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The little village of Wrenbury

Good morning everyone. I hope Storm Dennis hasn't caused you all too many problems. It is still very windy here in Aston but the rain has subsided for now. I am hoping to go for a walk in later on as the weather forecast states the sun is going to come out this afternoon but we shall see.

This weeks blog is about another little village just 3 miles from our B&B and that is the village of Wrenbury. Very close to my heart as it is where we first lived when we moved to Cheshire and well worth a visit. There is a very beautiful church at the centre of the village and some historic houses. A beautiful canal walk with a timer lift swing bridge for the canal boats to go under and a couple of country pubs for refreshments after your walk. What's not to love?

The first documented listing of Wrenbury is in the Doomsday Book. where it is listed as Warenberie which then became Wrennberie in 1230. The name Wrenbury is said to mean 'the old forest inhabited by wrens'.

The centrepiece of Wrenbury village is the beautiful Grade II listed St Margaret's Church, built of red sandstone, which overlooks the green.It dates from the early 16th century with alterations and additions in the 18th and 19th centuries; the nave and porch were restored in 1794; the chancel was rebuilt in 1806 and restored in 1865.

The nave contains box pews, many of them having the arms of local families on their doors. Near the door is the ‘Dog Whipper’s Pew’; in addition to controlling dogs in the church, the dog whipper had the duty of waking those who fell asleep during the sermon.

The pulpit is early Georgian, and the west gallery dates from the late 18th century. The church organ was built by Charles Whiteley of Chester in 1884 .There is a ring of six bells, the oldest dating from 1610 and 1666, one bell dated 1861 and the remaining three were cast in 1902. The parish registers begin in 1593 and the churchwardens' accounts in 1771. A free school by the church was endowed by Ralph Buckley in 1605.

Close to the church are two other Listed Buildings. Elm House is a Grade II, large 17th century two-storey half-timbered cottage with a slate roof and a prominent brick chimney, placed asymmetrically. The timber frame features small framing with angle braces and has rendered brick infill. Restoration in the 1990s incorporated brick outbuildings to form an L-shape. The building was formerly used as a grocer's shop.

Hawk House is a Grade II 18th century whitewashed brick cottage of two storeys and four bays under a tiled roof, with three symmetrically placed brick chimneys. A central porch and a wing to the rear were added in the 19th century. Now a private dwelling, the building was once an inn, called ‘The Hawk’, and later ‘The Hawk and Buckle’, and was also used as a butcher's shop. In 1973.

Hawk House Wrenbury

Elm House Wrenbury

In the late 18th century, the Llangollen Canal was built, passing through the northwestern end of Wrenbury. As it passes Wrenbury, it is notable for three bridges by Thomas Telford, dating to about 1790, which are Grade II listed buildings.

Wrenbury Church Bridge (No. 19) is a single-span timber lift bridge. It is an accommodation bridge (a bridge which preserves a pre-existing private road, path or right of access) and also serves a public footpath; it is lifted manually via a counterbalancing weight fixed to paired beams parallel to the bridge platform and attached to its free end with chains. Vertical beams support the structure, and the timberwork is strengthened with iron rods. Guards were installed in 1889.

Wrenbury Bridge (No, 20) is a similar singlespan timber lift bridge, and is important to the village as it carries Cholmondeley Road, and is the only route out of Wrenbury to the west. Like Wrenbury Church Bridge it was originally designed to be operated manually by a counterbalance system, however, a mechanical crank was installed early in the 20th century, and this was subsequently replaced by an electric motor.

Wrenbury Frith Bridge is a singlespan timber lift bridge very similar to Wrenbury Church Bridge but there is no public right of way and it has no guard rails. Wrenbury Mill, adjacent to Wrenbury Bridge, currently acts as a canal boat hire business

Bridge 20 Wrenbury

Frith bridge Wrenbury

At the eastern end of Wrenbury is the 1879 village school; this is also a Grade II Listed Building. Wrenbury School is an L-shaped single-storey primary school in red brick with blue-brick diapering and stone dressings. A wing protrudes on the left of the front face, with decorative timberwork to the gable and a triple arched window; the two large gables to the front face have similar timberwork and windows. A square bellcote stands in the angle of the L; it becomes circular above roof level and is topped with a weather vane. The adjacent chimney breast bears a circular stone date plaque. The building was extended in 1987.

Wrenbury School

Wrenbury village is well worth a visit when you are in the area. On a sunny day what could be better than wandering around the village, having an ice cream sitting on the bench on the village green, meandering along the canal tow path and then lunch in the local pub watching the canal boats go by.

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