FARNDON

Grid Ref. SJ 414 545
2 Aug 2005

 

Farndon, Cheshire spacer Farndon Arms
Bridge built in 1345   Farndon Arms
Nave   Tower
St. Chads: the nave looking east   The Tower
Nave   Civil War Window
The nave looking west   Civil War Window
Knight   Barnston Memorial
Effigy of Sir Patrick de Barton   Memorial to Major Roger Barnston

 

Farndon lies on the English bank of the Dee and is famous for its bridge, red sandstone cliffs by the river, the church and strawberry growing. The shield on the Farndon Arms shows the bridge, a strawberry, a Cheshire wheatsheaf and a bear.

There was a church at Farndon mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1085 but no trace of this remains. The exterior of St. Chad's is not easy to photograph for it is the north side that has the best access but poorest light. The south side is partly obscured by trees and has two gables that break up the facade. Moreover, the bright, metallic grills installed to protect the stained glass are too prominent and give the impression of a property being boarded up. This is unfortunate for the church has many interesting features. The church was badly damaged in the Civil War and had to be extensively rebuilt. The cylindrical columns shown in my photographs of the nave date from 1658. Of similar date are the clerestory window but the the aisle windows are probably Victorian. The base of the tower is mediaeval but the north porch, now used as the main entrance, is Georgian. The tower was restored in 1927. The earliest incumbent recorded is Richard Rawlinson in the time of Henry IV but there is then a gap in the record until the 1540s.

The Civil War window is in the east wall of the Barnston Chapel in the south aisle. Beneath it is a brass plaque that reads:

The Above Window was rescued in a state of extreme decay & repaired at the expense of the late Dean Cholmondeley of Chester. Of the four small top compartments, the first is broken, the second contains the representation of Richard Grosvenor, the third that of Sir William Mainwaring, slaind at the siege of Chester & the fourth that of William Barnston of Churton, another suffering loyalist. The four centre compartments are strewed with & military trophies, in the angle of one of which is a representation of Sir Francis Gamul at the seige of Chester. The ensign in one of the lower compartments is unknown. In the other compartments are figures of pikemen, musqueteers & musicians in the equipment of the time. The window was removed when the church was restored in 1869 by the late Major Barnston at the request of the then vicar but was replaced by Harry Barnston in 1894.

In the north aisle of the church is an effigy of Sir Patrick Barton, who lived during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). The effigy is not made from the local dark red sandstone but from a lighter coloured material. Nearby is a printed card which explains that he is dressed in armour and surcoat with his head resting on a cushion and his feet on a dog. The Latin inscription, which can be discerned on the edge of the shield reads "Here lies Patrick of Barton, Pray for him". The De Barton family is first recorded at Barton a small hamlet a few miles from Farndon in the reign of Henry III (1154-1181). Little is known of Sir Patrick de Barton but he is believed to have been an archer knight who fought for the King's mother in law, Queen Phillipa, at the Battle of Neville Cross in Northumberland in 1346. The effigy was found at the base of the church tower with two similar monuments in the early 19th century. The other two effigies were ground up for use as sand. It is believed that face of the effigy was worn away by the feet of bell ringers.

The monument at the bottom right in my pictures is to Roger Barnston of Crewe Hill, Farndon, a major in the 90th Regiment of Light Infantry who served in the Crimean War and in the Indian Mutiny. He was mortally wounded in the relief of Lucknow and died in Cawnpore. On the bank of the Dee just north of the village is a more substantial monument in the form of an obelisk with four lions at its base. It was designed by E. A. Heffer and erected in 1858. Barnston was a member of the Order of the Bath, a knight of the Legion of Honor of the French Empire and a member of the Turkish Imperial Order of the Mehjidie. He died on 23 December 1857 aged 31. The tablet was erected by his brother, Captain William Barnston of the 55th Regiment of Foot.

John Speed the map-maker was baptised at Farndon in 1552. He was the son of a tailor and followed his father in the trade. He is believed to have started his map making by studying the view from the top of the church tower. At the age of 50 he went to London to begin his map-making career under the patronage of Fulke Greville. He began by mapping the counties of England and adding descriptive notes genealogies of the principal families. Subsequently he wrote his History. While he added much new information he also copied from older documents but always gave details of his sources. He described England as the "the Granary of the Western World, the fortunate Island, the Paradise of Pleasure and the Garden of God." He died in 1629 and was buried at Cripplegate in London.

Sources

Notes displayed in the church
The Buildings of England, Cheshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner and Edward Hubbard, Yale University Press, 2003, ISBN 0 300 09588 0
The King's England, Cheshire, by Arthur Mee, published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1938, fourth impression, 1950.
Old Cheshire Churches, with a supplementary survey of the lesser old chapels of Cheshire, completely revised and enlarged by Raymond Richards, first published in 1947 and reprinted by E. J. Morten, Didsbury, 1973.

 

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