All Saints' Church, Daresbury

All Saints' Church, Daresbury is in the village of Daresbury, Cheshire, England. It is best known because of its association with Lewis Carroll who is commemorated in its stained glass windows depicting characters from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building. The church is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Great Budworth.


In the 12th century a chapelry was founded on the site of the present church as a daughter house of Norton Priory. It was a chapel of ease within the parish of Runcorn. After the Reformation the patronage of the Runcorn parish passed into the hands of Christ Church, Oxford. It is likely that the stone tower was built shortly after this time. Over the years there were frequent disputes between the worshippers at Daresbury and the mother church at Runcorn relating to financial matters.

The existing building other than the tower was erected between 1870 and 1872 by Paley and Austin in the Gothic Revival style. During the restoration an old rood loft and screen were destroyed. Richards identified this as of "pure Welsh type" and its loss as "nothing short of a major calamity". Daresbury became a parish separate from Runcorn in February 1880. Families who have been associated with the church over the centuries are those of Greenall, Rylands, Chadwick, Heron, Milner, Houghton, and Okell. The tower was restored in 1872 by Sir Gilbert Greenall.


The church is built in red sandstone with a slate roof. Its plan consists of a five-bay nave in Perpendicular style with aisles, a tower at the west at end of the nave, and entrances opposite each other in the north and south aisles. The tower has corner buttresses and is crenellated. On its top is a weather vane in the shape of a fish. The west window is plain with four lights and the belfry windows are also plain with two lights. The date 1110 is carved on the south side. It is thought that this date was originally 1550 but that the number had weathered and it was mistaken by restorers. At the east end of the south aisle is the Daniell Chapel. The chapel had formerly been called the Chadwick Chapel but its name was changed to the Daniell chapel to commemorate one of Cheshire's ancient families who had connections with Daresbury.


The east window of the Daniell chapel includes characters from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The window was erected following a memorial fund to celebrate the centenary of Carroll's birth in 1935. It was designed by Geoffrey Webb and dedicated on 30 June 1935 by Herbert Gresford Jones, Bishop of Warrington. The upper panels depict a nativity scene surmounted by eight angels, the leftmost panel showing Lewis Carroll himself accompanied by Alice Liddell. The windows incorporate symbolic panels relating to Carroll's life, including the Cheshire wheatsheaf, the arms of Rugby School and Christ Church, Oxford, and mathematical instruments. Across the base of the window are five panels which include characters from the Alice books together with words from Carroll's poem Christmas Greetings. The characters are based on the illustrations by John Tenniel. On the south wall are windows designed by Marjorie Cox depicting The Flight into Egypt and The Annunciation which were donated to the church in 1960 in memory of the Broome family of Preston-on-the-Hill. Also in the chapel are memorials to members of the Chadwick family of Daresbury Hall.

On the south wall of the church is a memorial by John Gibson which was preserved from the old church. It commemorates Sarah, wife of Henry Byrom of Liverpool, who died in 1833. In the chancel is a memorial to Rev. George Heron, a canon of Chester Cathedral who baptised Lewis Carroll. The windows in the south aisle depict the eleven apostles without Judas Iscariot. They were donated in the mid-19th century by the Stubbs family, industrialists in Warrington. There is a green man carved in the re-used Jacobean rood screen behind the altar. The pulpit is Jacobean with carvings of heads of angels which Richards considers to be possibly the most elaborate of their kind in the county. It also includes a carving similar to the griffin in Alice's Adventures. The font dates from the 19th century and was the gift of Miss Elizabeth Wood. Its elaborate wooden cover was given by Lady Greenall. In the belfry is a board with an acrostic on the name "Daresbury". The ring is of eight bells, all of which were cast by John Warner and Sons in 1913. The two-manual organ was built by Jardine and restored in 2002 by A. J. Carter. The parish registers date from 1617, and the churchwardens' accounts from 1663.

External features

The churchyard contains a 16th-century font in which, amongst many others, Lewis Carroll was baptised.

Charles Dodgson

From 1827 to 1843 the priest in charge of Daresbury church was Charles Dodgson. In 1832 his third child and first son was born, named Charles Lutwidge, and better known later in life as Lewis Carroll. The vicarage was not then, as it is now, opposite the church but was some distance away in Newton-by-Daresbury near the junction of Morphany Lane and Higher Lane (grid reference SJ592803).

Lewis Carroll Interpretation Project

This project is to build a centre to provide information about Lewis Carroll's early years in Daresbury, and his later achievements. In June 2008 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £371,000 towards the project.

Panels depicting characters from Alice


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