Barrow Old Hall moated site, Great Sankey


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Barrow Old Hall moated site, Great Sankey
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Warrington (Unitary Authority)
Great Sankey
National Grid Reference:
SJ 56177 89586

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 Barrow Old Hall was one of a group of six moated sites in the former township of Bold and is of importance because it represents a rare and unusual example in NW England of a large number of moated sites in one township. In addition the monument retains considerable archaeological potential for the recovery of evidence of building foundations within its interior and for the recovery of organic material from the waterlogged moat.


The monument comprises a moated site the island of which was formerly occupied by Barrow Old Hall. The hall was completely rebuilt on at least one occasion and towards the end of the 19th century was converted into a country cottage, finally being demolished in the 1960's. Limited excavation in 1986-7 found remains of a 17th century structure and evidence for earlier buildings. The moat is 12m max. width, waterlogged on three sides but has been infilled on the N. A short length of inlet/outlet channel links the moat with a tributary of Whittle Brook. The island is grassed over and measures c.40m x 50m. It is approached on the W by a restored bridge originally of early 19th century date. Most moats were constructed between 1250-1350 and are generally seen as the prestigious residences of the Lords of the manor. Barrow Old Hall is one of six moated sites in the medieval township of Bold. The earliest dated reference to an estate at Barrow is 1330. Its medieval associations with the principal manor of Bold Old Hall and its position on the edge of the township suggest that its development as a moated site may have occurred late in the medieval period. All fences and the concrete setting for the information board are excluded from the scheduling, however, the ground beneath 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Grealey, S, The Archaeology of Warrington's Past, (1976)
Cheshire SMR No. 568/1,
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1989)
Pagination 1, Application for SMC, (1986)


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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