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Churches Surrounding

Churches in the Surrounding areas

An insight into the history of the churches in Grappenhall and Thelwall Villages

St Wilfrids

In the early part of the 12th century the original Norman Parish Church in Grappenhall was founded. The building would have comprised of a hard earth floor, a chancel, a nave without an aisle and the only seating would have been a ledge running round the walls. Very little of that original building still remains, though some of its foundations were discovered when the Church was restored in 1873.

In 1334 the Boydell Chapel was constructed by the Boydell family hence its name. This was in the place where the south aisle is now and the tower was where the chancel is now in the current building.

The rebuilding the Church began in 1529 using red sandstone available in the local area. The small Norman Church was knocked down and the chancel, north aisle and tower were constructed at the west end of the Church. 10 years on and the Boydell Chapel was incorporated into the Church having previously been separated by the nave.

It was not until 1833 that any more work on the Church building was done. This time the roof of the nave was raised up to form a clerestory. In the early part of the 1850’s the vestry was built and the south aisle was extended. By 1873 the Church building was completely restored.

A key feature of the outside of the Church building is the craving of a cat above the large west window. There are many reports that the well known author Lewis Carroll found inspiration for the name and expression of the Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland from this very carving on the Church in Grappenhall, a village adjacent to his birthplace.

All Saints

All Saint's Church was built in 1843 on the site of the Chapel that was there previous. It was the Lord of the Manor William Nicholson and several of the gentry who gave the land and contributions in order to develop the Church. When the stone was laid for the building of the Church a glass bottle containing coins of the realm was placed in an alcove in the stone. It was then covered with a brass plate with the names of those who had contributed and the inscription 'IHS' on it. William Nicholson was said to of hoped that the sacred building 'would be the means of diffusing the blessing of pure religion to generations yet unborn'.

The Church building was completed by November of the same year and consecrated by the Bishop of Chester. The nave was built of stone cased with brick in the Early English style. It had narrow lancet windows, a high pitched roof and a lightpointed belfry. The focal point was the altar which sat at the top of three steps covered by a crimson altar cloth embroidered with gold. The square font featured a floriated Greek cross, the sacred monogram, the crown of thorns, reed, spear and hammer, and the pincers and nails.

In 1856 the nave was extended and the Chancel was built. This was to be designated to James Nicholson and his family as their place of burial. In his will, he requested that his body 'should lie in the Chancel of All Saints beside that of his wife'.

In 1872 James Nicholson gave a mortuary under the Churchyard. The original tap for washing bodies is still there today.

And finally, in 1890 the Church was reseated throughout and a new north aisle, Baptistry, Font and Vestry were added.

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