Tarporley, Cheshire – St Helen

On Thursday 12 September we had to go to Julia’s funeral – odd for me to sit in the congregation for a funeral, but they did a good job! St Helen’s Tarporley is in the centre of the town at SJ 355 362 and has a website at http://tarporleyparishchurch.org/. You can download a pdf of the church guide. The church is C15, but the Victorians gave it a makeover, the work was done by the firm of Crowthers of Manchester. The churchyard is beautifully kept, and the roses were lovely. I liked the figures by the door, and the children’s work on Joseph brightened up our worship. I only had my mobile, and failed to get a decent photo of the church interior.

Also in eye-line during the funeral was this monument. It is to Sir John Crewe, 1641-1711. He was the son of John Crewe and Mary Done, and the grandson of Sir Randolph Crewe who was Lord Chief Justice, and lived at Utkinton Hall. Towards the end of the reign of Charles II some members of the Whig party formed for the Rye House Plot for Charles’ assassination. When this plot was discovered, orders were given that houses of those who were suspected to be Whigs should be searched and all weapons removed. Sir John Crewe was a prominent Whig, his friend and cousin Sir John Arden a prominent Tory. Arden was ordered to go to Utkinton Hall and to remove all the arms which were found there. Following the raid he wrote and apologised, ending his letter with “Maye wee returne to ye old habitt of friendship. Maye our different sentiments of publikque affaires never swell to ye heate of an argument; & soe burst into a passion wich always leaves us worse than it found us; Yours to love and serve you, Witsoever you thinke of, J. Arderne.”

The Done Monument is thought to be by the sculptor William Stanton (1639-1705). The figures, in white marble, are of Jane Done and Mary Crewe, daughters of Sir John Done, and of Mary Knightley, the granddaughter of Mary Crewe. Mary Crewe was born in 1604 at Utkinton Hall, baptised here, married John Crewe in 1636, and died in 1690. I thought the little notice might give more information, but it turned out to be the heating instructions!

I believe the top two memorials are the Sir John Done monument (1577-1629). This marble half figure of Sir John was probably copied from his portrait, painted by Marcus Gheeraert. On his right side hangs the Delamere Horn and is his left hand he is holding a hunting knife, the symbols of his office as the hereditary Chief Forester of Delamere. He was knighted at his home, Utkinton Hall, by James I in 1617. Next to him is John Crewe, 1803-1670. He was a barrister and MP for Cheshire in the first Protectorate Parliament. I wonder about the stories behind the two plaques and the people they remember.

I can’t photo windows on the phone, but I like the window with Adrian and Edmund – apparently Adrian is the patron saint of soldiers. This window is The Resurrection, it dates to 1869 and is a memorial to Henrietta Arden – the daughter of George and Helen, she died on 17 November 1859, aged nine days. The green altar frontal dates to 1890 and is a memorial to Major William Baines Morris, was designed by Lady Eden, manufactured by Messrs Helbronner and restored in 1954.

Outside I photoed the grave of Mr and Mrs Hope – that’s a message I need today.

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