NANTWICH, ST. MARY'S

Part a: Architecture. 
Part b: Furnishings & Monuments

Grid Ref: SJ 652 523
29 Sept 2001, 28 Aug 2002, 25 January 2003 & 9 July 2005

 

The tower 25 Jan 2003 spacer Altar 29 Sept 2001
The Tower   Altar and east window
West Window   South Transept
West window   South transept window
nave ceiling   North Transept
Nave ceiling adjacent to chancel arch   View through crossing to north transept
Vault   North Arcade
Roof vault in chancel   North arcade looking west
Mosaic   13th century window
Mosaic in Chancel Floor   13th Century Window

St. Mary's dates largely from the 14th century and includes the transition from the Decorated to Perpendicular styles. It escaped the Great Fire of Nantwich in 1583, which burned for 20 days and destroyed 600 buildings, and the Royalist shelling during the Civil War. Although it is one of the largest churches in Cheshire, St. Mary's was a chapel of ease for Acton until the 17th century. There had been a chapel at Nantwich, then known as Wych Malbank since 1130 and both chapel and mother church were owned by Combermere Abbey.

The soft red sandstone used for the church was subject to erosion and much of the exterior was the subject of restoration by Sir George Gilbert Scott from 1854 to 1861. Pevsner criticises some of his work for being in the style of the late 13th century and therefore out of keeping with the rest of the church. In particular he mentions the replacement of a doorway in the Decorated style and a window in the Perpendicular style with features in his favourite late 13th century style. The chancel dates from about 1380 and has lierne vaulting and carved bosses.

The church was used as a prison for Royalists during the Civil War and aftewards it fell into serious disrepair with burials causing damage to the foundations.

In the south transept is the Kingsley Chapel endowed as a chantry in 1405 by John and Margaret Kingsley. The north transept has a chantry chapel dedicated to St. George with a piscina and aumbrey. The chapel at the north is now the vestry and screened from the body of a church.

The octagonal crossing tower is in the Decorated style. The window in the south of the south transept was made in 1858 by Wailes. The 13th century window was incorporated into the 14th century rebuilding and it was reglazed in 1877. It shows Enoch, Noah, Job and Abel.

Nantwich Page 2: Holy Holiday
Nantwich Page 3: Town Centre

Sources

Arthur Mee's Cheshire, published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1938; fourth impression 1950.
The Buildings of England, Cheshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner and Edward Hubbard, Yale University Press, 2003, ISBN 0 300 09588 0
Old Cheshire Churches, with a supplementary survey of the lesser old chapels of Cheshire, completely revised and enlarged by Raymond Richards, first published in 1947 and reprinted by E. J. Morten, Didsbury, 1973.

 

index button

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

W3C XHTML 1.0Strict W3C CSS