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St Michael, Middlewich, Cheshire

(53°11′34″N, 2°26′40″W)
SJ 704 663
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Cheshire
now Cheshire East
  • Ron Baxter

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St Michael's is a large church, mainly Perpendicular, with a W tower of c.1500 over the end of the N nave aisle, and an aisled, clerestoreyed nave of four Perpendicular bays with a fifth narrow bay of late 12thc. date at the E end of each arcade. The aisles continue alongside the chancel, providing an organ loft and vestry on the N side, and a spacious chapel on the S. The chancel aisles are divided from the main vessel by two-bay arcades, that on the N of the 13thc. The S aisle is canted at the E and W ends. The exterior is faced with red sandstone, but its appearance owes much to the intrusive restoration of 1857-60 by Joseph Clarke. 12thc. work is found in the narrow E bays of the nave arcades and a loose chevron voussoir.


Middlewich is one of Britain's chief salt-producing towns and has been so since Roman times, when it was called 'Salinae'. The town lay on a major Roman road from the Mersey at Warrington to Derby. In 1086 it was the centre of a hundred, and the salt workings were shared between the king and Earl Hugh.

Benefice of Middlewich with Byley


Interior Features



Loose Sculpture


The curious arrangement of the nave arcades should be compared with that at Frodsham, which also has a narrow E bay. At Frodsham, however, it is the main arcade that is 12thc. while the narrow bay is later. Here at Middlewich it appears that the narrow bay has been constructed from earlier elements during a late-medieval remodelling. It seems likely that the elaborate bases were originally capitals in a 12thc. arcade.


N. Pevsner and E. Hubbard, The Buildings of England. Cheshire. Harmondsworth 1971 (repr. 1978), 279-80.

R. Richards, Old Cheshire Churches. London 1947, 234-37.