|St. Peter's, Broughton||North chancel window|
|View of the Nave and Chancel||Memorial to Sir Brian Delves|
I was fortunate to gain access to St. Peter's at Broughton on a Saturday morning when it was being prepared for a Harvest Festival. St. Peter's at Broughton was built by Thomas Broughton in 1630-34 as a chapel for Broughton Hall, which was being restored and extended at that time. It was built on the site of an earlier chapel. It is thought that the chapel was used exclusively by the family until 1711 when other local gentry worshipped there. Later it beame the church for the nearby hamlets. In 1779, Sir Thomas Delves Broughton became the incumbent. The church lies close to the road between Loggershead and Eccleshall. Nearby lies Broughton Hall, built in 1637 by Sir Thomas Broughton on the site of an earlier manor house. The former settlement of Broughton has disappeared but there is mention of a Hereborgestone on the Bishop of Chester & Lichfield's estate in the Domesday survey of 1086.
The church is in the Gothic style and its original 17th century box pews remain intact. There two aisles have two-bay, just visible in my photograph. Unlike many churches in Staffordshire and Cheshire it escaped Victorian restoration at the hands of modernisers such as George Gilbert Scott. The chancel contains stained glass windows brought from the Low Countries by the Delves and Broughton families. There is a window of heraldic devices in the north wall of the chancel. The South window shows Sir John Delves, killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 and is thought to have been removed from Doddington Castle. These windows were installed in the late 18th century and some are much older than the fabric of the church. The earliest is from the 15th century. The north chancel window, shown above, has nine heraldic devices. Among the families represented are Lees, the Delves, the Savages, Duttons, and Sneyds. Several of these were connected with the Delves family of Doddington Hall near Wynbunbury in Cheshire and it is thought that these windows were removed from Doddington Hall and from the medieval church at Wynbunbury which was being replaced in the late 18th century. In the south aisle is a Victorian window by Kempe. A detailed description of all the glass is given in the pamphlet available in the church.
The first four chaplains were buried in the nave. The font is unusual in that it is carved into one of the tower supports and may have been a holy water stoop. In the 18th century a west gallery was added.
The church has some very fine monuments. The connection between the Delves and Broughton families is covered briefly in two of them. The inscription on the monument shown above reads:
"In Memory of Sr. Bryan Broughton whose Loyalty to his Prince, Fidelity to his Country, Sincerity to his Friends & universal benevolence recommended him to the favour & esteem of all good men. By ELIZth the daughter & heir to Sr. Thomas Delves of Doddington in the County of Chester, Bart., he left issue JANE ELIZth & BRIAN. ELIZth died of a fever in the 10th year of her age, whose early piety & sincerness of disposition rendered her dear to her Parents and admired by all who knew her. His sorrowful Relict put up this in testimony of her inviolable affection, 1732."
There is also a monument to Sir Brian's son, who died aged 27 on 11 August 1744. He married Mary, daughter of William Forester of Dothill in Shropshire, by whom he had two sons Brian Broughton and Thomas.
"To the Memory of Sir Brian Delves, Baronet, only son of Sir Brian Broughton, Baronet, by Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir Thomas Delves of Doddington in the County of Chester, Baronet. He took upon himself the Surname of Delves only to intitle himself to Possession of the Estate which the said Sir Thomas Delves settled upon him and his Issue on that express condition."
Subsequently the family used Delves as a second Christian name and became the Delves Broughtons residing mainly at Doddington Hall in Cheshire. The family sold Broughton Hall in 1914 to John Hall of Staffordshire.
As with so many landed families, younger sons served in the armed forces, often abroad. In this case we have a monument from the beginning of the 18th century.
"Leiutenant Coll. Spencer Broughton, fourth son of Sr. Bryan Broughton, Kn. & Bar. After many dangers susteined in the Battles of FLERUS, STEENKIRK and LANDEN, and at the Seiges of CORK, KINSALE and NAMUR, After the Peace of RYSWICK was comanded to the Leeward Islands. Whence returning worn and wasted by his ardent zeal for his Majesty's Service and the great heat of that burning climate was unexpectedly and unanimously tho not undeservdly chosen by the Royal African Company Chief Govenour of CABO CORSO Castle and all other forts on the South Coast of Africa commonly called the Golden Coast in which voyage he dyed in the service of his country near the Maderas, Feb 1st, 1702."
Framed note in the church promoting the St. Peter's Restoration Fund.
St. Peter's Church, Broughton: a Short Guide, by John Darlington and Richard Halliwell, a pamphlet available in the church describing in detail the monuments and stained glass windows.
The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin, 1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9