The plinth and quoin stones from the church of St. Helena were reused
in the building of the present St. John The Baptist church in 1742-44
AD and the four original bells recast into five with another added
to be first rung in the new church in June 1749 AD.
Right: Site of Medival "Parochial
It is believed that the four original bells were badly made and
in poor repair making them noisy and unsuitable for use at weddings
hence, in his 'Knutsford: Its Traditions And History' of 1887, Henry
Green observes that:
"The bells of the parochial chapel were too far off, and
on occasion of a wedding the plan was introduced of announcing
it to the neighbours and to the town generally, by sweeping the
street before the door of the bride's father, and by garnishing
it with a sprinkling of sand."
"At first the sanding was confined to the bride's house,
but in process of time innovations crept in, and her friends in
other houses, partaking in the neighbourly joy, partook also in
the observance; their houses too put on the bridal adornments,
and looking clean and bright shared the festivity of the day."
In his book of 1947 'Companion Into Cheshire' J.H. Ingram updates
this account by adding that:
Gaskell Tower, Knutsford
"Amoung the old customs which have fallen into disuse is that
of 'sanding', or making pictures in coloured sand in front of the
bride's house on her wedding day. When Queen Victoria, then still
a Princess, came to Knutsford, the streets were sanded in her honour.
Mrs Gaskell (the novelist 1810-1865 famous for 'Cranford') tells
how verses were written in sprinkled sand when she was married (to
Rev. William Gaskell in 1832). An old ballad describes how:
"The lads and lassies their tun dishes hanging,
Before all the doors for the wedding were sanding,
I'd ask Nan to wed and she answered with ease -
You may sand for my wedding as soon as you please!'"
J.H. Ingram also observes that: "The May pole is set upon
Knutsford Heath and the May Queen is crowned amid scenes of great
joy. Does a man in armour, on horseback, still take the part of
the 'Cheshire Champion' ?"
Unfortunately not since his armour rusted and he left the parade
early in the 20th century !