Ancient Monuments

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Monks Lane moated site, Acton

A Scheduled Monument in Acton, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.0743 / 53°4'27"N

Longitude: -2.5549 / 2°33'17"W

OS Eastings: 362922.084642

OS Northings: 353154.201918

OS Grid: SJ629531

Mapcode National: GBR 7R.B9X7

Mapcode Global: WH9B3.QZLJ

Entry Name: Monks Lane moated site, Acton

Scheduled Date: 21 July 1982

Last Amended: 22 May 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012104

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13437

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Acton

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Acton St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument at Monks Lane comprises a well-preserved moated site possessing
an original causeway.
The site consists of a raised island measuring 40m x 20m said to have been
the site of a building used as a medieval vicarage. The island is grass-
covered with a line of fruit trees in its S half and a square hollow
indicating former limited excavations in its W half. It is surrounded by a
waterlogged moat up to 10m wide x 1.5m deep into which a small weir has
recently been constructed at the NE corner. Access to the island is via a
causeway across the moat at the centre of the E arm.
Most moats were constructed between 1250-1350 and are generally seen as the
prestigious residences of the Lords of the Manor. The moat in such
circumstances marked the high status of the occupier, but also served to
deter casual raiders and wild animals.
The weir and its surrounding wooden fence are excluded from the scheduling,
however, the ground beneath 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

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.

The monument at Monks Lane is an intact moated site in a very good state of
preservation and unencumbered by modern building. The site possesses
considerable archaeological potential for the recovery of evidence of
structural foundations of the medieval vicarage that originally occupied the
island. This monument is a good example of a small homestead moat and its
use as a vicarage illustrates the functional diversity of this class of

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hall, J, 'JCNWA and H S' in J C N W A H S, , Vol. 15, (1909), 64
Capstick, B, FMW Report, (1988)
Capstick, B., AM107, (1986)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
Williams, S R, Acton 2, 6, 7, 8., (1977)

Source: Historic England

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