Tatton medieval settlement, prehistoric settlement remains, the buried remains of Tatton Old Hall and mill dam


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


Ordnance survey map of Tatton medieval settlement, prehistoric settlement remains, the buried remains of Tatton Old Hall and mill dam
© 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.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1016586 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 16-Sep-2019 at 01:41:05.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 75479 81171, SJ 75627 81283, SJ 75798 81446

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Cheshire Plain sub-Province of the Northern and Western Province, a gently rolling plain of red marl covered by ice-carried clays, sands and gravels. It is diversified by occasional sandstone escarpments, notably the Central Cheshire Ridge east of the Dee valley. It has lower densities of nucleated settlements than surrounding areas, and high concentrations of dispersed farmsteads and small hamlets. In the Wirral and the lower Dee and Weaver valleys, the settlement mix is different, with low and medium densities of dispersed farmsteads intermixed with more frequent villages. Domesday Book records a thin scatter of settlement in the Wirral, the Dee lowlands and the central and southern plain in 1086, with much woodland.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently included one or more manorial centres which may survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the Central Province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding of medieval life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of agriculture based on large, unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen-teams produced long, wide ridges, and the resultant 'ridge and furrow' where it survives is the most obvious physical indication of an open field system. Individual strips were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal headlands at the plough turning points and lateral grass balks. Furlongs were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well-preserved ridge and furrow, especially in an original context adjacent to village earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic landscape. The Tatton medieval village with the associated medieval hall and the remains of a mill constitute an important survival fossilised in the landscape of a later parkland. The earthwork remains of house platforms and field boundaries, ridge and furrow cultivation and hollow ways with surviving old road surfaces will provide evidence of the communities who have occupied the site since the Iron Age. An area of peat in the settlement remains will retain evidence for the climate and farming regimes during the long period of the villages occupation. The mill dam and pond, now dry, will retain evidence of the ecology and history of an early medieval mill, both in the silts at the bottom of the pond area and in the base of the surviving earthwork dam.


The monument includes medieval settlement remains of the village of Tatton, the below ground remains of the medieval Old Hall, including a demolished wing, and a medieval millpond and dam to the south west of the hall, as well as prehistoric settlement remains. The monument is situated in the park of Tatton Hall on a plateau which lies above the west bank of the Tatton Mere Brook and is in three separate areas of protection. The medieval village of Tatton was abandoned when the present hall was built and the land emparked. The settlement is mentioned in Domesday but had substantially declined by the late 14th century. The village had a group of buildings and associated field systems clustered around a hollow way which led from a plateau of arable lands down to the Tatton Mere Brook. Part of the site of this village was fully excavated between 1979 and 1985 revealing that the site had been in continuous occupation and development since 350 BC. The surviving remains of the village are visible as earthworks to the west and east of a deep hollow way which runs for about 100m down from the plateau towards the present bridge over the brook on the east side of the hall. This was originally part of a road from Rostherne to Knutsford. The visible earthworks include the tofts (house platforms) and crofts (attached enclosures) of several buildings together with the remains of extensive ridge and furrow cultivation extending for about 800m to the west and north of the settlement. The earliest building found during the investigation was a roundhouse of timber construction linked to a cobbled yard which lay within a palisaded enclosure. This was occupied in 350 BC and eventually superseded by two rectangular timber buildings, one of them a longhouse. This phase was dated to 150 BC and continued to AD 120. Finds of Roman pottery show that this was part of a Romano-British farm. Later on this farm was replaced by a mid to late Anglo-Saxon longhouse, also of timber, together with other structures. The complex was cut by ditched boundaries of a later reorganisation into the crofts and tofts of a medieval settlement together with a timber dwelling and byre and an ancillary structure of sleeper beam construction occupied between AD 1200 and 1400. This group of buildings was abandoned c.AD 1400 but the property divisions remained to form the basis of a post-medieval bank and hedge system. To the west, east and north of the settlement lay the open fields and grazing common of the medieval village. These are traceable as well-preserved earthworks of medieval ridge and furrow extending to the west and north of the site. There is evidence from other field systems in the area that narrow ridge and furrow cultivation continued here up to the 18th century. This was superimposed on and adapted the earlier medieval pattern of broad ridges. A sample of the best preserved earthwork remains of the field system are included in the scheduling, to preserve the association with the village. Situated 300m to the north of the settlement site, a hollow way leads from the plateau north eastwards down to the brook and towards the former medieval village of Northshaw. After Tatton village had been largely abandoned there is some evidence of continuing occupation of an area to the north of Tatton Old Hall. A section excavated through the road surface in the hollow way through the village and an associated building on the southern side of it provided evidence of use during the 17th and 18th centuries. Taken together there is evidence for the continuous occupation of the village site until the sequence of building and occupation was interrupted by the emparkment of the area and the first phase of the building of the present Tatton Hall. This took place in the first years of the 18th century. Tatton Old Hall lies to the south of the village remains beside a brook which flows out of Tatton Mere. This was the home of the Egerton family from 1598 to the late 17th century. A great hall was built in the 15th century and added to and improved in the 16th and 17th centuries. The building was originally surrounded by an enclosure bank, now an earthwork visible for a short length on the north western side of the present farmyard. This was superseded by a wall around the farmyard, with ancillary buildings lying beyond the western side. The southern side of the enclosure is formed by the Tatton Mere Brook. Within the enclosure the present farm buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, an orchard and a farm building, taken from another farm and reconstructed on the site in recent years, have obscured any earlier buildings. Trial excavation and resistivity survey within the farmyard showed that this area was largely devoid of medieval remains except for an area to the north west of the great hall where there are the foundations of an extra wing beyond the present building, extending for 11m from the end of it. In view of this evidence only the ground beneath Tatton Old Hall and the remains of the extra bay are included in scheduling. The medieval hall was abandoned by the Egerton family when the present Tatton Hall was built. The buildings continued in use as a farm until the middle of the 20th century. Tatton Old Hall is Listed Grade II* and is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included. Remains of a dam and millpond survive 160m south west of Tatton Old Hall. The dam survives as an earthwork, 30m long and 12m wide at the base. Radiocarbon dates have confirmed that it was in use during the eleventh century. To the south of this dam is a millpond, visible as a scooped area 40m by 10m, parallel to the stream bed. The mill building has not yet been located. Tatton Old Hall, all road surfaces and display boards in the village area are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Higham, N J , Excavations at Tatton, (1980), 52
Higham, N J , Excavations at Tatton, (1980), 49-56
Higham, N J, Excavations at Tatton, (1983), 88-97
Higham, N J, Excavations at Tatton 8th season, (1985), 2-3
Higham, N J, Excavations at Tatton 8th season, (1985), 3-5
Williams, S R, Cheshire History, (1984), 4-6
Higham, NJ, (1997)


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].