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St Mary's Church, Whitegate
St Mary's Church, Whitegate2.jpg
St Mary's Church, Whitegate, from the southwest
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OS grid reference SJ 628,694
Location Whitegate, Cheshire
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Website St Mary's, Whitegate
Status Parish church
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade II
Designated 11 October 1949
Architect(s) John Douglas
Architectural type Church
Completed 1875
Materials Brick with tiled roof
Parish Whitegate, St Mary
Deanery Middlewich
Archdeaconry Chester
Diocese Chester
Province York

St Mary's Church is in the village of Whitegate, Cheshire, England. 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 Peter, Little Budworth. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building. The authors of the Buildings of England series state that the "church is placed so happily against trees on a hillside that it makes the perfect, comforting picture of the Victorian village church".


A chapel has stood on this site of the present church since the founding of the Cistercian Abbey of Vale Royal in 1277. The Cistercian were known as the white monks and the name of the village at the gate of the abbey refers to this. A reference is made in an Act of 1542 to a church at the White Gate of Vale Royal Abbey. There are documentary records relating to repairs to the church between 1602 and 1646. In 1715 the church was a wood and plaster structure in a ruinous condition. Around 1728 the church was rebuilt in brick, the aisles were widened, and the walls of the nave were raised to allow galleries to be built. In 1874–75 the church was rebuilt largely at the expense of Lord Delamere, the architect being John Douglas of Chester. Douglas remodelled the exterior almost completely, but retained much of the earlier internal fabric.



The church is built in brick with a tiled roof. Its plan consists of a six-bay nave with aisles, a chancel and a south porch. At the west end is a small tower with an octagonal shingled spire. To the southwest is a vestry.


The octagonal timber piers from the previous Perpendicular church have been retained. The reredos and the chancel arcades date from around 1876–77, which the authors of the Buildings of England series are of the opinion are not by Douglas. There is a chime of eight tubular bells that were set up to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. A medieval bell was presented to the church by Thomas Cholmondeley in 1810. The parish registers date from 1559.

External features

The gateposts, which are crowned by balls, are dated 1736. The iron gates were given in memory of Miss Emily Katherine Cholmondeley. The churchyard contains the war graves of two soldiers and a Royal Air Force officer of World War II.

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