BARTHOMLEY. It was the scene of a Christmas tragedy in the days of the Civil War. Here came a band of Royalists plundering the countryside, and 20 village folk took refuge in the church. The Cavaliers made a bonfire and compelled them to come out, and as they came out the soldiers killed them, one by one, so celebrating Christmas in the village.
In all Cheshire there are few more peaceful places than the scene of this bitter tragedy of war. Here are typical Cheshire cottages, venerable old houses, and a thatched inn, and among the trees by the inn stands the noble church, high on a green mound, with the lovely garden of the rectory.
The church is the only one in England dedicated to St Bartoline, an 8th century prince who became a hermit after the death of his young wife, living on an island of the River Sow in Staffordshire. Restored last century, the church has a doorway with Norman zigzag and a massive tower with pinnacles and grim faces. In the tower is a clock which in 1934 replaced one made by the village blacksmith who set it going in 1715. It went for 219 years before it broke down.
The nave has a fine clerestory and a lofty chancel arch. There are handsome panelled roofs with carved beams, an old screen in the north chapel, and a delightful Elizabethan altar enriched with quaint figures among fofiage, two panels showing the birth of Christ, with a little man bringing a hare and another a bird. Both men wear sugar-loaf hats. There are panels showing the Flight into Egypt, the donkey apparently unwilling to go, and among odd bits of ornament is a squirrel on a branch and a boy riding on a fish.
In the Crewe Chapel is a magnificent altar tomb by Sir Edgar Boehm on which lies Lord Houghton's wife, a lovely figure in white. She married the poet when he was Richard Monckton Milnes, and became the mother of the Marquis of Crewe, Viceroy of Ireland and Ambassador in Paris. Another tomb has a marble figure of Sir Robert Fulleshurst, one of the squires of the celebrated Lord Audley who distinguished himself at Poitiers. Round his tomb are .little statues of men and women.
The King's England, Cheshire (1938) by Arthur Mee. Original transcription by CuriousFox, edited for watermarking purposes.