WEAVERHAM village; this historic community has surrounded the parish church of St Mary the Virgin since at least the 15th and 16th centuries.

Now a car park, the area at the front once housed the Ring O’ Bells pub as it was named in the early 1800s; it later became Church Stile and Church Gates before reverting to the Ring O’ Bells.

In 1924 the license was removed, and a new Ring O’ Bells was built nearby.

The village has many ancient buildings, most of which have been awarded blue plaques with details of their historical interest.

As we leave the church and pass along Church Street, we come to the first of these, Raintub Cottage. It dates from around the time of Henry VIII.

When under renovation in the 1980s, a wall painting was discovered on the wattle and daub wall beneath layers of plaster.

It depicted the branches of a yew tree, which will have been done for both decorations and to fend off evil spirits as the yew was indigestible and sometimes fatal if eaten, so it was effective against demons.

There is a coffin hole in the half-loft ceiling, as a coffin would be too large to bring down the narrow staircase.

Soon we reach Northwich Road, the main road through Weaverham, before the coming of the bypass in September 1992.

The ancient black and white Poplar Cottage is on the bend. This is an excellent example of domestic Tudor architecture built in the 15th century.

There is a ‘birth chamber,’ a small room on the lower floor. Tradition has it that if a baby is carried upstairs after birth, it will continue to go up in life!

A bit further, just before Forest St, we come to a shop that was once The Star Alehouse, which opened in the 18th century.

It was the ‘Weaverham Virgins meeting place’. They were from the Mother’s Union of the St Mary the Virgin church.

The pub was purchased by Greenalls in 1872 and compulsorily closed in 1908.

Now we have a look at Forest Street or rather two buildings at the top of it.

The first one is the old Grammar school building, once the Abbot of Vale Royal’s courthouse, which was damaged by Royalists during the English Civil War and is now a dwelling house.

Some say that this (not Raintub Cottage) may be the oldest house in the village.

For 200 years before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Abbots of Vale Royal ruled Mid Cheshire with a rod of iron.

The building known as the Grammar school was the court of the Abbot.

Offenders were taken across the road to Gibbet Hill (now the high school playing field).

A prison served the court and was at the rear in what is now Chapel Street.

In 1638 the Grammar School was founded by William Barker of Sandiway, and it closed in 1916, having been a grammar school for hundreds of years catering to the children of farmers in the area.

Continuing past the Grammar school, we come to a beautiful, thatched cottage. The building is smaller than it was before the last war.

During that war, cousins lived in the cottage and took in children evacuated from Liverpool.

The children managed to set fire to the thatched roof at one end, causing damage, and a short while later, the Luftwaffe made it worse!

They were aiming to blow up the railway viaduct at Dutton, but a landmine was dropped on Nook Farm nearby, the area that now houses the roundabout on the Weaverham Bypass.

The end of the cottage was so severely damaged that it had to be demolished, leaving the small one we see in the photo.

This had to be modernised and upgraded, resulting in the pretty cottage in the modern photographs.