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Believe it or not, the village of Wybunbury and the Italian town of Pisa have something in common

PUBLISHED: 00:23 06 June 2013

Wybunbury’s traditional charms

Wybunbury's traditional charms

Archant

Wybunbury is one of those eccentrically pronounced places that further confound those who consider the English language a minefield. We will henceforth speak of 'Win-bree' which is apparently how it is referred to by those in the know.

St Chad’s leaning towerSt Chad’s leaning tower

Armed with this insider knowledge, visitors can sally forth to take a look at Wybunbury’s most notable monument (remember it’s a small place, the village has a population of under 1,500) the leaning tower of the former church of St Chad - also known as the ‘Leaning Tower of South Cheshire’ and the ‘Hanging Steeple of Wimberie’.

The Swan Inn at WybunburyThe Swan Inn at Wybunbury

This intriguing landmark may not be on everyone’s ‘places to visit before you die’ list but it has something in common with another more celebrated leaning tower...in Pisa.

Wybunbury’s 29.3 m tower is all that remains of a late fifteenth century church demolished in 1833. (Later churches, replacing the fifteenth century one, were also demolished in 1892 and 1977). The tower was stabilised using underexcavation by James Trubshaw in 1832 and this is the earliest known application of the technique, which was also used more notably to stabilise the Leaning Tower of Pisa! So it could be claimed that if it wasn’t for Wybunbury one of the world’s most famous monuments may have inclined its way to a decline.

There are four Commonwealth service war graves of World War I in the original churchyard and, in the neighbouring churchyard extension, another three from the same war as well as four from World War II.

The parish also includes the lowland raised bog of Wybunbury Moss, a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is also the setting for the children’s book, Nellie Longarms Will Get You... If You Don’t Watch Out, by John Bailey and Rose Quigley. In English folklore, the moss is also said to be the home to a headless horseman and Ginny Greenteeth, a green skinned river hag who according to English folklore pulled children or the elderly into the water and drowned them.

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