Bradley Hall, moated site, fishponds and connecting channels


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


Ordnance survey map of Bradley Hall, moated site, fishponds and connecting channels
© 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.

Chorley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 53082 17191

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 moated site at Bradley Hall survives well, its earthworks being clearly visible. The monument has an extensive and complex system of fishponds and connecting channels all in a good state of preservation. These features offer the potential for an understanding of the elaborate water management system originally employed here. Additionally the waterlogged ponds and silted moat contain conditions suitable for the preservation of wood, seeds, pollen and other environmental indicators.


The monument at Bradley Hall comprises a well preserved moat with three adjacent fishponds, these various features being inter-linked by a complex water management system. The island is raised slightly above the surrounding landscape but slopes gently down towards the S. It is presently occupied by the buildings of Bradley Hall Farm. Most moats were constructed between 1250-1350 and it is to this period that this example is likely to date, although the only surviving documentary evidence concerns the sale of Bradley Hall to Adam Rigby, who dies in 1627. The moat is silted and survives in good condition, particularly on the SE and NE sides where it varies in width between 10-15m and has a maximum depth of 2m. A short length of the NW arm has been infilled while the remainder has been partly dredged or drained. A waterlogged fishpond lies to the NE of the moat to which it is linked by two channels, indicating that water was originally fed both into and out of it from the main moat. Originally another pond, now dry, was also fed from the moat through this waterlogged pond. A third fishpond, still waterlogged, lies c.80m to the E of the moat to which it is linked by a single dry channel. Bradley Hall, its outbuildings, all hedges and fences, and two telegraph poles are excluded from the scheduling. The ground beneath all these features, however, 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:


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1987)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
Lancs. SMR, PRN 868,


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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