AUDLEM

Grid Ref. SJ 660 437
16 March 2002, 9 July 2005 & 26 March 2012

 

St. James spacer Nave
St. James' Audlem and the buttermarket, March 2912   Nave and Chancel
Nave   Screen
Nave looking West   Screen at west end of nave
Wall painting   Roof
Wall painting digitally enhanced   Nave Ceiling
Pulpit   Tapestry
Jacobean Pulpit   Audlem, Hankelow & Buerton Tapestry
Millennium wheel   Memorial
Millennium Monument   Memorial to Ralph Bolton, died 24 Jan. 1703
Pub   Pharmacy
The Lord Combermere   Old fashioned remedies at the pharmacy
  Pub
Interior of the traditional sweet shop, March 2012   The 'Shroppie Fly' pub on the Shropshire Union canal, 2002

 

At the time of the Domesday survey, Audlem was part of the Barony of Shipbrook and held by Richard de Vernon. The town is found with the spelling Adelime or Aldelyme in early documents. The Norman lords of the manor were the Traylebews who took the name of the settlement. The estate was split up after the death of Sir Thomas de Aldelyme in the time of Edward III.  Subsequently parts were in the hands of three branches of the Massey family from Hough, Denfield and Lymme.

The Gammull or Gamul family were established at Buerton just east of Audlem.  They came from Knighton in Staffordshire but were established in Cheshire by the 15th century.  Sir Francis Gamul was knighted by Charles I and was with him in Chester at the Phoenix Tower when they saw the defeat at Rowton Moor. One of his two sons was killed in the Civil War and the other died young so the male line came to an end in 1654.

Thomas Gammull, a merchant taylor of London and Sir William Bolton founded a Grammar School in Audlem in 1655 in School Lane.   It was free to those resident in the parish and was given an endowment of £40 a year to provide for a salary of £30 a year for the headmaster and £10 for an usher.   The House of Commons Journal, Vol 7 for 1 January 1651 (New Style Date) shows how the foundation of the school was complicated by the Civil War as Francis Gamull, executor to Thomas, was a Royalist and by 1651 the Parliamentarians were in control:

That Thomas Gamull, of London, Grocer, by his last Will and Testament, bearing Date the 23d of January 1642, proved in the Prerogative Court, gave £500 for building of a Free-School, and Maintenance of a Schoolmaster, in Audlem aforesaid; and made Francis Gamull his Executor: Who, being a late Member of Parliament, and in Arms against the Parliament, by Ordinance of Parliament, of the 10th of June 1644, it was ordained, amongst other things, That Sir William Brereton, Baronet, a Member of the honourable House of Commons, should take and seize into his Hands and Custody the Sum of £500. Part of the Estate of the said Thomas Gamull deceased, in Lieu of the said £500 given for the erecting of the School aforesaid; to be by him the said Sir William Brereton employed for the publick Service, until a fit Opportunity serve to employ the same according to the said Will: And that the said Sir William Brereton shall repay the same, out of the Estates of Delinquents within the said Parish of Audlem; or out of such Allowances as have been made or given to him by Authority of Parliament: And, in Default thereof, the said Lords and Commons did thereby engage the publick Faith of the Kingdom for the Repayment thereof.

From 1856 to 1866 the school building was used as an elementary school but reopened as a grammar school under the Rev G. Whitelaw.   There was also a Charity School founded in 1719 by Mrs. Bolton.  A parish school for infants was opened in 1868 and enlarged in 1877 to take a total of 180 children.  A National School for infants was opened about 1850.

Geoffrey Whitney of Audlem became a poet after education locally then at Oxford.  In the fashion of the time he made poems in the shape of crosses, vases and altars and in 1586 he published his book Choice of Emblems described as "A worke adorned with varietie of matter, both pleasant and profitable: wherein those that please maye finde to fit their fancies."  It contained 248 emblems with pictures each with a motto.   It's main significance now is that it was a work known to Shakespeare. 

The church of St. James stands on a mound in the centre of the town and in front is the 17th century market on eight stone pillars.   It dates in parts from the 13th and 14th centuries with an oak ceiling in the nave, and a clerestory.  The church was restored in 1885-6 by Lynam and Rickman.  In the church are four painted heraldic tablets in the style of the heraldic artists Randle Holme and his son and grandson.  As they have black backrounds they are hard to photograph but I show two below from 1622 and a more elaborate version from 1708 above.

 

Shield spacer Sheild
Heraldic Plaque   Heraldic Plaque

 

The church was given by Thomas de Aldelim to the priory of St. Thomas in Stafford in the reign of Edward I.  After the Dissolution, the advowson of the vicarage was granted the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. The vicars are known back to Richard Randolf who was appointed in 1311/12.

Near the wall of the churchyard is a millstone placed to mark the millennium.  In the centre of the village, where three roads meet, there is an ornate lamp post erected in 1877 in memory of Richard Baker Bellyse, a surgeon in the town for 40 years. The Shropshire Union Canal runs just south west of the town centre.

On 9 July 2005 Audlem was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, hence the flags outside the Lord Combermere and on the church porch.  As part of the celebrations a number of scarecrow figures had been made and were displayed throughout the village.

In 2002, I took the opportunity to call in at the café cum sweet shop opposite the church. This is a sweet shop as they used to be in the 1950s, when I was a child.  There you can find traditional treats like Pontefract Cakes, Uncle Joe's Mintballs, Dolly Mixtures, Pear Drops, Mint Imperials, Coconut Ice and Nougat.  When I called in July 2005, the shop had been badly damaged by fire but it is now in operation again as shown in my picture above. There is also the Salad Bowl Deli and coffee lounge in Shropshire Street, just off the village square.

Sources:

The King's England - Cheshire by Arthur Mee, published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1938, fully revised and edited by E. T. Long in 1968, SBN 340 00075 9
The Buildings of England: Cheshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner and Edward Hubbard, first edition 1971, Yale University Press edition in 2003.
The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, incorporated with a republication of King's Vale Royal and Leycester's Cheshire Antiquities
, 2nd Ed., revised and enlarged by Thomas Helsby, Esq., published by George Routledge and sons, Ludgate Hill, London, 1882. This is now available from the Family History Society of Cheshire on CD ROM. A reprint of the work was published by Eric Morten of Didsbury.

 

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Cheshire Antiquities
© Craig Thornber, Cheshire, England, UK.  Main Site Address: http://www.thornber.net/

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