Bunbury Church, Churches and Chapels Bunbury, Cheshire - England where to go, what to see and where to stay in Wales


Wyche Road Bunbury Cheshire England
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St Boniface’s Church is built on the highest point of the village of Bunbury, Cheshire. What we see today of the parish church dates mainly from the 14th century. However Bunbury’s Parish church has a longer history, with the first church being a wooden Anglo-Saxon church c.755 AD. In 1086 Bunbury was mentioned in Domesday Book, and by 1135 a stone built Norman church existed. Come the 14th century and the church was rebuilt in Decorated style (c.1320). In 1385-6 Sir Hugh de Calveley endowed the new collegiate church, and in c.1490 the Nave was remodelled. | The bottom section of the tower, like much of the chancel at the other end of the church, dates from Sir Hugh de Calveley's c.1385 rebuilding of the church. The tower has walls nearly six feet (2m) thick, and is founded on a sandstone outcrop. | The chancel was the setting for Sir Hugh's magnificent alabaster chest tomb. The church was still unfinished at his death in 1394, when he was about 79 years old; his tomb was installed in 1416. This is the earliest alabaster tomb in Cheshire, made from stone quarried in Derbyshire but carved in London.| Sir Hugh was a colourful character: while still young, he had fled the country after killing a man. From then on his life was to be one long adventure. A contemporary described him as "a man of teeth and hands, who could feed as much as two, and fight as much as ten". He fought all over France and Spain, sometimes for the English king, and sometimes as a mercenary. He survived a violent shipwreck, was captured and ransomed at least three times, was excommunicated by the Pope, was Governor of Calais and of the Channel Islands, and at last retired from battle when he was 60-70 years old. Only then did he decide to endow Bunbury Church. | Within the altar rails is the elaborate tomb of Sir George Beeston, restored to its original colours in 1937. He was a descendant of Sir Hugh de Calveley, who lived through the whole of the 16th century. He served four monarchs, was Admiral of the Fleet, and fought in many famous battles. Most outstanding was his part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, when, as commander of the Dreadnought, along with four other ships, he broke the Spanish line. He was then 89, and was knighted for his services. | The nave arcades and aisle windows are of the 15th century. Stonework from the 12th century can be found in the south porch, which also houses several grave slabs, as well as the old church clock.| Externally the church is a typical Cheshire red sandstone perpendicular design with battlements and crocketed pinnacles on the west tower. The parapets of the north and south aisles vary from stone openwork with crocketed pinnacles above the north aisle to a crenellated parapet with pinnacles above the south aisle. | However the first impression of the church is the brightness of the interior, and indeed its over-glazed appearance from the roadside. The original stained glass windows were destroyed in 1940 by German aircraft returning from a raid on Liverpool. The planes jettisoned their bombs and destroyed several houses in the village killing a number of people. Later the windows were replaced with clear glass.
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