Icehouse at the site of Poynton Hall, 170m north of Towers Yard Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jul-2019 at 12:46:00.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SJ 92948 84283
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 170m north of Towers Yard Farm is a good example of an icehouse with a food preparation area. The shape of the domed chamber is unusual. The interior fittings are also unusual and the preservation of the individual features is very good.
The monument includes an icehouse in the grounds of the now demolished Poynton
Hall. The original hall was built by the Warren family at some time in the
16th century and improved in the 17th century. The icehouse, which is listed
Grade II, is thought to date from the time of these improvements to the older
hall. In 1758 the hall was rebuilt, but the replacement has also now been
demolished. The icehouse has two chambers, a food preparation area and an ice
chamber. The entrance, which is on the north side, is formed by a narrowing of
the vaulted stone-built preparation room and is below ground level. An
entrance well, with steps down, provides access. This leads to the food
preparation chamber, which is 2m wide and 4m long. Stone benches line the
first 1m of this chamber. There is a stone trough below a water inlet on the
west wall and a stone lined drain in the centre of the floor. From this room
an angled passage 1.5m wide leads 4.5m upwards to four stone steps and a
narrow opening to the ice chamber. This is a circular domed construction,
built of brick, double skinned and has a wood-lined drain in the floor with a
stone built aperture in the centre of the roof. The chamber is 5.5m wide at
its widest point and 3m deep. Metal fittings for a wooden door are still
attached to the entrance to this chamber. Much of this construction is below
ground level but a mound 1.5m high has been raised over the the whole
The lake immediately to the south of the icehouse was not the original source
for the ice since it was dammed in the 19th century, probably to provide water
for coal processing at Towers Yard Farm. Ice was probably cut from the two
lakes 200m to the east of the icehouse.
The modern steel gate across the entrance is excluded from the scheduling,
although the surrounding stonework and the ground beneath 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:
Crowe CJ, Poynton Icehouse, (1990)
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