St Mary's Church, Whitegate

St Mary's Church, Whitegate, is in the village of Whitegate, Cheshire, England. The church has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building. It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Middlewich. Its benefice is combined with that of St Peter, Little Budworth.

Pevsner stated the "church is placed so happily against trees on a hillside that it makes the perfect, comforting picture of the Victorian village church".


A chapel has stood on this site of the present church since the founding of the Cistercian Abbey of Vale Royal in 1277. The Cistercian were known as the white monks and the name of the village at the gate of the abbey refers to this. A reference is made in an Act of 1542 to a church at the White Gate of Vale Royal Abbey. There are documentary records relating to repairs to the church between 1602 and 1646. In 1715 the church was a wood and plaster structure in a ruinous condition. Around 1728 the church was rebuilt in brick, the aisles were widened, and the walls of the nave were raised to allow galleries to be built. In 1874–75 the church was rebuilt largely at the expense of Lord Delamere, the architect being John Douglas of Chester. Douglas remodelled the exterior almost completely, but retained much of the earlier internal fabric.


The church is built in brick with a tile roof. Its plan consists of a six-bay nave with aisles, a chancel and a south porch. At the west end is a small tower with an octagonal shingled spire. On its north and south sides are circular clock faces. To the southwest is a vestry.


The octagonal timber piers from the previous Perpendicular church have been retained. The reredos and the chancel arcades date from around 1876–77, which Pevsner considered are not by Douglas. The ring is of eight bells that were set up to commemorate the Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. A medieval bell had been presented to the church by Thomas Cholmondeley in 1810. The parish registers date from 1559.

External features

The gateposts, which are crowned by balls, are dated 1736. The iron gates were given in memory of Miss Emily Katherine Cholmondeley.