Wrenbury Past and Present
The Parish of Wrenbury-cum-Frith is located in south Cheshire, about 5 miles from Nantwich and lies within the administrative district of Cheshire East Borough Council. The parish covers Wrenbury, and the smaller settlements of Pinsley Green, Porter’s Hill, Smeaton Wood, Wrenbury Heath, Wrenbury Frith and Wrenburywood. In 2001 it had a population of about 1,060.
The village is listed in the Domesday book as Wareneberie, and became Wrennebury in 1230. The name is said to mean “old forest inhabited by wrens”. Wrenbury formed part of the extensive lands of William Malbank, who owned much of the Nantwich hundred.
Wrenbury was included in the lands donated to the Cistercian Combermere Abbey in around 1180, shortly after the abbey’s 1133 foundation by Hugh Malbank, second Baron of Nantwich. In 1539, after the Dissolution, the land was granted to George Cotton, and the Cotton family remained important local landowners for centuries.
The red sandstone St Margaret’s Church, overlooking the village green, dates from the early 16th century. Notable features include a rare example of a dog whipper’s pew and a memorial to Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere. A war memorial stands in the churchyard.
The centre of Wrenbury village is a conservation area. Two black-and-white houses overlook the village green; Elm House is a Grade II listed cottage with prominent brick chimneys dating from the 17th century, while Stanley House, a mock Tudor building, dates from 1859. In the churchyard stands a small Grade II listed black-and-white cottage with brick infill, dating from the 17th century, which was possibly a former almshouse and school. Hawk House, formerly the Hawk and Buckle Inn, is a Grade II listed brick house adjacent to the post office which dates from the early 18th century. There are also several black-and-white farmhouses and cottages within the surrounding parish, some of which date from the 17th century.
Wrenbury Hall was the home of the Starkey family, prominent local landowners, until 1920; parts of the house date from the 17th century, although the front was refaced in Elizabethan style in 1916–19. It is said to have been used as shelter for the Parliamentary forces in 1643 when Nantwich was besieged before the Battle of Nantwich, during the Civil War.
The Shropshire Union Canal near the village has three rare single-span timber lift bridges dating from 1790, which are among Thomas Telford’s earliest works. They are of the drawbridge type, with a wooden platform hinged at one end which is raised and lowered by counterbalancing beam weights. Two are Grade II* listed footbridges; the Grade II listed third bridge carries road traffic and is lifted by a powered winch.
The Grade II listed red-brick village primary school dates from 1879 and features a bellcote and weathervane.
We would like to invite members of the community to contribute to the rich history of Wrenbury cum Frith Parish, as well as promoting its more recent developments. As such we would value and welcome any pictures, articles and knowledge you can contribute depicting the heritage of our Parish.
These photographs are courtesy of Cllr Ron Benbow