Barbridge Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal
Wardle is a village in the hart of rural Cheshire. It sits beside on the Shropshire Union Canal, northwest of Barbridge Junction, four miles north-west of Nantwich. The wider parish of Wardle also includes part of the small settlement of Wardle Bank, but these two together have a population of just 250.
RAF Calveley beside the village was a flight-training station during the Second World War, and the Mark III radio telescope stood on the airfield site in 1966–96. The modern civil parish includes Wardle Industrial Estate and is otherwise largely agricultural. Nearby villages include Barbridge, Calveley and Haughton.
Watfield Pavement, a stone road believed to have originally formed part of a Roman road from Chester to Chesterton in Staffordshire, passed through or adjacent to the parish, and a bronze Roman coin was found nearby.
Wardle Hall was the seat of the Prestland family, passing to the Faddiley|Woodhey branch of the Wilbraham family in the early 17th century. A map dated around 1875 shows brickworks and brick fields adjacent to the Shropshire Union Canal, and mills and a brickworks were present in this area on a 1947 map.
RAF Calveley airfield, completed in 1942, served as a flight-training centre during the Second World War. The RAF station closed in 1946, but it remained in use as an airfield until 1959. Several of the buildings have survived, including the control tower, hangars and a Romney hut. The Mark III radio telescope was constructed in 1966 on the base of a former hangar at the airfield. It had an elliptical meshwork dish measuring 82 feet × 125 feet. Controlled from Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Holmes Chapel, it initially worked in concert with the Mark II telescope, 24 km away at Jodrell Bank, and later formed part of what is now the MERLIN network of radio telescopes. The Mark III telescope was dismantled in 1996.
Geography and transport
The Shropshire Union Canal and the A51 (Nantwich Road) run side by side across the parish from the north west to the south east, and they form part of its northern boundary. The Shropshire Union's Barbridge Junction lies towards the south east of the parish; from the junction, the Middlewich Branch initially heads north east and then turns to run east–west. The Crewe–Chester railway line also runs broadly east–west across the north east of the parish. The A51 crosses the Shropshire Union mainline at Wardle Farm Bridge to the north west of Wardle village; Calveley Hall Lane diverges adjacent to this bridge, to run northwards over the railway line and through Wardle Bank to the parish of Calveley.
The Weaver Way footpath loops through the south east of the parish, following the Shropshire Union and Middlewich Branch canal towpaths.
The terrain is flat, with an average elevation of around 180 feet. Much of the area to the south west of the Shropshire Union/A51 is an industrial estate, accessed by way of Green Lane. The remainder of the parish is predominantly agricultural. The woodland of Hill's Gorse lies in the north east of the parish, and Wardle Covert, part of Long Wood and several smaller areas of woodland are in the west of the parish. Two water bodies lie between Wardle Covert and the Shropshire Union, and numerous small meres and ponds are scattered across the farmland.
About the village
Wardle Old Hall, a red-brick former farmhouse dating from the early 18th century, stands by the canal. The oldest listed building in the civil parish, it is decorated with prominent pilasters and is listed at grade II* for the "high quality of the Baroque facade".
Two canal bridges are listed at the lower grade of II: Roving Bridge at Barbridge Junction and Rutter's Bridge over the Middlewich Branch; both date from around 1830 and were probably designed by Thomas Telford. The Canal House, of a similar date and also listed at grade II, stands at the junction.
The Jolly Tar public house is close by the Canal House.
The grade-II-listed Wardle Bridge Farmhouse, built by John Tollemache, 1st Baron Tollemache|John Tollemache, Baron Tollemache, of the Peckforton estate in around 1860, has decorative timberwork and octagonal-latticed cast-iron windows. A grade-II-listed, red-sandstone pinfold stands by the A51; used to confine straying cattle, it dates from the early 19th century and is one of the few examples to have survived in Cheshire.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
about Wardle, Cheshire)
- RAF Calveley – photographs of the derelict airfield
- Watfield Pavement – Revealing Cheshire's Past
- King et al. 1778, p. 263
- Roman Coin - Revealing Cheshire's Past
- Cheshire L–Z, The Domesday Book Online, http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/cheshire2.html, retrieved 21 October 2016
- Gastrell 1845, p. 218
- "OS c1875", e-mapping Victorian Cheshire (Cheshire Archives and Local Studies), http://maps.cheshire.gov.uk/tithemaps/LargeMap.aspx?srch=&singleplot=&hlt=&hlp=&e=360320&n=357600&scale=2.54&tabL=L2&tabR=R1, retrieved 13 October 2016
- "Boundary Map of Wardle Tn/CP", A Vision of Britain through Time (University of Portsmouth), http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/unit/10201706/boundary, retrieved 13 October 2016
- Calveley, Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust, http://www.abct.org.uk/airfields/airfield-finder/calveley, retrieved 13 October 2016
- RAF Calveley Airfield – Revealing Cheshire's Past
- Cheshire Federation of Women's Institutes 1990, pp. 16–17
- Lovell 1985, p. 12
- The MKII Radio Telescope, Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/history/mk2.html, retrieved 14 October 2016
- The Multi-Telescope-Radio-Linked-Interferometer, Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/history/mtrli.html, retrieved 14 October 2016
- MERLIN: The quest for resolving power, MERLIN, http://www.merlin.ac.uk/about/layman/quest.html, retrieved 14 October 2016
- Anita Richards (16 September 2003), 4.1 Location of telescopes, MERLIN, http://www.merlin.ac.uk/user_guide/OnlineMUG-ajh/newch0-node62.html, retrieved 14 October 2016
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- Hartfield et al. 2011, pp. 656–57
- National Heritage List 1312857: Wardle Old Hall
- National Heritage List 1312853: Roving Bridge
- National Heritage List 1115816: Rutter's Bridge at SJ616572
- National Heritage List 1320254: Canal House, Barbridge Junction at SJ613569
- National Heritage List 1330094: Wardle Bridge Farmhouse
- National Heritage List 1138609: Wardle Pinfold
- Cheshire Federation of Women's Institutes. The Cheshire Village Book (Countryside Books and CFWI; 1990) (ISBN 1-85306-075-5)
- Francis Gastrell. Notitia Cestriensis, Or, Historical Notices of the Diocese of Chester: Cheshire (Francis Robert Raines|F. R. Raines, ed.) (Chetham Society; 1845)
- Nikolaus Pevsner: The Buildings of England: Cheshire, 1971; 2011 Penguin Books ISBN 978-0-300-09588-3
- Bernard Lovell The Jodrell Bank Telescopes. (Oxford University Press; 1985) (ISBN 0-19-858178-5)
- Daniel King, William Smith, William Webb, Peter Leycester, Samuel Lee, Thomas Pennant, Francis Grose. The History of Cheshire: Containing King's Vale-royal Entire (John Poole; 1778)