Monument details

HER Number:1800/1
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:Lea Hall Moat

Summary

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 moat platform 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 platform.

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.

Moated Sites are characterised by a waterlogged ditch that encloses a platform of land where buildings were built though they were also used for horticulture e.g. orchards. They were most popular in medieval times though not necessarily for the defensive advantages of being on an island as they were also seen as a sign of prestige. There are approximately 6000 across England with over 200 moated sites in Cheshire alone.


Parish:LEA NEWBOLD, CHESTER, CHESHIRE WEST AND CHESTER

Monument Types

  • MANOR (AD 9TH CENTURY to AD 11TH CENTURY - 800 AD? to 1099 AD (?))
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1016807: Moated Site of Lea Hall, 80m East of Leahall Farm



Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council - Working in Partnership
Heritage Lottery Fund