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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

Plus Code: 9C5V5Q29+7F

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 14 February 1967

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1138740

English Heritage Legacy ID: 56524

ID on this website: 101138740

Location: St Mary's Church, Astbury, Cheshire East, Cheshire, 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

Tagged with: Church building English Gothic architecture

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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 two storeys and western tower/porch of three 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 two 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 four 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 four bays with curvilinear tracery each of two 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 lower body of the tower and has a diagonal buttress and double doors to the north face and a two-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 seven 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 three-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 two 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 four lights divided by two transoms and having cinquefoil heads to all the lights. The end of the northern aisle has a window of four lights with Curvilinear tracery having trefoil heads to the lights. The southern aisle has a Perpendicular window of five lights of plate tracery.

The southern side of the church has nine 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 two lights with trefoil heads and mouchettes to the upper body. To either side of this the aisle windows each have two lights with trefoil heads and curvilinear tracery. There is a low doorway with pointed arch below the third 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 seven lights with plate tracery with two transoms and cinquefoil heads to each light. To right of this is an aisle window of four lights and to left a window of five 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 seven 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 HIS. An inscription records the installation or alteration of the roof: JOHN SHAW X CHURCH/JOSEPH BROWN WARDENS/JOHN LAWTON CARPENTER ANNO DOMINI 1701

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 five 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 five 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 HIS 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 pediment.

Listing NGR: SJ8462261528

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