Following on from yesterdays post on the exterior of St Michael & All Angels Church in Middlewich, Cheshire, we have now moved inside to explore the interior. On the day of our visit, the Canal Boat Festival was taking place and the church was dress for the occasion.
From yesterday post…..the church stands proud in its surroundings, which would have changed quite a lot from its beginnings. From the little church booklet, which I was kindly given, its mentions that the earliest elements of fabric appear to date from no earlier than the mid to late 12th century in construction. If so this places Middlewich Church in the late Norman period. Of course there are only fragments left of this earlier church, in this case in the form of four solid cylindrical piers at the east end of the nave, however these have been greatly patched up and could have even been moved over the centuries.
We move forward to the 18th century and find that the church, from the beginning of the 18th century until 1857, that the interior of the church was plastered and whitewashed, including the carved oak roof beams to both the nave and north & south aisles. There were galleries erected all around the walls and a two-tier gallery under the west window. I would have loved to have seen this, just to see how they had fitted it all in. The present roof was inserted during extensive refurbishments of 1857 to 58. So at least the plaster and paint went with the old roof, but it must have taken quite an effort to remove from the walls.
There are some wonderful corbels, and I’m sure there were others I missed, that were hiding in the shadows.
There are two other beautiful windows, but as they are Christmas related, that is what I’m going to save them for, Christmas 2017. But there are still plenty of other windows to view and there’s a lovely Resurrection window with the three Mary’s by Powells of Whitefrairs.
In the tower vestry, I was shown something that the genealogist inside me would love to have, wonderful heraldic screens, with the Coats of Arms of each family member. The screens, there are two (I managed to get one, date 1633) were commissioned by Peter Venables and erected in 1632 and 1633. They show the Arms of Peter and his father Thomas and their ancestors covering a period of nearly five hundred years. There is one marriage that I found interesting in the booklet…….The marriage of Sir Roger Venables (who was sixth in descent from Gilbert de Venables, who was granted the barony of Kinderton in 1086 for his services to William the Conqueror) to the daughter of Alan de Pennon. They were married circa 1240 and Roger died in 1261. Its just amazing the history that can be learnt from items that have survived like this.
There is so much more history to this wonderful church than I can tell you about, so I suggest, if you ever find yourself near to Middlewich, pop in and have a look, also buy the church booklet as it is packed with information.
But just before we leave, and I’m going to have to come back and find this gravestone……
Here lies Anne wife of Daniel Barker
Who died July 3 1778 aged 77
Some have children some have none
But here lies the mother of 21