Buildings and Records - St Peter's
Prestbury has been a centre for Christian Worship since Saxon times, and the life and worship of the Church still remain a central part of village life.
Construction of Prestbury Church probably started about 1220 and it is almost certain that the Davenports of Henbury, the Pigotts of Butley and the family of Corona, the predecessors of the Leghs at Adlington, all contributed towards its erection. After the Norman conquest, the Manor of Prestbury was in the possession of the Earl of Chester, and in 1153 the Manor and Church was conferred to the monks of the Abbey of St Werburgh at Chester. After the Reformation, the Manor of Prestbury, together with the patronage of the church, was granted to Thomas Legh of Adlington.
Inside the church there is every style of Gothic architecture from Early English to perpendicular. In 1877, the church was extensively restored and extended by Sir Gilbert Scott.
The Belfry contains eight bells which were originally cast in 1820 and then recast in 1968. They are rung Sunday by Sunday and for weddings, etc, by an enthusiastic team of ringers.
In about 1840 stone fragments that are parts of a cross of Saxon design, were found embedded in the masonry of the chancel. They probably date from the tenth or eleventh century.
Carefully put together, the Saxon Cross has been preserved in the churchyard and its existence suggests that there has been a church here for a thousand years.
However, on14th January 2014 the Saxon Cross was removed from the churchyard to be cleaned and renovated by Manchester Museum. The removal was timed to coincide with the construction of a new church annex. The cross will be returned in 2016 after the annex has been built and new churchyard paths are in place.
The Norman Chapel stands close to the present Church and was probably built to replace a timber-framed Saxon church. It has a beautiful Norman doorway above which is a carved tympanum on which a figure thought to be King Richard Coeur de Lion suggests a date for the chapel of between 1190 and 1199. The chapel was in a ruined and roofless state until it was repaired and roofed by Sir William Meredith of Henbury in 1747. In 1977 new windows of the chapel were installed and dedicated in memory of Ann Rogers, wife of the then Vicar of the parish.
Saint Peter's Church Records
The Registers of Baptisms Marriages and Burials date back to 1560 and are complete. The registers up to 1910 are available online at: www.findmypast.co.uk
Microfilm copies up to 1990 are held in the Chester Diocesan Record Office and also Macclesfield Public Library. The Record Office now holds the original registers up to 1900.
A survey of the Churchyard and the monumental inscriptions therein was undertaken in 1991. These are indexed, transcribed and a plan showing each one is available.
For any enquires regarding the above please contact the Church Archivist firstname.lastname@example.org
The new church annex
This has been work in progress since 2007. Many historic buildings in the UK are protected heritage assets and proposals for any changes have to be approved by UK Government sponsored advisory heritage bodies such as English Heritage. Plans must also be approved by the local council planners (in our case East Cheshire Council Planning Department) to ensure that they meet all national and local planning regulations. Lastly, church property falls under ancient Ecclesiastical Law and has to be approved by the Anglican Church authorities (in our case the Diocese of Chester).
Because of controversy concerning our plans His Honour Judge David Turner QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester, decided to implement Ecclesiastical Law by holding a Consistory Court to hear the arguments for and against the church development proposal. He decided in favour of the church and this is the full text of the Consistory Court Judgement
We have now passed all of the hurdles and are preparing to enter the construction phase. The page links below explain:
- The development history of St Peter's Church
- Why we need a church annex
- The design process we have gone through
- The final plans which we are starting to implement.