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Great Warford Baptist Chapel
|Great Warford shown within Cheshire|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||KNUTSFORD & STOCKPORT|
|Postcode district||WA16 & SK9|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
A predominantly farming settlement that has existed for about a thousand years, it is now also important for private healthcare and property development. The population today is 1710. There is no real municipal centre in terms of population density and importance; the "Warford Park" development is home to some 300 people. Its amenities include an on-site health/leisure club, tennis courts, Warford Park Bowling Club and several acres of gardens/lake and parkland.
Great Warford does not have direct access to national transport networks, having no railway or bus station. It is however in the centre of "The Golden Triangle" subtended by Alderley Edge, Knutsford and Wilmslow and so is well served by varied schools, shops, restaurants, entertainment and places of worship. The North West's extensive motorway network is close enough without too much detrimental effect on its rural qualities. It is not far from Manchester Airport and a successful local golf club and an assortment of local footpaths provide the only remarkable tourist attractions.
- 1 Defining Great Warford
- 2 Geography and climate
- 3 History
- 4 Administrative history
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Transport
- 8 Society and culture
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 External links
Defining Great Warford
Great Warford can be defined as the area presided over by Great Warford Parish Council. A slightly larger population can be estimated by inclusion of farmland (former or current) occupying space between the boundaries of Great Warford and neighbouring Chelford, Chorley, Marthall, Mobberley and Nether Alderley. Area beyond this is assigned to other practicing parish councils. The core area could be said to be the area encompassing the Stag's Head public house, Warford Crescent and Warford Hall.
The entirety of Great Warford is covered by the WA16 and SK9 postal areas. The local telephone area code is 01565 which it has in common with Knutsford but not nearby Alderley Edge. Welcome signs on all inroads define the Great Warford area, which is part of the electoral district of Tatton.
The "built-up" area of Great Warford has expanded much in the last 20 years. This is due to its origins as a farming settlement and the ‘greenbelt' status of the general location. The area is policed by the Cheshire Police Authority. Unlike neighbouring Little Warford, Great Warford lacks a defining village hall. This has led to contention of Great Warford's official status as a village. However, this has led to no official review to date.
Perhaps the site with most historical interest is Great Warford Baptist Chapel on Merrimans Lane.
Geography and climate
Topography and climate
Great Warford covers an area of 1,181 acres (4.78 km2) making it a medium-sized village. Its primary geographical feature is Mobberley Brook, an unnavigable stream which crosses the outskirts of the village from the west to the east. The valley that it runs through is a floodplain surrounded by gently undulating farmland such as Springfield and Pownall House Farm. These farms and others like them present the origins of Great Warford as an agricultural settlement, and therefore Great Warford is of irregular shape.
Mobberley Brook is a tributary of the River Bollin. After flowing east through Chorley, it becomes the Whitehall Brook.
Much of the local housing is Victorian in design. Council houses built during the early 20th century were occupied by local health workers from the 1950s onward and are now owned privately as semi-detached property. A new housing estate at Buttermere Drive now occupies the site were the hospital's administrative centre once stood. Other buildings of note include:
- Warford Hall is an old hall with a spire. Like many local buildings, it was formerly the property of Mary Dendy Hospital.
- Great Warford Baptist Chapel is reputed to have been founded in 1640 by Parliamentary soldiers.
- Warford Park is the main centre of residences. It is a development of apartments and cottages built on the site of the former Mobberley Boys' School. The Park is home to some three hundred people in 17 acres of parkland.
- Heathgate Farmhouse is a large, striking, white detached building which has a showjumping course on its land.
Parks and gardens
Warford Green (lying next to Warford Crescent) is a large stomach-shaped green populated by several large trees. The local residents used to hold an annual bonfire and fireworks party here every Guy Fawkes Night. The bonfire would be built during the preceding months relying entirely on contributions from the locals. This practice was halted by the Parish Council in the early 1990s due to health and safety concerns regarding its proximity to Merrimans Lane and its unregulated nature in general.
The course at Wilmslow Golf Club (situated in Great Warford despite its name) doubles as a recreational park and woodland area, it being traversed by several public footpaths.
Early Great Warford
Great Warford is mentioned in the Domesday Book under its contemporary name of ‘Warforde'. Its entry dates from 1086 and contains a list of local families and landowners (including Ralph the Huntsman).
Role in Norman and Medieval Cheshire
The village did not expand much in the Medieval and Norman periods due to its boundaries being defined agriculturally. Little Warford, Marthall, Nether Alderley, Chelford, Mobberley and Chorley (as Alderley Edge was then known) all had their own land which meant that expansion beyond the existing borders was impossible.
Rise of modern Great Warford
Great Warford's contribution to agriculture continued through the 20th Century to the modern day. However, for the last 60 years, other industries such as leisure and healthcare have begun to dominate Great Warford's identity.
Great Warford was a township of the Alderley ancient parish in the Macclesfiled Hundred of Cheshire. Under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1876 the township of Great Warford became a civil parish in its own right. One-hundred-and-two acres were transferred to Mobberley civil parish in 1936. Between 1894 and 1974 the Great Warford was part of Macclesfield Rural District. From 1974 the civil parish was served by the Borough of Macclesfield, which was succeeded on 1 April 2009 by the new unitary authority of Cheshire East .
Great Warford Parish Council has few major rights and/or obligations and are responsible to the higher authorities above them. They do however manage local amenities and have a watching brief on local issues and their opinion is noted by those higher authorities in matters concerning them such as local planning issues.
- Electoral districts: North Cheshire (1832–67); East Cheshire (1868–85); Knutsford (1885–1948); Macclesfield (1949–74)
The main contributor to the local economy is agriculture as several working farms still operate in the area. There are also mental healthcare operations, being Mary Dendy Hospital and the David Lewis Centre.
In the context of National Statistics, Great Warford belongs to the ward of Chelford. The 2001 Census portrayed the population to be
- Males 49%
- Females 51%
- Age 0-15 19%
- Age 16-17 2%
- Age 18-24 4%
- Age 25-59 46%
- Age 60-64 7%
- Age 65-74 12%
- Age 75+ 11%
The 2001 Census showed the racial breakdown to be 98% white. Of the remaining 2%, the dominant ethnic background was Asian or Asian British.
The 2001 census showed:
- Christian 84%
- Other major religions 2%
- Other religion 0%
- No Religion 10%
- Religion not stated 4%
There is no national railway station in Warford, the population being serviced by the stations at Alderley Edge and Chelford. The stretch of line between these two stations runs under a road bridge and past the fields at Dean Green and this excellent vantage point has been used constantly by trainspotters and railway enthusiasts to photograph trains, particularly during special runs.
The days when a regular bus to and from Alderley Edge ran from the bus stop at Warford Crescent are no longer. Now, the only bus route that passes through Great Warford is the 88 service running every 30 minutes from Knutsford to Altrincham and back, via Wilmslow.
The village has good access to Manchester Airport and is situated out of the main flight path.
Access to the main national road network is provided by the A535 road which runs between Alderley Edge and Holmes Chapel. The B5085 also provides direct access to Knutsford as well as a direct route to Wilmslow bypassing Alderley Edge.
Society and culture
Leisure and entertainment
There are two pubs in Great Warford the Stag's Head and the Frozen Mop functioning as reputable eateries. Wilmslow Golf Club has already been mentioned in this article. There is also an outdoor football pitch on Mill Lane which was once used by Mary Dendy Football Team, a team originally made up of staff from the hospital which continues to play today although now open to all. The Cheshire Health Club & Spa, sited on Warford Park development in Faulkners Lane, offers a full gymnasium, swimming, various exercise training, personal coaches, tennis courts and much more.
Literature and film
Cheshire County Council published ‘The Baptist Chapel, Great Warford', a guide to the aforementioned chapel in 1989. The author David Wright alluded to Great Warford's history of healthcare in his 1996 publication From Idiocy to Mental Deficiency: Historical Perspectives on People with Learning Disabilities, published by Routledge.
An episode of the television series Who Do You Think You Are? which follows the attempts of celebrities to trace their family history centred on David Dickinson. It revealed how his Turkish grandfather, Hrant Gulessarian, lived the life of an English country gentleman with his wife Marie-Adelaide, the daughter of a Moss Side baker, in Great Warford.
- Cheshire Current Facts & Figures
- [Cheshire, 1660-1780: Restoration to Industrial Revolution By John Howard Hodson Published 1978 [Eng.] Cheshire Community Council Publications Trust]
- Cheshire (Structural Changes) Order 2008
- Map of Great Warford. Retrieval Date: 10 July 2007.
- 2001 Census date. Retrieval Date: 10 July 2007.
- Report on TV Program about David Dickinson's ancestors. Retrieval Date: 10 July 2007.
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