Skip to main content

Building record MDR5432 - Weston Hall and site of homestead moat, Weston Upon Trent

Type and Period (2)

  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Parts of a moat are depicted and named on the 1st ed. 25" OS map of c. 1880, lying to the north and north-east of Weston Hall. Some earthworks are also shown, but not named, to the south of the Hall. (1) 'The largest homestead moat in Derbyshire is that which enclosed the old hall of Weston, said by Lysons to have been built by the Ropers early in the 17th century. The Ropers' hall, however, succeeded to one of greater antiquity. The narrow moat is fairly perfect on the north and south, in each case having a length of about 550 feet; there are also some remains on the east side of the large square of the enclosure, but nothing is left on the west. The distance from the north piece of the moat to that on the south is about 700 feet. It will be noticed … that there are indications both on the north and the east of a second or inner moat, but the remains are not sufficiently clear to state this with certainty… In such cases the inner one is generally immediately round the actual house. If this was the case at Weston, the old mediaeval house must have stood to the north of that which is now standing'. (2) Weston-on-Trent Hall is an immense unfinished structure in brick, with stone facings, dating from early in the 17th century. It was commenced by a member of the Roper family but was sold in an unfinished state to the Holdens, who held it until 1898. Robert Holden of Shardlow, was the purchaser (1647)… Extensive remains of a large moat surround the house. The moat is under the attention of the Ancient Monuments Board (Domestic Earthworks)…' (3) This moat has been ploughed in and is no longer visible. (4) OS published name: Weston Hall; confirmed. The building is scheduled as an Ancient Monument. No details of its early history are known. It is partly occupied by farm workers and used as a store. The moat was 'bull-dozed' during the past ten years - no finds of any significance were made. Weston Hall is a very large building of three storeys with an attic and basement. It is built of brick in a variant of English bond, as a large stone plinth, with stone quoins. The original windows were stone mullioned and transomed but some are now blocked and others have sash windows inserted in them. On the south side is the brick cogging, either for an extension, or of a demolished wing. In this side there is a blocked door and two doors, high up in the walling, converted into windows. The appearance of the building is consistent with an early 17th century date; there are a few minor, modern additions. The building is in poor condition. The former fragment of moat, centred at SK 4043 2845, has been partly levelled and its site is now under cultivation or covered by pig and chicken runs. A large depression marks the former fragment of the eastern side. South of this depression is an area of irregularities containing the remains of an approach to the Hall. The owner stated that the whole of this area was to be more completely levelled this year. To the north and south of the Hall are extensive scatters of bricks and modern refuse but no evidence of an earlier building was seen. The majority of the small banks and ditches formerly on the north and south of the moated area have been completely destroyed but in the area centred at SK 4037 2812, they can be seen to have formed part of a small area of depopulation [see SMR 27705] (5) The section of moat published at SK 40462825 has been filled in. A further depression at SK 40442842 hitherto unpublished, has been surveyed at 1/2500, although this too is scheduled to be filled in. Published survey (25" revision of 1961) revised. (6) Weston Hall is part of an intended H-plan mansion begun in c.1633 but left unfinished. It was restored and strengthened in 1973. Grade 2*. (8,9) Weston Hall (formerly listed as Hall Farmhouse). Large, unfinished country house. Early 17th century with minor later alterations. Built for the Roper family. Grade II*. (10) This is a tall (5-storey) brick house on a stone plinth with stone dressings and slate roofs. It stands on what was once a moated site, approached by a drive that runs northwest from the green at the end of the village street. It is part of a mansion that was never completed. There seems no reason to doubt that the house was built from 1633 onwards. The design was a conventional one (although extravagantly large) based on the medieval hall and crosswing house. Construction appears to have commenced at the north side, with the lower, service wing and that part of the hall range that represents the screens passage and entrance being built. By the time the hall range was begun, it must already have been clear that the house must be curtailed. It would be interesting to know whether foundations for a flight of steps to approach the main entrance were prepared and lie below the garden to the east. It would have been a splendid mansion, comparable in size perhaps to Hardwick Hall. An inventory of 1667 provides some idea of the house as lived in. In the undercroft was the kitchen, the brewhouse and cellar, the white house (for cleansing milk pails and dairy equipment, the dairy and the coalhouse. On the principal floor was the dining room, hall, middle chamber and buttery, with a closet by the buttery. Nine chambers are named on the second and third floors. (11) A reference in 1538 to a 'manor place' at Weston on Trent probably relates to the moated site of Weston Hall. Anthony Roper started to built a new Hall in 1633 but the Civil War halted the work and the building was used as barracks. (12) Weston Hall is now (2011) known as The Cooper's Arms. An archaeological watching brief was undertaken during groundworks associated with the construction of a kitchen extension. Although little was found, the excavation did expose two portions of original wall (east-facing and north-facing) that had been below ground level. These indicated that it was an exceptionally well-built sandstone building. The changes in the pattern of heavy tooling and the width of coursing (narrower at the base) on the east-facing short wall may suggest that some of the re-exposed wall was not intended to be seen and was perhaps always below ground level; however, this is conjectural. (13) The moat was identified during an aerial photographic mapping survey that was carried out in 2009/10. The moat earthworks were visible on aerial photographs dating to 1945. (14)

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1905. 'Ancient Earthworks', in The Victoria County History of Derbyshire, Volume 1. pp 357-396. p 391, with plan.
  • <3> Article in serial: Tudor, T. 1939. 'Relics of the Civil War in Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 60. p.158.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: S.S. Reviser 24.3.50 Note on Field Sheet.
  • <5> Personal Observation: F1 WW 26-JAN-60.
  • <6> Personal Observation: F2 BHS 11-JUL-66.
  • <7> Index: TPAT. TPAT 2291.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: DOE (HHR) S E Derby RD December 1960 34-35.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1979. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. 2nd ed., revised. p350.
  • <10> Bibliographic reference: DOE Listed Bldgs. Dist of South Derbyshire. Derby 11 Mar 1987 189.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Hutton, B. Derby Buildings Record. DBR 46, 19th July 1989.
  • <12> Bibliographic reference: Wiltshire, M & Woore, S. 2009. Medieval Parks of Derbyshire. p 182.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Davies, G (ARS). 2011. An Archaeological Watching Brief at The Cooper's Arms, Weston-on-Trent. HER Doc. No. 1482.
  • <14> Digital data: Archaeological Research Services (ARS) Ltd. 2009/2010. Aerial Photographic Mapping Survey carried out as part of an Aggregates Resource Project.



Grid reference Centred SK 4036 2838 (331m by 307m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

  • EDR2988
  • EDR2003
  • EDR993
  • EDR1406

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Mar 15 2020 11:16AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.