www.virtual-knutsford.co.uk | March 17, 2018  | knutsford.info advertising rates |   
Virtual-Knutsford Home | Welcome to Virtual Knutsford - the number one site for Knutsford virtual knutsford - Knutsford news, Knutsford events, Knutsford Accommodation, Knutsford Restaurants and Knutsford Features
Virtual-Knutsford Home HOME | Trace Your Past - Family History, School Friends...

Ask Joan
Joan Leach is a local historian, a volunteer at the Heritage Centre, a founder of The Gaskell Society, and much more besides.

Dear Joan,

During my annual holidays I have been doing some research on some documents that have been stored away by my family and only just recently came to light.

One of the items is an early official guide for Knutsford. It doesnt have a date of publication but there are some points of reference that I think places it at about 1925-1930. (It refers to the Misses Brydon running Yorston Lodge School and also to S.Royle & Son, Drapers established 13 years ago.)

The topic that particularly interests me is information it offers about the ancient chapel of ease which stood in the fields of the Booth Hall estate. I can remember going on walks to the site of the old chapel when I was a young boy. I was appalled to see that as the Longridge estate developed in the 1960's the site was increasingly heavily vandalised and no substantive efforts to my knowledge were made by the local authorities to preserve the site. I certainly recall reading names on gravestones that had burial dates going back to the mid to late 17th century.

In the little guide book it mentions that "the site has been railed around." I can remember the railings being in a very bad state of repair! It goes on " A number of old gravestones may still be found. They were copied many years ago, and a record may be found in the Owen MSS. at the Manchester Public Library.

Are you aware of this resource which hopefully may still be available?
David Caldwell, Melbourne, Australia

Joan answers:

An Ancient Chapel

Knutsford Parochial ChapelWhat might be called the first "Parish Church" of Knutsford dates back at least to the early part of the fourteenth Century, and possibly goes back to Anglo-Saxon and Danish times.

On June 24 Knutsford Parish Church of St. John the Baptist celebrated it s 250th anniversary. It was not however the first church in Knutsford - the Parochial Chapel, dedicated to St. Helena, celebrated its 700th year of its 1292 Charter in 1992.

Until 1741 Knutsford was part of the parish of Rostherne at which date the new Church of St. John was built and the Old Parochial Chapel demolished.

The old churchyard was a place of pilgrimage in my Sunday school days when we went there, over the fields, for an annual service, so it has happy memories for me. I still think of it as St Helena's as that was what we always called it. Maps show it as ruins of St John's Church.

It is still there, well hidden and 2 or 3 years ago it was renovated. A sort dig was carried out to confirm that the concreted wall footings did mark out a building. Several gravestones were dug up, probably 15th century, I think. The site was tidied up. So it is not totally forgotten.

I must ask if there was a written report for this work.

Joan Leach 20.1.03

Further information about the Parochial Chapel can be found in Mark Olly's article - KNUTSFORD - ARCHERS AND CHAPELS?