Grid Ref. SJ 772 735
2 July 2001, 18 August 2005, 5 May 2007, 7 August 2014, 13 May 2018, 17 May 2020


St. Lawrence's
The church of St. Lawrence in May 2018

The image above was created by merging five shots taken with a 35 mm focal length lens to form a panorama. Because of the size of the churchyard it is not possible to stand back far enough to take this image unless you have a much wider angle lens!

Peover Hall   Peover Hall
View from the South, August 2014   View of the hall from the East, May 2007
Peover Hall   Coat of Arms
View from the garden, August 2014   Arms on the North side of the house dated 1585
plaque   Stables
Plaque above stable door (in 2020)   Interior of the stables, August 2014
Gates   Gravestone
Gates brought from Alderley Park. (2020)   A Sad Tale
South Chapel  
St. Laurence's, South Chapel   The church of St. Lawrence, Over Peover
effigy   effigy
Philip Mainwaring effigy in North Chapel   John Mainwaring effigy in North Chapel
effigies   church plaque
Plaque dated 1456 in the South Chapel   Philip and Anne Mainwaring plaque
effigies   church plaque
Effigies of Randle & Margery Mainwaring, S Chapel   John and Katherine Mainwaring plaque
Gargoyle   Sun-dial
Gargoyle on Mainwaring Chapel   Sundial


St. Lawrence, Over Peover

Over Peover is sometimes called Peover Superior. Sir Peter Leicester in his Historical Antiquities of 1673, states that the church was a daughter chapel to Rostherne. He believed that it was built in the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) but did not find any monuments earlier than the reign of Henry VI (1422-1461). The tower was built of brick in 1739 and the nave and chancel were rebuilt in brick by William Turner in 1811. The two Mainwaring chapels, built of stone, were preserved. In the South Chapel there are alabaster effigies of Randle Mainwaring and his wife, Margery. He died in 1456 and it is possible that the chapel was built either by Randle or by his widow. Margery was the daughter of Hugh Venables, Baron of Kinderton. He rests on the head of an ass, the family crest.

The North Chapel was built in 1648 by Ellen the widow of Philip Mainwaring to house his monument. Ellen, who was the daughter of Edward Minshull of Stoke near Nantwich lived until 1656. In the Chapel are the effigies of Philip Mainwaring and his wife. He is in plate armour and died in 1647 while his wife lived until 1656. The couple had eight sons and one daughter. Nearby is the tomb of John Mainwaring in mail armour; he died in 1410. There are two incised alabaster monumental slabs in the North Chapel as shown in my photographs. The earliest, shown above on the left, depicts John Mainwaring, Knight, who died in 1515 and his wife Katherine who died in 1529. At the base are listed 13 sons and two daughters. The second alabaster panel depicts Philip Mainwaring, who died in 1573, and his wife Anne, the daughter of Sir Ralph Leycester. Three children are listed below and named as Ro'dull, Edmo'de and Elyzabe. The apostrophes signify missing letter n so in we have Randle, Edmund and Elizabeth in modern spelling.

The incumbents of St. Lawrence have been recorded since 1556.

To the left of the path leading to the church door is a sad gravestone in the form of a cross that records the murder of a young man aged 19 in 1873. He was said to be killed during the course of his duty and may have been a gamekeeper. The memorial reads as follows and beneath is a twelve line verse that appears to have been written specifically for the occasion.

"Sacred to the Memory of Arthur Barnard who died January 13 1873, aged 19 years from a gunshot wound by an unmerciful hand whilst in the execution of his duty in higher Peover Woods."

Near the entrance to the church is an unusual sun-dial which records in an inscription above the clock faces the latitude and longitude of a shipwreck in December 1717.

Peover Hall

Peover Hall was open to the public on Monday afternoons from May to September in 2001. I was fortunate to visit again on 7 August 2014 and on this occasion the church was also open allowing me to take the interior shots shown above. There is a small pamphlet available for visitors to the house and a reprint of an article from The Field magazine of 1985 by Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd.

The Mainwarings held this manor from the time of the Norman Conquest. The current house was built by Sir Randle Mainwaring in 1585 and had a Georgian extension built by Sir Henry Mainwaring, the last male heir. Following the change of ownership to Thomas Wettenhall, who took the name of Mainwaring in 1797, the house continued in that family until 1919. It was then sold to John Peel, the son of a Manchester cotton merchant who sold it in 1940 to Mr. Harry Brooks, a furniture manufacturer. During the war it was requisitioned for army use and became the headquarters for General Patton prior to D-Day. It was not released again to its owner until 1950 by which time it was in a poor condition. The 18th century wing was demolished in 1964 and a new facade erected to match the Elizabethan brickwork. This is shown at the extreme right of my picture from the East.

There is a well-known picture by Van Dyck of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, with Sir Philip Mainwaring, painted about 1639/40. Sir Philip (1589 - 1661) was a younger brother of Sir Randle (the younger) at Peover. Sir Randle died in 1632 and his eldest son, also a Philip, died in 1647. The original picture was on display at the Van Dyck Exhibition at the Royal Academy in the late 1990s; it was loaned by the trustees of the Rt. Hon. Olive, Countess Fitzwilliam.  A copy can be seen at Weston Park, the former home of the Earls of Bradford, and a further copy is at Peover Hall. It was commissioned by the sitter, Thomas Wentworth, created Baron Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse in July 1628, Viscount Wentworth in December 1628, Baron Raby and Earl of Strafford in 1640. He was beheaded in 1641 following impeachment by Parliament for his handling of affairs in Ireland. Charles I might have saved him but sacrificed him to his enemies in an attempt to save his own position. Sir Philip Mainwaring described as being Strafford's private secretary, was in effect Strafford's Secretary of State for Ireland. He was knighted in 1636.

The Dog
Inn sign at Peover Heath, formerly 'The Gay Dog'



Arthur Mee's Cheshire, published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1938; fourth impression 1950.
The Buildings of England, Cheshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner and Edward Hubbard, Yale University Press, 2003, ISBN 0 300 09588 0
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.


Stuart Raymond, in Cheshire: A Genealogical Bibliography, Vol. 2 includes the following sources on the Mainwarings:

1. The Mainwarings of Over Peover, a Cheshire Family in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, by J. T. Driver in Journal of the Chester Archaeological and Historical Society, 57, 1974, 27-40
2. A Short History of the Mainwaring Family, by R. Mainwaring Finley, first published by Grifftith, Farran, Okeden and Welsh in 1890, reprinted by Research Publishing in 1976.
3. A Cheshire Feud, by Edward M. Kandel in Coat of Arms, N.S. 37 (109), 1979, 129-33.
4. Mainwaring families of Kermincham, Nantwich, Newton and Peover are covered in a series of short articles in Cheshire Sheaf, 3rd Series, 12, 1917, pp. 79, 27-28, 87 and 44 respectively.


The Mainwarings of Peover

Sir Peter Leicester, in his Historical Antiquities of 1673 tells us that at the time of the Norman Conquest, Ranulphus the supposed ancestor of the Mainwarings occupied Over Peover. Ormerod in his The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, gives an extensive pedigree of the family from which the following has been taken from the middle of the 17th century onwards. The last male heir was Sir Henry Mainwaring who inherited at birth in 1726 as both his uncle and father had died earlier that year. Sir Henry was responsible for the Georgian extension to the house.

Henry was the last of the male line of the Mainwarings. The estate then passed to his uterine half brother as his mother had married a second time as shown below. This family is not descended from Sir Thomas Mainwaring but is shown with matching generation numbers.

  • 5. Diana, daughter of William Blackett, Esq., died 2 May 1737, 1st husband Henry Mainwaring.+ 2nd husband, Thomas Wettenhall, clerk, rector of Walthamstow, born 1708, died 1776. This union led to one son, Thomas, and a daughter, who died young.
    • 6.Thomas Wettenhall, born 26 November 1736, assumed the name and arms of Mainwaring by the will of his uterine half-brother. He died 4 July 1798 and was buried at Over Peover.
    • + Catherine, the daughter of William Watkis, Esq. of Nantwich on 21 June 1781. They had three sons and three daughters. We follow the eldest son.
      • 7. Sir Henry Mainwaring Mainwaring of Over Peover, Bart., born 25 April 1782. The baronetcy was re-created for him on 26 May 1804. He was Sheriff of Cheshire in 1806 and died 11 January 1860. The baronetcy died out in 1934.
      • + Sophia, the daughter of Sir Richard Cotton of Combermere, baptised 29 December 1803 and died 1838.


Notes on Some Branches of the Mainwaring Family in the 17th Century

The following notes are taken from a series of short articles in Cheshire Sheaf, 3rd Series, 12, 1915, pages 27, 44, 79 and 87. They deal with the Mainwaring family and come from manuscripts in the Ashmolean Collection at the Bodleian Library. They are believed to have been taken from the Visitation of the Heralds in 1663-4, carried out in Cheshire by Dugdale. The dates given for ages do not indicate birthdays; they are presumed to be the date on which the information was collected by the herald. The information on the Mainwarings of Peover (MS Ashmole 836 page 701) in this series of articles has been incorporated into the tree shown above.

1. Mainwaring of Nantwich. (In MS Ashmole 836 p. 699 and Ormerod iii 440.

According to Ormerod, two branches of the Mainwaring family settled in Nantwich, one being descended from William Mainwaring the fifth son of Ralph Mainwaring of Carincham (Kermincham). However, this source does not give the family tree, only a reference to Harlean Manuscript 1535.

Note that Carincham is the old form of Kermincham, where there was formerly Kermincham Hall, now demolished. The property currently named Kermincham Hall is actually on the site of the old Lodge. The document in the Ashmolean collection was signed by George Mainwaring, who must have been the informant. In some documents the surname is given as Manwaring and in others as Mainwaring.

The article also mentions that on a tablet fixed to the rood loft of Nantwich is the following inscription, which most family historians can only dream of finding.

Here lyeth the body of Anne late wife to John Delves, gentleman by whom she had issue 3 sons and 3 daughters, wich Anne was daughter of Hugh Manwaring, the son of John Manwaring, who immediately descended from Hugh the 7th son of Randle Manwaring of Calingham Esq., She finished her mortal course 13 Feb 1636 aged 41.


2. Mainwaring of Kermincham (In MS Ashmole 846, folio 42b and 43. and Omerod iii, page 80)

The Mainwaring of Kermincham line derives from that of Peover. Ralphe le Maynwarynge of Kermincham was the third son of Randle Maynwarynge of Over Peover in the time of Henry VI and purchased Kermincham in 1444. We pick up the family tree in the early 17th century to show those living in the period of the English Civil War.

The male line died out with Roger Mainwaring in generation 7 in 1783 and his uncle, John, in generation 6, who died the following year. Subsequently, the third son of John's niece, Catherine Uniacke, and her husband, John Robert Parker, assumed the name of Mainwaring. In Ormerod the surname is given as Manwaring.

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