Our church through the ages
the weather vane
The tower has been renovated . The result with its golden weather vane and the new clock face is now clear for all to see. An interesting story has been told about Buffalo Bill. It was reported that he visited the church and shot the weather vane over his shoulder ! When it was removed a bullet hole was found in it . Make your own mind up
The Original Church
The original Church, was probably timber framed building and was founded in 1304 by Wiliemus De Salle, whose name appears as the first Rector of St Martins.
The text under the picture on the right was printed on the back of the photograph of the original 1714 church and tells of the history back to Saxon times.
The great storm of 1703 destroyed the church building of the time , it is believed to be a wooden building . It is understood to be a fire caused by lightening, but no records survive . A new church was built in 1714 for Joshua Allen and it is believed that the large black wooden door was from the earlier church . In 1874 a baptistry by W. H. Brakspear was added. In 1886, the turret and clock were removed and the following year a new tower was built, it was designed by George Truefitt for Sir William Cunliffe Brooks. In the same year 13 tubular bells were installed , which have sadly since dissapeared and a new lych gate was built.
Over more recent years there has had to be a number of repairs but with each challenge we have encountered, we became stronger in our faith. We can be rightly proud of our small but beautiful Church.
It is believed that the original church was built on this site in the late ninth century at the time to the Saxon King, Edward the Elder (870-924) just within the Kingdom of Mercia. Ashton is not mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book nor the ensuing Pipe Rolls. Perhaps the land lay waste from the Viking raids for a century or more, or, the local landowner at Dunham didn’t record all his land to evade tax, or the records were lost or misplaced.
The First Church of 1304
The first documentation to survive mentions William de Ashton, priest in 1304—but that does not mean he was the first incumbent but is more probably the first time the Lichfield diocesan records survive. The church was wood and plaster in common with many Cheshire black and white churches eg. Siddington.
The existing oak roof trusses, in the present building, could be from an earlier church. It is likely that the mediaeval church was the approximate size of the present. A chantry chapel to the Blessed Virgin Mary was licensed within this church on the south side in 1398 and dissolved at the Reformation in 1547.
We invite you to become a part of the church today and a piece of its history tomorrow.