Bunbury is a village in East Cheshire England. It lies close to the Shropshire Union Canal and north west of Nantwich. There are in fact four old villages, which have combined to form the modern-day Bunbury. These are Higher Bunbury (centred around St Boniface Church and the Dysart Arms), Bunbury Heath, Lower Bunbury, and Bunbury Common. To the west lies Beeston Castle and to the north the popular Shropshire Union Canal. The village itself is one of those quintessentially English villages with its medieval church and village pub.
Beeston Castle: Beeston Castle, the 'Castle of the Rock' lies a mile to the west of Bunbury. The castle is famous for its spectacular views, which take in no less than eight counties on a clear day. From its lookout point at the top of a mighty crag, you can see from the Pennines all the way to the Welsh mountains. There are beautiful woodlands to explore around the castle, with wildlife trails for the children to follow, and even the chance to find the lost treasure of Richard II. With 40 acres of meandering trails through a woodland park, and 4000 years of history at the 'Castle of the Rock' exhibition it is a great day out in the Cheshire countryside.
The castle is naturally defended by steep cliffs on three sides - Beeston's spectacular crag attracted prehistoric settlers. It became an important Bronze Age metal-working site, and later an immense Iron Age hillfort, whose earthwork defences were adapted by medieval castle-builders. The 'Castle of the Rock' - its medieval title - was begun in the 1220s by Ranulf, Earl of Chester, one of the greatest barons of Henry III's England. A defence against aristocratic rivals and a striking proclamation of Ranulf 's power, his fortress is approached via a ruined gatehouse in a multi-towered outer wall, defining a huge outer bailey climbing steadily up the hill.
Dysart Arms: The Dysart Arms public house and restaurant is a truly classic English village pub, with lovely open fires, bookcases scattered all around, lots of old oak and a pleasant garden. It only lacks a cricket pitch at the back and the knock of leather on willow to aid the digestion of cask beer as you chat amiably with the vicar. The pub was named after the local landowners, the Tollemache family, who were the Earls of Dysart. Their coat of arms is above the door. Originally the building, which we believe dates from the mid 1700's, was a farm belonging to the estate.
Bunbury's parish church is built on the highest point of the village. St Boniface's Church dates mainly from the 14th century. Its features include the Ridley chapel, and two fine effigies: the alabaster chest tomb of Sir Hugh Calveley and the colourful tomb of Sir George Beeston. The nave arcades and aisle windows are of the 15th century. Stonework from the 12th century can be found in the south porch, which also houses several grave slabs, as well as the old church clock.
The church is a typical Cheshire red sandstone perpendicular design with battlements and crocketed pinnacles on the west tower. The parapets of the north and south aisles vary from stone openwork with crocketed pinnacles above the north aisle to a crenellated parapet with pinnacles above the south aisle.
However the first impression of the church is the brightness of the interior, and indeed its over-glazed appearance from the roadside. The original stained glass windows were destroyed in 1940 by German aircraft returning from a raid on Liverpool. The planes jettisoned their bombs and destroyed several houses in the village killing a number of people. Later the windows were replaced with clear glass.
The residents of Cheshire hoped to escape the ravages of battle during the English Civil War and to this end a meeting of prominent men was held in St Boniface Church on December 23, 1642 to draw up the Bunbury Agreement. [Sometimes called the “The Peace of Bunbury” or the "Bunbury Convention"]. The neutrality of Cheshire was declared. However due to Cheshire's strategic location this was found impossible to deliver and the county was dragged into the war. By 1643, the convention had failed and St Boniface Church itself was "fired by Royalists and suffered much damage.”
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
There are many walks and cycle trails criss-crossing the landscape of Cheshire, and the area around Bunbury is no exception. Indeed the Shropshire Union Canal is within half a mile of the village with its popular towpath walk. A mile to the west of the village is the Cheshire Sandstone Trail, Beeston Castle Trail and a circular cycle route.
Sandstone Trail: The Cheshire Sandstone Trail runs for 34 miles - 55 km from Frodsham in the north of Cheshire to Whitchurch in the south. It runs along Cheshire's central sandstone ridge across lovely rural Cheshire and north Shropshire, with fine views across the Cheshire Plain. It is one of the finest and most popular long distance walks in the North West of England.