Moated site of Lea Hall, 80m east of Leahall Farm


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


Ordnance survey map of Moated site of Lea Hall, 80m east of Leahall Farm
© 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.

Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
Lea Newbold
National Grid Reference:
SJ 43192 58858

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 Lea Hall is in good condition with the remains of the original buildings still visible as low earthworks in the turf on the island. The moat is still waterlogged at the bottom of the ditches and this will have preserved organic deposits and environmental evidence for the use of the platform over a span of 600 years. The infilled western arm of the moat will also contain buried silts and organic remains. The importance of the site is enhanced by a good sequence of documentary evidence of its history as an important manorial complex.


The monument includes the remains of a medieval moated site which was the location of a timber mansion known as Lea Hall. The estate for which this was the manor house appears in the Domesday Book as the property of the Earl of Chester and Bigot of Loges and had lands for seven ploughs. The estate was seized by Roger de Montalt and remained in his family until the death of the last baron in 1277 when it passed to the Crown. In 1337 the manor was granted to the Earl of Salisbury, William Montacute. He sold it to the Calvely family in whose hands it remained until 1714. The house was described as a `fair ancient timber building' before the Civil War and was still `an old timber mansion' in 1810. It is not clear when it was built but it was replaced in 1873 by the present farmhouse 100m to the west. The house was sufficiently magnificent to put up James I and his retinue in 1617. The moatplatform is 52m by 43m, surrounded on three sides by a substantial moat, 12m wide and nearly 3m deep at the north western corner where the moat has been deepened by re-excavation. The western arm of this moat was infilled during the 20th century and this will have preserved important silts and organic evidence for the domestic use of the island. The remaining arms were full of water until about 1990 and then drained but some water still collects in the northern arm. On the island there is a roughly rectangular mound 23m by 14m still visible under the turf and this may represent part of the mansion. The remains will also include those of a chapel which used to stand on the platform. The moat is surrounded by grassland which has some traces of ridge and furrow cultivation. On the north and east sides the road has been diverted to respect the moat. This was the old route from Coddington to Aldford. The post and wire fences which enclose the moat arms are excluded from the scheduling, 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
'Medieval Settlement Research Group' in Medieval Settlement Research Group, (1992), 22


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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