St Michael's Church, Wincle (South View)

Recent Photograph of St Michael's Church (South View) (Wincle)

The church of St Michael, dating from 1647[1], is a plain fabric of stone, consisting only of nave, erected in 1882 on the site of an older structure, the embattled western tower of which is still standing, and contains one bell. In the belfry are traces of a window probably removed from the ancient chancel. The present stained east window is a memorial to the Rev. Archibald Davy M.A. vicar of this parish 1888-90; over the main entrance and the entrance to the vestry are two stones from the old church bearing the inscription “Doe Here O Lord Sure Plant Thy Word”. There are 170 sittings. The registers date from 1805,[2] prior to which entries were made in the registers of Prestbury, and in those of St Michael's, Macclesfield. The living is a perpetual curacy, net yearly value £130, with 73 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of the vicar of Prestbury, and held since 1891 by the Rev. Oliver Warner Darling. Clowes's charity of £1 is for the preaching of a New Years' sermon.
Description from Kelly's Directory of Cheshire (1896, p.556)

The Church's position, atop a rounded mound, suggests there is some truth in the legend that it was built upon a neolithic burial mound. Also of note are tantalising references to an errant sexton. One story is that according to a book by Sir Philip Brocklehurst (of Swythamley Park) “it was once said that a certain hospital in Manchester procured the bulk of its anatomical subjects from Wincle church's graveyard, thanks to an unscrupulous sexton who was bribed to dispatch the bodies the night after they were buried”[3]. Another story, told on St Michael's Church website[4] is that “It is rumoured that many years ago a sexton who lived next door to the church used a few pages [from the parish register] to light his pipe”.


(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

[1] Samuel Lewis's accounts say 1642, but apparently according to St Michael's Church website, the date 1647 is carved on the lintel over the former chancel door.
[2] According to Cheshire Archives and Local Studies Catalogue, extant registers date from 1803.
[3] See the FamilySearch Research Wiki for Wincle, Cheshire Genealogy.
[4] See the Graveyard Trail on the St Michael's Church, Wincle website.

Image contributed by Alf Beard on 24th September 2003.
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