PULFORD

Grid Ref. SJ 375 587
10 May 2003

 

Church spacer Lodge
The Parish Church   Lodge for Eaton Hall
Burgayney Memorial   Castle Mound
Burgayney Memorial   Remains of Norman Castle Mound

 

In many Cheshire villages there is a church a few centuries old if not medieval. Within it ones sees evidence of various stages of building and restoration and the monuments of earlier generations. The church becomes a monument to the life of the village, albeit mainly to the landed gentry and clergy rather than to Grey's "rude forefathers of the village". Pulford, like Eccleston, had its church demolished to be replaced by a brand new one built by the Duke of Westminster in the 1880s and as such it is a monument to the Duke rather than the village. In the 1990s the spire was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt. The church is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin and has registers going back to 1559 for baptisms and marriages and to 1574 for burials. The parish includes the townships of Pulford and Poulton near Chester.

The only evidence of the earlier church is the brightly coloured plaque on the wall of the south aisle. It is to the Burgayney family and starts with Wm. Burgayney of Pulford, son of Anthony and Katherine. There follows, his son William, student of Corpus Christi College in Oxford, who died 25 August 1689, and his wife, daughter and co-heir of David Lloyd, who died 25 July 1670. He in turn had a son William who married Rachel the daughter of Randal Holmes. She died 30 March 1693 and is buried at Chester. William and Rachel had children William and Rachel. There were three generations called Randal Holmes in Chester, they were historians and heraldic artists. There is no booklet at the church to explain the plaque, and as it is relatively modern, the church does not feature in Raymond Richard's book.

Behind the church are the remains of a mound of a Norman motte and bailey castle. It is not as prominent as that at Aldford but more easily observed than that at Malpas. The Normans built a line of defence from the Dee Estuary to defend Cheshire from the Welsh. It ran roughly NW to SE starting with Shotwick on the North side of the Dee, then Chester, Dodleston, Pulford, Aldford, Shocklach, and Old Castle. The castle at Pulford is thought to have been built about 1100 by either Hugh Lupus Earl of Chester from 1071 to 1101, or his son Richard FitzHugh, who was Earl from 1101 to 1120. It would have been a wooden structure on an earth mound (motte) with a surrounding ditch and a small enclosure or bailey adjacent to the motte. By one of those quirks of the English Language, motte meaning the raised platform of earth gave rise to the word moat meaning the ditch around the platform. There is a website describing the castle at Pulford in more detail.

 

Sources:

The Castles of Cheshire by P. W. Cullen and R. Hordern, Crossbow Books, 1986.
The Castles of Wales Webpages.by Jeffrey L. Thomas.

 

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Cheshire Antiquities
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