Poulton in Cheshire was once home to a small community of Cistercian monks, who founded an abbey on the banks of the river Dee on the Welsh border. After only 60 years, however, the monks grew tired of continued incursions from the Welsh and in 1214 they took up an invitation by Ranulf de Blundeville, earl of Chester and lord of Leek, to move to a new site just outside Leek, in Staffordshire, at Dieulacres Abbey.
The Poulton Research Project has been investigating the history of the abbey at Poulton since 1995, with some outstanding results. The project's discoveries have included a blocked-up medieval-stone staircase leading into the ground on a site named as 'Poulton Hall' on a 17th-century estate map, while 700 metres away an early chapel has been located that has so many burials that students in forensic archaeology are now trained on the site.
Could 'Poulton Hall' be the former abbey, later re-used as a monastic grange (an agricultural estate) and manor house by the Manley family, who are known to have lived there in the 15th and 16th centuries?
Time Team was asked for its help in piecing together the history of this monastic landscape.