Sefton Old Hall moated site and fishponds, Sefton.


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013629

Date first listed: 09-Aug-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 30-May-1991


Ordnance survey map of Sefton Old Hall moated site and fishponds, Sefton.
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Sefton (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Sefton

National Grid Reference: SD 35660 01180, SD 35698 01127, SD 35794 01152

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 and fishponds at Sefton Old Hall survive well despite partial loss of the site due to road construction, and will retain considerable evidence of the original form of the moat and buildings on the island along with waterlogged remains from those areas of the moat still wet. The adjacent nucleated fishponds are especially well preserved and clearly indicate the complex construction techniques and water management system associated with this monument type.


The monument comprises a large island raised above the level of surrounding fields known to have been subjected to flooding from the River Alt, and surrounded on all sides by a partially waterlogged moat flanked by an external bank. The B5422 cuts through the site dividing the moated site into two separate areas. The N half consists of the N corner of the island and waterlogged remains of the NE and NW arms of the moat. The N corner of the moat extends into an arm about 10m long. A silted inlet/outlet channel also runs N from the NE arm of the moat. The S half of the monument consists of the dry remains of the SW and SE arms of the moat and a further larger area of the enclosed island. The moat is partially infilled at its S corner. Originally access to the island was gained via a drawbridge across the SW arm that was revealed during limited excavations between 1956-61. A stone-lined well exists on the island close to the SE arm of the moat. A dry channel connects the E corner of the moat with a dry rectangular hollow interpreted as a fishpond to the SE. Additionally 35m to the E of the moat is a nucleated group of fishponds surviving as upstanding earthworks. Sefton Old Hall was owned by the Molyneux family throughout its history and the original house was thought to be in existence by 1372 at the latest. The monument comprises three separate protected areas. All field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling. The ground beneath the field boundary SW of the monument, 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: 13430

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Manor of Sefton, (1769)
Baines, E, History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster, (1893), 229
Lewis, J, 'Journal of the Merseyside Arch Soc' in Sefton Old Hall, Merseyside, Excavations 1956-61, , Vol. 2, (1978), 54
Lewis, J, 'Journal of the Merseyside Arch Soc' in Sefton Old Hall, Merseyside, Excavations 1956-61, , Vol. 2, (1978), 69
Lewis, J, 'Journal of the Merseyside Arch Soc' in Sefton Old Hall, Merseyside, Excavations 1956-61, , Vol. 2, (1978), 68-9
Lewis, J, 'Journal of the Merseyside Arch Soc' in Sefton Old Hall, Merseyside, Excavations 1956-61, , Vol. 2, (1978), 58
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
Title: Tithe Map (1845) Source Date: 1845 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Ref Sefton Old Hall

End of official listing