St Mary's Church, Sandbach

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St Mary's Church, Sandbach
St Mary's Church, Sandbach, from the south
St Mary's Church, Sandbach is located in Cheshire
St Mary's Church, Sandbach
St Mary's Church, Sandbach
Location in Cheshire
Coordinates: 53°08′37″N 2°21′40″W / 53.1436°N 2.3610°W / 53.1436; -2.3610
OS grid reference SJ 759,608
Location Sandbach, Cheshire
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Churchmanship Central
Website St Mary's Church Sandbach
Status Parish church
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade II*
Designated 11 August 1950
Architect(s) Sir George Gilbert Scott
Austin and Paley
Architectural type Church
Style Gothic Revival
Completed 1930
Capacity 400
Materials Red sandstone
Parish Sandbach
Deanery Congleton
Archdeaconry Macclesfield
Diocese Chester
Province York
Vicar(s) Revd Thomas Shepherd
Organist/Director of music Kevin Birch
Churchwarden(s) Anne Birch, Sheenagh Ashworth
Flower guild Sheenagh Ashworth
Parish administrator Mel Robinson

St Mary's Church is in the town of Sandbach, Cheshire, England. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.[1] It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Macclesfield and the deanery of Congleton.[2]


The Domesday Book (c. 1086) records the presence of a priest and a church on the site of the present church. This was replaced by another church erected about the time of Henry VII. This church was built in sandstone which became badly weathered. The present church dates largely from the considerable degree of rebuilding by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1847–49. Much of the existing fabric was replaced and the remaining fabric was encased in new stone. The east end of the church was extended by some 40 feet (12 m) and the tower was rebuilt as a copy of the former tower.[3] The builders were Cooper and Son of Derby. The stone, which came from quarries in the Mow Cop area, was given by Sir Philip Grey Egerton M.P.[4] Part of the west end had to be repaired in 1894–95 following a fire.[1] In 1930 Austin and Paley added a choir vestry, and a north porch, at a cost of £1,331.[5] The parish registers date from 1562 and are complete. The churchwardens' accounts prior to 1888 are lost.[3]



The plan of the church consists of a clerestoried nave and a choir of five bays, with aisles, side chapels, and a tower at the west end. The choir vestry projects from the northwest. The tower is unusual in that it stands on three open arches through which passes a public footpath. The style is mainly Perpendicular and some medieval masonry is still present in the arcades.[1]


The font dates from 1859; it is made of Caen stone and was constructed by Thomas Stringer.[1] It has a Greek Palindrome inscription, that reads "NIYON ANOMHMA MH MONAN OYINE". This translated means "Wash my sin not my countenance only".[6] The old octagonal font dated 1669 and decorated with acanthus leaves, was returned to the church in 1938.[3] Scott arranged the memorials around the walls of the aisles. One of these is a marble relief to the memory of Rev. John Armistead, who was vicar from 1828 to 1865. It was designed by G. F. Watts and sculpted by George Nelson in 1876.[1] Another is to John Ford, who died in 1839, which includes a life-size allegorical female figure by an altar. The roofs are dated 1661. The roof over the north aisle includes a large coat of arms in a wreath. In the chapels and chancels is stained glass by William Wailes, and in the north aisle is a window by Kempe.[7]


There is a ring of eight bells. Four of the bells were cast by Abraham II Rudhall in 1719, and a bell dated 1782 is attributed to Thomas Rudhall. Three later bells by John Warner and Sons are dated 1857, 1858 and 1868.[8]

External features[edit]

The churchyard walls, gateways and railings to south-east and north of the church are listed at Grade II.[9] The churchyard contains the war graves of fourteen service personnel, eleven of World War I and three of World War II.[10]

Rectors and Vicars[edit]

Rectors c.1100 – 1256[edit]

  • before 1128 Steinulf the Priest
  • before 1153 Roger de Lech
  • c.1230 Thomas

Vicars c.1300 – 1887[edit]

St Mary's Church, Sandbach. Before restoration. Engraving. Circa 1800
St Mary's Church, Sandbach. From a postcard. Circa 1900
John Richard Armistead, Vicar of Sandbach 1828–1865 (1876 sculpture by George Frederic Watts inside St Mary's)
  • Before 1327 Richard Burgillion (d.1327)
  • 7 Apr 1327 Philip de Goodrich Castle (de Castro Godrici)
  • 15 Jan 1344 William de Mere
  • 23 Jun 1348 Thomas Chaumpain
  • 7 Sep 1349 William de Upton (alias Welton)
  • 15 Oct 1349 John de Tydrynton
  • 7 Mar 1371 Randle del Ford
  • 18 Oct 1401 Thomas de Hassall
  • 21 Sep 1418 Thomas Hassall
  • 7 May 1455 James Whiteacres
  • Sep 1465 Randle Penketh
  • 7 Mar 1481 Roger Clifton
  • c.1517 Hugh Brereton
  • 15 Sep 1535 Thomas Smyth
  • 27 Sep 1548 Richard Smyth
  • 19 May 1554 Peter Prestland
  • 1565 Richard Smyth.
  • 23 May 1576 John Shaw
  • 1616 Laurence Wood
  • 16 Nov 1630 Thomas Tudman
  • 1644 Joseph Cope (1622–1704)[11]
  • c.1662 Thomas Tudman
  • 15 May 1674 William Hayes
  • 19 Mar 1695[6] Thomas Welles, M.A.
  • 13 May 1729 Hugh Mee, M.A.
  • 13 Apr 1733 Samuel Allon, B.A.
  • 25 Sep 1736 Blayney Baldwyn, M.A.
  • 13 May 1739 Henry Baldwyn, M.A.
  • 21 Apr 1773 Peter Haddon, M.A.
  • 13 Jan 1787 Richard Lowndes Salmon, M.A.
  • 20 Feb 1828 John Armitstead, M.A.
  • 20 Oct 1865 John Richard Armitstead, M.A.
  • 1919 John Hornby Armitstead, M.A.
  • 1941 Reginald Norton Betts, M.A.
  • 1964 Geoffrey Thomas Wykes, B.A.
  • 1972 John Basil Rigby (d.2001)[12]
  • 9 Sep 1983 David W.G. Stocker, B.A.
  • 2001 Rex Buckley
  • 2008 Thomas Shepherd, B.A.

Sources c.1100 – 1865.[13] Sources: 1919–1983.[14]


  • 1548, Rudiarte, Ricardus.
  • 1565, Shawe, Johannes.
  • 13 Jan 1573 unknown.
  • 20 May 1701, Wiliams, Galfridus.
  • Repton, Gulielmus 1708
  • 21 Jun 1725 - 07 Jul 1725, Hazlehurst, Ranulphus.
  • 5 Jun 1733, Twemlowe, Joseph.
  • 19 Dec 1737 - 13 Jul 1742, Dickens, William.
  • 10 Jun 1745 - 06 Aug 1754, Penlington, George.
  • 1 Jun 1760, Sibson, John.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Historic England, "Church of St Mary, Sandbach (1330401)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 16 August 2012 
  2. ^ St Mary, Sandbach, Church of England, retrieved 24 January 2011 
  3. ^ a b c Richards, Raymond (1947), Old Cheshire Churches, London: Batsford, pp. 290–293, OCLC 719918 
  4. ^ History of the Church, St Mary's, Sandbach, archived from the original on 28 February 2008, retrieved 9 January 2009 
  5. ^ Brandwood, Geoff; Austin, Tim; Hughes, John; Price, James (2012), The Architecture of Sharpe, Paley and Austin, Swindon: English Heritage, p. 252, ISBN 978-1-84802-049-8 
  6. ^ Sandbach Guide 1970 page 9
  7. ^ Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew; Hubbard, Edward; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2011) [1971], Cheshire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 573–574, ISBN 978-0-300-17043-6 
  8. ^ Sandbach S Mary, Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers, retrieved 21 October 2013 
  9. ^ Historic England, "Churchyard walls, gateways and railings to southeast and north of St Mary's Church, Sandbach (1159891)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 16 August 2012 
  10. ^ SANDBACH (ST. MARY) CHURCHYARD, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 25 February 2013 
  11. ^ William Urwick, ed., Historical sketches of Nonconformity in the county palatine of Chester, Publisher Kent & Co., 1864, pp. 187
  12. ^ "Former vicar mourned", 19 December 2001 Chester Chronicle Series
  13. ^ John Parsons Earwaker, The history of the ancient parish of Sandbach, co. Chester: Including the two chapelries of Holmes chapel and Goostry., Printed by the Hansard publishing union] for private circulation, 1890, 316 pages. pp.45. Online here
  14. ^ John Minshull, A Short History and Description of St. Mary's Church Sandbach, Cheshire, 1974, Publ. St Mary's Parochial Church Council. pp.10. Online here


External links[edit]