Our Heritage

St Wilfrid

The saint to whom Davenham Parish Church is dedicated was born in Northumberland in 633 or 634. Educated at Lindesfarne, and after time in Lyons and Rome he became Abbot of Ripon and later Bishop of York, founded Benedictine monasteries and spent his final years in a monastery in Ripon. He was a pastor missionary and held firm convictions which often conflicted with those of the establishment.  He died in 709

For a fuller  biography see https://tinyurl.com/StWilfrid

St. Wilfrid’s Church Building.

St Wilfrid’s Church, is located in Church Street, Davenham, Northwich, and serves the communities of Davenham, Leftwich, Kingsmead and Gadbrook. It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester. The church is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building. More information is available at

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1138424

History
A church on the site was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. A later church was built in the 14th century and its chancel was rebuilt in 1680 and again in 1795. The present church dates from 1842–44 when the body of the church was replaced, and the tower and spire were repaired, the architect being Edmund Sharpe of Lancaster.

The nave was lengthened by one bay, heightened and widened, and galleries were inserted on three sides. The tower was damaged when it was struck by lightning on 16 July 1850. A new tower was designed by Sharpe and his partner at the time, E. G. Paley. The chancel and transepts date from 1870 by the later partners in the practice, Paley and Austin.

Interior
In the chancel is a two-arched sedilia. The reredos contains an alabaster relief depicting The Last Supper.

The monuments in the church include ones to William Tomkinson who died in 1770 by Benjamin Bromfield, to Mrs France who died in 1814 by S. and F. Franceys of Liverpool, to Mrs Harper dated 1833 by Francesco Pozzi of Florence with a relief of a mother and child, and to Frederick and Cecil France-Hayhurst who died in 1915, by Underwood.

In the south aisle is a war memorial chapel designed by Sir Robert Lorimer. It contains a reredos with carvings of personifications of virtues, framed by carved friezes, and posts surmounted by angels. There are stained glass windows by David Evans of Shrewsbury dating from the early 19th century, and by J. C. Bewsey dated 1932.

External features
The lych gate which dates from the late 19th century, and was designed by E. G. Paley is  listed Grade II.

In the churchyard is a table tomb to the memory of William Worthington of Leftwich, a merchant who died in 1808, and members of his family. It is listed at Grade II.  Also in the churchyard is a memorial to the Russell Allen family, with dates including 1927, also by Lorimer.

The churchyard contains 18 war graves of British service personnel, 13 from World War I, and five from World War II.

Bell Tower
The ring consists of six bells, all over 300 years old. Four of these, dated 1757, 1761 (2), and 1765 are by Rudhall of Gloucester and a bell dated 1826 is by Thomas Mears II of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The sixth bell, was probably cast locally in Holmes Chapel in 1711 but re-cast in 1765 by Thomas Rudhall in Gloucester.

There are 54 steps to the ringing chamber.  The bells are each hung on a full wheel which enables them to be rung full circle for change ringing. ln change ringing, the bells are rung in defined sequences called methods. There are numerous methods to ring depending on how adventurous and capable the ringers are.

There are peal boards in the tower commemorating various events over the centuries and many more are recorded in the Tower Records. These include:

  • 1897 Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee
  • 1925 death of Queen Alexandra
  • 1933 for victims of the R101 airship disaster
  • 1936 for the “Crusade of Witness” – Jarrow March
  • 1986 the 900th anniversary of the mention of Davenham Church and priest in the Doomsday Book of 1086
  • 2018 on the 102nd anniversary of the death of Sergeant John (Jack) Bennett Rance killed in action aged 21 who rang at Davenham in 1914, 1915,1916.

 

Davenham 900+ Years of Work and Worship written in 2017 and privately published by author John Goulden describes the rich heritage of worship and buildings in the parish over a period of 931 years.  It identifies and explains many of the artefacts to be found in the Church today. 

Please e-mail the author direct at john@supadupacakes.co.uk,  if you’d like to know more.