The Crowton Story

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The archive

We hope to create an archive of memories of Crowton, the church, the school and the village.  If you have any photos or film or want to send us a sound file of your reminiscences you can upload files to our Dropbox account with the link below.  We can use most file formats.  The materials we receive will be shown on this website as the year progresses.  If you upload material please also email us at with details of who you are (if you want that information published) and what it is about.  If you need assistance to turn your material into digital files, just email us for help

Read the Stories

see the pictures

Carol Ward's Story Pt 1

Post-war years' recollections

Carol Ward's Story Pt 2

Recollections of the original vicarage and schooldays in the 1950s

Carol Ward's Story Pt 3

Farms and Friends

The flood of 1946

See what happened 75 years ago

Christ Church Origins

Pre 1871

Before the church - 1856

Click to enlarge


The Church is built

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. 


The Village: 1896 snapshot

"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 Lady Chapel


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.

The Clergy

The arrival of our new vicar, Ron Iveson in 2021 will be the 14th vicar of Crowton since it was built. The names of all but the last two, Dick Gilpin and Pete Rugen, are noted on a board in the church. You could say 15 if you include Alexander Atkinson who, as vicar of Weaverham, also briefly held the post at Crowton too by special dispensation after the end of John Wilkie's time in 1944 until Albert Cann's arrival in 1945. No interregnum in those days!

We have only patchy information about vicars of the past.  The first, Stanhope, we know, was put in post by his father, the vicar of Weaverham and had a somewhat chequered early life before embracing the church and the masonic movement in which he became Grand Superintendant of Cheshire.  Phelps had a more exotic story - born in Madeira, he was principal of St John's College Newfoundland for six years before eventually finding his way to Crowton via Oxfordshire.  At least four - Stanhope, Hopwood, Downes and Cann died in service and are buried in the churchyard, as is William Parker.