Charming Cheshire churches
Published: Friday, April 23, 2021
Discover top ten churches to visit in Cheshire this summer.
We have been asking people in Cheshire to choose their favourite churches and the top ten can now be seen on our ExploreChurches website.
Think of Cheshire churches and Chester Cathedral, St Mary’s at Nantwich or All Saints, Daresbury with its Lewis Carroll Centre are probably top of your list. But off the beaten track is a delicious chocolate box of villages, all with amazing churches to discover.
For Amanda Davey, it is the beautiful St Boniface at Bunbury that appeals. Its monument of Sir Hugh de Calveley, standing in the centre of the chancel is the earliest alabaster monument in Cheshire.
Amanda admits that she is biased in her choice as her great, great grandfather was once vicar! As she recalls: “We visited in 2018 and I was bowled over by the grandeur and beauty as well as the stories galore associated with the church.”
Cheshire is a county famous for villages with their black and white half-timbered buildings. James Balme revels in such a church built in this tradition, St Oswald’s at Lower Peover. He says: “There are no stone pillars in this church, instead huge oak beams and sturdy octagonal oak pillars keep this building upright. It is magnificent.”
Christ Church, Macclesfield
Completely opposite in design is the brick-built Christ Church in Macclesfield, the choice of James Butterworth. Local industrialist, Charles Roe, constructed the building in 1775 using innovative cast iron columns to support the galleries, one of the earliest examples of using cast iron in church construction.
For many, churches offer a chance to escape the pace of daily living, drawing people to them, to turn the handle, open the door and take time out. And, so it was when Emily Allen visited St Oswald’s in Malpas. She recalls: “Majestic and serene, St Oswald’s powerfully presses the ‘pause’ button on life. I had the place almost to myself, and so I sat, thankful for a space, that doesn’t demand of you, but offers peace and perspective in its unhurried stance through time.”
Impressive inside and out
Ben Elliott-Hill confesses that he hasn’t explored a great number of churches in Cheshire and although Chester Cathedral is special, his vote goes to St John the Baptist church in Chester: “It may be a fragment of what it was, but it is still impressive inside and out and is surely one of the finest pre-Conquest churches in England!”
James Guppy simply “loves the rich red sandstone of Chester Cathedral from which it is hewn, a material normally more common in upper Rhineland or India than in the UK. It's a very compact structure. As if waiting to pounce.”
Other favourites incude, St Mary, Astbury with its mixture of 14th-16th century work; St James the Great, Gawsworth and the 500 year old barrel beam roof; St Mary, Nantwich which is locally named as ‘Cathedral of South Cheshire’ and St Mary, Nether Alderley with its impressive mausoleum and memorials.
Plan your journey to discover some of Cheshire’s charming churches for yourself on our ExploreChurches website.