Cheshire Life history man James Balme in Great Budworth

PUBLISHED: 11:16 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 28 September 2020

Great Budworth street scene
Photo: James Balme

Great Budworth street scene Photo: James Balme

Archant

What to look out for on a visit to this beautiful village

It was a pleasant Sunday on an early autumn afternoon when I wandered into the beautiful Cheshire village of Great Budworth. I had read so much about this chocolate box setting – I knew the name of Great Budworth was derived from the Saxon term Bode Wurth, meaning ‘a place by the water’ but the history of its creation had passed me by.

My first stop had to be the imposing church of St Mary and All Saints, standing proudly on the high ground overlooking the village, greeting visitors to the village. But how old is the church and what was the history of this clearly archaic structure?

The earliest documented history of Great Budworth appears in the Domesday Book which records that a priest was in residence. The church was given to the Augustinian canon of nearby Norton Priory back in the year of 1130AD by William fitz Nigel, Constable of Chester and Baron of Halton. The lord of the manor during the reign of Henry III was Geoffrey De Dutton and he donated to Norton Priory a third of his land to endow masses for his soul. It was after the dissolution of the monasteries that King Henry VIII granted the estate to a John Grimsditch.

But what about the village we see today on our travels through Great Budworth? It is documented that a school existed here in the year 1578, and for several centuries the village was owned by the head of Arley Hall who would regularly collect rent from the villagers, but it was Rowland Egerton-Warburton of Arley Hall who in the 1850s paid for the restoration and further improvements to the church. He then also undertook to, “render it picturesque” to make it more pleasing to Victorian eyes.

Great Budworth's picture-perfect cottages
Photo: James BalmeGreat Budworth's picture-perfect cottages Photo: James Balme

To help in his task, Rowland Egerton-Warburton decided to commission architects including a Mr John Douglas. It was he who was to restore some of the cottages, as well as his notable work in remodelling the old Georgian inn we know today as the George and Dragon, adding tall rubbed chimneys as well as mullioned windows and a steep turret.

The village we see today is the culmination of centuries of building, loving restoration, and a village that is proud of its heritage deep in the heart of Cheshire. Why not take a look for yourself – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

My film, Historic Great Budworth, shot at Great Budworth, can be viewed for free with many other local history films by visiting my channel, youtube.com/Tvpresenter4history.

Look out for

The Church of St Mary and All Saints, Great Budworth
Photo: James BalmeThe Church of St Mary and All Saints, Great Budworth Photo: James Balme

The stocks outside the church

The restored Georgian George and Dragon inn

Alabaster effigy of Sir John Warburton (1575) inside the church

The Old Schoolhouse in the churchyard (circa 1615)

A photographic history of Great Budworth

Cheshire walk - Arley and Great Budworth

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