Old Madeley Manor is a well-preserved example of a manorial site with a moated manor house enclosure, associated garden enclosure, water management system and the earthwork remains of a mill site. The site will retain structural and artefactual evidence for both the original manor house known to have existed here since before 1348 and for the late 16th century Renaissance house which superseded it. Documentary records survive for the Renaissance house. Organic material will be preserved in the waterfilled moat ditches and within the seasonally waterlogged garden ponds. The late 16th/17th century garden earthworks not only provide evidence for the layout and setting of Old Madeley Manor, but they also reflect the trends of garden design during this period. In particular, the less common water garden to the west of the moated enclosure reflects the late 16th and 17th century emphasis on formal, ornamental gardens and provide evidence of the wealth and social status of the occupants of Old Madeley Manor. The watermill site at Madeley survives in a good condition and derives its importance from its close association to the manor site. The location of the watermill, adjacent to Old Madeley Manor, illustrates well the influence and control exercised by the aristocracy on manorial watermills.
The monument is situated approximately 400m south of Manor Farm, Madeley in the valley of the River Lea which was canalised in the first quarter of the 19th century. It includes the earthwork and buried remains of a moated site and the standing earthwork and buried remains of a late 16th or early 17th century house with its associated garden earthworks. The monument also includes parts of an associated water management system, the earthwork remains of a watermill and a series of hollow ways. Occupation of the site is known from at least the early 14th century when a licence to crenellate the manor at Madeley was granted to Ralph, Lord Stafford in 1348. The moated site has been constructed to the south of the River Lea and has external dimensions of approximately 90m east-west and 100m north- south. It is defined on its north and west sides by an L-shaped waterfilled moat; the north arm measures 85m in length and the west arm is 68m. Both arms average 18m in width. The east side of the moated site is defined by a slope which decreases in height towards the south as the natural topography rises. On this eastern side the platform stood above a large pool (now drained) which was formed behind a dam, set across the valley which is now represented by the causeway below the modern Madeley Road. The platform is now defined along its south side by a scarp running east-west. It is probable that there was originally a waterfilled ditch in this location. Access onto the moated island was originally from the north. A broad bank, 13m wide, is visible forming a causeway across the valley bottom, running north-south, but askew to the orientation of the moat. A low earthen mound at the south end of the causeway corresponds to a raised area on the north side of the central part of the moat and these features are thought to have acted as bridging points across the River Lea (which flows parallel to the north moat arm) and across the moat itself to give access to the centre of the moated island. The causeway is also believed to have functioned as a retaining bank for a large pool to the west. The height of the causeway indicates that the pond could have only held a sheet of water, but the visual effect as the house was approached from the north would have been quite dramatic. Slight earthworks and a length of standing masonry in the west part of the moated island indicate the location of the 14th century manor house. The standing masonry has been constructed of ashlar blocks of Red Sandstone and includes part of the springing of an external round-headed doorway with portcullis groove and chamfered arch at its north end. This fragment of standing masonry is Listed Grade II and is included in the scheduling. It is thought to be the remains of the west external wall and gateway of the original stone-built house. By 1422-3 this site was referred to as the 'Old Madeley Manor' and it is thought that the house had fallen into disrepair by this date. In 1540 the manor of Madeley was sold to Thomas Offley, who became the Mayor of London in 1556, and a second house was built at the site during the late 16th or early 17th century. An illustration of this house by Plot in 1686 indicates that the main body of the house was of ornamental timber-framed construction, of three storeys with large mullioned windows and the upper storey entirely contained within the roof space. The east part of the house was built of ashlar blocks and was very different in its construction from the main body. It is thought that this east wing was in fact the original manor house which was reused and incorporated within the design of the late 16th century house. The social standing of the Offley family during the 16th and 17th centuries is reflected by the apparent splendour of their country seat at Madeley. In 1679 John Offley married Anne Crewe, heiress to the Crewe estate. The subsequent move to Crewe Hall led to the abandonment of the manor house at Madeley which fell into decay and was largely demolished in 1749. The original causewayed approach to the house was eventually superseded as the principal means of access to the manor by a more substantial causeway to the east. This later causeway, up to 1.2m high, runs to the north east corner of the moated enclosure and continues along the line of the east boundary to the enclosure. Immediately to the south of the house, within the original moated island, are the earthwork remains of a formal garden. This garden is shown on Plot's illustration and is, therefore, known to have included principal walkways around the sides and through the centre which were connected by a series of semicircular paths. The principal walkways survive as low scarps and define an enclosure of 28m north-south and 45m east-west. The sandstone foundations of a small building remain visible to the west of this garden and south west of the house. These foundations are likely to be the remains of an ancillary building of timber-framed construction which is shown on Plot's illustration. To the west of the moated island is a series of features believed to form the remains of a formal Renaissance water garden. This area is similar in plan to the moated island and measures approximately 100m square. The north side of the garden is defined by a walkway which runs east-west and also continues eastwards along the north arm of the moat. The walkway has a relatively level surface and measures 160m long and averages 6m in width. The east and south sides of the garden are also defined by walkways, the east runs parallel to the west moat arm and is similar in height to the north walkway; a maximum height of 1.3m. The west side of the water garden is defined by a north-south stream channel and it is unclear if this channel is the original west boundary to the garden. Parallel to the east and south walkways are a series of rectangular, steep-sided ponds, two on the east side and two on the south. These seasonally waterlogged ponds are, in turn, bounded on their north and west sides by two further raised walkways, which are connected by causeways between the ponds. The walkways surround a series of sub-rectangular platforms which formed the nucleus of the garden. These platforms are defined by a series of channels which would have originally carried water. At the south west corner of the site are the earthwork remains of two small ponds, both now dry, which would have originally supplied and regulated the water supply to the water garden to the north. The west side of the south pond has been infilled and its south extent has been destroyed by later activity. The second pond is situated immediately to the south of the water garden and its position, which coincides with the north-south alignment of the garden's ornamental ponds, suggests that this pond also formed part of the garden layout. The south boundary to the site is defined by a parallel bank and ditch running in an east-west direction at the base of the south side of the valley. These features also delimit the south sides of the moated and garden enclosures. There is a considerable reduction in the height of these earthworks near to the present Manor Road and the road itself cuts across the earthworks. On the east side of the road the ditch re-emerges, runs alongside an area of earthworks and building platforms and then continues into the present course of the River Lea. The topographical position of the bank and ditch indicate that at one stage the ditch carried water. Its greater depth as it continued eastwards would have increased the flow of water as it approached the earthworks on the east side of the Manor Road. These building platforms are considered to be the remains of a former watermill site with the ditch serving as a leat providing the water power for the water-wheel. The bank and ditch are thought to have had a second function as part of a park pale defining the north boundary of Madeley Great Park which dates from at least the late 13th century. Immediately to the north of the bank and ditch and to the east of the moated enclosure, in the base of the valley, are a series of scarps which define a number of rectangular enclosures. These earthworks are thought to form part of a First World War prisoner-of-war camp which occupied the area and are included in the scheduling. To the north of the later causeway, on the north side of the valley, there is a series of hollow ways. A hollow way heading towards Manor Farm is thought to be post 18th century in date and contemporary with the establishment of the farm. It cuts a series of parallel lynchets which run east-west along the hillslope. One of these lynchets steepens and turns at right angles to create a building platform. The building that was originally situated here is thought to have been an integral part of the manor house estate. (Scheduling Report)