LITLE MORETON HALL
Little Moreton Hall first appears in the historical record in 1271, but the present building dates from the early 16th century with the earliest parts of the house built for the prosperous Cheshire landowner William Moreton around 1504. The remainder was constructed in stages by subsequent generations of the family until about 1610 making the building highly irregular, with three asymmetrical structures forming a small, rectangular cobbled courtyard.
The house remained in the possession of the Moreton family for almost 450 years, until ownership was transferred to the National Trust in 1938. Little Moreton Hall and its sandstone bridge that spans the moat, are Grade I listed and the grounds on which Little Moreton Hall stands is protected as a Scheduled Monument.
The Dissolution of the Monasteries in the mid-16th century provided further opportunities for the Moretons to add to their estate, and by the early years of Elizabeth I's reign, William Moreton II owned an area of 1,360 acres containing a cornmill, orchards, gardens, and an iron bloomery with water-powered hammers, all then valued around £24 pounds.
In 1546 William Moreton's son, also called William, replaced the original west wing with a new range, housing service rooms on the ground floor as well as a porch, gallery, and three interconnected rooms on the first floor, one of which had access to a garderobe or privvy. In 1559 William had a new floor inserted at gallery level in the Great Hall, and added the two large bay windows looking onto the courtyard, built so close to each other that their roofs abut one another. The south wing was added around 1560 by William Moreton II's son, John. It includes the Gatehouse and a third storey containing the 21m Long Gallery. A small kitchen and Brew-house block was added to the south wing in about 1610 and was the last major extension to the house.
The fortunes of the Moreton family declined during the English Civil War. As supporters of the Royalist cause, they found themselves isolated in a neighbourhood of Parliamentarians. Little Moreton Hall was requisitioned by the Parliamentarians in 1643 and used as soldiers quarters. The family successfully petitioned for its restitution, and survived the Civil War but at a huge financial loss. Their attempts to sell the full estate, failed and only several parcels of land were sold. William Moreton died in 1654 leaving debts of £3,000–£4,000, the equivalent to approximately £14 million today. The family's fortunes never fully recovered, and by the late 1670s they no longer lived in Little Moreton Hall, renting it out instead to a series of tenant farmers. The Dale family took over the tenancy in 1841, and were still in residence more than 100 years later. By 1847 most of the house was unoccupied, and the deconsecrated Chapel was being used as a coal cellar and storeroom. Little Moreton Hall was in a ruinous condition; its windows were boarded up and its roof was rotten.
In 1912, Elizabeth bequeathed the house to a cousin, Charles Abraham the Bishop of Derby, stipulating that it must never be sold. Abraham opened up Little Moreton Hall to visitors, and guided tours were conducted by the Dales.
Abraham transferred ownership to the National Trust in 1938. The Dale family continued to farm the estate until 1945, and acted as caretakers for the National Trust until 1955.
The house stands on an island surrounded by a 10 m wide moat, which was dug between the 13th or 14th century to enclose an earlier building on the site. There is no evidence that the moat served any defensive purpose, and as with many other moated sites, it was probably intended as a status symbol. Running the entire length of the south range the Long Gallery is roofed with heavy gritstone slabs, the weight of which has caused the supporting floors below to bow and buckle. The crossbeams between the arch-braced roof trusses were probably added in the 17th century to prevent the structure from "bursting apart" under the load.
The TOAL was from a grass verge directly outside of the NT boundary on the A34. I parked in the Little Moreton Hall carpark without any issue as I'm a member. It is probably the easiest NT property to film as its a compact small site. The South Cheshire Way runs directly in front of the hall and carry's on through a farm field but I didn't fly from there as the tall trees would prevent VLOS and interfere with the signal.
Land owner permission not required.
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Co-ordinates: 53.12561, -2.254015 • what3words: ///stepping.variously.breeding