Moated site at Arley Hall, Haigh near Wigan


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


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Arley Hall, Haigh near Wigan
© 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.

Bolton (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 58891 10701

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 Arley Hall is well preserved in spite of the construction of an 18th century gothic manor on the island. The circular shape of the moat and its relative width make it an example of an unusual type for this region. The silts in the bed of the moat will preserve important organic remains of the occupation of the site. The garden and ground beneath the house will have evidence of the medieval hall which originally stood on this island.


The monument includes a moated site at Arley Hall, Haigh near Wigan. The moat is nearly circular and completely surrounds a later house with a small garden. The house bears a datestone 1327, but this is almost certainly a fiction of the 18th century when the present house was remodelled into a gothic style country house. The platform would originally have been the site of a medieval hall building. An iron bridge connects the house to the opposite bank of the moat on the west side. The moat is waterfilled and the banks are revetted with dry stone, except on the north side where 15m of the outer bank has been rebuilt using mortared stone. The bank has been raised at this point by 0.75m to support the golf tee behind. The moat is 20m wide and about 1.5m deep in the centre. The banks have been built out into the moat at the point where the bridge crosses to the island. The house is partly cellared but the garden is a sloping lawn, showing that the original platform was formed by putting the spoil from the moat excavation into the middle to make a raised island. The moat is currently fed from the canal which passes the site on the east side. The outflow is in a modern culvert on the north side and any trace of the original water management system has been lost. The surrounding land forms a golf course created in 1898 which has obscured the remains of the original farming landscape. The moat and the house garden are included in the scheduling. The house and the iron bridge are excluded, although the ground beneath them 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
Farrer, J, Brownbill, W (eds), The Victoria History of the County of Lancashire: Volume II, (1908), 548


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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