Wrenbury is a
villagein the Wrenbury cum Frith civil parish in the Borough of Crewe and Nantwich, Cheshire, England. It lies on the River Weaver, around 8.5 miles south-west of Crewe.
civil parishof Wrenbury cum Frith covers the village of Wrenbury and the small settlements of Gaunton's Bank, Pinsley Green, Porter's Hill, Smeaton Wood, Wrenbury Heath and Wrenburywood. It had a population of 1060 in 2001.
The village is listed in the
Domesday bookas "Wareneberie", [http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/cheshire2.html The Domesday Book Online: Cheshire L–Z] (accessed 11 August 2007)] and became Wrennebury in 1230. The name is said to mean "old forest inhabited by wrens". [ [http://www.wrenbury.info/cheshirelife.htm Cheshire Life feature (2002)] ] Wrenbury formed part of the extensive lands of William Malbank(also William Malbedeng), who owned much of the Nantwich hundred.
As a chapel attached to
St Mary's Church, Acton, Wrenbury was included in the lands donated to the Cistercian Combermere Abbeyin around 1180, shortly after the abbey's 1133 foundation by Hugh Malbank, second baron of Nantwich. [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=39977 'Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Combermere', in "A History of the County of Chester", Vol. 3, pp. 150–156, (1980)] (accessed 11 August 2007)] In 1539, after the Dissolution, the land was granted to George Cotton, and the Cotton family remained important local landowners for centuries. [http://www.thornber.net/cheshire/htmlfiles/wrenbury.html Thornber C. Cheshire Antiquities: Wrenbury] (accessed 11 August 2007)] A free school by the church was endowed by Ralph Buckley in 1605. [St Margaret's Churchyard plaque]
The population of the civil parish was 404 in 1801, 490 in 1851, 491 in 1901, 708 in 1951 and 1060 in 2001. [ [http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/genuki/chs/wrenbury.html Wrenbury cum Frith: Genuki] ] [ [http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=7&b=792616&c=wrenbury&d=16&e=15&g=428443&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=779 Neighbourhood Statistics: Wrenbury cum Frith CP] ]
Geography and transport
Wrenbury village lies at an elevation of around 70 m, about five miles south-west of
Nantwich, Cheshire and five miles north-east of Whitchurch, Shropshire. Nearby villages include Marbury, Aston and Audlem.
The village is on the Llangollen branch of the
Shropshire Union Canal. It has an unmanned station on the Welsh Marches Railway. The Cheshire Cyclewayruns through the village and the South Cheshire Waylong-distance path runs just south of it.
The grade-II-listed red-brick village primary school dates from 1879 and features a bellcote and weathervane. [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=422444 Images of England: Wrenbury School] ] It won the "Champion School" category of the "Your Champions" Awards 2007, sponsored by
Scottish Powerand Trinity Mirror. [ [http://www.wrenbury.info/pdf/AwardCeremonySuccessLetter.pdf Joule J. Good news (15 November 2007)] (accessed 16 April 2008)]
Places of worship
The red sandstone St Margaret's Church, overlooking the village green, dates from the early 16th century. Notable features include a rare example of a
dog whipper's pew and a memorial to Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere. [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=422447 Images of England: Church of St. Margaret] ] [ [http://www.thornber.net/cheshire/htmlfiles/combermere.html Thornber C. Cheshire Antiquities: Cottons of Combermere Abbey] ] A war memorialstands in the churchyard. [ [http://www.ukniwm.org.uk/server/show/conMemorial.52314/fromUkniwmSearch/1 United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials: St Margarets Church WW1 WW2] (accessed 13 March 2008)]
Other notable landmarks
Wrenbury Hall was the home of the Starkey family, prominent local landowners, until 1920; parts of the house date from the 17th century, although the front was refaced in Elizabethan style in 1916–19. [http://www.societyweddings.co.uk/ Wrenbury Hall] ] It is said to have been used as shelter for the
Roundheads in 1643 when Nantwich was besieged before the Battle of Nantwich, during the English Civil War.
Two black-and-white cottages overlook the village green; Elm House is a grade-II-listed cottage with prominent brick chimneys dating from the 17th century, [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=&id=422449 Images of England: Elm House] ] while Stanley House dates from 1859. In the churchyard stands a small grade-II-listed black-and-white cottage with brick infill, dating from the 17th century, which is possibly a former almshouse. [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=422368 Images of England: Cottage in the Churchyard of St Margaret] ] Hawk House, formerly the Hawk and Buckle inn, is a grade-II-listed brick cottage near the post office which dates from the early 18th century. [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=422369 Images of England: Hawk House] ] There are also several black-and-white farmhouses and cottages within the Wrenbury cum Frith parish, some of which date from the 17th century.
The Shropshire Union Canal near the village has three rare single-span timber lift bridges dating from 1790, which are among
Thomas Telford's earliest works. [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=422450 Images of England: Wrenbury Bridge] , [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=422451 Wrenbury Church Bridge] , [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=422446 Wrenbury Frith Bridge] ] They are of the drawbridgetype, with a wooden platform hinged at the north end which is raised and lowered by counterbalancing beam weights. Two are grade-II* listed, with Wrenbury Frith bridge being in particularly fine condition; the grade-II-listed third bridge now carries road traffic and incorporates a modern mechanical crank.
Wrenbury is known for its annual
scarecrowtrail, which started in 2000. Held the first weekend in July as part of a Summer Fayre, around a hundred and fifty scarecrows were on display in 2006. [ [http://www.wrenbury.info/scarecrows2006.htm Wrenbury Village Website: Scarecrow Trail 2006] ]
Other annual events include an October Apple Festival, first held in 2006.
Facilities, sports and recreation
The village has a post office and general stores, and a doctor's surgery. [http://www.wrenbury.info/index.htm Wrenbury Village Website] (accessed 11 August 2007)] Sports facilities include a pavilion, bowling green, tennis courts and football pitches, and the Wingate Centre, just outside the village, has a 'GymMark'-accredited gymnasium. [ [http://www.wingate-sga.org.uk/index.php The Wingate Centre] (accessed 11 August 2007)] Local organisations meet at St Margaret's village hall. The mobile library service visits Wrenbury and Wrenbury Heath fortnightly. [Cheshire County Council: Mobile Library Village Details: [http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/Library/MobileLibrary/intvillresult.htm?village=Wrenbury Wrenbury] , [http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/Library/MobileLibrary/intvillresult.htm?village=Wrenbury%20Heath Wrenbury Heath] (accessed 21 February 2008)]
The village has two public houses, both of which serve food. The Cotton Arms, named for the Cotton family, is on Cholmondeley Road near the canal. The Dusty Miller occupies a 19th century corn mill by the canal at Wrenbury Bridge, and is listed in "The Good Pub Guide". [ [http://www.goodguides.co.uk/pubs/pubdetails.asp?pub_id=1320725652 The Good Pub Guide: Dusty Miller, Wrenbury] (accessed 11 August 2007)]
* [http://www.wrenbury.info/index.htm Wrenbury village website]
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