Ancient Monuments

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Bewsey Old Hall moated site, fishpond and connecting channel

A Scheduled Monument in Burtonwood and Westbrook, Warrington

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Latitude: 53.4013 / 53°24'4"N

Longitude: -2.6169 / 2°37'0"W

OS Eastings: 359078.817149

OS Northings: 389559.133105

OS Grid: SJ590895

Mapcode National: GBR BY53.7G

Mapcode Global: WH98J.SR1W

Entry Name: Bewsey Old Hall moated site, fishpond and connecting channel

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012324

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13488

County: Warrington

Civil Parish: Burtonwood and Westbrook

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Westbrook St Philip

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool


The monument is the moated site of Bewsey Old Hall. It includes an island
measuring c.100m x 70m that is partially occupied by Bewsey Old Hall and
farmhouse, an outbuilding, a stone-lined well, and an open area of partial
archaeological excavation. The remainder of the island includes a formal
garden of the Stuart period that extended over much of the eastern half.
Surrounding the island is a moat, up to 20m in width and 5m in depth, that is
waterlogged in its western, much of its southern, and part of its northern
arms, and partially infilled along its northern and eastern arms. Access to
the island is by a causeway across the western arm with secondary access via a
low causeway close to the southeast corner. A boggy channel c.25m long x 4m
wide connects the southern arm with a fishpond measuring c.40m x 20m x 5m
The site has a well documented history. In 1251 the land was given to Tilty
Abbey in Essex who established a grange here. Thirteen years later William le
Boteler made Bewsey his family seat and it remained within his family until
the late 16th century after which it passed through other notable families.
The house was extended in 1597 and a Georgian wing replaced part of the house
destroyed by fire during the 1740's. A chapel and detached building survived
on the island until 1960. Archaeological excavation has uncovered
considerable structural and artefactual evidence including medieval and
Georgian bridges across the eastern and northern arms.
Bewsey Old Hall and farmhouse are both Listed Buildings Grade II* and II
Bewsey Old Hall, farmhouse, outbuilding and all service pipes; the access
drive; and all walls, railings, fences and paths are excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath all these features 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 has a long and well documented history covering almost 750 years
of continuous occupation. The site has been subjected to a variety of uses
including a medieval grange, a medieval moated manor house, and a post-
medieval moated mansion with formal gardens. Partial excavation of the island
has revealed evidence of structures and artefacts associated with all these
phases and further similar evidence will lie beneath the hall, farmhouse,
outbuilding and remaining unexcavated areas of the island.
Additionally the waterlogged moat, well, fishpond and connecting channel will
preserve organic material.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Warrington Development Corporation, , Bewsey Old Hall Research Report, (1980)
Cherry, J, 'Post Med Arch' in Post Med Arch, , Vol. 13, (1979)
Egan, J, 'Post Med Arch' in Post Med Arch, , Vol. 19, (1985)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1987)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
SMR No. 563/1, Cheshire SMR, Bewsey Old Hall, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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