Icehouse at the site of Poynton Hall, 170m north of Towers Yard Farm


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


Ordnance survey map of Icehouse at the site of Poynton Hall, 170m north of Towers Yard 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 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 icehouse. 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

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