Dedicated to an obscure Saxon Saint, the Church is one of the oldest and most beautiful parish churches in the North of England. It is the centrepiece of a picturesque village set in rural Cheshire. Its patrons, the Crewe family, have worshipped and been buried here for nearly four centuries, while the Duchy of Lancaster is the chief landowner. It was the scene of the Royalist atrocity, the massacre of Barthomley, in 1643.
We are highly delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to support this project which will enable us to complete the 5 year restoration of St Bertoline’s Parish Church. The congregation, local community and friends from far and wide have given generously and worked tirelessly to support the project. This grant is a great encouragement to all concerned as we continue to preserve the heritage for future generations.
The church building, seated firmly on a Neolithic barrow & drumlin, is built of mellow red sandstone in the local rustic perpendicular style of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. There are traces of earlier structures; a stoned-up Norman doorway and thirteenth century wall with scratch dial and outline of a former entrance. The nave is majestic with clerestory and carved oaken ceiling, a renowned masterpiece. The side aisles are equally impressive and the tower contains eight bells whose chimes are heard regularly and often during the year. The stained glass is the work of Clayton & Bell, Shrigley & Hunt and Pilkingtons. The Crewe Chapel contains fine funereal monuments ranging from a medieval recumbent knight to a Pre-Raphaelite ‘sleeping’ female figure of great beauty. The Church building is very worthy of it’s Grade 1 designation, which was awarded in 1967, and attracts many visitors each year.
The congregation is regular and fills the nave each Sunday. There is a newly installed Makin Digital Organ and an impressive and thriving choir whose beautiful voices can be heard leading the hymns and psalms during the services. The Sunday School meets most weeks, joining the congregation for the Eucharist, final prayers and hymn. The whole atmosphere is friendly, welcoming and relaxed, while retaining dignity and purpose. Coffee and biscuits are served after morning services and a social atmosphere is very much in evidence. There are around thirty weddings and regular baptisms celebrated here throughout the year.
Restoration progress and Project 14
Not so long ago, you may have seen men hanging from ropes on every face of the church tower. They were carrying out an initial survey of the tower stonework, as the first step in planning the third stage of our restoration scheme at St Bertoline’s. The S and N sides are complete, and paid for!
I am delighted to say that St Bertoline's has received a confirmed grant of £70,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the tower renovation project. The project aims to help preserve the historic church which is included in the 2014 Heritage at Risk Register by English Heritage. The project is expected to start in September this year for completion by Easter in 2015. The church will remain open daily during the project.
The project will carry out essential repointing and stonework repairs to the tower exterior, improve footpath access, provide improved facilities in the tower porch and improve communications on church activities and its history. An educational programme is also planned explaining church history and wild life areas within the church yard. The project provides opportunity for community involvement in the creation of wild life areas, researching grave records and in hosting visiting groups.
The Church Yard
Spring is here and the grass in the church yard is growing. Help is required to mow the grass; either link up with the regular gang or opt for your own patch to maintain on a regular basis. There is an ample stock of mowers on site - no need to bring your own.
Contact church wardens – Chris Bailey ( 01270 873253 ) or Lynne Evans ( 01270 820231 )