History of St Oswald’s Church

St. Oswald’s Church has a very long history dating back to at least 1269.

 In 1269 Richard Grosvenor, who resided at Hulme Hall, built a Chapel of Ease at Lower Peover on the site where the church now stands. This was to save the long journey to worship at Great Budworth, which incidentally used to be our “Mother” church.

The furniture of the church in those days was very minimal. A disused font from Norton Priory was added in 1322.

In1464 Robert Grosvenor added a chantry chapel which was demolished in1542 by order of Henry VIII

The famous “Bog Oak” chest situated in the Shakerley Chapel was used for many years to keep Parish Records, vicars’ robes, chalices and church documents. The chest is reputed to be older than the church itself.  Tradition has it that if a girl wished to be a farmer’s wife she should be able to lift the chest lid with one arm! Whether prospective brides of yesteryear were able to meet this requirement is still a topic for debate.  It is believed that this tale originated because it was said that a farmer’s wife in those days needed to be strong enough to be able to lift the famous Cheshire cheeses made in the area.

In the 1400s the Shakerley family, who continued the Grosvenor tradition of support for the church, inherited Hulme Hall.  The Shakerley family crest, a hare and wheatsheaf, can still be seen on several of the box pews.

The tower as we know it, was added during the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth in 1582.

In 1851 the original single span roof was replaced by the triple span roof, and major building refurbishment work was carried out under the direction of noted architect Anthony Salvin.

This beautiful old building comes at a cost. As the structure of the building is unique, repairs have to be carried out by specialist craftsmen, which mean in turn high expenditure on maintenance.