Lymm Hall moated site and ice house


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011146

Date first listed: 15-Apr-1994


Ordnance survey map of Lymm Hall moated site and ice house
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Warrington (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lymm

National Grid Reference: SJ 68419 87035


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.

Lymm Hall is one of the oldest medieval moated sites in Cheshire, having been occupied continuously for over 900 years, and has a long and well documented history. Remains of earlier building phases of the hall will exist beneath the present house and gardens, as will remains of the bridge known to have existed across the moat's western arm during the 19th century. Additionally, the ice house survives reasonably well and is one of the few surviving examples of this class of monument in Cheshire.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is Lymm Hall medieval moated site and ice house. It includes an island, upon which the present Lymm Hall stands, surrounded by three arms of a dry moat and a wide outer bank. The island measures approximately 60m square. It is surrounded on the west, east and much of the north sides by a dry moat up to 2m deep that varies in width from 6m on the east side to 18m on the west side. The southern arm has been infilled. The moat widens to 25m at the north-western corner into a 'Cheshire Bulge' - traditionally considered to be a watering place for dairy cattle. Flanking the moat is an outer bank up to 0.4m high and measuring 6m-22m in width. Access to the island is by a mid- 17th-century sandstone bridge across the moat's northern arm. The ice house is located on a mound on the moat's western outer bank and has been partially converted into a summer house. The ice house is a square building of cavity wall construction made of brick on sandstone foundations. The ice pit is over 2m deep and at the bottom it has a sump with a lead pipe for drainage into the moat. Access to the ice house was through a brick tunnel on the north side of the chamber.

Lymm Hall dates from Domesday and was occupied by the de Limme family until c.1377 when it passed to the Dumvyle or Domville family. A member of this family rebuilt the hall during the reign of Elizabeth 1 (1558-1603) and the present hall dates from the 17th century. The hall was owned by James Barrett in the mid-19th century. A 19th-century painting inside the hall shows the moat to be waterlogged with a second bridge giving access across the western arm. An excavation of the ice house was carried out in 1975 and pottery dating to the second half of the 15th century was found. Excavation of an area immediately north of the moat between the access drive and Moat House found pottery of similar date.

Lymm Hall is a listed building Grade II*. The bridge is a listed building Grade II.

Lymm Hall, all service pipes, the bridge, the access drive, the summer house, all paths and flagged areas, and an area of Moat House yard and part of an outbuilding that overlie the infilled part of the moat's northern arm, 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: 23639

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Carter, G A, Warrington and the Mid-Mersey Valley, (1971), 11
Davey, P J, Medieval Pottery from Excavations in the North West, (1977), 48-53
Bearpark, P J, Johnson, B, 'CAB' in , , Vol. 4, (1976), 28-30
Bearpark, P J, Johnson, B, 'Cheshire Archaeological Bulletin' in Cheshire Archaeological Bulletin, , Vol. 3, (1975), 45-8
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1989)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Icehouses, (1989)
Ref. No. 2/68, DOE, Provisional List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historical Interest - Warr Dist, (1970)
Ref. No. 2/69, DOE, Provisional List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historical Interest - Warr Dist, (1970)
SMR No. 523/2/2, Cheshire SMR, Moat House, Lymm, (1986)

End of official listing