St Peter's Church, Little Budworth

St Peter's Church is in the village of Little Budworth, Cheshire, England. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.[1] It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Middlewich. Its benefice is combined with that of St Mary, Whitegate.[2] The church stands on the highest point in the village and its tower dominates views of the area.[3]

St Peter's Church, Little Budworth
Little Budworth St Peter 2.jpg
St Peter's Church, Little Budworth, from the south
St Peter's Church, Little Budworth is located in Cheshire
St Peter's Church, Little Budworth
St Peter's Church, Little Budworth
Location in Cheshire
Coordinates: 53°11′02″N 2°36′08″W / 53.1839°N 2.6022°W / 53.1839; -2.6022
OS grid referenceSJ 598,655
LocationLittle Budworth, Cheshire
WebsiteSt Peter, Little Budworth
StatusParish church
DedicationSt Peter
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade II*
Designated3 January 1967
Architect(s)John Douglas (restoration)
Architectural typeChurch
StylePerpendicular, Neoclassical
MaterialsRed sandstone
Slate roof
ParishLittle Budworth, St Peter
Vicar(s)The Revd Canon Christopher Humphries
Reader(s)John Stopford
Organist/Director of musicThomas Cameron
Churchwarden(s)Anne Hales
Rosemary Scott
North front

There is disagreement about the correct dedication of the church. The historian George Ormerod, writing in 1816, stated that it was dedicated to St Mary and All Saints.[4] However a bequest in 1526 was made by Hugh Starkey of Oulton to "St. Peter of Budworth" and the church is usually now referred to as St Peter's.[5] Another source considers the full original dedication might have been to "St Mary, St Peter and All Saints".[6]


The existence of a church on the site was recorded in 1190.[7] The present west tower was erected between 1490 and 1526. The body of the church was rebuilt in stone in 1800 following a bequest from Ralph Kirkham, a wealthy merchant of Manchester. This consisted of a nave and sanctuary with no architectural division, which Richards describes as being "a poor attempt at imitation of the classical style".[5] The Egerton family of nearby Oulton Hall were benefactors of the church. Their family vault was in the church. This was sealed in 1870.[7] In 1870–71 the interior was restored by the Chester architect John Douglas, the restoration including the removal of pews, a gallery and the ceiling.[8] By 1936 the roof timbers were becoming unsafe and they were replaced by a steel roof.[5]



The church is built in red sandstone ashlar with a slate roof. Its plan consists of a west tower with a four-bay nave and chancel in one range. The tower has diagonal buttresses and is in three stages, the stages being divided by string courses. The lowest stage includes an arched west door above which is a three-light window and over this an empty niche. On the south face is a clock face dated 1785 inscribed with the names of the churchwardens. The topmost stage has three-light louvred bell openings on each face. The top of the tower has an embattled parapet. On the south face is a round-arched door in the west bay and three round-arched two-light windows, and on the north face are four similar windows. The east end has a round-arched three-light window.[1]


The ceilings of the nave and chancel are plastered barrel vaults.[1] The pulpit dates from the Georgian period, and the painted font from the 17th century. The latter has a fluted bowl with a scrolled cover resting on an octagonal base. It is one of the few painted fonts remaining in the county.[5] The pulpit dates probably from about 1800, and has fluted angle pilasters. Also in the church is a 19th-century family pew.[9] Memorials to members of the Egerton family include a brass relating to an incident in the Crimean War. Philip R. Egerton donated to the church a painting by Caravaggio, or a member of his school, depicting The Deposition from the Cross.[5][A] A few fragments of pre-Reformation stained glass remain.[5][10] A war memorial in stained glass to members of the Egerton family lost in the First World War is by Heaton, Butler and Bayne.[9] The organ is a highly original two-manual instrument by William Hill & Sons of London, which is thought to date from about 1860. It still retains its original hand-pumped bellows.[citation needed] In the tower arch is an etched window dating from 2002.[9] There is a ring of five bells. Three of these, dated 1714, are by Rudhall of Gloucester. Of the others, one is by John Warner and Sons dated 1884, and the other is by James Barwell and is dated 1893.[11] The parish registers begin in 1561.[5]

External featuresEdit

The churchyard, divided into "Old Ground" and "New Ground", contains the war graves of four soldiers of World War I, three of which are in the New Ground.[12]

See alsoEdit


A Concerning the attribution of the painting, the authors of the Buildings of England series make the comment "good (but not at all Caravaggio)".


  1. ^ a b c Historic England, "Church of St Peter, Little Budworth (1139201)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 4 August 2012
  2. ^ Little Budworth, St Peter, Church of England, retrieved 13 October 2009
  3. ^ Little Budworth Conservation Area (PDF), Vale Royal Borough Council, 2001, p. 6, retrieved 26 February 2009
  4. ^ Ormerod, George (1882) [1816], Helsby, Thomas (ed.), The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, vol. ii (2nd ed.), London: George Routledge and Sons, p. 223
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Richards, Raymond (1947), Old Cheshire Churches, London: Batsford, pp. 197–199
  6. ^ Local History Group (1993), Latham, F. A. (ed.), Vale Royal, Local History Group, p. 57, ISBN 0-9522284-0-8
  7. ^ a b Little Budworth Conservation Area (PDF), Vale Royal Borough Council, 2001, p. 3, retrieved 26 February 2009
  8. ^ Hubbard, Edward (1991), The Work of John Douglas, London: The Victorian Society, p. 139, ISBN 0-901657-16-6
  9. ^ a b c Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew; Hubbard, Edward; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2011) [1971], Cheshire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 431, ISBN 978-0-300-17043-6
  10. ^ Little Budworth, St Peter, Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA) of Great Britain, retrieved 2 January 2011
  11. ^ Little Budworth S Peter, Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers, retrieved 10 August 2008
  12. ^ LITTLE BUDWORTH (ST. PETER) CHURCHYARD, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 3 February 2013

External linksEdit