By Matthew 20/10/2017 23:03:07


Charming, Romantic with a rich history

The peaceful and rural Grappenhall with a population combined with Thelwall of 9,377 (2001 UK census) is a village South-East of Warrington. It is situated adjacent to the Bridgewater Canal, and forms one of the principal settlements of Grappenhall and Thelwall civil parish. The charming, romantic village has cobblestones running through it, village stocks, an ancient Norman Church, a primary school and two pubs.

What once was

With a very long history Gropenhall was first recorded in the Domesday book of 1086, the land was described as having a wood with deer and was valued as being worth five shillings.

In later years the village consisted of one road called Church Street with thatched cottages on either side leading up to the church at the head of the village. Amid the cottages were a butcher's shop, Post Office, general stores and at the opposite end of the village stood a blacksmith's smithy. Sadly the thatched cottages have now all disappeared.

The old thatched Post Office building was very well recognised in the County and appears in many old paintings of the area. In 1939 it was demolished and replaced by a new building at the beginning of Broad Lane. The bridle path that runs behind there is known as Narrow Lane and this was the main thoroughfare before the construction of the more modern Broad Lane. Although the present Post Office was moved again more than 30 years ago to the modern residential estate, there is still a letterbox in the front gatepost and a telephone box outside the gate.

The Greenall family famously known as brewers first lived at Grappenhall Heys house which was once the home of the Parr family. It was demolished in 1970 for housing development now known as Parr Woods. The walled garden has been restored and provides a tranquil oasis within the community, as well as a living example of a Victorian Walled Garden.

Certain parts of the 'Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes' were filmed in the centre of Grappenhall.

For the active types

Grappenhall is deservedly popular with walkers, canal users and locals. The Bridgewater Canal curls around the village and still charms visitors. Two of the places children like to play is the stream and the park. The stream has a perfect tree for a rope swing. The path is very smooth so it is very good for roller blading or roller skating on. The park has some new climbing equipment. Further along, the Grappenhall Youth and Community Centre occupies the buildings of the former Bellhouse Farm, home also of the Parish Council. The major open spaces in and adjacent to Broad Lane are the cricket club. The cricket club and its grounds add an important visual and a social dimension to the village.

The Cheshire Cat

The oldest part of Grappenhall is the picturesque village centre on Church Lane. This linear settlement of intimate scale creates a strong and traditional village character comprising a mixture of mainly 17th to 19th Century buildings, which display a wide range of architectural styles and supporting features.

When you stroll down the cobbled Church Street amongst Georgian villas and neat rows of 18th Century and Edwardian cottages and between the two canal bridges you will reach the beautiful sandstone St Wilfred's Church. The church itself was first constructed in 1120, though was rebuilt 400 years later. The church was also, for a time, in the possession of the Boidelle family. It has Norman remains in the south wall, and wonderful medieval stained glass of which much was restored by the Victorians. There is a stone carving of a cat on the west face of the tower. It is thought by some to be a sort of logo for a builder who worked on the church many years ago by the name of Catterall. It has been suggested that its grinning expression may make it the original 'Cheshire Cat' and the inspiration for the cat in Lewis Carroll's book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

Other notable buildings include a partially renovated Victorian gothic style rectory and a pair of 18th century cottages featuring a unique cast iron veranda.

Final Thoughts

The traditional village of Grappenhall provides a peaceful location for a spot of history and a nice lunch in one of the warm and friendly village pubs. A certain pub is in the 2006 Good Pub Guide. It serves food all day and B&B accommodation so why not check it out.

Once you have explored all that Grappenhall has to offer why not take a non strenuous canal walk west to Stockton Heath, just over a mile away to the West. 

Other Surrounding Areas

View more surrounding areas of Lymm.