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St Marys Church, Stockport, Cheshire

(Stockport Parish Church)

Old records indicate that a church first stood on this site, overlooking the market place, about the year 1190 until 1310 when a larger church replaced the original.
From this 'new' church, only the chancel now remains. View Location Map

The church website has details of the church activities along with internal and external photo's

Stockport St Mary's
Stockport St Mary's
© Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

The photographs above show the 14th century chancel from two viewpoints, making it look rather small in relation to the body of the church. The gravestones laid flat may be quite clearly seen, with a private grave on view in the right hand photo.

This early church was noted for the different chapels that were attached to it, for the worship of the local wealthy families.

The church was built of red sandstone, locally in abundance and the bedrock of the town of Stockport, and virtually rebuilt in 1813 due to the bad state of repair and partial collapse of the tower and nave.

It is believed that the the death knell of the original church was a marathon bell ringing session to celebrate the Battle of Trafalgar, which finally sealed the fate of the already precarious tower.
Rebuilding work started in 1813 with the first sermon in the 'new church' being held in 1817. The chancel remained and itself was restored in 1848 and is a fine example of the 14th century architecture.

Stockport St Mary's

These photographs of the church show how the tower overlooks the magnificent market hall, with the main body of the church obscured by the autumn foliage of the trees.


Stockport St Mary's

© Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council © Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
The parish registers date back to 1548, and the graveyard holds an abundance of old stones, many laid flat after the rebuilding of the church. Many of the older gravestones were destroyed during the widening of Churchgate in the 1820's. In fact the old stones and spoils were removed for landfill during the building of nearby Waterloo Road where it is said that hundreds of gravestones were used to form the base of a causeway across the valley for the building of this road.

The church is home to Stockport Heritage Trust, who have a small display depicting the history of the surrounding area, open to members of the public on market days.

The church itself is overlooked by the Old Rectory built in 1744 and home to successive clergy until 1938 when it was used for a brief period by the Ministry of Defence. The Old Rectory has now been substantially restored and is used as a hotel and restaurant. View Location Map

The building is a fine example of Georgian architecture and represents the power and wealth of the clergy of the day.

Old Rectory

The photograph to the left represents a view of the tastefull refurbishment of the Old Rectory, with the addition of a hotel wing.


The photograph to the right represents a view from the front of the Old Rectory showing the imposing site of St. Marys and the market place.

Old Rectory
© Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council © Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Further information on these buildings and additional places of historical interest in the Stockport area may be found in the heritage section of the Stockport Metro Boro Council web site

St Peters Church, Prestbury, Cheshire

This church has featured heavily in the genealogy of the Priestnall family, Prestbury being the centre of activities in the early years. Prestbury parish covered a total of 35 townships and this church could possibly be classed as the cathedral of North Cheshire.

Many parishioners worshipped in the smaller churches that made up this parish, but on the main family occasions of Marriages, Christenings and Deaths, this church appears to have been the focal point. An excellent web site for the church and its activities may be viewed

Many of the parish registers have been microfilmed, and can be viewed via the usual sources, but the peculiarity of this church is that it still houses the registers within the church vaults, unlike many parishes where the records now reside in the local record office.

St Peters, Prestbury

The Parish Church of Prestbury is nearly 800 years old, the nave and chancel being dated around 1230.

At the rear of the church is a Norman Chapel believed to have been constructed in 1190 on the site of an earlier Saxon church.

This was restored in 1747, and the photograph now shows the excellent condition it is in.

The site of the church is believed to have held religious ceremonies many years earlier, indicated by the finding of pieces of a Saxon Cross.

As the photograph shows this is now displayed in a glass case alongside the Norman Chapel.

St James, Prestbury
St Peters, Prestbury
St Peters, Prestbury

The imposing entrance to the parish church depicting the varied stonework that adds colour and character to the building.

A view of the interior of the church showing the glory of the huge stained glass window.

Clearly may be seen the intricate gold decoration looking far more grand than the multi coloured stonework of the church walls.
© Amy Priestnall

Cheadle Parish Church, Cheadle, Cheshire
Cheadle 'St Marys'
Cheadle, Cheshire, a large village now a suburb of the sprawling town of Stockport, has featured strongly in the history of North Cheshire and has a very long established church rebuilt between 1520 and 1556.

Cheadle St Mary
© Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

This view of the church is only spoilt by the 20th century yellow lines in the road.

The church stands at the heart of the village on the High Street, with the other token of village life next door, a public house!

A feature of the church is an 11th century Preaching Cross situated in a case on the north wall in front of the Savage Chapel. The cross was given to the church in 1974 after the demise of Cheadle & Gatley Urban District Council, who had the cross in their care for a number of years.

An excellent web site of the history of this church and its associated districts has been produced. To view follow this link.

St James Church, Newbold Verdon, Leicestershire
Newbold Verdon, Leicestershire has featured many times in the census transcripts as a hot spot for the Leicestershire Priestnalls and I am indebted to Helen Chaudrey for the photographs below which give an overview of the church in this pretty Leicestershire village.

St James, Newbold Verdon

St James, Newbold Verdon

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