Holford Hall moated site


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


Ordnance survey map of Holford Hall moated site
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 70903 75396

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.

Holford Hall moated site survives well and despite infilling of the moat's southwestern arm remains otherwise unencumbered by modern development. Limited excavation on the island has revealed foundations of the hall's medieval north wing and further evidence of both the house and chapel demolished during the early 20th century will survive. Additionally the waterlogged moat will preserve organic material.


The monument is the moated site of Holford Hall. It includes an island measuring c.100m x 80m. Holford Hall, a garage and access drive occupy the northern quadrant of the island. Surrounding the island on all sides except the southwest is a waterlogged moat c.20m wide x 1.5m deep to the water level. Access to the island is by a 17th-century sandstone bridge across the north-eastern arm and by a causeway across the south-eastern arm. The present house is a fragment of a much larger timber house consisting of three sides of a quadrangle that was rebuilt in the early 17th century for Mary Cholmondeley, heiress of Christopher Holford of Holford. The south wing collapsed and was demolished in 1844. The north wing was demolished during the 1880s. Photographs of the north wing show it to have been earlier than what survives and limited archaeological excavation in 1990 revealed foundation stones set in clay. The moat's south-western arm was infilled this century but its location is marked by a change in the vegetation cover. A chapel survived on the island until the 1920s/30s. Holford Hall is a Listed Building Grade II*. The bridge is a Listed Building Grade II. Holford Hall and all service pipes, field boundaries and telegraph poles, the driveway, garage, bridge and a 2m wide strip of farmtrack at the moat's north- eastern corner are all excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath all these features is included. The area of the existing Victorian brick addition to the hall, both above and below ground, and the area between it and the adjacent garage are totally excluded from the scheduling.

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
De Figueiredo, P, Treuherz, J, Cheshire Country Houses, (1988), 242-3
'Trans Lancs and Ches Arch Soc' in Trans Lancs and Ches Arch Soc, , Vol. 44, (1927), 112-3
1235/1/1, Cheshire SMR, Holford Hall, (1990)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Gifford and Partners, Assess of Arch Deposits in Trial Area at Holford Hall, Plumley, (1990)
To Robinson, K D MPPFW, Mrs Phillips (Site Owner), (1991)


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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