The Old Monks Manor
At the edge of Bromborough Pool just off Pool road is the remains of an ancient building steeped in
history. When exploring this location in 2008 a quick walk around the area revealed the three
remaining sides of a moated enclosure which can still just about be made out. They are still relatively
deep which regularly flood with water. Once you cross the moat at a dry section you are instantly hit
by the sheer steepness of the bank which would provide an excellent defensive measure for the
building. Following a small struggle i made my way up the embankment to the top of the site where i
could look down across the area. It is clear that the building covered a vast area and that there is
still lots of stone debris scattered around the area, many still in situ. The stone objects all seemed to
be on the West side of the building close tow here the moat would have met the river Dibbin to fill up.
I later checked maps of the area which showed that in 1840 that particular area was a deeper
expanse of water at the side of the moat. The 1875 map shows a long think building in place of the
water, whilst the 1910 map shows the outline of the building which perhaps had been demolsihed by
then. I am unsure as to what the stone objects were used for, the only theory i can give is that they
were maybe used as part of a small quay or perhaps in relation to help load and unload cargo from
vessels. This would make sense as vessels could approach up the pool and into the deeper section of
water. I examined the stone objects, recorded them and moved on. Turning towards the centre of
the area where the building once stood, it was clear that it is now thick with wild undergrowth which
is mainly unpassible.
It is believed that the centre of the area held a Manor House belonging to the monks of St
Werburghs. The manor house was situated at the pool for its strategic vantage purposes,
commanding views of the river. In ancient times it was not uncommon for a roaming band of Welsh
sailors or local marauders to try a quick plundering exercise on local villages, the moat and high banks
would certainly have made them think twice. The building which sat in the middle was accidentally
destroyed by a fire in 1284, at which point the monks did not decide to rebuild.
Excavations of the old moat took place in 1955 by the Bromborough Society and an excavation by the
Liverpool University Rescue Archaeology Unit also took place in 1979. During both of these
excavations the evidence began to show that moat was not constructed before the 18th century. It
would seem that the moat was therefore part of some other building which occupied the site at a
later stage. Given the time period this would then suggest that the moat was for ornamental
purposes, rather than defensive.
I took many photographs while i was there, some showing the moat, some the stone objects and the
flat lands where the building stood. Having checked the Tithe maps I cannot find any record of the
second building which occupied the site, or its owner. The records which date back to 1840 show the
owner as Reverend James Mainwaring with John Simpson occupying the land which at the time was
being used as an orchard. This means that the second building on the land must have predated the
early 1800 and most records. I fear we may never know the history behind this mysterious building
without clearing and excavating much of the land in the middle and at great cost.
|The 1840 Tithe map showing the outlined of the moat & manor in plot 3
|A 1970 Aerial view prior to the undergrowth taking hold of the area.
|1875 Map showing a building in the NW corner where the masonry is.
|A 1910 Map showing only the outline of a building in the NW corner
|Corner section of the Moat