Tabley Old Hall moated site and gatehouse.
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
- Tabley Inferior
- National Grid Reference:
- SJ 71981 77380
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.
Tabley Old Hall is an unusual example of this class of monument. A natural feature - in this case a peninsula protruding into a mere - was modified to create a moated site. The effort required was minimal but the result strikingly effective. The island will contain evidence of the medieval and later phases of Tabley Old Hall beneath the present late 17th-century ruin and remains of the chapel finally dismantled in the 1920s.
The monument is the moated site of Tabley Old Hall. It lies upon what was
formerly a peninsula protruding into Tabley Mere. This was modified by the
cutting of a channel on the north-west side, thus creating an island with the
mere acting as a substantial moat. The island covers some 0.5ha and contains
much of the north and east walls of the old hall together with fragments of
internal walls. Rubble lies over a large area both within and around the
ruin. Close to the south-eastern corner of the island are the sandstone
foundations of a chapel. A flight of steps leads from the island's north-
eastern corner to the mere, a wall runs along much of the north-western edge
of the island and a fallen sundial indicates a former garden area to the west
of the ruin. There are traces of an old boat house on the island's south-west
side. The waterlogged channel separating the island from the mainland is some
18m wide x 1.5m deep. A gatehouse to the former footbridge stands on the
mainland opposite the island's northern corner. It is included in the
scheduling. Access to the island is presently by a bridge of tree trunks laid
side to side.
Tabley Old Hall was built on this site c.1380, replacing an earlier manor
house nearby. In the 16th century alterations were made to the hall and in
the latter half of the 17th century the timber and plaster house was encased
in brick on three sides. About this time the chapel was built and a tower
added in 1724. Further additions took place in the 19th century. Parts of
the hall collapsed in 1927 and the building was subsequently abandoned and the
chapel taken down. The ruins of Tabley Old Hall are Listed Grade II*. These
ruins are included in the scheduling as they may include medieval fabric.
Moreover, any works on them would disturb underlying archaeological remains.
The access bridge is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is
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
Mercer, E, English Vernacular Houses, (1975)
Ormerod, G, 'History of Cheshire' in History of Cheshire, , Vol. 3, (1882), 623-5
Darvill, T, Tabley Old Hall, 1987, SMR No. 1230/1/1
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
SJ 77 NW 3, Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Record Card (SJ 77 NW 3), (1964)
SMR No. 1230/1/1, Cheshire SMR, Tabley House, Tabley Inferior,
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 (Tabley) Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
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