St. Chad's, Farndon Parish Church
Farndon church is dedicated to St Chad, who died in AD 672. He was the first Bishop of Mercia (the Anglo-Saxon kingdom covering most of central England) and set up the new diocese of Lichfield.
The present building consists of a chancel, nave with side aisle, north porch, western tower, and the Barnston Chapel. There may have been a succession of wooden buildings on this sandstone ridge, from as far back as Celtic times. In 1086 the Domesday Book records that there was a village priest and two other priests with land in the area, indicating the church's importance at that time.
The outline of the present building and the tower date from the 14th century, about the time that the bridge was built over the Dee at Farndon. Not much is known about the medieval building, although in about 1622 the historian Webb described it as "a fair new church".
According to the local history group,
"The building periods are very mixed with late cylindrical piers in the nave supporting arcades of five pointed arches. The pitch of the former fourteenth century roof is shown on the east side of the tower, the marks extend down the wall. The clerestory was added in the seventeenth century and also the windows. The roofs too are of this period although they have been much renewed. The Regency porch has an ancient studded oaken door which largely escaped the damage to the church during the Civil War. Being occupied by Parliament troops the building was 'much demolished', and an inscription at the west end records 'the church being ruinated, was repaired and the bells new cast in 1658'. Only the tower now remains of the medieval building." ('Farndon', ed. Lathom p.59).
During the Civil War in the 17th century, soldiers were billeted inside the church and fighting reached the churchyard. Extensive damage was inflicted to the level that in 1658 the church, except the tower, had to be completely rebuilt. This resulted in inconsistencies in the style of the present building. Hanshall, an early-l9th century historian, wrote "the architecture of the church is much varied, although the pointed Gothic is most prevalent". You can see this in the very pointed arches of the nave.
The top section was reconstructed in the seventeenth century. A stone on the tower stairs bears an inscription T.R.N.S. (TRINITAS) S.S. (SANCTUS)'. There is also a squint window.
After the Civil War it would seem that William Barnston, who built the Barnston Chapel, was largely responsible for the restoration in 1658. Many items, including the font and its cover, books, vessels and a poor man's box, were provided in 1666.
Other alterations were carried out between 1689 and 1726 by the leading families of Barnston, Leche, and Caldecott; including the demolition of the east wall which was re-erected 10 ft. further east. Repairs to the roof followed between 1793 and 1798.
The chancel was altered to its present shape by the Marquis of Westminster in 1853-4 and, in 1868, at a cost of £1,100, the church was restored, re-seated, and the pulpit was changed.
It has been suggested that the tower once had a spire and it is interesting to note an Order by a Vestry meeting on 15th February 1767 'that the top of the steeple be immediately put into sufficient repairs'. ('Farndon', ed. Lathom p.60).
Further changes and restoration were made during the 19th and 20th centuries, while a war memorial was erected in the churchyard in 1922.