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St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall | by TERRY KEARNEY
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St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall


The church is Norman in origin, built probably in the earlier part of the 12th century.A corbel table from the Norman period is visible on the south nave wall and Norman foundations were discovered during the 1873–74 restoration.

A chantry chapel was added by the Boydell family in 1334 where the south aisle now stands. From 1529 the church was largely rebuilt in local sandstone providing the nave, chancel, north aisle and a tower at the west end. In 1539 the Boydell chapel was incorporated into the south aisle. In the early 19th century the roof of the nave was raised to form a clerestory. In the 1850s the south aisle was further extended and a vestry built. There was a more substantial restoration in 1873–74 by Paley and Austin.


The church is built in red sandstone with a slate roof. Its plan consists of a west tower, a continuous nave and chancel of seven bays with clerestory, north and south aisles, a chapel at the east end of the south aisle, a vestry and a south porch. The tower has a Tudor west door, buttresses and belfry windows of two lights. Its top is embattled, without pinnacles or gargoyles.


Fittings and furniture

A window in the south aisle includes 14th century glass which was rearranged in 1834 and there are fragments of medieval glass elsewhere. In the chancel is an effigy of Sir William Boydell, who died in 1275. This was brought in from the churchyard and restored in 1874. The rectangular bowl of the Norman font was found beneath the nave in the 1874 restoration. Built into the east wall of the north aisle are a piscina and a credence table. In the church are a holy table dated 1641 and the royal coat of arms of Queen Anne. Three stained glass windows in the south aisle are by Mayer of Munich.The church plate includes a flagon inscribed 1765 and a chalice and two patens inscribed 1797.The ring consists of eight bells. Four of these were cast by Henry Bagley II around 1700. A further bell dates from 1890 by John Taylor & Co, while the remaining three were cast in 1899 by Mears & Stainbank at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.The parish registers date from 1573.


External features

Outside the church, immediately below the west window is a carving of a cat and it is suggested that this might be the origin of the Cheshire cat.In the churchyard is a sundial dated 1714 which is listed Grade II.At the entrance to the churchyard, also listed Grade II are stocks, the endstones probably dating from the 17th century.

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Taken on March 5, 2009