Irby Hall moated site, Wirral


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Irby Hall moated site, Wirral
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wirral (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 25567 84361

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 moat at Irby Hall is a particularly large and impressive earthwork surrounding the site of an 11th century manor and courthouse of St Werburgh's Abbey. This monument, together with a similar moated site at nearby Bromborough, testify to the Abbey's dominance and control of this area of the Wirral in medieval times, while the size of the monument contrasts markedly with smaller privately owned homestead moats, reflecting the affluence of the church and the diversity in size and function of this class of monument.


The monument comprises the moated site which preceded Irby Hall, a building of early 17th century date known to have been built on the site of an 11th century manor and courthouse of St Werburgh Abbey. This site, like the nearby moated site at Bromborough, indicates St Werburgh's control over this area of the Wirral in medieval times. The moat is a striking example of its type, being 12-15m max. width x 2.7m deep with a causeway across its S arm and a prominent outer bank 1m high. It is now dry. Much of the moated island is given over to lawns and is largely free of modern encumbrance, however, a private dwelling known as Barnstables occupies the NE corner of the island and Irby Hall lies at the centre of the island. Irby Hall is a Grade II Listed Building. The Hall, its access drive and outbuilding, Barnstables, the shed and all walls and fences 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.


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

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Books and journals
Beazley, F C, 'History Society Lancs and Cheshire' in Trans. History Society Lancs And Cheshire, , Vol. 75, (1923)
Capstick, B, AM 107, (1985)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)


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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