Baddiley, Wrenbury & Burleydam
St Mary & St Michael’s Burleydam
BURLEYDAM CHURCH HISTORY
The Church, dedicated to St Mary the Blessed Virgin and St Michael, was built by Sir Lynch Cotton in 1769 in place of the one which stood in his park and until 1869 it was the private chapel at Combermere Abbey.
In 1869 it was formed the Parish Church, and the Reverend Thomas Meredyth, private Chaplain to Lord Combermere, appointed first Vicar of the new Parish – the parish having originally been part of the ancient parish of Acton
The patronage of the Parish was vested in Lord Combermere until 1946, when he, with the consent of the PCC voluntarily relinquished his right to the Patronage in favour of the Lord Bishop of Chester.
Burleydam is a small scattered community – 4 miles from Audlem and 5 miles of Whitchurch and there is still some farming in this area.
The Church is indebted to many benefactors who gave so generously and provided much for future generations to enjoy.
The East window is the Adamson window presented by the widow and family of Reverend Bardell Adamson, Vicar here 1888-1915.
Two stained glass windows in the Nave, the Annunciation, and the Madonna and Child were given by Lady Crossley of Combermere Abbey, in memory of her mother and father in 1929. The stained glass window in the north transept depicting Our Lord blessing Little Children was given by Burleydam Mother’s Union and dedicated on 27th June 1932.
The three smaller stained glass windows in the West End, St Chad, St Michael and St Werburgh were given by Lady Crossley in 1931 and she also gave the stained glass window in the south transept that year.
The Altar Frontals had been given by Katherine, Dowager Duchess of Westminster (when she lived at Combermere Abbey, 1901-1919); the Misses Lowry and their brothers, in memory of their Mother (Hubert Lowry was vicar here 1928-1924), and Miss Cameron of New Ferry. The background material having badly deteriorated with age was completely restored by six ladies of the Parish, in 1993-1994. The beautiful embroidery was carefully removed and put onto new material, and for this project we were most grateful for the advice and assistance of Mrs Anne Pearce – an expert in Ecclesiastical Embroidery
The Font Cover was made of old ship’s timber and copper, by the Artificers of Chatham Dockyard for the Reverend Meredyth who had been a Royal Navy Chaplain – and given by him, to Burleydam Church in 1867. There are other items here, which are much treasured and in use today.
Having been built as a Georgian Chapel which was comprised of just the Nave, a Faculty was granted in 1885 to build the Chancel, the Vestry and Organ Chamber, and a Porch at the North West corner of the Church, and the Belfry, a wooden structure was put on the roof. This was declared unsafe and had to be removed in 1992. The bell was re-hung years later on the North Wall of the Church and is rung each week for services, using a mechanical device.
The West end of the Church was dark with a large, empty floor space, and there was just one cold tap outside, which froze in the winter!
In 2004, to utilize the space available, it was decided to take out four pews (two from each side) and, because of the height of the building, put them upstairs, with other pews. ‘Upstairs’ now provides more accommodation for big occasions, that is, weddings, funerals and social events.
There is now a well equipped kitchen, a cloakroom and the Community Room is invaluable for meetings. The PCC, WI and Parish Council etc regularly use the room. Because the heating system is separate from that of the Church this is economical and also beautifully warm in the winter.
This project could not have been achieved without the timeless work of the PCC and Church Members in the application for grants and continuous fund raising and the inspiration of the Architect and the skill of a wonderful team of local builders.
The Churchyard, surrounding the Church, being full, additional land was acquired and consecrated by the Bishop of Chester in 1977.
A small piece of land, adjoining the Church, was kindly given by a local landlord to provide a car park in 1997.
These days, with small congregations and ever rising costs, Church finance is of constant concern, but we give thanks to God for the dedication and commitment of the faithful Church members and pray for guidance in facing the future, here at Burleydam.
Revd Ruth Harrison May 2012