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Church of St Mary

A Grade I Listed Building in Newbold Astbury, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.1507 / 53°9'2"N

Longitude: -2.2314 / 2°13'52"W

OS Eastings: 384623

OS Northings: 361528

OS Grid: SJ846615

Mapcode National: GBR 12J.DPB

Mapcode Global: WHBC6.P2NG

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 14 February 1967

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1138740

English Heritage Legacy ID: 56524

Location: Newbold Astbury, Cheshire East, CW12

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Newbold Astbury

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Astbury St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester

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Listing Text

SJ 86 SW
4/54 Church of St Mary

Church. C12 with late C13 and early C14 and C15 additions and
alterations. Romanesque, Early English, Decorated (Curvilinear) and
Perpendicular. Yellow sandstone ashlar with a metal roof. North west
tower; aisled nave and chancel with side chapels, there being no break
between the nave and chancel or aisles and chapels. South western
porch of 2 storeys and western tower/porch of 3 stages. The
north-western tower has diagonal buttresses with offsets to the
north-western and north-eastern corners and an angle buttress and a
setback buttress to the south-western corner with no buttressing to
the south-eastern corner. The west face has at ground floor level a
Romanesque doorway with simple moulded surround and crescent shaped
stone to the tympanum. Above this is a band on which rests a window,
probably originally of 2 lights with weathered Decorated tracery, a
hood mould and label stops. Above this is a C17 or C20 circular clock
face on an octagonal metal plate and above this is the louvred belfry
opening which has a double chamfered reveal and curvilinear tracery
with a quatrefoil to the top. The parapet has a moulded jetty and
coping with a gargoyle to right of centre. To the top of the tower is
an octagonal spire divided by two projecting bands on which rest
lucarnes to the northern, southern, western and eastern faces. The
southern face of the tower connects with the church at its lower level
and has a similar belfry opening to that on the western front. The
northern side has an ogee-headed lancet to the ground floor and a
similar lancet to the stage above which rests on a projecting band.
Above this is a similar belfry opening to that in the western front.
The eastern front has a Perpendicular porch at left. The stage above
this has an ogee-headed lancet light and above this is a similar
belfry opening to those seen on the other faces. The body of the
church originally extended in line with the tower, this being at the
centre of its western front, however, at the time of the rebuilding of
the church in the C13; the body was moved to the south of its former
site, the former southern wall then becoming the northern wall and
leaving the tower standing at one side and connected to the church by
a short passage. The northern side of the church has to the left of
the aisle 4 bays of Early English tracery divided into pairs by
buttresses whose corners die, via broaches, to chamfers. To the lower
walling is a plinth with moulded top and to the right is a priest's
door with moulded surround and hood mould with label stops, and to
right again a small squint window with chamfered surround and trefoil
head. The windows above this rest on a projecting band and consist of
two windows with Y-tracery at left and a similar at far right and a
lancet at right of centre with trefoil head. To right of these are 4
bays with curvilinear tracery each of 2 lights with trefoil heads to
the lights and trefoils and quatrefoils above. These bays are
subdivided by buttresses with offsets. At far right is the
Perpendicular porch which abuts the the lower body of the tower and
has a diagonal buttress and double doors to the north face and a
2-light chamfered window surround to the east. Within the porch is a
further Romanesque doorway with moulded surround similar to that on
the western face of the tower but recarved at a later date. The
parapet to the aisle is Perpendicular and battlemented with gargoyles.
The clerestory is of 7 bays with plate tracery divided by slender
pilaster buttresses. To the top of the wall is a battlemented
parapet. The western front has a slender projecting central porch,
or, alternatively, the lower stages of an incomplete tower. This has
three stages, the uppermost of which is a later addition. The western
front has diagonal buttresses and a central double doorway with blind
tracery to the upper body of the doors, a moulded reveal and hood
mould with label stops. Above this in a canopied niche is a very
weathered figure of a saint. The stage above this has a 3-light
window resting on a band, the lights have cinquefoil heads with plate
tracery above a casement-moulded surround and hood mould. The topmost
stage above this has a window of 2 lights with transom and cinquefoil
heads. To the top is a battlemented parapet but the diagonal
buttresses at either side remain unresolved having failed to die into
the corners and having no pinnacles. The right hand side of the
porch/tower is blind to its lower body with a similar window to the
uppermost stage, as has the northern face which also has a
semi-octagonal staircase turret to the lower body at right. To either
side of this porch/tower are tall windows of plate tracery each having
4 lights divided by 2 transoms and having cinquefoil heads to all the
lights. The end of the northern aisle has a window of 4 lights with
Curvilinear tracery having trefoil heads to the lights. The southern
aisle has a Perpendicular window of 5 lights of plate tracery. The
southern side of the church has 9 bays to the aisle, the third bay
from left being a porch with diagonal buttresses and a doorway with
moulded surround, hood mould and label stops. To the first floor,
resting on a band, is a curvilinear window of 2 lights with trefoil
heads and mouchettes to the upper body. To either side of this the
aisle windows each have 2 lights with trefoil heads and curvilinear
tracery. There is a low doorway with pointed arch below the 3rd
window from right. To the top of the wall is a Perpendicular
battlemented parapet with gargoyles. The Perpendicular clerestory is
similar to that of the northern front. The eastern end has a central
window of 7 lights with plate tracery with two transoms and cinquefoil
heads to each light. To right of this is an aisle window of 4 lights
and to left a window of 5 lights both having plate tracery.
Interior: The arcades to the sides of the nave and chancel are
uniform save for a slight variation in the moulding of the piers at
either side of the rood. They comprise 7 bays to each side with
splayed clusters of three shafts to each side of the piers with ovolo
mouldings to the arches and keel mouldings to the intrados which die
into the piers. To the top of each pier facing into the nave are
figureheads showing cadaverous faces from which spring clusters of
three shafts which rise through the clerestory to support the
camber-beams. These are crossed by two bands to form rectangular
panels below the clerestory windows, one of which still contains
remnants of a C15 wall painting. The roof of the northern aisle
appears to have been brought from elsewhere and has angel corbels
bearing shields and supporting camber-beams. Moulded timbers divide
the ceiling into a series of rectangular compartments with richly
moulded bosses, including the initials IHS. An inscription records
the installation or alteration of the roof:


The camber-beams of the nave roof rest on wall posts which spring from
the clusters of shafts mentioned above. They have a series of S
mouldings to their sides. Richly moulded timbers divide the roof into
a series of rectangular panels with florid bosses. To the chancel is
a pyx pendant above the altar with crocketed pinnacles to its sides
and the 5 wounds represented on its base. Above the screen is a
similarly moulded lantern pendant. The churchwardens and carpenter
are also recorded here, for the installation or alteration of the
roof; nine church wardens are listed and the carpenter Richard Downes
and the dates 1616 and 1617. The south aisle roof and that of the
Chapel of St Mary are similar to that of the nave, the angel corbels
appearing to be of C17 form and the floral bosses spelling out

M A IHS R E for the length of the aisle.

The chancel screen has moulded posts and tracery below the dado with a
coved rood gallery of C19 date. The parclose screen is similar. The
stalls in the chancel have hinged seats which originally had
misericords (now removed). The desk ends have Perpendicular tracery
and floral finials. The box pews to the nave are of C17 date with
raised and fielded and arched panels to the lower bodies with panels
of strapwork in relief above, having moulded iron H-hinges. The
pulpit is C17 and octagonal having two rows of round arches resting on
fluted pilasters; the base and handrail are C18 and C19 respectively.
C17 lectern in the form of an eagle holding a ball. The reredos in
the Lady Chapel, the altar rail to the chancel and the font cover and
crane form a set and are of sophisticated late C17 craftmanship. The
reredos has a series of rectangular panels with a dentilled cornice
from which hang pear drops. The altar rail has split balusters with
panels of open strapwork between and acorn pendants to the centre of
the round-arched openings. The font which is of Perpendicular form
has an octagonal cover dying to a square upper body which has broken
pediments to each side and an obelisk to the centre, three sides of
which are cut with fretwork. The winch mechanism is contained within
a panelled case behind the font with a projecting overhang which has
cartouches to the frieze, dentilled cornice with pear drops and a
broken pediment above with a small obelisk between the halves of the
Sources Nikolaus Pevsner and The Buildings of
Edward Hubbard England: Cheshire 1971

The Revd. J E Gordon Cartlidge A Short History of the
Church of St Mary
Astbury, Cheshire 1963
republished 1970

Listing NGR: SJ8462261528

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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