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St Mary's Parish Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Church of St Mary is a prominent building in the town centre (The Square), seen on a spring day with the cherry blossom in full bloom

 

 

 

NANTWICH Parish Church is the latest Church of England building to stand on this site in the centre of town - being built a mere 650 or so years ago . . .

   That figure is approximate. I remember the 600th anniversary was celebrated in 1950 and that was something of a token anniversary.

    St Mary's Parish Church has had a varied history, one episode of which  was being used as a jail for Royalist prisoners in the Civil War in the 1640s. Those with a macabre view on life - or an interest in history! - can see lead embedded in one of the walls on the south east side where some prisoners were shot.

   In 2014, the church became one of the U.K.'s 44 Great Churches - with cathedral characteristics. It is informally known as "The Cathedral of South Cheshire". However, in 2015 it failed in a bid to be given minster status

   In the 1960s, the church was invaded by Death Watch Beetle in woodwork in the building which necessitated a major appeal.

   The problem of keeping the building available not only for the St Mary's congregation but for anyone (residency conditions apply) who wishes to use it for a baptism, wedding or funeral, has meant a continuous programme of restoration and repair ever since. Not that the beetle episode was the first. Sir George Gilbert Scott's restoration of 1850 was another cause for an appeal. (Read about the 2009 appeal here).

   Although sunlight enhances the Cheshire sandstone building, the best time to see St Mary's is in the winter months because the trees in the church grounds mask the building from The Square in the summer.

   However, the view was improved when a tall tree in

Church Walk was blown down in high winds in the spring of 2007. The trees of St Mary's are also featured here.

  

   

plague victims! Please respect the area for what it is.

   It didn't help that in 2012 when the UK was marking the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign that Nantwich Town Council organised a town centre event, giving the location as The Church Lawns.

   The wooden cross to the right of the picture (centre, left) is the one that is erected in Holy Week and a cross-shaped flower bed in purple flowers comes into bloom.

   Pictured above in November 2015 is a poppy cross created in the church grounds, circled by more crosses placed by children from local schools. 

 

l Location: Just off The Square in the centre of town.

l Opening times: Open to the public between 8.30am and 5pm (4pm in winter), except for Sunday afternoons. Of course, tours of the church cannot take place during services.

l Admission: There is no charge to go into the church, but with more than 400 a day to find for running costs, the church has boxes for donations.

l Disabled access: A new entrance at the south porch was completed at the start of September 2009. As well as doors that can be opened at the touch of a button, there is a wheelchair lift by-passing the four steps down into the church. Further changes are being made currently (February 2016). See this page - and this one.

l  Website: www.stmarysnantwich.org.uk.

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   The smaller view, above, left, is as seen from the door of the Parish Hall - or Church House as some people call it. 

  By the way, if you visit Nantwich (or if you are a local who didn't realise it) please note that the area of green in front of the parish church is not a lawn for sunbathing, picnicing, etc. It is a grassed-over graveyard. . .! Or, as the plaque (left) in one corner says, "Consecrated Burial Ground." It was closed to burials in 1854.

   I'll bet the people who lie on the grass in the sunny months don't realise they are lying on top of graves of

 

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