Ancient Monuments

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Morley's Hall moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Astley Mosley Common, Wigan

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Latitude: 53.4892 / 53°29'21"N

Longitude: -2.4692 / 2°28'9"W

OS Eastings: 368965.027415

OS Northings: 399265.936892

OS Grid: SJ689992

Mapcode National: GBR CX62.7Y

Mapcode Global: WH987.1KGG

Entry Name: Morley's Hall moated site

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009340

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22449

County: Wigan

Electoral Ward/Division: Astley Mosley Common

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Astley St Stephen

Church of England Diocese: Manchester


The monument is Morley's Hall moated site. It includes a slightly raised
sub-rectangular island measuring 46m by 34m upon which the early 19th century
Morley's Hall stands. The island is surrounded by a spring-fed waterlogged
moat 12-15m wide and 3m deep with an inlet at the north-eastern corner and an
outlet at the south-eastern corner. The moat widens at the south-eastern
corner into a `Cheshire Bulge' - traditionally considered to be a watering
place for dairy cattle. Access to the island is by a late medieval brick and
sandstone bridge that replaced an earlier timber drawbridge.
The Morley family were living here by 1303. At the time of Henry VII
(1485-1509) the hall passed to the Leyland family. John Leland visited in
1540 and described the hall as a timber building on a stone foundation, and
surrounded by a moat. The hall passed by marriage to the Tyldesleys in 1564.
In 1641 the Benedictine monk Ambrose Barlow was arrested here and martyred at
Lancaster. The house was sold to the Leghs in 1755 before passing to the
Wilkinsons. It was largely rebuilt in 1804 although it retains much timber-
framing of the earlier buildings. Morley's Hall is a Listed Building Grade
II*. Morley's Hall, all outbuildings, service pipes, fences, paths and the
access drive and cobbled area in front of the house, are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Morley's Hall moated site survives well and remains a good example of the site
of a medieval moated mansion house. Evidence of earlier buildings will exist
on the island and beneath the present house. Additionally organic material
will be preserved within the waterlogged moat.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Croston, J, 'The Old Halls of Lancashire & Cheshire' in Morley's Hall, ()
Tindall, A S, 'Country Houses of Greater Manchester' in The Moated House, (1985)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1989)
SMR No. 4064/1/0, Gt Manchester SMR, Morley's Hall, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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