St. Peter's Church, Prestbury, Cheshire, England

St. Peter

There are some who see Macclesfield as being one of Cheshire's carbuncles and that might explain why the denizens of nearby Prestbury want nothing to do with the place. It helps that Prestbury is a pretty place by the River Bollin, a fact that cannot be missed when you realise the drop into and climb out of the place. The name has its origins in the older variant Preost-Burgh, meaning Priest's Town. That's no misnomer given that, in the Middle Ages, it was the centre of an extensive parish containing 35 townships and its church. In fact, St. Peter's Church, was until 1878 the only place in the area licensed for marriages so it being the religious centre of the area didn't die away that quickly.

The church building is of considerable antiquity too with the nave of St. Peter's dating from 1220. Its 1480 eight pinnacled tower was a later addition, so the structure has not been a static one and, controversially, there are plans to add another wing to the building. Conservation mindedness is not the cause of upset but rather the covering of graves, even if the new part will be on stilts. It is an example of modern needs trumping any desire to keep things as they are and there is a still-existing predecessor to the present church in the same churchyard. That is a twelfth century construction and, as if all that were insufficient, a Saxon preaching cross in the same churchyard hints that an earlier building to either of these existed in Saxon times. One wonders why anyone would go doing building here with all that antiquity. Whatever the needs may be, you'd be tempted to go looking elsewhere for a site, but that's not how it is. Let's hope that any new construction is sympathetic.

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