St Mary's Church, Whitegate

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St Mary's Church, Whitegate
St Mary's Church, Whitegate2.jpg
St Mary's Church, Whitegate, from the southwest
St Mary's Church, Whitegate is located in Cheshire
St Mary's Church, Whitegate
St Mary's Church, Whitegate
Location in Cheshire
Coordinates: 53°13′12″N 2°33′26″W / 53.2199°N 2.5571°W / 53.2199; -2.5571
OS grid referenceSJ 628,694
LocationWhitegate, Cheshire
WebsiteSt Mary's, Whitegate
StatusParish church
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade II
Designated11 October 1949
Architect(s)John Douglas
Architectural typeChurch
MaterialsBrick with tiled roof
ParishWhitegate, St Mary
Vicar(s)Canon Chris Humphries
Reader(s)John Stopford
Organist(s)Andrew Millinchip
Churchwarden(s)John Beck, Martin Allen
Parish administratorMrs L Dutton

St Mary's Church is in the village of Whitegate, Cheshire, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Middlewich. Its benefice is combined with that of St Peter, Little Budworth.[1] The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.[2] The authors of the Buildings of England series state that the "church is placed so happily against trees on a hillside that it makes the perfect, comforting picture of the Victorian village church".[3]


A chapel has stood on this site of the present church since the founding of the Cistercian Abbey of Vale Royal in 1277. The Cistercian were known as the white monks and the name of the village at the gate of the abbey refers to this.[4] A reference is made in an Act of 1542 to a church at the White Gate of Vale Royal Abbey. There are documentary records relating to repairs to the church between 1602 and 1646. In 1715 the church was a wood and plaster structure in a ruinous condition. Around 1728 the church was rebuilt in brick, the aisles were widened, and the walls of the nave were raised to allow galleries to be built.[5] In 1874–75 the church was rebuilt largely at the expense of Lord Delamere, the architect being John Douglas of Chester. Douglas remodelled the exterior almost completely, but retained much of the earlier internal fabric.[6]



The church is built in brick with a tiled roof.[2] Its plan consists of a six-bay nave with aisles, a chancel and a south porch. At the west end is a small tower with an octagonal shingled spire.[5] To the southwest is a vestry.[2]


The octagonal timber piers from the previous Perpendicular church have been retained. The reredos and the chancel arcades date from around 1876–77, which the authors of the Buildings of England series are of the opinion are not by Douglas.[3] There is a chime of eight tubular bells[7] that were set up to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. A medieval bell was presented to the church by Thomas Cholmondeley in 1810. The parish registers date from 1559.[5]

External features[edit]

The gateposts, which are crowned by balls, are dated 1736. The iron gates were given in memory of Miss Emily Katherine Cholmondeley.[5] The churchyard contains the war graves of two soldiers and a Royal Air Force officer of World War II.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitegate, St Mary, Church of England, retrieved 16 October 2009
  2. ^ a b c Historic England, "Church of St Mary, Whitegate and Marton (1160911)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 9 April 2015
  3. ^ a b Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew; Hubbard, Edward; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2011) [1971], Cheshire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 666–667, ISBN 978-0-300-17043-6
  4. ^ Our history, St Mary's Church, Whitegate, archived from the original on 5 October 2011, retrieved 25 May 2014
  5. ^ a b c d Richards, Raymond (1947), Old Cheshire Churches, London: Batsford, pp. 351–355, OCLC 719918
  6. ^ Hubbard, Edward (1991), The Work of John Douglas, London: The Victorian Society, p. 124, ISBN 0-901657-16-6
  7. ^ Keltek Trust - Chimes spreadsheet, Keltek Trust, retrieved 21 October 2013
  8. ^ WHITEGATE (ST. MARY) CHURCHYARD, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 4 February 2013