Bewsey Old Hall moated site, fishpond and connecting channel


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012324

Date first listed: 17-Dec-1991


Ordnance survey map of Bewsey Old Hall moated site, fishpond and connecting channel
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Warrington (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Burtonwood and Westbrook

National Grid Reference: SJ 59089 89558


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.

The monument has a long and well documented history covering almost 750 years of continuous occupation. The site has been subjected to a variety of uses including a medieval grange, a medieval moated manor house, and a post- medieval moated mansion with formal gardens. Partial excavation of the island has revealed evidence of structures and artefacts associated with all these phases and further similar evidence will lie beneath the hall, farmhouse, outbuilding and remaining unexcavated areas of the island. Additionally the waterlogged moat, well, fishpond and connecting channel will preserve organic material.


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


The monument is the moated site of Bewsey Old Hall. It includes an island measuring c.100m x 70m that is partially occupied by Bewsey Old Hall and farmhouse, an outbuilding, a stone-lined well, and an open area of partial archaeological excavation. The remainder of the island includes a formal garden of the Stuart period that extended over much of the eastern half. Surrounding the island is a moat, up to 20m in width and 5m in depth, that is waterlogged in its western, much of its southern, and part of its northern arms, and partially infilled along its northern and eastern arms. Access to the island is by a causeway across the western arm with secondary access via a low causeway close to the southeast corner. A boggy channel c.25m long x 4m wide connects the southern arm with a fishpond measuring c.40m x 20m x 5m deep. The site has a well documented history. In 1251 the land was given to Tilty Abbey in Essex who established a grange here. Thirteen years later William le Boteler made Bewsey his family seat and it remained within his family until the late 16th century after which it passed through other notable families. The house was extended in 1597 and a Georgian wing replaced part of the house destroyed by fire during the 1740's. A chapel and detached building survived on the island until 1960. Archaeological excavation has uncovered considerable structural and artefactual evidence including medieval and Georgian bridges across the eastern and northern arms. Bewsey Old Hall and farmhouse are both Listed Buildings Grade II* and II respectively. Bewsey Old Hall, farmhouse, outbuilding and all service pipes; the access drive; and all walls, railings, fences and paths 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: 13488

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Warrington Development Corporation, , Bewsey Old Hall Research Report, (1980)
Cherry, J, 'Post Med Arch' in Post Med Arch, , Vol. 13, (1979)
Egan, J, 'Post Med Arch' in Post Med Arch, , Vol. 19, (1985)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1987)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
SMR No. 563/1, Cheshire SMR, Bewsey Old Hall, (1988)

End of official listing