Ancient Monuments

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Moated site of Lea Hall, 80m east of Leahall Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Aldford and Saighton, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.1239 / 53°7'25"N

Longitude: -2.8503 / 2°51'1"W

OS Eastings: 343192.658252

OS Northings: 358858.512084

OS Grid: SJ431588

Mapcode National: GBR 7C.7B4H

Mapcode Global: WH88N.5RY1

Entry Name: Moated site of Lea Hall, 80m east of Leahall Farm

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016807

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30379

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Aldford and Saighton

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Bruera St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument includes the remains of a medieval moated site which was the
location of a timber mansion known as Lea Hall.
The estate for which this was the manor house appears in the Domesday Book as
the property of the Earl of Chester and Bigot of Loges and had lands for seven
ploughs. The estate was seized by Roger de Montalt and remained in his family
until the death of the last baron in 1277 when it passed to the Crown. In 1337
the manor was granted to the Earl of Salisbury, William Montacute. He sold it
to the Calvely family in whose hands it remained until 1714. The house was
described as a `fair ancient timber building' before the Civil War and was
still `an old timber mansion' in 1810. It is not clear when it was built but
it was replaced in 1873 by the present farmhouse 100m to the west. The house
was sufficiently magnificent to put up James I and his retinue in 1617.
The moatplatform is 52m by 43m, surrounded on three sides by a substantial
moat, 12m wide and nearly 3m deep at the north western corner where the moat
has been deepened by re-excavation. The western arm of this moat was infilled
during the 20th century and this will have preserved important silts and
organic evidence for the domestic use of the island. The remaining arms were
full of water until about 1990 and then drained but some water still collects
in the northern arm. On the island there is a roughly rectangular mound 23m by
14m still visible under the turf and this may represent part of the mansion.
The remains will also include those of a chapel which used to stand on the
The moat is surrounded by grassland which has some traces of ridge and furrow
cultivation. On the north and east sides the road has been diverted to respect
the moat. This was the old route from Coddington to Aldford.
The post and wire fences which enclose the moat arms are excluded from the
scheduling, 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 Lea Hall is in good condition with the remains of the
original buildings still visible as low earthworks in the turf on the island.
The moat is still waterlogged at the bottom of the ditches and this will have
preserved organic deposits and environmental evidence for the use of the
platform over a span of 600 years. The infilled western arm of the moat will
also contain buried silts and organic remains. The importance of the site is
enhanced by a good sequence of documentary evidence of its history as an
important manorial complex.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Medieval Settlement Research Group' in Medieval Settlement Research Group, (1992), 22

Source: Historic England

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