Rixton Old Hall moated site


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


Ordnance survey map of Rixton Old Hall moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Warrington (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 68370 89395

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 recent cleaning of the moat, which will have removed some of the waterlogged deposits, Rixton Old Hall moated site survives reasonably well. It remains a good example of the site of a medieval mansion house, remains unencumbered by modern development and contains earthwork evidence of the buildings known to have occupied the site until the 19th century.


The monument is Rixton Old Hall medieval moated site. It includes a sub-rectangular island surrounded by a waterlogged moat. Thirteenth-century documentary sources indicate that it once formed part of the medieval village of Rixton. The island's maximum dimensions measure approximately 70m by 55m and it contains earthworks in its northern half that include two levelled areas: the larger measuring c.15m by 12m and surrounded on three sides by a low bank up to 0.3m high and 1m wide; the smaller measuring approximately 8m square. The surrounding moat has mainly precipitous sides with the water level approximately 1m below the interior level. It varies in width between 14m-30m and is widest at the south-eastern corner. Access to the island is by a modern brick bridge that is thought to be on the site of the original entrance. The village of Rixton is mentioned in 13th-century documents. Between 1200 and 1332 successive lords of the manor were named Alan de Rixton. In 1384 William de Rixton sold all his lands in Rixton to Richard de Mascy and the Mascy family lived at Rixton Hall until the 18th century. The present house lies immediately to the south of the moat and was constructed in 1822. The extent and survival of any other remains of the deserted village are not presently known and hence not included in the scheduling. Excluded from the scheduling are all fences and gateposts on the island, the modern brick bridge, a modern sluice close to the moat's north-eastern corner and a wooden jetty at the south-eastern corner 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:


Books and journals
Carter, G A, Warrington and the Mid-Mersey Valley, (1971), 55-6
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1989)
SMR No. 515/1, Cheshire SMR, (1986)
Title: Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:2500 Map
To Robinson,K.D. (MPPFW), Berry, K. (Owners company director), (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

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