St Luke’s secrets (Holmes Chapel).
St Luke’s church at the village of Holmes Chapel is only a short distance from where I live on the Holmes Chapel
road. The church stands on a knoll by a junction of roads. These roads, or tracks, would have been important since ancient times as a means of crossing the rivers Dane and Croco.
The original church was probably a simple wooden structure. Around 1430, it was extended to become a black-and-white half-timbered building with a red Cheshire sandstone tower. The roof was of scalloped oak, supported by eight wooden pillars. The Needham family of Cranage supplied some of the funds. The Winnington family of the Hermitage may have provided money for the chapel on the south side, as they claimed it for their use.
The church used to have at least two stained glass windows, memorials to members of the Needham family, in the north aisle. These were intact until about 1640 when they were probably destroyed during the Civil War. The tower bears bullet marks at its base, resulting from a skirmish in the village in 1643.
I came across the following information in a book titled “Dark Cheshire”, by Leslie Howard and is as follows: Holmes Chapel was once just a church and a few cottages in the middle of a wood. Then named just Holme, its church of St Luke was half timbered being added to at a later date. In 1753 a fire destroyed practically all the village save one or two houses, the church and the pub – Ye Olde Red Lion.
An old underground passage runs from the entrance to the church, used in troubled times for refuge.
Upstairs in the living quarters is an Elizabethan staircase leading to a secret rooom. This room believed to be inhabited by a lady in brown, has no windows or doorway.