Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Arley Hall, Haigh near Wigan

A Scheduled Monument in Blackrod, Bolton

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Latitude: 53.5913 / 53°35'28"N

Longitude: -2.6225 / 2°37'20"W

OS Eastings: 358894.095825

OS Northings: 410702.964008

OS Grid: SD588107

Mapcode National: GBR BV4X.1C

Mapcode Global: WH97K.PZDQ

Entry Name: Moated site at Arley Hall, Haigh near Wigan

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014722

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27588

County: Bolton

Civil Parish: Blackrod

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Blackrod St Katharine

Church of England Diocese: Manchester


The monument includes a moated site at Arley Hall, Haigh near Wigan. The moat
is nearly circular and completely surrounds a later house with a small garden.
The house bears a datestone 1327, but this is almost certainly a fiction of
the 18th century when the present house was remodelled into a gothic style
country house. The platform would originally have been the site of a medieval
hall building. An iron bridge connects the house to the opposite bank of the
moat on the west side.
The moat is waterfilled and the banks are revetted with dry stone, except on
the north side where 15m of the outer bank has been rebuilt using mortared
stone. The bank has been raised at this point by 0.75m to support the golf tee
behind. The moat is 20m wide and about 1.5m deep in the centre. The banks have
been built out into the moat at the point where the bridge crosses to the
island. The house is partly cellared but the garden is a sloping lawn, showing
that the original platform was formed by putting the spoil from the moat
excavation into the middle to make a raised island.
The moat is currently fed from the canal which passes the site on the east
side. The outflow is in a modern culvert on the north side and any trace
of the original water management system has been lost. The surrounding land
forms a golf course created in 1898 which has obscured the remains of the
original farming landscape.
The moat and the house garden are included in the scheduling. The house and
the iron bridge are excluded, although the ground beneath them 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 Arley Hall is well preserved in spite of the construction
of an 18th century gothic manor on the island. The circular shape of the moat
and its relative width make it an example of an unusual type for this
The silts in the bed of the moat will preserve important organic
remains of the occupation of the site. The garden and ground beneath the house
will have evidence of the medieval hall which originally stood on this island.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Farrer, J, Brownbill, W (eds), The Victoria History of the County of Lancashire: Volume II, (1908), 548

Source: Historic England

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