Ancient Monuments

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Cunscough Hall moated site, Melling

A Scheduled Monument in Melling, Sefton

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Latitude: 53.5177 / 53°31'3"N

Longitude: -2.8904 / 2°53'25"W

OS Eastings: 341059.568796

OS Northings: 402700.839765

OS Grid: SD410027

Mapcode National: GBR 8W8R.1R

Mapcode Global: WH86P.KVV5

Entry Name: Cunscough Hall moated site, Melling

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012504

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13431

County: Sefton

Civil Parish: Melling

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Melling St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool


The monument at Cunscough Hall comprises a slightly raised platform of
undisturbed grassland measuring c.25m x 13m upon which stood the original
Cunscough Hall. The surrounding moat has been largely infilled but survives
as a drainage ditch 4-5m wide x 1m deep at the W corner. A shallow depression
some 10m wide indicates the position of the moat's NE arm and an outer bank
runs along the NE and NW sides. Being stocked with fish and encouraging fowl
the moat provided a valuable food source, a water supply in case of fire, and
an easy means for the disposal of waste and sewage. Cunscough Hall was the
property of the Abbey of Cockersand until the Dissolution, after which it
passed through various hands, being in possession of the Tatlock family by the
mid-17th century. Access to the hall is known to have been via a timber
bridge across the moat.
The field boundary running along the NW side of the monument is excluded from
the scheduling.

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.

Despite the infilling of much of the moat this site will retain considerable
archaeological information. In particular the site of the hall remains
largely undisturbed and hence will retain detail of the form of this building.
The monument illustrates well the extensive geographical sphere of influence
of the monastic settlement at Cockersand Abbey and demonstrates the diversity
of size and function of this class of monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Chetham Society' in Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey, , Vol. 2, ()
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
M58 Archaeological Survey, (1977)
M58 Archaeological Survey, (1977)
Mr Swift (Site owner/occupier),
Ordnance Survey Card, Merseyside SMR 4102/2,
Pagination 64, Gibson, (1876)

Source: Historic England

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