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Marton moated monastic grange, three fishponds, connecting channels and base of stone cross

A Scheduled Monument in Whitegate and Marton, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.2036 / 53°12'12"N

Longitude: -2.5662 / 2°33'58"W

OS Eastings: 362275.044

OS Northings: 367539.305

OS Grid: SJ622675

Mapcode National: GBR 7R.215D

Mapcode Global: WH99J.KQ6Y

Entry Name: Marton moated monastic grange, three fishponds, connecting channels and base of stone cross

Scheduled Date: 18 March 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009863

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13519

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Whitegate and Marton

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Whitegate St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument is Marton moated monastic grange together with three fishponds,
connecting channels, and the base of a stone cross. The remains are located
within three separate constraint areas. The site includes a rectangular
island measuring some 68m by 37m that is surrounded by a largely stone-lined
waterlogged moat 6m - 18m wide and 1.5m deep. Access to the island is by a
brick and sandstone bridge across the moat's eastern arm. Two brick pillars
stand on the island flanking the entrance and a brick wall runs along the
island's northeastern edge. A partially waterlogged outlet channel 2m wide
and 1.3m deep issues from the moat's northeastern corner and runs in a
northeasterly direction for some 110m before turning northwest to run for a
further 105m. This channel is cut into two sections by a disused railway
embankment. A partially waterlogged channel 1.5m - 3m wide and 1.3m deep
issues from the moat's northern arm a little west of centre, and runs in a
northerly direction for some 90m where it connects with a boggy fishpond
measuring some 26m by 9m and 1m deep. A second drain runs parallel and
connects the southeastern corner of the pond with a dry fishpond some 12m
square located close to the moat's northwestern arm. A short distance to the
east of the boggy pond is a dry fishpond measuring some 15m by 13m that partly
underlies a railway embankment. The sandstone base of a cross carved from a
60cm cube of stone is set into ground adjacent to the entrance drive to
Marton Hall.
Marton was a monastic grange belonging to the Cistercian Vale Royal Abbey.
Records for Marton Grange began about 1220, the probable date of Ranulph de
Merton's entitlement to the land. A quitclaim of 1284 mentions a fishery at
the site. At the end of the 13th century the manor of Merton passed to Vale
Royal Abbey. In 1539 the Abbey lands were confiscated by Henry VIII and
granted to Thomas Holdcroft, who sold them to the Mainwaring family. A Tudor
manor house was built on the island and at the end of the 16th century the
moat was enlarged. The estate passed through several owners and the manor
house was eventually demolished in 1848 when a new hall was built a short
distance southeast of the island.
Limited excavations on the island and within the moat revealed drainage
ditches and internal division of the island, pottery of 14th - 16th century
associated with the grange, good preservation of organic material, and
substantial remains of the Tudor manor house.
All fences, hedges, the brick and sandstone bridge and a brick outhouse on the
island are excluded from the scheduling. The ground beneath all these
features, however, is included.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and
independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile
labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for
consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide
surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th
century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution.
This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon
imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers
(secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident
labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were
specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms,
bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and
industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the
wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands
immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange.
Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands.
On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the
parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular
farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the
size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the
buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to
be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was
without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed
is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of
monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small
percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of
identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the
evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to
medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological
survival are identified as nationally important.

Marton moated monastic grange survives well and is largely unencumbered by
modern development. Limited excavation on the island and in the moat has
revealed that, despite construction of the Tudor manor house, considerable
evidence of the spatial arrangement of the monastic grange survives, together
with artefactual remains and well preserved organic material. Further
archaeological evidence relating to the activities which occurred at the
moated grange will survive. Additionally, earthworks associated with the
fishery recorded in documents of 1284 survive well and organic material will
be preserved within the waterlogged deposits.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Douglas, J, The Abbey Square Sketch Book, (1872)
Pagination 26-9, Curzon, J B, Marton SJ 621675, (1974)
SMR No. 762/1/3, Cheshire SMR, Marton Grange, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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