Ancient Monuments

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Icehouse with associated iceyard at Great Moreton Hall, 70m east of the hall

A Scheduled Monument in Moreton cum Alcumlow, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.1323 / 53°7'56"N

Longitude: -2.2397 / 2°14'23"W

OS Eastings: 384057.0087

OS Northings: 359489.5577

OS Grid: SJ840594

Mapcode National: GBR 12P.QJQ

Mapcode Global: WHBC6.KJPJ

Entry Name: Icehouse with associated iceyard at Great Moreton Hall, 70m east of the hall

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018705

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30383

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Moreton cum Alcumlow

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Astbury St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument includes an icehouse and associated three storey tower located in
the outbuildings of Great Moreton Hall, together with an associated paved yard
area in which ice was made. The icehouse and tower are Listed Grade II.
The buildings are of local Peak gritstone and were designed as part of the
hall, having been built in 1841 by Edward Blore. In style the tower and garden
walls are neo-Elizabethan and the icehouse must be considered as part of an
elaborate and partly experimental architectural reconstruction.
The icehouse is a cylindrical chamber with a domed roof built of brick. There
is a trap and drain in the floor and a small opening in the roof of the
chamber. Access was through an octagonal stone tower, with three floors. The
tower had a sloping passage in the wall at the left hand side of the doorway,
which is now secured by a metal door. Rebates for a sealed door and hinge
brackets for an outer door show how the chamber would have been closed. The
ice chamber is partly under a mound to the rear of the tower and partly under
the old ground surface.
The tower is now roofless but originally had a roof, internal stairs and
three storeys. There are fireplaces in the top two storeys and they show
scorching of the stonework. The ground floor provided access to the icehouse.
The upper two floors were either used as a summerhouse or as living quarters
for estate staff.
To the north of the icehouse is a small stone-walled yard which gives access
to the stable court through a gate on its north side. The yard measures 8m by
8m and the surrounding walls are 5m high. In the north wall, opposite the
entrance to the icehouse, there is a stone lined horizontal slit at chest
height. The floor of the yard is paved and slopes quite steeply into a drain
at the centre. This yard was designed to be flooded in winter to produce ice
for the ice house. This was then broken up and passed through the hole in the
wall to the entrance of the ice house, a distance of about 6m. The yard wall
is linked to the tower by a garden wall of which the tower is a decorative
corner feature.
The surfaces of the paths which run through the complex are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Icehouses are subterranean structures designed specifically to store ice,
usually removed in winter from ponds and used in the summer for preserving
food and cooling drinks. Thousands of icehouses have been built in England
since the early 17th century. These were initially built only by the upper
level of society, but by the end of the 18th century they were commonplace.
They continued to be built throughout the 19th century, when huge examples
were established by the fishing industry, as well as for use in towns.
Icehouses only became obsolete after the introduction of domestic
refrigerators in the early 20th century.
Of the thousands originally built, some 1500 icehouses have been positively
identified through a combination of archaeological and documentary research.
Although a relatively common class, most recorded examples with surviving
remains will be considered to be of national interest and appropriate for
consideration for either scheduling or listing. They are also generally
regarded as a significant component of local distinctiveness and character.

The icehouse at Great Moreton Hall is unusual in being integrated in the
garden scheme together with an elaborate entrance in the form of a tower and
an ice yard beside it. This design is in keeping with the style of the main
house and with the innovations in farm buildings which are part of the
original estate. This was one of the first estates in the area to use
reinforced concrete in sections to build farm outbuildings.

Source: Historic England

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