Icehouse with associated iceyard at Great Moreton Hall, 70m east of the hall


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


Ordnance survey map of Icehouse with associated iceyard at Great Moreton Hall, 70m east of the hall
© 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 East (Unitary Authority)
Moreton cum Alcumlow
National Grid Reference:
SJ 84051 59491

Reasons for Designation

Icehouses are subterranean structures designed specifically to store ice, usually removed in winter from ponds and used in the summer for preserving food and cooling drinks. Thousands of icehouses have been built in England since the early 17th century. These were initially built only by the upper level of society, but by the end of the 18th century they were commonplace. They continued to be built throughout the 19th century, when huge examples were established by the fishing industry, as well as for use in towns. Icehouses only became obsolete after the introduction of domestic refrigerators in the early 20th century. Of the thousands originally built, some 1500 icehouses have been positively identified through a combination of archaeological and documentary research. Although a relatively common class, most recorded examples with surviving remains will be considered to be of national interest and appropriate for consideration for either scheduling or listing. They are also generally regarded as a significant component of local distinctiveness and character.

The icehouse at Great Moreton Hall is unusual in being integrated in the garden scheme together with an elaborate entrance in the form of a tower and an ice yard beside it. This design is in keeping with the style of the main house and with the innovations in farm buildings which are part of the original estate. This was one of the first estates in the area to use reinforced concrete in sections to build farm outbuildings.


The monument includes an icehouse and associated three storey tower located in the outbuildings of Great Moreton Hall, together with an associated paved yard area in which ice was made. The icehouse and tower are Listed Grade II. The buildings are of local Peak gritstone and were designed as part of the hall, having been built in 1841 by Edward Blore. In style the tower and garden walls are neo-Elizabethan and the icehouse must be considered as part of an elaborate and partly experimental architectural reconstruction. The icehouse is a cylindrical chamber with a domed roof built of brick. There is a trap and drain in the floor and a small opening in the roof of the chamber. Access was through an octagonal stone tower, with three floors. The tower had a sloping passage in the wall at the left hand side of the doorway, which is now secured by a metal door. Rebates for a sealed door and hinge brackets for an outer door show how the chamber would have been closed. The ice chamber is partly under a mound to the rear of the tower and partly under the old ground surface. The tower is now roofless but originally had a roof, internal stairs and three storeys. There are fireplaces in the top two storeys and they show scorching of the stonework. The ground floor provided access to the icehouse. The upper two floors were either used as a summerhouse or as living quarters for estate staff. To the north of the icehouse is a small stone-walled yard which gives access to the stable court through a gate on its north side. The yard measures 8m by 8m and the surrounding walls are 5m high. In the north wall, opposite the entrance to the icehouse, there is a stone lined horizontal slit at chest height. The floor of the yard is paved and slopes quite steeply into a drain at the centre. This yard was designed to be flooded in winter to produce ice for the ice house. This was then broken up and passed through the hole in the wall to the entrance of the ice house, a distance of about 6m. The yard wall is linked to the tower by a garden wall of which the tower is a decorative corner feature. The surfaces of the paths which run through the complex 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.

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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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