Grappenhall

A village in Cheshire
England


The new visitor to Grappenhall which is located in the North West of England (53 25N 2 38W), may be surprised to find a very attractive and picturesque village complete with cobblestones, village stocks, ancient Norman Church , Primary school and two pubs close to the busy town of Warrington. The village has a very long history and is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. It is said that a stone carving on the church tower may be the original Cheshire Cat. The Bridgewater canal skirts around the centre of the village. One of the places children like to play is the stream and the park.

History

Gropenhale was first mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, the land was described as having a wood with deer and was valued as being worth five shillings.

In later years the village consisted of one road called Church Street with thatched cottages on either side leading up to the church at the head of the village with the village green in front of the church where the Parr Arms now stands. Among the cottages was a butcher's shop, Post Office, general stores and at the opposite end of the village stood a blacksmith's smithy. Sadly the thatched cottages have now all disappeared.

The old Thatched Post Office building was very well known in the County and appears in many old paintings of the area, in 1939 it was demolished and replaced by a new building at the beginning of Broad Lane. The bridle path that runs behind there is known as Narrow Lane and this was the main thoroughfare before the construction of the more modern Broad Lane. Although the present Post Office was moved again more than 30 years ago to the modern residential estate there is still a letterbox in the front gatepost and a telephone box outside the gate.

Back to the top of the page


The Church of St Wilfrid's
The original church of 1120 was probably of the type commonly found in villages throughout England, consisting of a nave without aisles and a chancel, the floor was of hard earth. The 12 th century saw further building work carried out with the construction of the Boydell chapel on the south side of the church. In the 16 th century much of the original Norman church which had stood for 400 years was rebuilt, but the Boydell chapel was left intact, the tower appears to have been built first and is surmounted by battlements. The 19 th century saw further building work and it was at this time that the Saxon font was discovered buried three feet below floor level. It is made from the same local sandstone as the rest of the church and is oblong shaped large enough for the total immersion of a child, the ornamentation is very rude and irregular which is evidence that it was probably made by a village mason without rule or compass.

Back to the top of the page


The cat on the church tower
The cat which is carved into the stone work above the west window has attracted much interest, it is thought by some to be a sort of logo for a builder who worked on the church many years ago by the name of Catterall. It has been suggested that its grinning expression may make it the original Cheshire cat and the inspiration for the cat in Lewis Carroll's book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."
The small white arrow in this picture points to the position of the cat on the western side of the tower.
Back to the top of the page

The Pubs
The Parr Arms and The Ram's Head are both situated in the centre of the village.
The Rams Head.
The Parr Arms.
Back to the top of the page

St Wilfrid's Primary school
The first known school in Grappenhall was built in 1712 on the north side of the church tower and was there for around 130 years until the present school was built further down the village, this was opened in 1846. St Wilfrid's Primary school is governed by trust deed dated the 14 th February 1846 which states that the school "shall be a place in which children shall be taught to read and be instructed in the doctrines and duties of the Christian religion as set forth in the Catechism, Liturgy, Articles and Homilies of the Church of England."

Back to the top of the page


The Bridgewater canal
The Bridgewater canal is an integral part of the village, built by James Brindley for Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater and completed in 1772, it was once a busy commercial enterprise transporting coal from the mines in Worsley near Manchester to industrial centres in Widnes, Runcorn and Northwich where the fuel was used by the new chemical industries. Now the canal is mainly used by fishermen and boating enthusiasts who enjoy the peace and solitude of it's 42 miles through countryside and towns.
Back to the top of the page

The stream and the park

The stream an extremely good place to play as it has a perfect tree for a rope swing. It also has 2 swings, a lot of people like to play on these. The path is very smooth so it is very good for roller blading or roller skating on. The park has some new climbing equipment.
Back to the top of the page The playground equipment on the Euclid Ave playing field.

Located in the North West of England

Grappenhall is situated midway between Manchester and Liverpool, the nearest large town is Warrington.
Back to the top of the page

These pages have been constructed by Tom and James Leslie with contributions from Anthony Addinsell. We would welcome your comments and contributions, please send e-mail to james@sytec.u-net.com. Possible items for inclusion are interesting articles, historical notes, forthcoming events and possibly adverts. Children's contributions are especially welcome.