Grappenhall has plenty of timeless charm
PUBLISHED: 11:27 11 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:29 20 February 2013
Its picturesque location on the Bridgewater Canal is just one reason to love Grappenhall<br/>WORDS BY POLLY BERKELEY<br/>PAINTINGS BY GORDON WILKINSON
Grappenhall is a township and parish in the district of Warrington and the
county of Chester and lies on the Bridgewater Canal near the north western railway and the river Mersey, 2 miles SE by S of Warrington.
The print version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Cheshire Life
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Some say the grinning feline that is carved into the stone work on the west face of the Grappenhall church tower is the original Cheshire Cat and it is rather lovely to think that it was the inspiration for Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland.
Grappenhall village is close to Carrolls birthplace and certainly has its own picture book qualities with its cobblestones, pubs, waterways and village stocks while being only 10 minutes away from the centre of busy urban Warrington.
With a picturesque location along the Bridgewater Canal, this timeless village is steeped in history. It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Gropenhale, a parcel of land with a wood and deer and valued at a mere five shillings.
Later in its development, it had one road, Church Street with thatched cottages on either side leading up to St Wilfrids Church, which dates back to 1120. It was rebuilt 400 years later and while it may well be true that Lewis Carroll was inspired by what is undoubtedly a Cheshire cat, there are those who believe the kitty with the killer smile was actually just a builders trademark.
Alas, the thatched cottages have vanished although there are still people around who are old enough to remember the thatched post office building. It was demolished in 1939 and replaced by a new building at the beginning of Broad Lane, which was again moved more than 30 years ago.
Along with the church, the centre of the village contains two pubs - The Parr Arms and The Rams Head - and Grappenhall Hall Residential School and St. Wilfrids Primary School, while Bradshaw Community Primary is located north of the village centre.
For such a small place it certainly has its claims to fame. Its the birthplace of the actor Tim Curry, a legend to fans of the Rocky Horror Show movie in which he starred as Frank-N-Furter. He was also the star of the Case Book of Sherlock Holmes series. Theres even a song called The Grappenhall Rag by singer-songwriter Bryn Haworth.
Gordon Wilkinsons original watercolour paintings on this feature are for sale. Contact Gordon on 01244 531785 or email him at email@example.com. More of his work - including other paintings he created for Cheshire Life - can be viewed at www.gordonwilkinson.com