Inspiration for Alice in Wonderland?
In the small picturesque village of Pott Shrigley on the outskirts of Bollington and in the county of Cheshire can be found St Christopher’s Church. It is thought that the church was founded in the late 14th century and completed in its present form in the late 15th century.
Inside the church close to the altar on the right hand side beneath the chancel arch can be found a stone carving of a smiling cat. It has been speculated by many people that this was the inspiration for the “Cheshire Cat” which was written about in Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice in Wonderland”. There may be more than a grain of truth in this belief as Lewis Carroll’s Father was a travelling Clergyman in the county of Cheshire, his name was the Rev Charles Dodgson who was the Vicar of Daresbury from 1827 to 1843. It is quite probable that the young Lewis Carroll would have come into contact with this stone carving if he travelled around Cheshire with his Father and it may indeed have played a part in the creation of the character used in his book. On the outside of the church can be found what some people claim is another character from the “Alice in Wonderland book”. The stone carving does appear to have a similarity to the “Queen of Hearts” which is one of the main characters in the book, and even appears to be wearing a crown or some sort of headgear as can be seen in this photograph. Other carvings can be found inside the church on the ceiling and walls, whether these carvings correspond with any other characters in Lewis Carroll’s book I can not say for sure as I am not an expert on the book, however I will include a photograph of one of them and if anyone who reads this article would like to comment on it please feel free to do so.