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Special Features Of The Church



Norman Arch - South Doorway, Shotwick Church


The massive South door dates from the 15th Century, as does also the Font.

The Clock - Shotwick Church

ClockThe Clock

This clock, which replaced an earlier one, was bought in 1726. It was built by the Chester clock maker Joseph Smith and until its electrification in 2000 was worked by winding up the massive stones remaining in the tower.



Coat of Arms

The Royal coat of arms on the tower wall was bought in 1727 during the last months of the reign of George I. It may have replaced an earlier one, as coats of arms were placed in churches after the Reformation when they were often put above the chancel arch in the place formerly occupied by the Great Rood.

Shotwick Church - Bell

The Bells.

The present peal of six bells consists of 4 new bells bequeathed by the Rev. F. R. Wansburgh, and two old ones, dated 1616 and 1621, recast.


In 1938 when the new ones were hung, one of the old bells dated 1664 was removed when found to be untunable, and until October 2010 stood at the base of the tower. Sadly this bell was stolen in broad daylight and no trace of it has been seen since.

Churchwardens pew

The Churchwardens Pew.

The Churchwardens’ pew, which some young visitors have called “The Punch and Judy show”, has the date 1673 carved on the lower part, together with the Wardens’ names, The canopy dated 1709 is thought to have been added at that date. It is a piece of furniture befitting the dignity of the office and reminds all and sundry of the Churchwardens’ job of keeping order and putting out unruly folk. At some time it must have been furnished with curtains and a mat, as these are charged for in the accounts.

Commandment Boards

The Commandments.

Canons of 1604 ordered that the Commandments be exhibited on the East wall of the chancel. The ones to be seen in the wall by the Churchwardens’ pew were bought in 1752. They have recently been conserved and relocated. You can see more pictures and read details by clicking here.

Shotwick Church - The Devil's Door

The “Devil’s Door”.

The door in the North aisle, no longer used, is known to local people as “The Devil’s Door”. The name goes back to the Middle Ages when the ground to the North of the church was unconsecrated and thought to be the haunt of evil spirits. In pre-Christian times, the North was the “holy” place, and this, together with the fact that the church hid the sun from this ground for most of the year meant that superstitions surrounded it. During the Middle Ages only suicides, the illegitimate and criminals were buried there, all other burials, apart from those actually in the church, taking place to the South. Superstition had it that if the “Devil’s Door” were opened during a baptism the evil spirits would leave the infant’s body and fly out through it.

3 Decker Pulpit - Shotwick Church

The 3 decker pulpit.

In the same Commission which dealt with un-uniform seating in 1706, the parishioners were bidden to move the pulpit from its position in the South aisle to that in the North aisle where the present pulpit now stands. The old one was replaced in 1812 by this 3 decker Georgian pulpit which is said to have come from a church in Chester, thus giving rise to the story that most of the church furniture also came from the same source. The minister took the service from the middle deck, going to the top one to preach, whilst the clerk occupied the lower deck. It was he who led the congregation in their responses. In these days, although used at harvest and other special occasions, most clergy tend to prefer to deliver their sermons either from the lectern or the chancel steps.

Rood Screen, Shotwick Church

Passing on down the North aisle, notice the remains of the old Rood Screen which now forms part of the pews.


The organ was purchased in Chester, second hand in 1909. Prior to this the harmonium was used.

Reading Desk - Shotwick Church

The reading desk takes us back to earlier forms of church music. It is late 18th Century, and was formerly the fiddlers’ desk. From various entries in the Churchwardens’ accounts we learn that during the 18th Century the church music was supplied by paid musicians, fiddlers and singers.


ChestThe Vestry.

The screen which forms the vestry was formerly at the end of the lady chapel, before the organ was installed. In the vestry is the recess which was the aumbry where the holy oils and Communion plate were stored. Before the Reformation it would have had a stout oak door. The table in the vestry dates from the 17th Century and the chest from the 18th. The three locks on the chest were for the two Churchwardens and the Vicar, each of whom held a key.

Shotwick Church - The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary.

The panelling behind the altar is part of the box pews removed to make room for the organ.

John Carter Grave

An interesting local story concerns a grave in the chancel. Tradition has it that there lies Squire Hockenhull who died when his old horse stepped into a rabbit hole, fell and rolled on his master. The dying man is supposed to have charged his eldest son that there should be no inscription on his grave stone, but instead a bridle bit and two stirrups cut in the stone above the date, to show that he died as he had lived, a sportsman. It is now generally believed however that the signs are simply the letters I.C.C., being the initials of John Carter, Curate, whose will dated 1587 stated that he wished to be “Buryied in the chancell of Shotwyke”. There are still parishioners who prefer to believe the old story, and who will blame them?

The East Window - Shotwick Church

The East Window.

The memorial window was placed in the church in 1938 by parishioners and friends of the Rev. F. R. Wansburgh, Vicar of Shotwick from 1902 to 1936, and his wife. He is remembered as being a typical sporting parson who would ride into Chester wearing a tall silk hat and riding a big white mare. In the centre of the window is the figure of the Archangel Michael, patron saint of the church, and in the side-lights appear the old arms of Shotwick and those of the Abbey of St. Werburgh.


The artist was Trina (or Trena) Mary Cox (1895-1980) who was born in Wirral and set up a studio in Birkenhead in 1916. In 1923 she moved to Chester, where she continued to work until 1971.Trina Cox is little known outside of the North-West; she designed windows for churches as far away as London and Yorkshire, but the majority of her work is in Cheshire and Lancashire with more than 30 churches in Cheshire containing her art. The work of one of our greatest local artists is in our Church for all to appreciate.


The brass chandelier dates from the late 18th Century.

Memorial Tablets

The Memorials in the church are mostly to members of the Nevitt-Bennett Family, already mentioned in connection with Shotwick Hall. From the 1843 Tithe Map for the Township of Shotwick we find that apart from the rectory they were the owners of all the land in the township.




The Churchyard

Iron Ring - Shotwick Churchyard

In the South-West wall can be seen an iron ring, said to have come from the quay where it was used as a mooring ring.

Sun Dial - Shotwick Churchyard

The sun-dial bears the date 1767 and it was evidently a replacement for an earlier one, as the Churchwardens’ accounts mention payments for the dial post in 1720 which is also the date on the shaft, together with the initials J.D. and R.M., the Wardens at this time being John Davies and Richard Massey.

Lt. Morange Memorial

The American airman, Lieutenant S. Morange, whose grave is here was one of two killed in an aircraft mishap at R.A.F.Sealand in the First World War, the body of the other having been taken back to America. During the 1929 Scout Jamboree at Birkenhead, scouts from his home town, Bronxville, New York, placed 2 commemorative plaques at the Graveside. In 1957 these were respectively replaced and refurbished by American Servicemen stationed at Burtonwood. They are among a small group of first world war graves.



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