Grid Ref: SJ 449 764
9 June 2001, 18 June 2004 & 7 April 2010


Grange   Grange
View from the north side in June 2001   View from the south side as restoration begins in 2001
Ince Grange   Ince Grange
Comparable view in June 2004   June 2004
Ince Grange   Ince Grange
Range of buildings during restortion in 2004   April 2010
Ince Grange   stocks
As above in April 2010 (with fierce dog)   Stocks near the grange


The name Ince or Inys is Welsh for island. The Manor of Ince was the property of the secular canons of St. Werburgh at the time of the Domesday survey. Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester gave it to the Benedictine abbot and monks, in 1093. At the Dissolution, this manor passed into the hands of Sir Richard Cotton, and from his son George to Sir Hugh Cholmondeley. The land descended to the Vale Royal branch of the Cholmondleys where it continued until 1724, when it was sold by Charles Cholmondeley to Sir George Wynn of Leeswood. From his heiress, Margaret the manor passed into the Waring family. (Ormerod, 2nd Edition)

The building shown in my photograph dates from the 13th century and is described by Roland Morant as the manor hall at Ince, with a black and white illustration taken from Ormerod's, History of Cheshire. The building is being restored by Heritage Lottery funds. On my return to the site in June 2004 it was easy to see the repairs to the roof. On my next visit in 2010 the work appeared complete with the range of buildings adjacent converted to dwellings.

At Domesday, Great Stanney was the property of the Earl of Chester, who granted it to the Barons of Halton. In 1178, John the 6th Baron of Halton and Constable of Chester, founded a Cistercian Abbey at Stanlow and granted the manor to the abbot and monks. John then departed on a Crusade and died in the Holy Land in 1190. The abbey was on low-lying land intesected by streams near the confluence of the Gowy and the Mersey. Radulphus, the first abbot died in 1209 to be succeeded by Osbern. Randle Earl of Chester granted him permission to fell trees in the area of the abbey for construction. The lands were extended by a gift from Henry d'Espenser, including the vill of Wynlaton and Roger de Lacy gave land in Rochdale and Brendwood. The next abbot was Charles, followed by Peter and it was in his time that John de Lacy made the gift of the church of Eccles and half Blackburn, Stanynges, Hardern and Newton. Peter was succeeded by Simon some time before 1259. In his time, Edmund the son of John de Lacy gave the second moiety of Blackburn to the abbey. This gift was ratified by the Bishop of Chester and the Chapter of Coventry. The de Lacy family was one of the most powerful in the north of England and became Earls of Lincoln. Their main residence was Pontefract castle. The last three abbots at Stanlow were Richard de Thornton for one year until his death in 1269; Richard Northbury, who died in 1272 and Robert Hauworthe.

According to the chronicles of St. Werburgh's there were serious floods at Stanlow. In 1287 there was a violent storm which destroyed the church tower and in 1289 much of the abbey was destroyed by fire. There was also a second flood with water three feet deep. The abbey appealed to Pope Nicholas IV to remove to land granted by Henry de Lacy at Whalley in East Lancashire. The monks also petitioned the Archbishop of Canterbury stating that "Wyrall (Wirral) and in their manor of Ynes (Ince) they had lost by the inundations of the sea thirty carucates of land and were daily losing more." In 1294 the monks were permitted to move to Whalley. This place they called "locus benedictus". Stanlow remained a cell of Whalley Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Part of the abbey land was acquired by Sir Richard Cotton and was sold by his son in the reign of Elizabeth I to Sir John Poole. It passed through his family until the death of the Rev. Sir Henry Poole in 1820 when the manor and estates were sold to the Marquess of Cholmondeley, who sold them to the Dean and Chapter of Chester. The manor of Stanney became the property of the Warburton family at the Dissolution then in 36 Hen VIII it was sold by John Warburton to Henry Bunbury. From the time of Charles I, Great and Little Stanney descended through the Bunbury family to Sir Thomas Bunbury's heir, General Sir Henry Edward Bunbury, who sold all to the Dean and Chapter of Chester. (Ormerod ii 397)

Stanlow is now the location of an oil refinery.


St. James the Great spacer
St. James the Great at Ince   The Tower, 2010


St. James the Great, Ince (Grid Ref. SJ 450764)

At the time of the Domesday Survey, Ince belonged to the secular canons of St. Werburgh in Chester. Richards states that the church is built on the site of Norman chapel, of which no trace remains. Of the medieaval church, dating from the early 16th century, only the tower and part of the chancel remain. Everything else dates from a major rebuilding of the 1854. The incumbents are known from 1357.

You need a bright day to photograph this church because of the darkness of the stone.


(1) Picturesque Cheshire, by T. A. Coward, Sherrat and Hughes, Manchester, 1926.
(2) Monastic and Collegiate Cheshire, by Roland W. Morant, printed by Biddles of Guildford, 1996, ISBN 0 86303 729-1
(3) Ormerod's History of Cheshire.


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