St Michael and All Angels Church, Middlewich

Church Plan.jpgThe Venables Chapel, located in the north east corner of the Church was added around the middle of the 16th Century.(1)  The plan pictured left is dated 1858.

It was separated from the main Church by screens located between the pillars in the Chancel and a screen between the chapel and the north aisle.

Barons Door.jpgThe Venables family had their own access to the chapel, a doorway in the east wall, known as the Barons door. This ensured that they didn’t need to have contact with the locals and gave them complete privacy.

The chapel would have had pews facing south towards the Chancel, the Barons family to the front and servants sitting in the pews at the rear. It was in use by the Venables family until the death of Katherine, wife of the last Baron in 1717. The last Baron was Peter who died in 1679.

ZI1.jpgSome of the Barons and their wives are interred within the chapel. There is a plaque in the north east corner which shows that Elizabeth (the wife of Thomas) was interred in the chapel on her death in 1591. The plaque shows Elizabeth and her three children, Thomas, Elizabeth and Mary. It is inscribed

“Here lyeth buried under this gravestone Elizabeth Venables, the wife of Thomas Venables Esquire Baron of Kynderton ye eldest daughter of Sir William Brereton of Brereton, Knight.

Who dyed the ninth day of June 1591”

ZJ1.jpgThe monument to the right of the plaque is a Venables monument in memory of Elizabeth, the shield above the inscription clearly shows the Venables and Brereton coats of arms.

(Full translation below *)

IZJ2.jpgn addition to the above inscription, J H Hanshall notes in his book(2) two further lines of inscription:-

“Non obiit, requiescere

obit ano D’ni 1591.”

Benjamin Llewellyn Vaudrey wrote the following in his book(3):-

“In the latter (Kinderton) chapel, during the progress of the works, the coffins (lead) of Peter Venables, the last of the Venable Barons of Kinderton, and of his widow Katherine Venables, were laid bare. They lay side by side near the centre of the chapel. On the lids, in raised letters, 3 inches long, were the initials and dates:- PV 1679, KV 1717. The coffins remained intact, and were ultimately covered with concrete. From the size of the baron’s coffin he must have been of small stature.”

The blue gravestones that would have covered the coffins are now located just outside the chapel in the north aisle.

Through the years the chapel has been modified in many ways. The screens between the chapel and the Chancel have been moved from the pillars to their present location within the chapel footprint. The screen behind the organ holds the following visible inscription, the text is missing where the organ is fitted (see picture).

P1030363.JPG‘over / is slain / for us / there / fore / let / us / keep / the

/ feast / holy / holy / holy / lord / god / of / hosts’

The first part of the inscription appears to be taken from 1 Corinthians 5:7&8 ‘Christ our Passover is slain for us therefore let us keep the feast’

The second part to be the first line of the Eucharistic Prayer Part 1 ‘Holy Holy Holy Lord God of hosts’.

The screen in the Vestry is inscribed with the following:-

“In Loving Memory of Helen A. Court 1848 – 1918.

This screen was enriched by her Brother & Sisters 1923"

ZH1.jpgThe Chapel window was replaced with the stained glass window now in place, it is the oldest stained glass window in the Church.

Under the window is a brass plate which says “This window was renovated and restored by James France France, of Bostock Hall, in this county, in the year of our Lord, 1858.

The Venables screens (located in the Tower at present) were commissioned by Peter Venables (the last Baron). The 1633 screen depicting the many marriages of the Barons was mounted on the screen where the organ has now been placed(2). The 1632 screen honours his father’s two marriages and was mounted on the corresponding screen in the Lady’s Chapel(2).

There are 3 further plaques within the chapel and these are:-

ZK1.jpgThe first is for Franciscus Levenson. This plaque is for Francis Fowler who married Anne Venables (daughter of Peter who died in 1669). Francis inherited the estate of Sir Richard Leveson at Lilleshall and Trentham. This was installed during the time of the Venables. (See Trail 15)

ZL1a.jpgThe second plaque is in honour of Reverend John Hulse, who, as a teenager was taken on horseback by his grandfather to Cambridge where he studied in the University. He bequeathed his estates to Cambridge University for the advancement and reward of religious learning. The Hulsean Lectures are still in existence today. (See Trail 14)

ZF1.jpgThe third plaque is mounted above the Barons door and is in memory of James France France of Bostock Hall.

1. Plan of Church by Joseph Clarke 1858.

2. The History of the County Palatine of Chester (page 565)- 1823.

3. Some Notes on the Parish Church of Middlewich 1875 – B. Ll. Vaudrey.

* The Latin is in a poetic form known as Elegiacs. Here is the full translation into English Elegiacs by Andrew Woode.

Learn, O Mortals! How mortal things are vain.

Learn, O Mortals, that no day is secure;

No day is secure; hanging by a thin thread

are all [the affairs] of men; death comes unlooked-for,

but by Christ death itself, to us who are dying,

is gain, rest, rejoicing, new life.

O world, be you therefore furious! Flesh, rage; Satan, lament!

we live, we do not die! Death is fearful for the bad,

Let these sights move you as you see them,

By which the mind blazes with greater love for God,

See that you live pure in this world, cultivate the harvests

Cultivate, there will not always be time for harvests.

Finally let the glory of the world to come change you,

Let Christ move, let salvation move.

Click to enlarge East Windows John Hulse Arch and Pillars Altar Table and Chairs East Windows North Aisle Window Poors Box Arch and Pillars Nativity TRAIL TIME TOPIC Windows TRAIL
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