Christleton - considered by many to be Cheshire's prettiest village
Timber-framed houses, a picturesque pond with swans, an historic church... it's no wonder Christleton is said by many to be Cheshire's prettiest village WORDS BY POLLY BERKELEY PAINTINGS BY GORDON WILKINSON
Christleton is the epitome of the idyllic Cheshire village with its attractive houses, pretty parish church and village pubs – so it is easy to see why it has the accolade of best kept village in the county.
Skirting the village green is St James’s Church and the Parish hall. The Church was designed by William Butterfield and consecrated in 1877 but its continuous list of clergy dates back to 1215. There’s an entry for Christletone in the Domesday Book but it is thought the village has actually been in existence much longer than that.
One of the village’s most visited sites is the pond at Little Heath, which has been dubbed by the locals in the mists of time ‘Christleton Pit’. It is believed to have originated in 1711 when a local merchant called Gerard Townsend bought the Old Hall and created a ‘pond for fish’ from an original water feature belonging to the then Lord of the Manor, Sir Henry Harpur of Calke Abbey in Derbyshire.
Evidence for this comes from a case at Chester Assizes in 1772 when Robert Townsend, Gerard’s son and heir was prosecuted for not paying tax to the Lord of the Manor of Christleton for the pond on his land, for over 50 years.
The case involving ‘a pond for fish’ lingered on and on, but it seems that Robert Townsend won the argument in court. The pond was on an area of land, even then described as ‘common land’, land that the people of Christleton had a right to use for grazing and watering their animals, a place to roam freely.
Today the Pit is now a place to spot an abundance of wildlife including nesting swans. The attractive timber-framed Dixon’s Almshouses which overlook it date from 1868. They were built to provide homes for the poor and needy of the parish in memory of James Dixon of Littleton Old Hall and designed by J.Oldrid Scott, son of the famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott who was responsible for the repair and rebuilding of Chester Cathedral.
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Turn right at the village green for a stroll down Village Road, past the former post office which is now a local shop and the Ring O’Bells pub. A little further down the road is the Old Farm the oldest house in Christleton and the Village Institute on the left hand side.
The village has both a large comprehensive school and a primary school, a branch of the College of Law based at the Old Hall, a Methodist Church and two other pubs called the Cheshire Cat and the Plough Inn.
Gordon Wilkinson’s original watercolour paintings on this feature are for sale. Contact Gordon on 01244 531785 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. More of his work - including other paintings he created for Cheshire Life - can be viewed at www.gordonwilkinson.com.
Christleton is a village situated just over two miles south of Chester. Leave the A41 under the flyover to travel along Pepper Street passing over the Shropshire Union canal, then the Law College on your left, before arriving at the village green.