Buildings & History

St Peter's Plemstall & St John's Guilden Sutton


St Peter's Plemstall

St Peter's is an ancient Christian site where worship has been offered to God since at least the 7th century. At that time the tidewaters of the Mersey flowed up to and surrounded this isolated spot, once known as the Isle of Chester.

A legend, perhaps of the 5th or 6th century, tells of a shipwrecked fisherman who, on finding refuge here, built a church as an act of thanksgiving, dedicating it to St Peter the fisherman.

Nowadays, although the river has retreated from this expanse of low-lying land, the church still occupies an isolated position at the end of a long, secluded country lane.

The first church was probably built in the 7th century, but nothing is known of that building. The present church dates from 1200, although it is almost certain that there was a substantial rebuilding in the first half of the 15th century, and again in the reign of Henry VII (1485-1509).

The style of the church is mainly simple Perpendicular, which prevailed from the mid-14th to the 16th centuries and is characterised by strong vertical lines.

The name Plemstall, or Plegmundstall, derives from “the habitation of Plegmund”. During the 9th century, when native Britons were struggling against the invading Danes, many religious houses were destroyed. Plegmund, a notable scholar who contributed to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, took refuge on the Isle of Chester where he ministered to the people.

In recognition of his talents he was called from the simple way of life to become Alfred’s tutor and assist him in the consolidation of his kingdom. After holding various high offices he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 890. When Alfred died in 900, Plegmund crowned the king’s son, known as Edward the Elder, whom he continued to serve until his own death in 914. Plegmund was buried in Canterbury Cathedral.

In more recent times the Revd J H Toogood (Rector 1907-1945) has left his mark on the building through his great skill as a wood carver. A 15th century screen separates the chancel from the nave and the Barnston chapel. The figures, the rood and the enrichments on the top are the work of the Revd Toogood (see picture above). He also made the altar, the reredos, the box pews, the choir stalls, the sanctuary panelling, the lectern, the war memorial, the baptistry screen and the font cover (see picture above).

There is only a little of the original coloured glass remaining in the windows, most having been lost at the time of the Reformation. In the baptistry is an old churchwarden’s pew, over 7 feet high, dated 1697. The triple decker pulpit (pictured above)is dated 1722, and has a (broken) hour glass to the side.

In 2002 an extension was built on the north side, a toilet installed, and full disabled access provided. In 2003 the Charles Whiteley organ was fully restored.


St John's Guilden Sutton

St John’s was built in 1815 on the site of a previous church. It is a simple structure, modest in size, giving a warm, intimate feel to the worship space. Unlike most church buildings, it is flooded with natural light.

The interior was attractively reordered in 2001, with the removal of the chancel screen and choir stalls, some levelling of the floor, the provision of a toilet, and improvements to the entrance.

St John’s is open for visitors during the day. This provides an opportunity for people to come to look around, and to pray in an atmosphere of peace and quiet.

The photographs include details of the west window and the carving of the Ascension of Christ on the vestry door. Also shown is the bell-cote which was completely restored in 2005 when the church was re-decorated, after it was found to be under attack by death watch beetle.


St John's Church Hall

The Church Hall is situated just 30yds along Church Lane from the church. It has recently been redecorated and repaired externally and a new floor laid. It is used by the Sunday Club, and by other community groups. It is available for hire.


Mickle Trafford Village Hall

The Village Hall is owned by the church. The front part of the building was originally a school, until the new primary school was opened in 1909. The building was then extended at the rear to provide a Mission Church, which was dedicated as St Andrew's Church in 1912. A further extension to the side was built to provide a rifle range which was used for practice in the 1914-18 war. In 1982 when the village was growing and the hall in need of improvement, the church and Parish Council set up a trust and made provision for the hall to be used by the community and administered by a Management Committee. It is now regularly used as a club and hired by a variety of community groups. The lease was renewed in 2011.