WILMSLOW

Grid Ref. SJ 847 815
9 Apr 2004, 26 June 2005, 31 Mar 2008 & 14 April 2013. Interior 27 June 2011

 

St. Bartholomew's spacer St. Bartholomew's
St. Bartholmew's, April 2013   Tower and Porch
Lych gate   Carving detail
Gate   Detail on the Gate
Restored head   Sun Dial
Restored head on window at west end of south side   Sun Dial near the Porch
Nave   Ceiling
Nave, Screen and Chancel   Ceiling

 

The parish was formerly called Le Bolyn from its position near the river Bollin. It includes the districts of Pownall Fee, Bollin Fee, Fulshaw and Chorley. The earliest documentary record for a church at Wilmslow is in 1246 when it was mentioned in an inquisiton post mortem of Sir Richard Fyton of Bollin.  Little of the early church survives but there is a crypt, dating from about 1300, which is accessed from the chancel. The main part of the church dates from the early 16th century. Richards mentions that the lower section of the tower may date from the 15th century. The parish of Wilmslow was created in 1290 from part of the very large parish of Prestbury.

The synod of Exeter decreed in 1287 that for all churches the congregation was responsible for the nave and the patron for the chancel. Henry Trafford DD, a representative of the local Trafford family, was the rector from 1516-37 and in 1522 he built the chancel.  Henry Trafford was the youngest son of Sir Edmund Trafford. He died in 1537 and his tomb is in the chancel. The Trafford Chapel lies north of the chancel and the Booth Chapel to the south.

In the chancel floor there is the oldest brass memorial in the county, dated 1460. It depicts Sir Robert del Booth and his wife Douce. When the historian Randle Holme visited in 1572, he noted four coats of arms but only two are now visible. Several of the Booths of Dunham Massey were buried at St. Bartholomew's. As with many Victorian restorations, that of 1863 at Wilmlow destroyed much that was ancient.  The tomb of George Booth, dating from 1543, was removed and some of the Trafford monuments were also lost. The parish registers commence in 1558.

Grave of 1596 spacer Plaque by grave
Stone from 1596       Plaque by the stone    

 

The churchyard has one of the oldest stones known in the county, dated 1596. There is an inscription next to the stone which states:

This rare example of a XVIth Century Gravestone
marked the resting place of children of PHELICE &
JOHN DALE
MINISTER of this CHURCH 1584-1626
He probably carved the lettering himself and
doubtless was buried in the same grave
12th Feby 1626

To preserve this stone it was moved from its original position
on the North Side by one of his descendants AD 1936

Wilmslow Playing Field spacer St. Olaf's Wilmslow
Entrance to Playing Field      Ruins of St. Olaf's Chapel in the woods near the Bollin    

 

The arch at the entrance to the playing fields on the Wilmslow Carrs was given by Henry Boddington.  It you walk down the Bollin and cross to the left bank there is a steep slope wooded slope at the edge of the park area.  There you will find, near the top, by the fences of the adjacent houses, the ruins of St. Olaf's Chapel.  My correspondent, Martin Tetlow, obtained the following information from the Liz Green, County Archivist at Chester

The Chapel behind Carrwood Road is dedicated to St. Olaf and was commissioned by Henry Boddington of Pownall Hall in the late 19th century. A line drawing of the chapel and a photograph of the remains can be found in Patricia Hodson's 'Pownall Hall and its Chapel of St. Olaf' published by Wilmslow Historical Society in 1993.

 

Land in the Wilmslow area was part of the Massey estate from the early middle ages. The last Massey heiress married into the Venables family and this family ended with two heiresses. One married into the Trafford family and the other into the Booths of Dunham Massey. The former got the land in the south and east and the latter in the north and west round Dunham. The Booths in turn ended up with an heiress who married into the Grey family and it was the scions of this family who became the Earls of Stamford and Warrington. The 7th Earl married Kitty Cox, a circus artiste, and was snubbed by local Cheshire society. He decided to leave Cheshire in 1856 but could not sell the Dunham land as it was tied up in entailments. However, he sold land outside the core estate and this led to the development of Wilmslow from the middle of the 19th century. This explains why there is relatively little of historic interest in the town centre. Some land was bought by existing tenants including the Greggs at Styal mill.  In the south and east the Traffords created high quality developments through leasing land for villas and for shops and services along the main road.

The 7th Earl and Countess built a new house at Bradgate in Leicestershire where the Grey family had extensive property. They also had a house at Enville in Stourbridge. The mansion at Dunham was leased and the Earl arranged to leave as much of his estate as possible away from his heirs, as he was not on good terms with them.  Kitty Cox and her family got Enville and lands in Ashton under Lyne. She outlived the earl by about 15 years and was responsible for a lot of improvement of the estate of residential property in Altrincham.  Kitty died in 1903, outliving also the 8th Earl, who lived abroad and never took over the estate. The 9th Earl moved to Dunham Massey as the other homes had been lost to the family through the 7th Earl's will. The 10th Earl bought back a lot of Dunham material which had been located at the other houses when the 7th Earl died. There was a big sale at Enville in the 1920s. Dunham Massey is now owned by the National Trust.

Sources:

Discovering Cheshire Churches, produced by Cheshire County Council Heritage and Recreation Service, 1989, ISBN 0 906759 57 9 and available for purchase at Cheshire Libraries.
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.
Gentry Estates and the Cheshire Landscape, a course of 12 lectures by Clare Pye at Wilmslow Guild, Winter 2004/5.

 

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Cheshire Antiquities
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