Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bradley Hall, moated site, fishponds and connecting channels

A Scheduled Monument in Eccleston, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.6491 / 53°38'56"N

Longitude: -2.7117 / 2°42'42"W

OS Eastings: 353053.58192

OS Northings: 417191.716263

OS Grid: SD530171

Mapcode National: GBR 9VH7.QM

Mapcode Global: WH866.9JZW

Entry Name: Bradley Hall, moated site, fishponds and connecting channels

Scheduled Date: 20 May 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012501

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13425

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Eccleston

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Eccleston St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument at Bradley Hall comprises a well preserved moat with three
adjacent fishponds, these various features being inter-linked by a complex
water management system. The island is raised slightly above the surrounding
landscape but slopes gently down towards the S. It is presently occupied by
the buildings of Bradley Hall Farm.
Most moats were constructed between 1250-1350 and it is to this period that
this example is likely to date, although the only surviving documentary
evidence concerns the sale of Bradley Hall to Adam Rigby, who dies in 1627.
The moat is silted and survives in good condition, particularly on the SE and
NE sides where it varies in width between 10-15m and has a maximum depth of
2m. A short length of the NW arm has been infilled while the remainder has
been partly dredged or drained. A waterlogged fishpond lies to the NE of the
moat to which it is linked by two channels, indicating that water was
originally fed both into and out of it from the main moat. Originally another
pond, now dry, was also fed from the moat through this waterlogged pond. A
third fishpond, still waterlogged, lies c.80m to the E of the moat to which it
is linked by a single dry channel.
Bradley Hall, its outbuildings, all hedges and fences, and two telegraph poles
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

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 moated site at Bradley Hall survives well, its earthworks being clearly
visible. The monument has an extensive and complex system of fishponds and
connecting channels all in a good state of preservation. These features offer
the potential for an understanding of the elaborate water management system
originally employed here. Additionally the waterlogged ponds and silted moat
contain conditions suitable for the preservation of wood, seeds, pollen and
other environmental indicators.

Source: Historic England


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1987)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
Lancs. SMR, PRN 868,

Source: Historic England

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