Little Moreton Hall is a moated 15th and 16th-century half-timbered manor house southwest of Congleton, Cheshire It is one of the finest examples of timber-framed domestic architecture in England The house is today owned by the National Trust. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building, and is protected as a Scheduled Monument So picturesque is the house that it has been described as "a ginger bread house lifted straight from a fairy story or even the crooked house of Grimms fairy tales" The earliest parts of the house were built for the prosperous Cheshire landowner Sir Richard de Moreton around 1450; the remainder was constructed in various campaigns by three successive generations of the family until around 1580. The house remained in the ownership of the Moreton family for almost five centuries.
The building is highly irregular, with asymmetrical façades that ramble around three sides of a small cobbled courtyard, with "bays and porches jostling each other for space
While the building technique of Little Moreton Hall is unremarkable for Cheshire houses dating from this period – an oak framework filled with wattle and daub set upon stone footings– the architecture is interesting because although medieval and provincial in concept, the long period of its evolution encompassed the Renaissance era. As a result, Renaissance motifs can be seen in the carving of the beams and some of the interior fireplaces However, any Renaissance ornament is overpowered by the patterning of the wooden framework. Diagonal black oak beams creating chevron and lozenge patterns adorn the façades. The geometric shapes formed are filled by white painted wattle and daub or windows. Higher in the façades under the eaves and in the numerous gables a recurrent quatrefoil motif is evident on the woodwork.
Today, fully restored, the house still buckles and tilts under the weight of the long gallery perched precariously on top of the south wing..The Long Gallery seems to have been an afterthought, conceived during the construction of the gatehouse on which it sits. Arch-braced roof trusses support the weight of the heavy stone slates on the roof, while the gallery itself is loaded directly onto the first-floor ceiling joists. The fact that the entire South wing has little or no foundation goes someway to explain the lopsided appearance of the house. Iron-tie rods were inserted at the end of the nineteenth century as a further precaution against collapse, but the crooked and bowed windows, floors, panelling and beams all combine to make visitors to Little Moreton feel somewhat seasick. It has been suggested that the heavily decorated fireplace in the Upper Porch Room, just off the Long Gallery, is the only true vertical in the house The garden has been restored to its heyday; flowerbeds in their original planting schemes a carefully clipped knot garden and an orchard. Biblical wall paintings, which were discovered behind Georgian panelling, can be seen in the Parlour, while the drawing Room houses a round table on an octagonal base that may have been made to fit the window. Much of the hall's interest lies in the architectural details on display, such as the plasterwork in the Long Gallery depicting Destiny and Fortune and the console bracket in the Guests' Hall.Little Moreton Hall is regarded as one of the best preserved timbered houses in the country. We just loved it and can recommend a visit to anyone in the area....