History in Structure

Little Moreton Hall

A Grade I Listed Building in Odd Rode, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.127 / 53°7'37"N

Longitude: -2.2518 / 2°15'6"W

OS Eastings: 383246

OS Northings: 358898

OS Grid: SJ832588

Mapcode National: GBR 12P.TS8

Mapcode Global: WHBC6.CNYN

Plus Code: 9C5V4PGX+Q7

Entry Name: Little Moreton Hall

Listing Date: 6 June 1952

Last Amended: 26 March 1987

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1161988

English Heritage Legacy ID: 56552

Also known as: Old Moreton Hall

ID on this website: 101161988

Location: Cheshire East, Cheshire, CW12

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Odd Rode

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Odd Rode All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chester

Tagged with: Historic house museum

Find accommodation in


SJ 85 NW
7/79 Little Moreton Hall
6.6.52 (formerly listed as Moreton Old
- Hall)


Country house. Early C15-c.1600. Timber framed with rendered infill
and Flemish bond brick with a stone slate roof. Two and three
storeys. The ranges of buildings are grouped around three sides of a
courtyard. The present agglomerated appearance of the building is the
result of at least seven builds. The eastern wing (including the
present parlour and withdrawing room) was built prior to 1450 and
included a great hall on the site of the present parlour and
withdrawing room, together with service rooms. The present great hall
was built c.1450 and the former hall converted to service rooms. In
c.1480 the west wing was built incorporating new service rooms, thus
creating an H-shaped plan. The former service range was converted to
other uses. In 1559 the bay windows were added to the hall (which was
divided into two floors at this time) and to the withdrawing room and
room above it by Richard Dale. Between 1559 and 1570 a further range
was added to the eastern wing including the chapel. The south wing of
3 storeys, including the guests' hall and long gallery, was added
c.1570-80 and a further range of service rooms added to the
north-western corner of this in c.1600.
Northern Front (to Garden): The gable-end at left which is of the
earliest portion has small framing with chevron infill to the ground
and first floor and decorative quatrefoils to the gable. The first
floor and gable are jettied with moulded bressumers. To the ground
floor are two C18 sash windows, to left and right of which are 2-light
casement windows. Casement window to the first floor of 6 lights. At
left of this wing and slightly recessed is a 2-storey garderobe which
has a 3-light casement window to the ground floor. Immediately to the
left of the wing is a massive chimney stack of English bond brick of
c.1480 which has at mezzanine level a bee-bole or light well with
pointed arch and a 2-light window to its back. To the top are 4
diamond-shaped chimney stacks of C18 or early C19 brick. To right are
the windows of the great hall range having at ground floor level
windows of 4 and 6 lights with a transom and to the former first floor
windows of 3 and 7 lights, set in small-framed walling. To right
again is a projecting C17 porch with close-studded curved walling and
a plank door at left and mezzanine staircase window of two lights to
right. The projecting wing of c.1480 to right of this has studding
with chevron infill to the ground floor and a window of 8 lights with
transom in a projecting moulded surround. The coved jetty beneath the
gable has decorative panels with quatrefoil infill. Both first floor
and gable have quatrefoil panels to their walling and the first floor
has an oriel window with coved jetty of 8 lights with moulded mullions
and transom and single blocked lights to the sides. The corner posts
of both projecting wings on this front are decorated and these and the
false jetty between the ground and first floors appear to be additions
of c.1559-70 designed to relate the old parts to the new alterations
of the courtyard front.
The Eastern Front (to Moat):is of three builds, the earlier portion of
c.1450 being at right. This has to its far right a garderobe tower
with chevron infill to both floors. At left of this is further
chevron infill to both floors, the ground floor having an C18 sash
window at right of 4 x 6 panes, to left of which are a 2-light and a
single-light window. The first floor has a five-light and a 3-light
window divided by a king-mullion and having a transom. To left again
is a chimney stack of random bond brick with diapered diamond patterns
of blue brick which probably dates from the alterations of 1559 and
has 2 flues. To left of this is a C19 ground floor window of 6 lights
with a transom and to the first floor a window of 8 lights also with
transom. The portion to left of this dates from 1559-70. It too has
chevron infill. To far left is a 2-light first floor window and
immediately at left of this is a garderobe tower which has 2-light
mullioned windows to the ground and first floors of its right flank.
At left of this are a single-light ground floor window with a 2-light
casement above and at left again a chimney stack of C18 or C19 date
built of Red English garden wall bond brick with offsets to the sides
and two flues. The chapel chancel which projects at far left has a
pointed arched window of five lights with chamfered wooden mullions
which projects upwards into the coved jetty of the gable. To left
again andrecessed is the end of the southern range built c.1600. This
has two sloping buttresses to the ground floor of C18 or C19 date
which rise to support the first floor oriel window and partially mask
the small-framing to the ground floor walling and the central window
which is blocked save for 3 lights to the upper right hand corner.
The first floor is jettied with a coving below divided by
ovolo-moulded curved timbers which here have a moulded fascia board
below the moulded bressumer. The first floor has chevron infill and
an oriel with coved jetty of 7 lights with 2 transoms. Further jetty
above this. The long gallery has half gables to either side and small
framing with quadrant infill and a central oriel window of six blocked
lights with two transoms. The gable above again has a coved jetty and
quadrant infill to the gable which has moulded bargeboards and
decorative pendants to the corners.
The western side has to its centre the courtyard. The range to left
of this is of c.1480 and has two chimneybreasts of C16 English bond
brick, that at left having blue brick diapering in diamond patterns
and one offset to the top. It is capped by one square flue with
corrugated faces. The chimney breast at right diminishes in girth via
offsets and has a blocked doorway at left. Between these is
small-framed walling with chevron infill. To the ground floor is a
C18 sash window at right and a casement window at left and to the
first floor is a 2-light casement window at right. To right of centre
are two blocked doors to a garderobe which has now been removed. The
range to right of the courtyard is of two phases, that at right being
of c.1600 and that at left the latest building of c.1630. At right is
chevron infill to the ground floor walling with one 6-light casement
window with transom, a coved jetty below the first floor divided into
panels by moulded uprights. The first floor also has chevron
patterned infill and quatrefoils to the upper panels at either side of
the central oriel window which is supported by a coved jetty and has 6
lights and two transoms. The second floor has half-gables with
quadrant infill to either side of the central oriel window which is of
6 lights and similar to the first floor window. Jettied gable above
also with infill of quadrants with pendants suspended from the
corners. To left of this the addition of c.1630 has small-framing and
chevron strutting with one first floor window of 5 lights and a ground
floor doorway at right.
The South Front (to Moat): has a projecting gabled porch wing at
right with 5-centre arched openings approached across the moat by an
ashlar bridge which is of single span with a pointed arch and moulded
coping. The entrance archway at ground floor level of the porch wing
has a rectangular entrance with moulded posts to either side decorated
with cable motifs, rinceau scrollwork ornament and capitals decorated
with foliate drops. The first floor has two rows of trefoil-headed
panels to its lower body, some with decoration to the spandrels and
ovolo-moulded surrounds. Above these is a window of 5 lights with 2
transoms to either side of which are panels of small-framing with
quatrefoil infill. The corner posts have cable moulding and capitals
similar to those at ground floor level. The second floor also has a
row of trefoil-headed panels to its lower body above which is an oriel
window of 7 lights with 2 transoms, to either side of which are cells
with quadrant infill. The gable has a coved jetty, quadrant infill,
decorated bargeboards and decorated pendants to the corners. The
sides of this porch wing have chevron, quatrefoil and quadrant infill
to the three floors. To right in the re-entrant angle is a
chimney-breast of red brick with diamond patterns of blue brick
diapering. This has an offset at first floor level and a cogged band.
To its top is a corrugated diamond-shaped chimney stack. To right of
this the ground and first floor walling has chevron infill and one row
of quatrefoils. Both floors have a coved jetty. Above the first
floor is a portion of roofing which rises to the level of the sill of
the long gallery window which is here of seven panes. To right again
and recessed is the range of 1559 which has chevron infill and a
ground floor window at left, of six lights with a transom. The C19
oriel to the first floor above this is of 6 lights with a transom.
The gable above has chevron strutting. The chancel at right and
slightly recessed is of lesser height. To left of the porch wing the
walling is of small-framing with chevron infill as seen at right.
Immediately to left of the porch is a ground floor window of 6 lights
which is probably of C19 date and to the first floor above is a
3-light casement. To left of this is a garderobe tower which has
windows of 3 lights with chamfered mullions to both floors at either
side. To left again at ground floor level are a 4-light window, a
5-light window with transom and a 3-light window and to the first
floor is a 5-light window with transom. The jetty below the roof is
coved and this roof rises to the level of the sill of the long gallery
window which is here of 32 lights divided into rows of 7 lights by
king mullions leaving 4 lights at right. As elsewhere the jetty below
the roof is coved.
The Courtyard to its northern face has the projecting wing of c.1480
at left which has chevron infill to the ground floor, a plank door at
left of centre with casement windows of 3 and 4 lights to left and
right respectively with transoms. Above the door is an elongated
porch with close studded walling with middle rail supported on angle
brackets and to right of this is a coved jetty which dies back to the
walling of the first floor via a slate roof immediately rather than
supporting the first floor. This, together with the added corner
posts, appears to be an addition of c.1559-70 which, together with the
similar H-shaped addition on the northern gable end of this wing, was
designed to tie the new alterations in with the old fabric. The first
floor has no windows and chevron-patterned infill. The gable is
jettied with quatrefoils to the coving and chevron infill to the
gable. The right hand side of this wing has chevron infill to the
ground floor and a window of 9 lights with transom. The first floor
has a range of colonettes, with quatrefoils between, below the coved
jetty of the first floor oriel which has 8 lights with a transom and
single lights to the sides, with a gable above.
The Porch of the Great Hall has richly moulded timbers to either side
of the 4-centered doorway with rope motifs and foliage, above which
are two rows of pillarettes supporting an oriel window similar to that
at left. At right of this is a portion of recessed walling with a
ground floor window of 3 lights.
To right again are the pair of semi-octagonal bay windows which
project from the great hall and withdrawing room at ground floor level
and are jettied out and join at first floor level. Each face of these
windows has 3 lights at ground floor level, divided by two transoms.
The oriel windows at first floor level have coved jetties and windows
of 5 and 3 lights with single transoms. Above each face is a gable,
immediately below which are decoratively moulded facing-boards around
which runs the inscription "God is Al in Al Thing: This windous whire
made by William Moreton in the yeare of oure Lorde M.D.LIX". Below
the coving of the right hand window is inscribed "Richarde Dale
Carpeder. Made/Thies Windous By the grac of GOD". To the re-entrant
angle between these windows at ground floor level is the earlier
4-centered doorway to the hall, now blocked.
The Eastern Range has small framing with chevron infill. There are
three doorways, those at right and left having 4-centered arches and
that between having a flat lintel, and two 3-light casement windows.
To the first floor at left are two windows of 3 and 4 lights divided
by a king mullion and having a transom. To right are two oriel
windows of 5 and 4 lights.
The Southern Range has the gatehouse entry at left of centre with
panels of foliate ornament and figures in relief. Chevron strutting
to the ground floor with a 4-centered arch at right. Coved jetty
below the first floor subdivided into panels by carved vertical
timbers. The first floor has chevron infill with quatrefoils to the
upper body. At left is an oriel window with coved jetty of 7 lights
with 2 transoms and a gable above. To right of this are a 3-light and
5-light window. The long gallery at second floor level projects
upwards from the lower building and has one continuous strip of
glazing divided into windows of 7 lights by king mullions which
correspond with the trusses. To right of centre is a gabled staircase
wing which projects forwards to be flush with the walling of the first
floor. This has quadrant infill and a window of 7 lights with transom
and a gablet above. The projecting wing of 1630 has to its left hand
side brick walling to the ground floor and a 4-light window to the
first floor. The north face has a 4-centered doorway at left and two
single-light windows to the ground floor and chevron infill to the
first floor. Above this is a coved jetty set with arched openings to
a dovecote.
Hall Range: The Hall is approached from the Screens Passage which has
a floor of stone flags. The western wall has chevron-strutting to its
upper body and two 4-centred service doors and a panel of
diagonally-braced infill to its lower body, which was altered at the
time of the addition of the west wing in c.1480.
The Hall is of two bays with a central truss supported on moulded wall
posts which also support hefty moulded arch braces which rise to
connect with a collar, the under-side of which is also moulded. The
two sets of purlins are chamfered and each has wind bracing. To the
west of this is a minor truss, with similarly moulded principals
springing from the wall-plate to a moulded collar.
At around 1480 when the new service rooms were built in the west wing,
the position of the screens passage was removed from the eastern end
to the west and the speer trusses were added or transferred here.
These rise to meet the lower purlins and have similar mouldings to
those of the trusses.
In c.1559 the hall was divided by the insertion of a floor and all the
fenestration was altered in consequence. The five-sided bay window by
Richard Dale was added to the southern wall and the ground floor
window at right of it, and the ground and first floor windows of the
north wall, all with richly-moulded mullions and transoms. At first
floor level a wall was added between the speers with a doorway at
right forming a passage of the former gallery. At the same time a
brick chimney stack was added at the east of the northern wall with a
moulded ashlar surround at ground floor level and a small 2-light
window at first floor level. At some time in the late C16 or early
C17 oak panelling was added to the ground floor room with moulded
surrounds to the panels and a shallow wooden cornice.
Prior to 1809 the floor was removed and the bay window at first floor
level and the doorway between the speers were both blocked off.
East wing
The Parlour (originally one of the service rooms) was panelled in the
C18 with raised and fielded oak panels with a wooden cornice above.
This has been partially removed to reveal small-framed walls over
which have been pasted sheets of paper painted in simulation of
painted wooden panelling dating from c.1580. Above these is a
decorated frieze with arabesque ornament, including the Moreton coat
of arms and above that are similar sheets with paintings of the story
of Susanna and the Elders with accompanying texts in Gothic script.
One of the original service doors with a 4-centred head can be seen in
the western wall, also overlayed with painting. The sash windows
retain their window seats and shutters and there is a bolection
moulded fire surround of ashlar.
Between the parlour and withdrawing room is a short passage with a
spiral staircase set in a square well.
The Withdrawing Room (also originally one of the service rooms) was
greatly altered during the work of 1559. From this time dates the
5-sided bay window, similar to that in the hall, the oak panelling
with richly-moulded surround and the mullioned and transomed windows
in the eastern wall. The overmantel of ashlar shows terms at either
side of a rectangular panel bearing the coat of arms of Elizabeth I.
This is also of c.1559, but the hearth below was altered in the C18
and has clustered shafts to either side of an ogee-arched fireplace
with rococo foliage in relief above. The ceiling divided by
richly-moulded timbers into square and rectangular panels probably
also dates from this period.
The first floor room above the parlour has simple C17 panelling and a
ceiling inserted in the C17 above which are the arch-braced trusses of
the original roof.
The first floor room above the withdrawing room is similarly panelled
and has a similar overmantel to that of the drawing room with, in this
case, a brattished shelf. The bay window, canted out above the ground
floor level, is blind at right and has a doorway in the right hand
angle which connects with the similarly overhanging bay window of the
hall, which now forms a self-contained room but originally led to the
first floor above the hall.
West Wing (c.1480)
The Tea-room, Kitchen and Shop are formed out of the range of service
rooms for the Hall, the Shop being the original kitchen, and having a
massive chimney of brick with 4-centred arch. There is a similar
small hearth in the Tea-room. The internal dividing walls here, as
elsewhere in the house, are of close studding with a middle rail. The
ceiling beams throughout the three rooms are chamfered with end stops,
and the central beam in the Tea-room is supported on wall posts.
The first floor rooms above the service rooms are approached by a
spiral staircase within a rectangular well which leads off the screens
passage. This leads to the upper passage which is within the hall
range (q.v.) and was originally the gallery beyond the speers and
above the screens passage. To the upper western wall is a portion of
coving indicating the canopy over the high table prior to the reversal
of 1480. The southern end of this passage, including the area above
the porch, was divided by a wall of close studding c.1559. The room
thus formed shows signs of considerable alteration, particularly in
the area of the windows which appear to have been raised and canted
out at the same time as the building of the 5-sided bay windows by
Richard Dale, indeed early C19 prints of the house show the window
above the porch to have had decorative fascia boards similar to those
on Dale's windows, and it may well be that all are by him. The room
above the shop has another of these types of window, also, from
internal evidence, a later alteration of the original. The internal
walls here as below are of close studding with a middle rail. The
room over the Tea-room has a massive brick chimney piece with
brattished overmantel and gablets of moulded brick above the lateral
piers. The central truss is arch braced and the two sets of purlins
have cusped wind bracing.
East Wing extension c.1559-70
The two rooms at ground floor level, now used as exhibition space, are
divided by a close-studded wall. The northern room has a square
stairwell enclosing a spiral staircase which is approached from the
courtyard and the southern room has a brick fireplace. The Chapel is
of single storey height with close-studded walling and chamfered
ceiling beams. It is divided from the Chancel, which is narrower and
of 1½ storeys, by a screen of chamfered vertical timbers. The north
and west walls are decorated with texts taken from the Tyndale Bible
and surrounded by decorative borders filled with arabesques.
The first floor rooms above the Chapel and exhibition rooms have
dividing walls of chevron strutting. The southern room or prayer room
has a C19 window at its southern end and C17 oak panelling to its
walls which mask the wall posts and arched braces which run up to join
the trusses, also hidden by the imposition of a canted ceiling. A
portion of close studded walling divides the room from the upper part
of the chancel into which a window or squint previously looked, but
now is blocked.
South Wing c.1570-80
The Corn Store has an undefined earlier function, possibly the
gate-keeper's room. To its southern wall is a massive brick chimney.
In the C17 it was subdivided by a grid of storage bins, similar to
animal stalls. The first floor rooms are reached by a spiral
staircase set in a rectangular well. The Guest's Hall has
small-framed walling and is subdivided by a wooden screen with
openings to its upper body. The ceiling is divided into square
compartments by moulded beams, beneath which are large consoles richly
carved with spiral and leaf decoration. A doorway and a flight of
steps connect this room with the Prayer Room of the East Wing
Extension (q.v.).
The Guest's Parlour is partially panelled with C17 oak panelling one
section of which slides back to reveal a door to a later room, built
in c.1600 and apparently used in the C18 or C19 as a cheese room or
store. Rooms on this floor of the south wing have lime-ash floors on
oak boarding.
The second floor Long Gallery is of 8 bays divided by wall posts
supporting arched braces which rise to connect with moulded collars.
The lower walls and lower portions of these braces have been encased
behind C17 panelling; and further strengthening collar-beams and iron
tie-rods have been added. Between each wall-post are windows of 7
lights with transoms. The ceiling has cusped quadrant wind-bracing
and to either gable end are panels of pargetting with rinceau ornament
surrounding central figures of Destiny and Fortune taken from the 1556
edition of the Castle of Knowledge by Robert Recorde.
The Upper Porch Room off the Long Gallery has C17 panelling and a
richly moulded ashlar chimneypiece with a canted arch which has
tapered pilasters to either side, an arabesque frieze above and an
overmantel with a square central panel with gadrooned border enclosing
the Moreton arms in relief with Caryatids to either side and a band of
rinceau in the frieze.
Famous for its picturesque effect on calendars, Little Moreton Hall
has an outstanding historical interest. The layout and accommodation
admirably reflects the type for a moated late-medieval courtyard
manor-house arrived at through a process of gradual growth. The
present form is the result of a series of building campaigns
throughout the C15 and C16, but since 1600 little has been added, save
for some C17 and C18 panelling and several C18 and C19 windows.
Restoration has been undertaken with cautious restraint.
In addition, the building history of the house is recorded both on the
fabric and in documentation. This provides the historian with both a
chronicle of variations and development of building practices and,
contrarily, illustrates the cautious way in which succeeding
carpenters copied the patterns of their predecessors. One
illustration is the moulding seen on the arch braces of the Hall roof
of c.1450, again in the Withdrawing Room ceiling of c.1559 and in the
ceiling of the Guest's Hall of c.1600. The same desire to tie-in new
work with old is reflected by the applied ornament on the northern and
southern faces of the West Wing, probably added in c.1559, to imitate
the coved overhangs seen on the bay windows of that date.
The house would have very considerable interest if it only partially
survived. The fact that its plan is complete and its fabric so little
disturbed makes this one of the most outstanding buildings in the

Sources: George Ormerod - History of Cheshire,
Vol.III, London, 1819

Nikolaus Pevsner & - Buildings of England:
Edward Hubbard Cheshire
London 1971

Julian Gibbs - National Trust Guide
Book, 1984.
[ Little Moreton Hall

Listing NGR: SJ8325158924

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