Ancient Monuments

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Grafton deserted medieval village and ornamental moat

A Scheduled Monument in Tilston, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.0563 / 53°3'22"N

Longitude: -2.8242 / 2°49'27"W

OS Eastings: 344854.084034

OS Northings: 351324.466556

OS Grid: SJ448513

Mapcode National: GBR 7D.CJGR

Mapcode Global: WH891.LFBT

Entry Name: Grafton deserted medieval village and ornamental moat

Scheduled Date: 4 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011031

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13517

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Tilston

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Tilston St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument is part of the deserted medieval village of Grafton, together
with an ornamental moat of a date later than the abandonment of the part of
the village over which it lies. The monument includes a sub-rectangular
island measuring some 36m by 26m that is surrounded by a shallow baggy moat
varying in width between 2-8m and 0.5m deep. A dry outlet channel some 37m
long by 4m wide and 0.5m deep issues from the moat's eastern side. Adjacent
to the moat are a group of earthworks that are the remains of some of the
tofts and crafts of Grafton deserted medieval village. These earthworks
consist of two raised platforms some 20m square lying to the south of the
moat, two shallow hollows about 16m square - one north of the moat, the other
to the south - a boundary ditch up to 6m wide to the west of the moat, an old
field boundary to the north of the moat, and a number of short lengths of
shallow ditch.
Grafton was part of Tilston parish in the barony of Malpas at the time of
Domesday. In 1333 William de Grafton obtained the manor of Grafton from John
Welyn. In 1602 Sir Peter Warburton bought the manor which then consisted of
`16 messuages, 16 gardens and 900 acres of various kinds of land'. Sir Peter
built Grafton Hall, a short distance to the east, in 1613 and the moat is
considered to be an ornamental garden feature associated with the hall. The
hall was demolished in 1965.
All modern field boundaries and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling.
The ground beneath 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

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets,
paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community
devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural
landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages
provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal
point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each
parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied
continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were
abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly
during the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval
villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but
often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as
enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread
epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment
these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain
well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and
long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important
information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming
economy between the regions and through time.

The site at Grafton is the only known example in Cheshire of a juxtaposed
deserted medieval village and an ornamental moat of the early Stuart period.
As such the monument is a rare surviving example in the region of changing
land use from an agricultural settlement to emparkment. The village will
contain remains of house plots and field and property boundaries thus
affording an opportunity for interpreting the function of the buildings and
the arrangement of the settlement. Additionally the site will possess
evidence of the original land surface beneath the structural features and
survival of ecofactual and environmental evidence in the fills of pits,
ditches, postholes and beam slots. Organic material will also be preserved
within the waterlogged moat.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bennet, B, Dillon, G, Hamnet, J, Liddell, S, 'CAB' in Grafton Hall, , Vol. 10, (1984)
Williams, R, 'CAB' in Grafton SJ 448503 A Deserted Hamlet?, , Vol. 9, (1983)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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