The History of Churche's Mansion
This remarkable property was built in 1577, and is one of the oldest buildings in Cheshire.
Beautifully crafted decorative windows were added to commemorate the building's 400th anniversary on 4th May 1977
Individual panes mark each 100 year anniversary, and the monarch on the throne at that time
Brief History of Churche's Mansion and The Churche Family
The Churche family came from Leicestershire, and bought property in Hospital Street about the middle of the fifteenth century. The family prospered as merchants and bought other estates in Cheshire and Shropshire.
Richarde Churche (born 1540) married Margerye Wright, the daughter of another important family in the town. A wealthy merchant, Richarde had the Mansion built for him and his wife in 1577. The building was done by Thomas Cleese, a master carpenter who also worked at Little Moreton Hall (a National Trust property).
Following the War of The Roses in the second half of the fifteenth century, and the strong centralised monarchy under the Tudors, the feudal power of the nobles declined dramatically. This ushered in a period of great social upheaval, and the rise of the merchant classes.
However, merchant's houses from these times are rare. They were usually situated in towns, and consequently were often pulled down, or altered beyond recognition, during redevelopment.
Churches Mansion, an original merchant's house, is a wonderful and important landmark to this pivotal time in British history, marking the growing wealth and power of businessmen.
The Great Fire of Nantwich, in 1583, burned for twenty days. Much of the town was gutted and hundreds of buildings lost. Fortunately the fire did not reach the Mansion. At this time Nantwich was a very important town, both for salt making and as an important military and communications link, being one day's march from Chester. Queen Elizabeth I encouraged the rebuilding of Nantwich, and contributed £1,000 of timber.
Richarde died in 1592, leaving two sons. William, the eldest inherited the Shropshire estates at Betton, whilst his second son, Randle inherited the Mansion. Randle stayed at the Mansion and was father to another Randle, who was Sergeant-at-Arms to King Charles I.
When Randle's grandson, another Randle Churche, died in 1674 without an heir the Mansion passed to the descendants of William. They leased the Mansion to Sabboth Churche (grandson of Richarde's brother, Edward Churche). He died in 1679, but his son, also Sabboth Churche, stayed on for almost another twenty years.
In 1696 another William Churche (born 1679, died 1743) leased the Mansion to the first outside tenant - William Jackson, a physician. William's mother, Hester, was also a signatory to the lease as he was still a minor.
Portraits of William and Hester Churche have survived and still hang in the Mansion.
The names of the tenants during much of the eighteenth century have been lost. The next known tenants were Mr John Latham in 1792, then Mr Berks (a tanner), succeeded by Mr James Latham. From 1848 to 1858 it was the residence of Mr T W Jones, attorney at law, and in 1869 it became a ladies boarding school. The final tenant was a retired Wesleyan minister.
In 1930, the Mansion had been in the Churche family for over 350 years and the decision was made to sell.
The next owner was Dr Edgar Myott, who made the purchase amidst concern that someone was planning to buy the Mansion, dismantle it piece by peice and reassemble it in America.
A plaque in the front garden reads:
Over the next several decades the Mansion was used as a restaurant and tea room whilst it was painstakingly and lovingly restored by the Myott family.
Edgar Myott's son Richard continued the restoration, and the restaurant, until 1986. The Mansion remained as a restaurant, under several different ownerships, until the end of the Twentieth Century.
It was the home of Adams Antiques from 2001 to 2018, providing a wonderful showcase for their period oak and country furniture.
Construction and Historical Detail
Churche's Mansion is one of the most complete half timbered buildings in Cheshire, with many of its original features intact. It is built in a style typical of the period - a frame of mighty Cheshire oak, infilled with wattle and daub, and lined with oak panelling. The overhanging first floor to the front elevation is also typical.
There are many fine original features, both inside and out. Many of the corbels are decorated with gilt carved heads and figures. The heads of Richarde and Margerye Churche are on either side of the oak front door inside the porch. Interior panelling shows fine examples of Elizabethan carving.
Next, let's go to the Photo Gallery for many more photos of the Mansion, front and back...
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