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England Gotoarrow.png Cheshire Gotoarrow.png Cheshire Parishes Gotoarrow.png Nantwich

St Mary's Church Nantwich Cheshire.jpg


Parish History

Nantwich St Mary a former chapelry of Acton Ancient parish in Cheshire includes Alvaston, Woolstanwood, Wool Stanwood, and Willaston.  The oldest building in the town is St Mary's Church, which dates from the 14th century. The town has many timber-framed or "black-and-white" buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly in the centre on Barker Street, Beam Street, Churchyard Side, Hospital Street and High Street, and extending across the River Weaver on Welsh Row.

The first building on the site was a chapel of ease in the parish of Acton. In about 1130 both Acton church and Northwich chapel came under control of the Cistercian abbey of Combermere.[6] The building of the present church started in about 1340 in the Decorated style, which was the style most commonly used in English church building at that time. The masons, who came from Yorkshire, used local sandstone, probably from Eddisbury near Delamere. Building work was interrupted between 1349 and 1369, probably due to an outbreak of the Black Death plague. By the 1380s the town's prosperity had recovered and building work resumed. This phase of construction was carried out by master masons associated with Lichfield and Gloucester cathedrals, now building in the Perpendicular style.[7] The south transept was endowed as a chantry chapel in 1405.[3] In the late-15th or early-16th century, the south porch was added, the nave roof was raised and the clerestory windows were added. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, six chantry chapels were removed in 1548. Between 1572 and 1577 the transept ceilings were renewed, and between 1615 and 1633 the church floor was raised because of flooding, a west gallery was built, and the walls were painted white, with the addition of scriptural texts.[7] The church was briefly used as a prison for Royalists captured at the battles of Nantwich and Preston during the Civil War.

Between 1727 and 1777, the north and south galleries and a new west door were added, and windows were repaired. However, by 1789 the general structure of the church had deteriorated so much that it was said to be "so ruinous that the inhabitants cannot safely assemble". In the 19th century Sir George Gilbert Scott was brought in to direct a very extensive restoration. Amongst other alterations, he removed the galleries, the box pews, and many old memorials; the floor level was lowered and the transept roofs were pitched higher. Much of the eroded stone was replaced by sandstone from quarries at Runcorn, but not everyone was happy with the scale and nature of Scott's restoration. Pevsner complains about the replacement of a Decorated doorway and a Perpendicular window with corresponding structures in the style of the late-13th century.[10] The local representative of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings at the time was of the opinion that "Very great injury was done to this Church in the Restoration ...". Clifton-Taylor complained about the way in which part of the church walls have subsequently been pointed.The last major work to be carried out on the church was in 1878, under the direction of local architect Thomas Bower.


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Registration Districts
  • Nantwich (1837–1937)
  • Crewe (1937–74)
  • Congleton and Crewe (1974–88)
  • South Cheshire (1988–98)
  • Cheshire Central (post 1998) The post 2009 reorganisation of civil registration can be found online at Cheshire BMD

Church records

Nantwich parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials have been indexed by the following groups:

FS PR's =FamilySearch Parish Registers
FS BT's = FamilySearch Bishops Transcripts
Nantwich Parish Online Records


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images





To find the names of the neighbouring parishes, use England Jurisdictions 1851. In this site, search for the name of the parish, click on the location "pin", click Options and click List contiguous parishes.

Nantwich, St. Mary & St. Nicholas (C of E). An ancient parish, originally serving the townships of Alvaston, Leighton (near Nantwich), Nantwich, Willaston (near Nantwich) (part) and Woolstanwood. Registers of Baptisms 1539–1944, Marriages 1876–1949 and Burials 1573–1943 have been deposited at the Cheshire Record Office. Microfilm copy of original record in the Cheshire Record Office, Chester, England. Cheshire Record Office call nos.: P120/4525/1-39.

Parish Register Content FHL Film
Baptisms, 1539-1653. Burials, 1539-1653. Marriages, 1572-1653. BRITISH 2104846 Items 12 - 13
Births and baptisms, marriages, burials, 1653-1762. Baptisms, burials, 1763-1825. BRITISH 2105029
Baptisms, Feb. 1824-Sep. 1910. BRITISH 2105030
Baptisms, Aug. 1910-1944. Marriages, 1754-Dec. 1853. BRITISH 2105031
Marriages, Dec. 1853-June 1910. BRITISH 2105032
Marriages, Feb. 1909-1949. Marriage banns, 1917-1920. BRITISH 2105033
Marriage banns, 1920-1937. Burials, 1813-July 1905. BRITISH 2105034
Burials, July 1905-1943. Registers of graves, 1885-1963. BRITISH 2105035 Items 1 - 4

Bishop's Transcripts Microfilm of manuscripts in the Cheshire Record Office, Chester, England. The church is known as St. Mary's. Cheshire Record Office no.: EDB/153

Bishop's Transcripts Content FHL Film
Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1596, 1600, 1603-1605, 1607-1614, 1618, 1620, 1622, 1624, 1626-1633, 1636-1639. BRITISH 1752199 Item 2
Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1658-1662, 1664, 1668-1679, 1681-1683, 1687-1698, 1700-1725, 1728-1729, 1731, 1736-1762, 1764-1774, 1776-1820. BRITISH 1786141
Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1727-1728. BRITISH 1894521 Item 6
Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1821-1830. BRITISH 1836131 Item 2
Burials, 1830. Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1831-1850. BRITISH 1836189
Baptisms, 1850-1870. Marriages, 1851-1863, 1868-1870. Burials, 1851-1870. BRITISH 1836190
Baptisms, burials, 1871-1894. Marriages, 1871. Burials, 1870. BRITISH 1836191

Barony, All Saints (C of E), The Barony. A chapel of ease to St. Mary & St. Nicholas, closed in 1971. Registers of Baptisms 1930–1971 are held at St. Mary & St. Nicholas. Burials 1930–1971 were recorded in the registers of St Mary & St Nicholas (no marriages here).

Non Conformist Churches
  • Nantwich, St. Anne (Roman Catholic), Pillory Street. Founded 1832, the present church was Built in 1936. Registers of baptisms 1868–1963, marriages 1869–1939 and burials 1868–1966 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Nantwich, Friends' Meeting House, Pillory Street. Founded 17th century, closed in 1928. Registers 1776–1837 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Nantwich, Baptist Union Chapel, Market Street. Founded 1653, rebuilt in 1873.
  • Nantwich, Methodist Chapel (Wesleyan), Hospital Street. Built in 1808. Registers 1819–1837 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Nantwich, Methodist Chapel (Primitive), Welsh Row. Built in 1840.
  • Nantwich, Ebenezer Methodist Chapel (Free), Castle Street. Built in 1857, closed in 1908.
  • Nantwich, Methodist Chapel (Primitive), Broad Lane. Built in 1864.
  • Nantwich, Wood Memorial Methodist Chapel (Primitive), The Barony. Built in 1881, closed in 1965. Registers 1920–1965 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Nantwich, Methodist Church, Pillary Street. Built in 1908, closed in 1966. Registers 1913–1965 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Nantwich, Unitarian Chapel, Hospital Street. Built in 1672, rebuilt in 1830. Records of baptisms 1894–1953, marriages 1896–1925 and deaths 1893–1925 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Nantwich, Unitarian Chapel (Baptist), Barker Street. Founded 1700.
  • Nantwich, United Reformed Church (Independent/Congregational), Church Lane/Monks Lane. Founded 1780, Built in 1842. Records of births/baptisms 1813–1955, marriages 1856–1934 and burials 1800–1905 are at the Cheshire Record Office.

Census records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 241248.

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Cheshire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish. See also England Cheshire Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Poor Law Unions

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites


Bilsborough, Norman (1983), The Treasures of Cheshire, Manchester: The North West Civic Trust, pp. 155–157, ISBN 0901347353

Pevsner, Nikolaus; Edward Hubbard (2003) [1971], The Buildings of England: Cheshire, New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 285–287, ISBN 0 300 09588 0


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