Before the church - 1856
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Post-war years' recollections
Recollections of the original vicarage and schooldays in the 1950s
Farms and Friends
See what happened 75 years ago
Designed in the Gothic Revival style by Sir John Loughborough Pearson RA., FSA., the church was consecrated on the 2nd November 1871 by William, Bishop of Chester. A copy of the original plan dated 1869 can be seen above (click to enlarge). It is signed by the then vicar of Weaverham who carved out the parish from his Weaverham benefice to provide a living for his son, Charles William Spencer-Stanhope as Crowton's first vicar. Its three bells were named Faith, Hope and Charity.
"CROWTON is a township and scattered village, formed April, 23, 1872, as a consolidated chapelry out of Crowton and Onston townships in Weaverham, and a detached part of Norley St. John ... ...The River Weaver comes up to this place. Christ Church, erected and consecrated 1871, is an edifice of red sandstone in the Early English style, from designs by John L. Pearson esq. B.A., F.S.A. of London, ... there are 248 sittings. The living is vicarage, yearly gross value, £300, net £200, ... in the gift of the vicar of Weaverham, and held since 1895, by the Rev. Joseph Francis Phelps. There is a small Primitive Methodist chapel here, erected in 1840, with a Sunday school attached, and a Baptist chapel built, in 1864. ...Rafe Oswald Leycester esq. of Toft, and Roger William Wilbraham esq. of Delamere House, Cuddington are joint lords of the manor and chief landowners. The soil is heavy; subsoil, clay. The land is principally in pasture; the chief crops are wheat, oats and potatoes. The area of the township is 1,738 acres; rateable value, £3,645 ; the population in 1891 was 531 .... School (mixed), built in 1872, for 200 children; average attendance, 95 ; George Bellringer, master .
ONSTON, a small village, a mile and a half west from Weaverham, was annexed to Crowton in 1892 by the County Council..."
Click here to see the names of some of the prominent residents of Crowton in 1896. From Fanny Bellringer, to Mrs Marrow, the farmer they wouldn't be out of place in a Dickensian novel!
For a short history of the church read Richard Thorne's account here
The Revd Charles William Spencer-Stanhope MA was the first vicar, and remained so until his death in September 1894. He provided the organ that was built in 1871 by Gray and Davidson, together with the stained glass windows above the altar and along the south wall in memory of his family. The windows do not record the artist but it seems likely that in addition to Charles benefitting from the creation of the parish by his father, just before his death, creating it out of the Weaverham benefice where he was vicar , the patronage of the Spencer-Stanhopes extended also to John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope (1829-1908) an English artist associated with Edward Burne-Jones and often regarded as a second-wave pre-Raphaelite. His windows in a smilar style grace other churches around the country and his work can also be seen in St Mark's Anglican church, Florence, where he lived from 1880 and in which city he eventually died.
Click on each of the images below to see the full window and its story
In a category apart from all the other windows is the unusual stained glass which graces the side chapel of the church.
In 1946 a new stained glass window by Trena Cox, entitled “Mother and Child” was installed in the North Transept.
Trena Mary Cox (1895–1980) was an English stained glass artist and fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters. She was born Emma Trina Cox on 3 March 1895 on the Wirral Peninsula and grew up around Birkenhead.
She trained at the Laird School of Art and had studios in Victoria Road and latterly in Watergate Street, Chester, which remained her home and studio, until she retired in 1972 (at the age of 77) and died, on 11 February 1980.
Most of her many works are in churches in the old counties of Cheshire and Lancashire.
For an account of her life and work go here
The Crowton window commemorates Ellen Kilgour Butterworth nee Seddon. Born in Liverpool, in 1878 to her grocer father George and Scottish mother, Agnes, Ellen and her brother George lived for a while in what was then known as Toxteth Park. Her mother was no longer living with them by the time Ellen reached her teens and her father died when she was 21. She married Andrew at 29 in 1907 and had two children. A regular at Christ Church, she was living with husband, Andrew, at Lower Green in Acton Bridge at the outbreak of the second world war and her beloved cocker spaniel was included in the Nativity scene and became a unique part of the Crowton story! Ellen was laid to rest in 1943 at Christ Church where Andrew joined her 10 years later.