SIDDINGTON

Grid Ref. SJ 846708
25 March 2003 & 18 June 2005

 

All Saints spacer West end
All Saints, Siddington   West Elevation

 

It is believed that the church was founded in the 14th century but the first documentary evidence dates from 1474, when the church was mentioned in the will of Robert Sydington as a chapel of ease for Prestbury. The church is near Thorneycroft Hall and in 1722, Edward Thorneycroft wrote that he had made enquiries about the origins of the church from the registers at Prestbury. He believed that it had been formerly a domestic chapel belonging to Siddington Hall and built by one of the Fittons. Richards in Old Cheshire Churches points out that this is unlikely as the Fittons did not obtain Siddington Hall until the death of Robert Sydyngton in 1474 by which time the church was already in existence. In 1550, it was recorded that the vicar of Prestbury let his corn tithes in Siddington to Edward Fitton. The original chapel had a timber frame but much of the old chapel was pulled down in the 18th century to be replaced by the current brick construction. There were restorations in 1853 and 1894. There appear to have been no baptisms, marriages or burials until Bishop Gastrell of Chester granted a licence in 1721. The list of incumbents goes back to 1582.

If you are fortunate to gain entrance to the church, which is frequently open, you will see a fine collection of stained glass. The church was formerly well known for the ceremony of blessing the animals and there is now an illuminated panel to commemorate the vicar who held the ceremonies. The church is also known for its association with corn dollies, made by the farmer and local historian, Raymond Rush.

There is a brass plaque inscribed as follows:

To the Honoured Memory of
Lieut: Colonel Wilfrith Elstob, VC, DSO, MC
16th Manchester Regiment, 1st City Battalion,
Third son of the Vicar of this Parish
Killed in action whilst commanding his Battalion
In the famous defence of Manchester Hill, France
21 March 1918, aged 29
"The Manchester Regiment will defend Manchester Hill to the Last"

There is a similar plaque to commemorate all who lost their lives in the Great War. The window is that shown in my photograph depicting St. Maurice and St. Alban.

This Window and Brass were erected by Parishioners
To the glorious and undying memory of
The Siddington and Capesthorne Men
Who gave their lives for England in the Great War,
August 1914-November 1918
Lt. Col. Wilfith Elstob, VC, DSO, MC, Manc: Regt:   Private John Bradley, Cheshire Regiment
Lance Corporal Alfred Taylor, Canadian Infantry    Private Nathan Bradley, Manch: Regiment
Private Arthur Boon, Cheshire Regiment    Private Ernest Dingle, Cheshire Regiments
"Their Name Liveth for Evermore."

 

Nave and chancel spacer Font
The Nave and Chancel   The Font
Animal panel   Corn dolly
Illuminated Panel   Corn Dolly Cross on the Rood Screen
Church Cross   Window
Cross in the churchyard   Window depicting St. Maurice and St. Alban

grave crosses

 

 

Alexander George McGillvray
Lieut. R.A.F. Hamilton, Canada
Nov 4th 1899 - June 16 1918

Claude Edmund Watchorn
Lieut. R.F.C. Calgary, Canada
Ser 12th 1897 - June 17 1918

Crosses for two airmen   Epitaphs for the airmen

The current Thornycroft Hall was built in the 18th century but was altered in the 1830s. At the time of the Great War, a light aircraft flying past the house struck a flag post and the two Canadians in it were killed. They are buried at Siddington Church and two oak trees were planted to commemorate them. Later in the 20th century, the hall became Palotti Hall, a children's home run by nuns. In 1979, it was renamed Thornycroft Hall and opened as a Conference Centre to provide people from all walks of life with opportunities for their human, cultural and spiritual development. Is is owned by the Siddington Trust, a charity. The pictures below were taken on the Family Fun Day, on 5 May 2003, an enjoyable event with a good family atmosphere.

 

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Thornycroft Hall, from the east   View from the south west on Family Fun Day

Ormerod states that the first mention of the Thornycroft family is in the reign of Henry III (1216-1272). It took its name from the hamlet. The charters of the family go back to Richard son of Hamon de Thornicroft. In about 1300 he lands that William de Sydingon had given to his daughter Joan who married Hamon de Thornicroft.

In the 17th and early 18th century the family had many children who died young. Edward Thornicroft died in 1637. His eldest, John, had four sons and five daughters. Two of the sons had families including a total of six sons but ultimately no direct male heirs resulted. The estate passed via Edward's second son, also called Edward. This Edward had nine sons and seven daughters. Of the sons, two had families. Henry, the fourth son had three sons and seven daughters but ultimately no male heirs so it fell to Edward's ninth son, another Edward to provide the heirs. He was a barrister and died in 1726.

The chart below begins with this Edward. Once again the family suffered with a high mortality among its sons and the male line died out in 1817 with another Edward Thornycroft. By the will of this last Edward, the estate was vested in his two surviving sisters for life, with remainder to his friend the Rev. Charles Mytton, Rector of Eccleston and his issue. When the last sister died, in 1831, Mr. Mytton succeeded to Thornycroft, and, as required by the will, assumed the name and arms of Thornycroft. Charles Mytton Thornycroft was married on 26 June 1802, to Henrietta the eldest daughter of John Grey, 3rd son of Henry the 4th Earl of Stamford and Warrington. Charles Mytton Thornycroft's eldest son, the Rev. John Thornycroft, born in 1809 was the proprietor of the estate at the time of Ormerod's research. In this way a family unconnected with the original Thornycrofts took over the estate and the name.

 

 

Sources

Cheshire Country Houses, by Peter de Figueiredo and Julian Treuhertz, published by Phillimore, Chichester, 1988.
Ormerod's History of Cheshire, 2nd edn, Vol 3 page 730.

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