The History of Great Warford
Warford is first mentioned in the Domesday Book thus:
“Ranulf holds Wareford himself. Godgyth holds it from him. She held it herself and was free. ½ hide paying tax. Land for one plough. She has two oxen; 4 male and 2 female slaves. Value 3 s: it was waste.”
Ranulf is said to be a distant ancestor of the Mainwarings of Over Peover.
It is thought that originally Great Warford and Little Warford were the same settlement, both of them being in the old Bucklow Hundred, but that in the mid 14th century, some boundaries were redrawn and what we now know as Great Warford was moved into the Macclesfield Hundred as part of the parish of Alderley, and Little Warford remained in Bucklow. The place name Marthall cum Little Warford and slight variations have also been used over the centuries.
Warford, like surrounding villages has, since early times, developed principally due to agricultural influences. It is a dispersed rural village, with several small areas of settlement, rather than one central nucleus. The landscape is scattered with farmsteads, some of considerable age, such as Manor Farm, Little Moss and Heathgate.
The civil parish boundaries are more or less the same as the early township boundaries, irregular and shown alternately by established roads, some individual fields, and the stream Pedley Brook.
In 1936, 102 acres of land north of Knutsford Road, near to Knowles Green were transferred into Mobberley, presumably to “tidy up” administrative divisions.
With small scale agriculture in decline over the 20th century, land in Great Warford has been exploited in other ways. Revolutionary healthcare facilities such as the Mary Dendy and the Ancoats Convalescent Home must have had a great impact on the community.
In 1891 the population was 378. By 1921, it had more than doubled to 831, today the population hovers abot 600. The new development at Warford Park and Warford Grange have added to the population in the last 20 years.
Great Warford also has a rich history of religious non-conformity, exhibited by the timber framed Baptist Chapel and the former Wesleyan chapel and school, both on Merrimans Lane. Before obtaining the current Baptist chapel site in 1713, the Baptists practised at the site known as Norbury Houses, on Ancoats Lane.
The opening of Wilmslow Golf Club in 1899 on the site of Pownall Brow Farm, being one of the oldest in Cheshire is also significant in the rise of local leisure activities for the middle classes.
Perhaps the most interesting part of studying the history of Great Warford however, is what it can reveal about the lives of ordinary people, how they made a living, worshipped, and brought up their families, and very personal perspectives on national events, such as the coming of war.
Preservation of memories and experiences of so called ‘ordinary’ life are just as important as looking at historical documents as the events of today pass into history.
Great Warford Baptist Chapel
Notes from the Archivist Historian of the Baptist Chapel
An oak tree stands in the middle of the road at the end of Ancoats Lane. It commemorates the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Find it and proceed westward down the lane to the first positive right-hand bend. Near there in the 17th century stood a cluster of cottages known as Norbury Houses and during the Civil War Parliamentary Troops were stationed close by, Amongst them were convinced Baptists who shared their beliefs with the locals, many of whom embraced the faith and started the first Baptist Church in this part of Cheshire. This must have been established and unhindered for some time, during the ten years of the Commonwealth and possibly beyond. Why say that? Well about 120 years ago when building work was in progress several simple gravestones were unearthed with no attempt to identify their origin. It would not be ignored today! The existence of such stones tends to confirm some stability of tenure. Following the restoration of the monarchy things changed and “descenters”, Quakers and Baptists, were constantly harassed as they met for worship. The group from Norbury Houses moved around meeting in various places, Lindow End, Mobberley, Alderley Edge and Mottram St Andrews, before finally settling back in Great Warford at the Intack where in 1668 we start the story of the conversion of an Elizabethan barn into a meeting house capable of holding 120 worshippers.
Harold Horry (1926 - 2012)
Great Warford War Memorial
This plaque is proudly displayed in St. Mary’s Church at Nether Alderly.
A transcript of the names follows:
||Keith A Agnew