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History of St Bartholomews Church

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St Bartholomews
1891 St- Bartholomews interior

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The Church has been at the centre of village life for hundreds of years.

A wooden chapel was recorded as attached, with St. Mary's Church in Acton, to Combermere Abbey in 1135. A 'black and white' church was built on the site in 1541 and the first minister was John Minshull.

During the late 1600's the church building became dangerous to worshippers and so a petition was made, through the Bishop of Chester, to Queen Anne to grant a 'Brief' which authorised the collection of money throughout the country to help fund the building of a new church. Set out in dark bricks on the tower is a date of 1702, but the Church was actually completed in 1720. When the tower was built it was provided with space for six bells and five were cast and hung in 1717. In 1982 a new treble bell was added as a gift from Dr. Michael Parkes, in the name of his daughter and a cracked bell was replaced, completing the ring. The bells are hung anti-clockwise, which is unusual and the cracked bell is displayed inside church, by the south door. The church clock, on the south side of the tower was added in 1722 at a cost of £12, but originally it only struck the hour and had no dial. The parish registers were begun in 1561 and the churchwardens accounts in1670, containing many unusual features, but these are now stored at the Chester Archive Office and can be viewed there.

The church interior is remarkably plain and light, but there are four Charity boards, some memorials to past vicars, Cholmondeleys, Brookes' and Jane Minshull, a tile and panelled altar back, box pews, a minstrel gallery and the cracked bell of 1717.

A tythe map dating from 1769, hangs on the wall, this is a copy of an earlier 1720 map of 'The Manor of Church Minshull'. This map was used to collect the rent from tenants and was found in Minshull Hall, upon the death of John Barlow. The map was kindly donated to the church by his son Michael, in 2012. A description and history of the map can seen here. 1720 map

In the churchyard, against the tower, can be seen the Wade family tomb of Wades Green Hall.

St Bartholomews Church graveyard

In 1990 repair work to the roof made it possible to view the coffins. All were of lead and most had the name and dates of the deceased on, dating from 1720 to 1774. Also on the outside wall of the church, near the East window, is a fine, carved memorial to Thomas Minshull, who died in 1696. There is an excellent record of the clergy who had been living in Church Minshull.

In 1991, the church was re-united with St. Mary's Church in Acton, sharing a vicar. The church was closed in 2002 for two years, due to the roof becoming dangerous and required major repairs, but in 2011 a full restoration of the tower and facility improvement scheme was completed at a cost of £340,000.

CM Sign unveiling

A new village sign was unveiled on 3rd June 2012, by John Astbury, the villages' longest living resident. The sign was commissioned to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II. It has been designed by John Headon and local 'smith David Freeman; David also fabricated it at his forge in 'The Mill'. The sign can be seen situated in the South east corner of the churchyard.

Regular services are taken and the church is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays through the summer months, from 10am to 4pm. Click here for the official group website. A church guide is available on the church book stall, priced £1.

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