Monday, 13 April 2009

Monday meanderings....

Today I needed to walk off the Easter eggs and other excesses of yesterday so I headed off to the parish Church of St Mary and All Saints in the ancient village of Great Budworth, high above the Cheshire Plain. It is not known when the first church was built here although in 1086 the Domesday Book records a priest at Great Budworth. The church was rebuilt from the late 15th century onwards in the Perpendicular style, in which simple, vertical styles of stonework predominate.

I have a particular fondness for lych gates and this one is a fine example with ornate carving and dowelled joints of fine craftsmanship. As is usual, the path from the lych gate seems to take it's own course, never being directly aligned with the church door.

The church door is simple, bearing an Easter wreath and a simple warning notice to mind the step down immediately behind the door.

The church was richly decked out in yellow floral tributes. This view is toward the altar.

A view of the pulpit and a chance to light a candle and perhaps meditate in a peaceful and inspiring setting.

The Warburton Chapel was created during the 15th century and in the Middle Ages was burial place of the Warburton family of nearby Arley Hall, who paid a priest to say prayers here for the souls of the departed. This practice was later banned as part of the Reformation movement that swept Europe and as part of which Henry VIII and later Queen Elizabeth I repudiated the authority of the Pope. In the centre of the chapel is an alabaster effigy of Sir John Warburton an Elizabethan knight who died in 1575, aged 51.

At the rear of the Warburton Chapel are the remains of the choir stalls which date back to the 13th century and are among the oldest in England. In front of the choir stalls are two ancient benches which retain the elaborate detail carved upon them over 500 years ago. The shaped knobs on the ends are called poppyheads, a corruption of the French word poupee, meaning doll.

The 14th century Lady Chapel is the oldest part of the church and survives from before the rebuilding of the rest of the church. The chapel was restored in the 1960's and is now in regular use for worship, private prayers and meditation. The modern stained glass windows are the gift of an anonymous donor. They were designed by the French artist Pierre Fourmaintraux and made by the Whitechapel Glass Studios in 1965 - now sadly defunct. During the 16th century the wooden statue of the Virgin Mary was destroyed, 'by command of Queen Elizabeth'. A new statue was placed in the chapel in 1988.

The building on the right was the local children's school until 1857. It was built in the early years of the 16th century. It is built in the traditional manner, with a red sandstone plinth, brick walls and timbered roof. It is now used for meetings and occasional exhibitions. It is noteworthy that this was one of very few schools of the time that provided education for both boys and girls. For the schoolmaster it was both home and workplace.

A view of the school house and the cottages that stand in the inevitably named School Lane.

One of the many pleasant walking trails around the village.

I hope you enjoyed this little journey. Have a blameless week all.


  1. Sigh. This was a wonderful tour. When I do make it to your neck of the woods, I want you to be my tour guide.

  2. Hello Michael,

    It's a little while since we had one of your church tours. Gt. Budworth looks a lovely place and the church is impressive. I liked the look of the modern stained glass - blue always attracts me!

    Great new header too! And do enjoy the Handel extravaganza this week!

  3. What a wonderfully kept Church... and your photos shoed it off perfectly. That red brick and red sandstone are very different from my more cream coloured limestone of the Cotswolds near me.

  4. Michael, I would be delighted to meander along with you on a Monday or any other day of the week. (Here is another deep sigh!) This outing is just my favorite sort of thing when I am in England, though I have never been in your part of the country. I want to emphasize that I do not subscribe to the IF YOU HAVE SEEN ONE CHURCH/CATHEDRAL, YOU HAVE SEEN THEM ALL school of tourism. Quite the contrary, I just love learning all about each building...the families, the stories, the centuries old pieces such as the pews... and more. Thank you for ALL the DETAILS!!

  5. Grand tour indeed, from a most excellent tour master. Hopefully the eggs are now all walked off and 'constituted'. ;~P