling of much of the moat's south-eastern arm and recent cleaning of the remainder of the moat, which will have removed some of the waterlogged deposits, Darley Hall moated site survives reasonably well. It remains a good example of the site of a medieval mansion house and will contain evidence of the buildings known to have occupied the island until the late 17th/early 18th centuries.


The monument is Darley Hall medieval moated site. It includes a rectangular island, measuring approximately 65m by 54m, which has a low flat platform in its eastern quadrant. The island is surrounded by a waterlogged moat 1m deep to the water level on all sides except the south-east, where only a fragment remains close to the southern corner, the remainder having been infilled. The moat's south-western and north-western arms measure 13m-18m in width and the wider north-eastern arm measures up to 34m. The 1695 estate map of Oulton Lowe (Darley demesne) shows the island completely surrounded by the moat with access across the moat's south-eastern arm. Darley Hall is depicted occupying the island and there are various outbuildings to the south-east of the moat. It is thought that the island was abandoned soon after this date when the present Darley Hall was built on the site of the outbuildings depicted on the estate map. All service pipes, outbuildings, telegraph poles, fences, gateposts, paths, concrete and gravel areas are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath all these features 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:


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
In possession of SMR. Ref No. 812, George, KP, Pool Places including mill site E of Darley Hall, (1993)
SMR No. 812, Cheshire SMR, Darley Hall, (1990)


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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