Witton, Cheshire Genealogy

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Witton, St. Helen was an ancient chapelry in Great Budworth parish, originally serving the townships of Birches, Castle Northwich, Hartford (part), Hulse, Lach Dennis, Lostock Gralam, Northwich, Winnington and Witton cum Twambrooks.

The church was originally a chapel of ease to St Mary and All Saints, Great Budworth and the area was then known as Witton. The present building dates from the 14th century, with additions in the 15th, 16th and 19th centuries.A tradition that Witton had a chapel as early as the 13th century cannot be verified, but by the mid-14th century a church (technically a chapel of ease) stood on the present site. It was roughly the same length as the current building, had transepts but no aisles, side chapels or clerestory, and was covered by a steeply-pitched roof rising from about the height of the present arcade. There would have been a chancel arch with a great beam or loft across it bearing a rood, but no chancel step. The only seats would have been stone benches around the walls.

Gradually this evolved into the church as it is today. North and south aisles, narrower than those currently present, were added in the 15th century. The tower was built or rebuilt in about 1498, and the name ‘Thomas Hunter’ prominently displayed on it indicates it was the work of the mason of that name who was also associated with nearby Norton Priory. A porch in roughly the same position as the current porch was added at this time, or perhaps even earlier. The present porch however is certainly no earlier than 1500 and possibly much later: an inscription on its beam commemorates a substantial repair in 1756.

The aisles were rebuilt and widened between 1536 and 1549, bringing what had been a side chapel (now the Lady Chapel) into the body of the church. The nave was later also widened, at the expense of the north aisle, and a clerestory added by 1550 at the latest. Probably at this time the present roof over the nave was installed, though there is debate as to whether it was commissioned for the church originally.[9] Later the chancel was widened to match the nave. The chancel was embattled soon after 1624, when Thomas Farmer, the master of Witton Grammar School left money for the purpose in his will.

In the 18th century galleries (since removed) were gradually added on three sides of the interior, and in 1767 an organ and organ gallery also installed, possibly over the chancel. Later the organ was placed in the west gallery.

In 1841 a major restoration was undertaken which involved the re-siting of the pulpit, changes to the chancel steps, rebuilding of the south and west galleries, renovation of the roof and the making of a grand west Door. (Previously the only entrances had been that via the porch to the south and a small door giving access from outside to the tower steps).Twenty years later a large crack developed in the chancel which therefore had to be taken down and rebuilt in 1861–62, and at this time the present three large coloured glass windows behind the altar were installed. Apart from the roof therefore the chancel is substantially mid-Victorian. In 1883 the north aisle, then only 8.5 feet (3 m) wide, was widened to make it correspond with the south aisle, and other work done at much the same period included the addition of an altar rail, a new pulpit and the reflooring of the whole church.

Although there have since been further changes to the interior (including the addition of screens at the east end of the aisles and new coloured glass windows), by the 1890s the church looked much as it does today. It formally became a parish church when "the District Chapelry of St Helen Witton, otherwise Northwich", came into being on 7 August 1900.

Church Records

Parish registers for Witton-cum-Twambrooks, 1561-1973 Chester Record Office call number: P53/1/1-6, 2/1-10, P53/4690/1-4, P53/3/1-4, 8/1-2, 4/1-11, P53/4690/5-20, P53/5/1-2, 6/1-9, P53/7/1-3. Witton-cum-Twambrooks was a chapelry in Great Budworth parish.

Content Film
Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1561-1751 FHL BRITISH Film
2094290 Items 2-6
Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1752-1767 Baptisms, Jan. 1768-26 May 1856 Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1752-1767 Baptisms, Jan. 1768-26 May 1856
Baptisms, 4 May 1856-25 June 1903 FHL BRITISH Film
Baptisms, 25 June 1903-14 Dec. 1958 FHL BRITISH Film
Baptisms (auxiliary registers), 3 Jan. 1813-5 Jan. 1861 Baptisms (draft auxiliary registers), 2 Jan. 1835-1 Dec. 1846 Marriages, 25 Jan. 1754-2 May 1770 FHL BRITISH Film
Marriages, 3 May 1770-24 Dec. 1877 FHL BRITISH Film
Marriages, 25 Dec. 1877-30 May 1915 FHL BRITISH Film
Marriages, 24 May 1915-17 Feb. 1942 FHL BRITISH Film
Marriages, 14 Feb. 1942-12 Aug. 1961 Marriage banns, 7 Apr. 1754-31 Jan. 1773, 17 Aug. 1783-30 July 1786, 8 Oct. 1865-13 Dec. 1868 Marriages, 25 Mar. 1961-12 Aug. 1961 (another filming) FHL BRITISH Film
Burials, 1 Jan. 1768-28 Dec. 1873 Burials, 1 Jan. 1768-28 Dec. 1873
Burials, 3 Jan. 1874-9 Feb. 1960 FHL BRITISH Film
Burials, 9 Jan. 1960-3 Jan. 1973 Auxiliary burials, Jan. 1813-Jan. 1862 Draft auxiliary burials, Jan. 1835-Dec. 1846 Registers of graves, 1871-1880 (to no. 497) FHL BRITISH Film
Registers of graves, 1880-1927 (from no. 486) FHL BRITISH Film
2103772 Items 1-2

Non-Conformist Churches

Refer to Northwich, Cheshire to see relevant churches and chapels.

Non-Conformist Records

Poor Law Unions

  • Northwich

Registration Districts

  • Northwich

Registration events can be searched online at Cheshire BMD


  • Clifton-Taylor, Alec (1974), English Parish Churches as Work of Art, London: Batsford, ISBN 0 7134 2776 0
  • Harries, M.; Lynch, C. (1981), An illustrated history of the Northwich Parish and Church, Northwich: St Helen Witton Church, ISBN 0950764809
  • Richards, Raymond (1947), Old Cheshire Churches, London: Batsford
  • Salter, Mark (1995), The Old Parish Churches of Cheshire, Malvern: Folly Publications, ISBN 1871731232