Moated site of Clayton Hall, adjacent fishponds and channels


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012313

Date first listed: 02-Mar-1978

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Apr-1991


Ordnance survey map of Moated site of Clayton Hall, adjacent fishponds and channels
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lancashire

District: Chorley (District Authority)

Parish: Clayton-le-Woods

National Grid Reference: SD 56457 22040


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.

A fishpond is one or more artifically created pools of slow moving fresh water constructed for the purpose of, breeding, and/or storing fish. Water enters and leaves ponds by means of a series of channels and leats, the flow of water being controlled by one or more sluices and overflow channels. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England appears to have begun during the medieval period, with the impetus coming from the monastic institutions. The difficulties of obtaining fresh meat in winter may have been one of the factors which favoured development of fishponds and made them so valuable. The 12th century was probably the high-point of fish farming in England. After the Dissolution the practice declined, although in some areas it was still taken seriously in the 17th century. Surviving fishponds are important indicators of a specific medieval method of food production. Of particular importance, in sites still waterlogged, are organic remains which, amongst other things may include fish remains, thus allowing analysis of the species formerly farmed. The moated site at Clayton Hall survives well and includes features which illustrate clearly the water management system. The continued waterlogging of the moat and the adjacent ponds and inlet/outlet channels provides conditions for the survival of organic remains. The island contains the remains of recently demolished 17th century Clayton Hall and it is probable that buried remains of an earlier building known to have occupied the island will also survive.


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


The monument at Clayton Hall consists of the demolished remains of the 17th century hall with a well preserved moat to the N and NE. Moated sites are generally seen as the prestigious residences of the Lords of the manor. The moat in such circumstances marked the high status of the occupier, but also served to deter casual raiders and wild animals. The moat at Clayton Hall is waterfilled at its N and NE sides. A wide causeway, consisting of dumped rubble, crosses the moat at its NW corner. The W side of the moat is silted and partially rubble filled. A slight hollow indicates the infilled moat at the SE side but there are now no surface remains of the S limits of the monument. A fishpond and outlet stream flowing into the moat exists to the N of the moat and a second fishpond with inlet and outlet channels lies adjacent to the W of the moat. Being stocked with fish and encouraging fowl, fishponds provided a valuable food source. All fencing, which on the south and east forms the perimeter of the monument, is excluded from the scheduling as is the gravel path to the N of the moat. However, the land beneath the gravel path is included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 13409

Legacy System: RSM


9-8-1988, Capstick, B, FMW Report re Clayton Hall, (1988)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
SMR Record (PRN 1486),

End of official listing