|St. Mary's on a bright morning||
Ruins of the Old Church
|Estate Houses (2013)||Village Centre (2013)|
The name Eccleston comes from the Latin for meeting place. It has the same origin as ecclesiastical, and suggests that it was significant from Roman times. The circular churchyard, which can still be seen at the back of the old church, indicates pagan origins. An excavation at Eccleston in 1929 found 20 bodies believed to date from about 390 AD. They are the earliest Christian burials known in Cheshire and the bodies face East. They date from the end of the Roman Christian period in Britain.
St. Marys at Eccleston was built at the expense of the Duke of Westminster who lived at nearby Eaton Hall. Hugh Lupus Grosvenor was the last duke to be created outside the royal family. He was promoted to a dukedom for services to the Liberal Party. The architect was influenced by the Oxford Movement. The style could be described as Victorian High Church Gothic. The church is vast for the size of the village, and cost £40,000 in 1899. The former church, dating from 1809 was pulled down but the graveyard, with the graves of early Grosvenors, can be found round the ruins. The gates come from a hall in Wales. As the church is named St. Marys one might expect that there would be a statue of her over the door but the figures represent Christ and two bishops. The font has a huge elaborate cover. Few 14th century churches had a pulpit and would not have had pews. Linen fold carving is also an anachronism at it did not come into use until the 16th century. A small number of monuments from the old church have been placed at the base of the tower of the new church and the one shown below states:
To the pious memoriall of his deare parents, Richard Grosvenor Esq., with Christian, daughter to Richard Brooke, Esq., and Jane, daughter to Sir Thomas Vernon, Kt., his virtuous wives, as also to the like memoriall of Letice, daughter of Sir Hugh Cholmeley, Kt., Elizabeth, daughter to Tho: Wilbraham Esq. and Elizabeth yet living daughter and heire to Sir Peter Warburton Kt., one of the Judges of the Comon Pleas, Wives to Sir Richard Grosvenor, Kt., and Baronet, the saide Sir Richard their thrice affectionate Sonn and husband dedicates this monument. Anno Domini 1624.
|Monument of 1624||Grosvenor arms on the gates to St. Mary's|
The church is open every day. The ruins of the old church are about 100 yards to the north east of the new church, across the extensive lawns.
Alfred Ernest Ind. V.C.
A gentleman who signed himself only as Jim, sent me a note about a Victoria Cross holder buried at Ecclestone. Alfred Ernest Ind, the son of George Ind, was born on 16 September 1872 in Tetbury, Gloucestershire and died on 29 November 1916 at Eccleston. He enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery on 19 February 1901, where he was a Shoeing Smith and later Sergeant Farrier. He went to the Boer War where he won the Victoria Cross. The medal was presented to him, at an investiture at Buckingham Palace, by His Majesty King Edward VII on the 26th November 1902. Later he became a member of the 'Chestnut Troop': the distinguished artillery battery.
The citation reads.
On 20th December 1901 near Tafelkop, Orange River Colony, South Africa, Shoeing Smith Ind stuck to his pom-pom gun under very heavy fire when the whole of the remainder of the team had been shot down, and continued to fire into the advancing enemy until the last possible moment. A captain who was mortally wounded on this occasion, requested that Shoeing Smith Ind's gallant conduct on this and every other action since he joined the pom-pom service be brought to notice.
I am grateful to Peter Pierce of Tetbury for informing me that details of Alfred Ind's VC are on the following site, which includes a photograph of his grave. It appears that Alfred Ind worked on the Duke of Westminster's estate.