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The Church - a Short History

A church was certainty in existence in 1188 but the name Eccleston, from the Celtic ‘Elgea’, implies a very early British settlement with an organised Christian worship. A late 18th century print exists of a dilapidated Church which obviously dates back to the 14th century. This was replaced in 1809 by one of similar size and the South wall of its nave remains in the old Churchyard.

The present building is the third Church to have been built. It is said that High Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, approached on of the leading architects in the land, G. F. Bodley, and asked him to build a Cathedral at Eccleston. On being told that one already existed a few miles away at Chester, the Duke replied, then build me a small one’. Whether or not the story in true, a splendid Church in early English style was built of local sandstone.

There can be few examples in the country of a Church which has remained virtually unchanged since the architect designed and built it a century ago. Almost everything, including the furnishings and fittings by Watts of Baker Street, London, are as they were when the Church was consecrated on Ascension Day, 1900.

The Grosvenor family, of nearby Eaton Hall, has for centuries been connected with Eccleston; but they did not become patrons until 1758. The Churchwardens’ Accounts note, ‘…for washing ye serples more than Comon against Lord Grosvenor Come to Church 1/-…’ A complete set of records begins in 1592, together with Churchwarden and Constable accounts. They are deposited in the County Records Office, Chester and have been transcribed and indexed. The Grosvenor family interest and involvement is summed up in a memorial window by the South-West door, below which is inscribed on a brass plate, ‘Remember Hugh Lupus, 1st Duke of Westminster, who caused the Church of St Mary to be built’. The magnificent early 18th century entrance gates were originally at Emrall Hall, Flintshire, and were made by the skilled Davies Bros. of Wrexham. They were placed here as a memorial to the 2nd Duke by the Parochial Church Council and parishioners following his death in 1953. In the quiet of the old Churchyard are many interesting graves; perhaps the most charming is that of a young Earl Grosvenor who died in 1909, aged just four. A bronze enclosure with ornate openings, it has figures of King Edward the Confessor, St. George and St. Hugh of Lincoln.

Eccleston Village Hall

The Village Hall is available for hire for Family Celebrations, Children’s Parties and Wedding Receptions. Enquiries from Clubs and Groups are welcome.

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Brain Rehabilitation

Since 2008 the registered charity The Brain Rehabilitation and Development Centre has been based in The Old Coach House at Eccleston

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