|St. Mary's||St. Mary's: the East End|
|St. John's from the East||St. John's: the crossing tower|
John Minshull's booklet tells us that Sandbach probably had a timber and thatch church in the Norman period but a stone church from 1220. However, little remains of this today. There may have been extensions in the 14th century but then a major rebuilding about 1490 during which remains of the earliest stone church were found. By the early 19th century there is the description given in Ormerod's History of Cheshire indictating a tower, nave, chancel and side aisles which had at their ends two smaller chancels belonging to the Manor of Wheelock and Hall of Bradwall. The nave and aisles were said to have richly carved oak roofs erected in 1661. Major restoration was undertaken between 1847 and 1849 under George Gilbert Scott. This involved dismantling the tower to the level of the nave as it was in a dangerous state and restoring the roofs of the nave and aisles. The external walls were cased in new masonry and the windows reglazed with new tracery. The nave and aisles were extended to the east by 36 feet. The stone was given by Sir Philip Grey Egerton MP and brought from quarries on Mow Cop. Thus, much of what we see externally today dates from the middle of the 19th century. The tower is supported on arches and the chamber below is open to the north and south through which a public footpath runs. The entrance to the church is at the west end under the tower.
I have provided a separate page for details of the Armitstead family who were associated St. Mary's in the 19th century.
St. Mary's is not easy to photograph because of the trees on the south side. The best opportunity would be in Spring before the leaves come out. St. John's at Sandbach Heath presents similar problems as one cannot move far enough away from the church in the churchyard to frame the whole building. St. John's was built by Scott in 1861. It is in the style of the the late 13th century..
A Short History and Description: St. Mary's Church, Sandbach,
Cheshire, by John Minshull, published by the St. Mary's Parochial Church
Council, 1st edtion Jun 1974, revised June 1990
The Buildings of England, Cheshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner and Edward Hubbard, Yale University Press, 2003, ISBN 0 300 09588 0