St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Grappenhall, St Wilfrid's Church
St Wilfrid's, Grappenhall.jpg
St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall from the southeast
Grappenhall, St Wilfrid's Church is located in Cheshire
Grappenhall, St Wilfrid's Church
Grappenhall, St Wilfrid's Church
Location in Cheshire
Coordinates: 53°22′20″N 2°32′36″W / 53.3723°N 2.5434°W / 53.3723; -2.5434
OS grid referenceSJ 638,863
LocationGrappenhall, Warrington, Cheshire
WebsiteSt Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall
StatusParish church
DedicationSt Wilfrid
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade I
Designated8 January 1970
Architect(s)Paley and Austin (restoration)
Architectural typeChurch
StyleNorman, Gothic, Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking12th century
Spire heightAbout 76 feet (23 m)
MaterialsRed sandstone, slate roof
DeaneryGreat Budworth
RectorRev'd Jane Proudfoot
Assistant priest(s)Rev Margaret Jones

St Wilfrid's Church is in Church Lane, Grappenhall, a village in Warrington, Cheshire, England. It is designated by Historic England as a Grade I listed building.[1] It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Great Budworth.[2]


The church is Norman in origin, built probably in the earlier part of the 12th century and completed about 1120. This was a small and simple church, consisting of a nave, chancel and, possibly, an apse.[3] The foundations of this church were discovered during the 1873–74 restoration.[4]

A chantry chapel was added by the Boydell family in 1334 in a position where the south aisle now stands. From 1529 the church was largely rebuilt in local sandstone. The old church was demolished and a new nave, chancel, north aisle and a west tower were built. In 1539 the south aisle was added, which incorporated the Boydell chapel.[4] The south porch was added in 1641 and at this time the west wall was strengthened.[3] In 1833 the roof of the nave was raised to form a clerestory and in the 1850s the south aisle was further extended, and a vestry was built.[4] There was a more substantial restoration in 1873–74 by the Lancaster architects Paley and Austin, which included the provision of new floors and roofs, at a cost of about £4,000.[4][5]



The church is built in red sandstone with a slate roof. Its plan consists of a west tower, a continuous nave and chancel of seven bays with a clerestory, north and south aisles, a chapel at the east end of the south aisle, a vestry and a south porch.[1] The tower is in three stages, with a Tudor west door, and a four-light west window. It has diagonal west buttresses and square east buttresses. In the middle stage are small windows, above which are clock faces and bell openings. On the summit is a crenellated parapet.[1] The tower is about 76 feet (23 m) high.[3] The chancel east window is in Perpendicular style.[6] The east window in the north aisle (formerly in the chancel) has five lights. The clerestory windows are paired and round-arched.[1] Included in the internal fabric of the wall of the south aisle is a remnant of a Norman corbel table decorated with crudely carved human heads.[7]


Built into the east wall of the north aisle are a piscina and a credence table. Inside the church are a holy table dated 1641, and the royal coat of arms of Queen Anne.[8] In the chancel is an effigy of Sir William Boydell, who died in 1275. This was brought in from the churchyard in 1874 and restored.[1] The reredos is carved in oak and is based on the painting of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The font dates from the Norman era, or earlier, and was rediscovered in March 1873 during the restoration of the church.[3][7]

A window in the south aisle includes 14th-century glass which was rearranged in 1834 and depicts seven saints. Other windows in the aisle were made by Meyer of Munich. There are fragments of medieval glass elsewhere in the church.[1][6][9] There is a ring of eight bells. Four of these were cast by Henry Bagley II of Chacombe around 1700. A further bell dates from 1890 by John Taylor & Co, while the remaining three were cast in 1899 by Mears & Stainbank at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.[10] The parish registers date from 1573.[8]

External features[edit]

Sandstone carving of 'Cheshire Cat'

On the outside of the church, immediately below the west window, is a carving of a cat and it is suggested that this might be the origin of the Cheshire cat.[4] A sundial in the churchyard is dated 1714 and is listed at Grade II.[11] At set of stocks at the entrance to the churchyard, also listed at Grade II, have endstones probably dating from the 17th century.[12] The churchyard also contains five war graves of British service personnel, two from World War I and three from World War II.[13]

Live at St Wilfrid's[edit]

A series of concerts of classical music entitled Live at St Wilfrid's is hosted by the church, and includes performances by both young artistes and by performers with international reputations.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Historic England, "Church of St Wilfrid, Grappenhall (1139320)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 May 2012
  2. ^ St Wilfrid, Grappenhall, Church of England, retrieved 1 January 2011
  3. ^ a b c d Anon, Parish Church of St Wilfrid, Grappenhall, St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall
  4. ^ a b c d e A Brief History of the Church, St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall, retrieved 16 July 2007
  5. ^ Brandwood, Geoff; Austin, Tim; Hughes, John; Price, James (2012), The Architecture of Sharpe, Paley and Austin, Swindon: Historic England, p. 227, ISBN 978-1-84802-049-8
  6. ^ a b Pollard, Richard; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2006), Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 630, ISBN 0-300-10910-5
  7. ^ a b St Wilfrid, Grappenhall, Cheshire, Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture of Great Britain and Ireland, archived from the original on 23 December 2012, retrieved 13 June 2010
  8. ^ a b Richards, Raymond (1947), Old Cheshire Churches, London: Batsford, pp. 167–170, OCLC 719918
  9. ^ Grappenhall, St Wilfrid, Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi, retrieved 2 January 2011
  10. ^ Grappenhall S Wilfrid, Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers, retrieved 10 August 2008
  11. ^ Historic England, "Sundial in St Wilfrid's Churchyard, Grappenhall (1329759)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 May 2012
  12. ^ Historic England, "Stocks at entrance to St Wilfrid's Churchyard, Grappenhall (1139321)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 May 2012
  13. ^ GRAPPENHALL (ST. WILFRID) CHURCHYARD, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 2 February 2013
  14. ^ Live at St Wilfrid's, St Wilfrid's, Grappenhall, retrieved 11 June 2010

External links[edit]