Rainhill Hall Farm moated site and twelve fishponds in The Rough


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017860

Date first listed: 17-Dec-1992


Ordnance survey map of Rainhill Hall Farm moated site and twelve fishponds in The Rough
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2018 at 17:06:54.


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

District: St. Helens (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Rainhill

National Grid Reference: SJ 48983 90248, SJ 49098 90078


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

Despite infilling of part of the moat and construction of a modern house on the island, Rainhill Hall Farm moated site retains the north and west wings of Rainhill Hall and will retain evidence of the other original buildings that occupied the island, including the remains of the demolished 16th/early 17th century south and east wings of the hall that were arranged around a courtyard. Evidence of the gatehouse and other buildings known to have occupied the island at that date will also survive. Additionally the site is complemented by an unusually extensive, well preserved and complex system of fishponds and connecting channels that, together with the waterlogged moat, will preserve organic material.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is the moated site of Rainhill Hall, to the south-east of which lies an extensive system of fishponds and connecting channels. It is divided into two areas. The site includes a slightly raised island that was originally surrounded by a waterlogged moat. Standing on the island are the 16th/early 17th century north and west wings of Rainhill Hall, which contain much earlier work including one of the finest late medieval roofs in the county. The moat has been partially infilled but still survives in a waterlogged state up to 10m wide and 2m deep on part of the south and much of the east sides where it is largely sandstone lined. A short distance to the south-east of the moated site, in woodland known as The Rough, is an extensive complex of 12 largely waterlogged and inter-connected fishponds. Rainhill Hall was owned by the Lancaster family for 500 years. The earliest documentary reference to a house on the site was in 1323 when Henry de Par was arrested for breaking into the original hall and stealing goods. By the early 17th century the hall buildings were arranged around a courtyard, with a gatehouse entrance on one side, and a range of 16th century timber farm buildings on low stone walls situated north-east of the hall. A small isolated building is also known to have existed south of the hall and close to the edge of the moat during the early 19th century. Since 1805 the hall has passed through the Fleetwood, Beaumont and Stapleton-Bretherton families. Old Hall Farmhouse is a Listed Building Grade II*. The Old Hall Farmhouse, the modern house on the site, the farmyard and all tarmacked and paved areas, all service pipes, outbuildings, walls, fences, paths, access drives and tracks are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features 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: 22445

Legacy System: RSM


4890/16, Merseyside SMR, Rainhill Hall Farm moated site,
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
To Robinson, K.D. MPPFW, To Robinson, K.D. MPPFW, Mrs Strettle (Site owner), (1992)

End of official listing