Grappenhall Heyes and the Parr Family

Grid Ref: SJ 639 863
25 July 2004, 21 April 2010 & 13 May 2015

St. Wilfrids, 2015
St. Wilfrid's, 13 May 2015


Grappenhall, Cheshire   Danyers brass
Grappenhall with thatched cottages from a postcard of
1907, Arthur Davidson's Series
  Plaque commemorating Sir Thomas Danyers
Window   Nave
Early 14th century glass in the Boydell Chapel   The nave
Boydell effigy   chest
The Boydell effigy in the sanctuary   The ancient oak chest was made from a single log


Grappenhall village, with its fine church, and two good public houses on its cobbled street, is one of the gems of Cheshire. The Bridgewater Canal, following the 200 foot contour, runs nearby; it was dug in 1761. If you are fortunate enough to visit when the church is open, you can obtain two booklets. One is St. Wilfrid's, Grappenhall, by Gordon Berry, first published in 1989 and revised in 2000.  Mr. Berry has been a churchwarden since 1968. The second is entitled Parish of St. Wilfrid, Grappenhall, a portrait in notes and sketches by Tom Mitchell, who was the Headmaster of St. Wilfrid's C. of E. Aided School from 1969 to 1981. The following brief notes on some of the many interesting features of the church are abstracted mainly from these sources and from Richards' Old Cheshire Churches.

Although Grappenhall was mentioned in the Domesday Survey as Gropenhole, there is no information on a church as this time. It is believed that the church dates back to 1120 but all that remains now of this early period is a part of the inside south wall, the font and the oak chest. The rectors are known back to 1189. A charter of 1334 describes the building, at some earlier date, of the chantry chapel on the south side of the church, dedicated to Sir William Fitz William Boydel. Glass that was formerly in the east window of this chapel was moved to the south side when the chapel was extended.  My photographs shows the central panel.

The Norman font was found during the major restoration of 1873. It was buried three feet underground and may have been hidden during the Civil War. There is an oak chest from the early 12th century, made from a tree trunk. It was in the Warrington museum for a time and returned to the church in 1939.

On the north side of the sanctuary is a stone effigy and a brass plaque states that within the walls of this church rests the body of William Fitz William de Boydel who died about 1275. The effigy was originally in the churchyard, was given to Warrington museum and returned to the church in 1874 with some "restoration" from a stonemason in 1875. It shows him cross legged, which normally indicates that he was on one of the crusades, of which there were four in the 13th century. The story has been disputed in two articles.  J. J. Phelps (1) in 1927 claimed that effigy was discovered buried with the font in the restoration of the church in 1873.   He clamed that the armour shown was of a later pattern than that used in 1275 and may be John, the son of William Boydel.  Archer Hodgkinson (2) proposed that the effigy was of William Boydel but was not made until the early 14th century when armour styles had changed. He supports the idea that it was brought into the church from the churchyard as it was seen by Ormerod in 1818.

A plaque in the church recalls the heroic deed of another mediaeval knight, Sir Thomas Danyers, who was an ancestor of the Leghs of Lyme Park

In Memory of Sir Thomas Danyers of Bradley within Appleton, Knight, who died AD 1354. He was present at the Battle of Cresey the XIVth day of may AD 1346 and there rescued the Standard of Edward the Black Prince from the hands of the enemy, and made prisoner the Comte de Tankerville, Chamberlain of the French King. To preserve the memory of so gallant a soldier this monument was placed here. AD 1876.

The surname Danyers may come from de Angers and various modifications over the centuries produced Danyers, Danvers and Danyell until by the 16th century it was Daniels. The family of Sir Thomas Danyers can be traced in the area to 1294. Sir Thomas Danyers (c.1294-1354) married Margaret of Tabley in 1312.  His son, also Sir Thomas (c.1313-53) married Isabel Baggiley and had a daughter Margaret.  In recognition of his services to the Black Prince, land was promised to Sir Thomas Danyer's but it was not passed on until the time of his granddaughter Margaret, who married Sir Piers or Peter Legh.  Hence Lyme Handley came into the ownership of this branch of the Legh family. (There was also an ancient Daniels family at Over Tabley and their house remains, close to the Little Chef on the M6 roundabout.)

Much of the current church dates from 1539; the date is shown on one of the octagonal columns of the nave. There was extensive restoration in 1874.

Both Raymond Richards and Tom Mitchell make a claim for Grappenhall having the original Cheshire cat, carved in stone on the west facing wall of the tower. Mitchell suggests that it is a pun on the name Catterick, now Cartridge, the home of Robert de Boydel, son of Sir John Boydel. Charles Dodgson, who wrote as Lewis Carroll was born at the vicarage of Daresbury and probably knew of the Grappenhall cat.


Cottage   Parr Arms
Ivy clad house   Parr Arms
White House   Ram's Head
House near the Ram's Head   Rams Head and the church
finial   Village Street
Gate post finial   Village street running west
Cafe   Gardens
Café in the Greenhouse at Grappenhall Heyes   Grappenhall Heyes Gardens



There were two prominent local families in the Grappenhall area in the 19th century. I have prepared a separate article on the Parrs of Grappenhall Heyes below. They are also remembered through the Parr Arms next the to church. The other family were the Greenalls who lived at Grappenhall Hall and are well known nationally from their brewing interests and locally for their connection with the church. Edward Greenall purchased the advowson of Grappenhall on 29 February 1848. He presented his son the Revd. Thomas Greenall (1823-1892) to the living and he was succeeded by his brother, the Revd. Richard Greenall, who served for 13 years until his death in 1905. There is a stained glass window in the south wall dedicated to Thomas Greenall The current head of the Greenall family is Lord Daresbury; this title was formerly held by the Booths of Dunham Massey but became extinct on the failure of their male line.

Additional References

1. The Boydell Effigy at Grappenhall by J. J. Phelps, Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, Vol. 44, 1927.

2. Grappenhall: Further notes on the church and the Boydells, by Archer Hodgkinson, Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, Vol. 47, 1930/31, page 39.


Grappenhall Heyes, the Parr Family and the National Westminster Bank

The Parr family lived at Grappenhall Heyes, which lay about a mile from the village (Grid Ref. SJ 633855). Grappenhall Heyes appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 in the Bucklow Hundred. Heye means an enclosure. According to Ormerod’s History of Cheshire the house had been built by Thomas Parr in the 1830s. He was one of the family that founded Parr’s Bank in 1782.  In 1939, Kelly’s Directory shows that Roger Parr was resident and the house had 150 acres of land. The Parr’s left Grappenhall and had property in Hereford and Ireland. During the war the house was used for the Wrens and later was a furniture store for Pickfords. The Parr family left some of the property to former staff who continued to use the walled garden first for market gardening and then let it out as allotments.

In 1974, most of the land was the subject of a compulsory purchase order by the Warrington New Towns Development Corporation. The house was demolished and the site has been redeveloped for housing. The area is known as Parr Woods, Grappenhall Heyes. The woodland surrounding the estate is now the property of The Woodland Trust and is open to the public. The walled garden has been saved from development and has already undergone extensive repair and restoration. The three ponds, which were formerly marl pits, have been drained, cleaned and repaired. A yew hedge separates the ornamental side from the kitchen garden. There was also an avenue of Limes as the main entrance to the house. The vegetable garden is now run by volunteers in a more communal manner so that instead of appearing to be a cluster of allotments it looks like a Victorian kitchen garden.

The Parrs were sugar boilers who used their wealth to make an early entry into banking. Parr’s bank was founded on 25 September 1788 on the current site used by the National Westminster business centre in Warrington. It was the first bank in the town. Joseph Parr, Walter Kerfoot and Thomas Lyon were involved in the business. Branches were opened in St. Helens in 1839 and in Runcorn in 1853. In 1865 the name was changed to Parrs Banking Company Ltd. when it was converted to a joint stock company by J. Charlton Parr, Thomas Parr, James Fenton Greenall and Richard Assheton Cross. It then acquired branches in Northwich, Macclesfield, Wigan, Leek, Chester and Liverpool. Warrington was the headquarters from 1788 to 1891. By 1891 there were 40 branches in the North West of England and Wrexham. The first office in London was opened that year in Lombard Street when Fuller, Banbury and Nix, founded in 1737, was acquired. In 1892 Parr’s merged with the Alliance Bank and in 1896 Consolidated was also absorbed leading to further expansion in the Midlands, South West and Cumberland.

By 1918 Parrs had 300 branches. That year the bank merged with the London County and Westminster and in 1923 the name was changed to the Westminster Bank. This combined with the District Bank and the National Provincial in 1969 to form the National Westminster. Cecil Francis Parr of Grappenhall Heyes, who died in 1928, was the last member of the family to serve on the board.

The current building in Warrington, which has Parr and Co. etched in the glass over the main door, was built in 1877. It was designed by Thomas Beesley and John White and built by William Gibson. The main banking hall is very lofty with fine marble columns topped by gilded Corinthian capitols.

The Parr Family

The following items relating to four generations of the Parr family have been collected from readily accessible sources in approximate date order.

Plaque in St. Wilfrid's

Parr memorial

In Memory of Thomas Parr of Grappenhall Heyes, died 6 January 1870 aged 76 years. Also of Clare his wife, died 28 August 1827, aged 26 years. Also of Alicia his wife, died 20 May 1858 aged 51 years, who rest beneath this spot in a vault which was finally closed when this church was restored in 1874.


Census Record of 1881: Grappenhall (Page 3799 113 5) Grappenhall Heyes

On the night of the census, the owner, Joseph Charlton Parr and his wife were absent. The nursery maid, Eliza Stott, who had the relative good fortune in those days to be educated to the age of 14, subsequently became a governess. She married Henry Benson; Eliza and Henry were my wife's grandparents - hence our interest in Grappenhall Heyes. It is believed that Eliza was confirmed at St. Wilfrid's. The census gives us an interesting glimpse of life "below stairs" in the country house of a Victorian banking magnate.

Roger Charlton Parr, son of head of household, aged 6, scholar, born in London
Katherine Agnes Parr, daughter of head of household, aged 3, born Birkenhead
Mary Ann Lane, servant unm, 45, housekeeper
Mary Banks, servant unm, 33, nurse domestic
Jane Williams, servant unm, 30 kitchen maid
Jane Grant, servant unm, 26, household domestic
Maria Roberts, servant unm, 21, household domestic
Margaret Hoole, servant unm, 19, kitchen maid
Eliza Stott, servant unm, 16, nursery maid, domestic, born B’head.
George Boosey, servant unm, 33, butler
Herbert Clarke, servant unm, 22, footman
Thos Campbell, Metcalf ditto unm, 18, pantry boy
Edwin Hindell, servant unm, 19, groom
Robert Felham, servant unm, 23, groom
Thos Henry Davenhill, servant unm, 21, undergardener
William Hunter, servant unm, 30, undergardener

Burke’s Landed Gentry of 1894

Joseph Charlton Parr, Esq. of Grappenhall Heyes and Ashton Heyes in the County of Chester, of Staunton Park, Staunton on Arrow, County of Hereford and Killiechreran, County of Argyll; JP and DL born 2 June 1837, married 6 February 1872 to Jennie Maria, eldest daughter of the late Col. G. L. Lister Kaye of the 5th West York Militia. Children are Roger Charlton Parr, born 3 November 1874; Katherine Agnes, Elinor Jessie and Margaret Alicia.

Cheshire at the Opening of the Twentieth Century, by Robert Head, with Contemporary Biographies Edited by W. T. Pike, Pike’s New Century Series, No. 11, published by W. T. Pike & Co. 19 Grand Parade, Brighton, 1904 (Macclesfield Library)

Joseph Charlton Parr, DL, JP, Grappenhall Heyes, near Warrington, and Staunton Park, Herefordshire; son of the late Thomas Parr; born at Grappenhall Heyes in 1837, educated privately. For many years Chairman of Parr’s Banking Company Limited; Deputy Lieutenant for Herefordshire; Justice of the Peace for Cheshire and Herefordshire; represented the Appleton Division on the Cheshire County Council since its formation and now an Alderman; Chairman of the Daresbury Petty Sessions; twice Mayor of Warrington, 1901-2 and 1902-3. Married Jessie, dau. of the late Colonel Lister Kaye of the 10th Royal Hussars, York.

Cheshire Leaders: Social and Political, by Ernest Gaskell, printed for private circulation by The Queenshithe Printing and Publishing Company of London (unknown date but after 1906) at the Cheshire FHS Library in Alderley.

Roger Charlton Parr Esq. MA DL JP CC, Born in London on 3 November 1874 the son of Joseph Charlton Parr Esq. DL JP of Grappenhall Heyes. Educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford, BA 1889, MA 1895. In April 1906 married Julian Mary, eldest daughter of Colonel the Hon. Robert Julian Orde Jocelyn of Davenham House, Northwich, heir presumptive of the Earldom of Roden. JP and County Councillor for Appleton. Had been a Lieutenant in the Earl of Chester’s Yeomanry, Deputy Lieutenant of Herefordshire of which county he was High Sheriff in 1905-6 and a JP. Also a JP in Argyllshire.

Burke’s Landed Gentry of 1952

Roger Charlton Parr of the New Weir, Herefordshire, formerly of Grappenhall Heyes, Cheshire (sold 1951) and Staunton Park, Herefordshire (sold 1924) DL and JP, Herefordshire, (1900); High Sheriff (1905); JP Cheshire (1899), Argyll (1901) and Lancashire (1905). Born 3 November 1874, educated at Eton and Christchurch Oxford (MA). He married on 19 April 1906. Henry Charlton Parr, his son was born in 1907.

Burke's Landed Gentry of 1972

Henry Charlton Parr of Mill House, Aberdeenshire, late of Hereford Regiment has by his second wife a son David Charlton Parr, born 1943.

I am grateful to Trish Parr for pointing out to me that there is now a website called Proud to be Parr


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